Gail's Book Nook

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

On December 25th, Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. Some believe Jesus was born on a different day, but they gather to remember his arrival on earth on December 25th.
Jesus came into the world to die for mine and all man’s sins and preached a Gospel of love. He was tortured and put to death, but he rose from the dead.

And His spirit lives today in the hearts and souls of Christians from the moment we accept Him. From then on, He is with us always from the darkest valley to the brightest hilltop.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord.” (Luke 2: 8 – 11).


Christ is born!

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question. Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:  34- 40)

Christ’s Gospel of Love!


“Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life.’” (Matthew 20: 17 – 18)

photo courtesy of Photobucket

Christ’s sacrifice!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” ( John 3: 16 – 17)

Christ’s gift, eternal life, given!

“…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20)

Christ lives today!

Celebrate the birth!
Honor the name, CHRIST, our Savior!
Sing it! Say it! Praise it! Shout it!
Merry Christmas!

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." (Mattthew: 10: 32 - 33)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Winner of A Merry Little Christmas



It was difficult to choose, so I jumbled up the names and selected three times. Two out of three it was...

Congratulations, Gail!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Question and Answer Session with Bestselling, Award Winning Author Anita Higman. She'll Give Away a Copy of Her Christmas Book


To enter to win a copy of Anita's book leave a comment and email address. 

A Merry Little Christmas is a sweet tale that teems with heart and characters you won't want to leave. Anita Higman will have you turning the pages of this lyrical story of healing and love.
Jenny B. Jones, award-winning author of Save the Date and There You'll Find Me.

Fall in love with this cozy story about two people from different worlds. Franny Martin is an Oklahoma farm girl who's preparing to spend the holidays alone...again. Then Charlie Landau shows up one day, all wealth and polish, and offers to buy Franny's farm. Franny has no money to speak of, but she is clever and spirited, and she's more than happy to sell the farm and move to the city. As Sinatra croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon her charming farm, Franny teaches Charlie the curious and sometimes comical ways of country life. In the process, they unearth some discoveries of the heart-that sometimes love comes when you're least ready for it. Will the holidays bring their most impossible dreams within reach?


Welcome, Anita. How neat to have a Christmas story. Tell us a little more about your book.
Even though A Merry Little Christmas is really a love story, I felt it needed some additional conflict, and some of the racial struggles of the 60s seemed to be the right choice for this particular plot. I grew up in the 60s, and I was always interested in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In some ways I feel I’ve waited my whole life to write this book. It came easily to me in that it’s been percolating in my imagination for a long time, but it was also hard to write because I had to consider more deeply the injustices of that era. Even though it sounds like a cliché, A Merry Little Christmas truly was the book of my heart.

The farm scenes seem pretty realistic. Did you grow up in the country?
I did. While the small towns in the book are totally fictitious I did grow up on a wheat, cattle, pig, and chicken farm in Western Oklahoma, and it was pretty much identical to the one in the novel. If the farm scenes seem realistic it’s because I got to know farm life quite well before I moved off to college at eighteen.
 
Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, but are both looking for something very different from the way they've grown up. Do you think as humans, we all just have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality?
Yes, that is a human frailty that is easy to succumb to, and I’ve been guilty of it as well. But God is good about reminding me that he’s placed me on my own unique life-road, and it may have little to do with anyone else’s journey. Besides, in many cases when we get a closer look at someone else’s “lush green grass” it usually turns out to be turf.

Do you think that sometimes we don't pray for what we want because we are afraid of getting what we pray for?
Perhaps that’s true, which would explain why Franny is equally nervous and excited about the sudden answer to her prayers.

Was there a reason you added the themes of Christmas and music to the story?
My editor asked me to add those elements, and it was a blessing, since Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love music. Also, female readers in general love novels that are set during the holidays, and I’m hoping the music adds a cozy feel to the overall Christmas theme.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
“The Holly and the Ivy.” The song has a melancholy feel to it, but it’s also beautifully sweet. I love the “Currier and Ives” style pictures my imagination conjures up when I’m listening to it.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
I love to have my gal friends over for brunch around Christmastime. I have been collecting tea dishes for many years, and so when I do a brunch, I go all out. Women are usually in a service mode most of their lives so when they come to my house I want them to feel wonderfully pampered. And by the time they leave, I hope their hearts are a little merrier and they feel we’ve celebrated Christmas well!

Is Franny's character based on any "real life" person?
Franny is like me in some ways, but she has a lot more courage than I have and more laughter in her heart. So, really, I want to be Franny when I grow up.

Does the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" have a special significance to you?
The song makes me swoon it’s so romantic and lovely. It makes me think of being snowed-in with the man I love. Of course, that scene also needs a mountain cabin with a crackling fire and two mugs of wassail.

You have written everything from romance to suspense/thrillers to nonfiction. What is your favorite genre to write?
I love inspirational romance. There’s just nothing else like it for writing and reading. It naturally makes you want to curl up on an overstuffed couch and read the day away.

Bio
Bestselling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has thirty-two books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends. Please visit her online at www.anitahigman.com.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Winner of Freefall


Wow! It was so hard to pick a winner. To be fair I jumbled up the names and then chose one.

The winner is...

Congratulations, Pamela!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Love Inspired Suspense Author Jodi Bailey Talks about Her New Book, Freefall, Her Writing Life and How She Came to Write a Military Romantic Suspese. She'll Give Away a Copy


To win a copy of Freefall leave a comment and an email address below.
 
Welcome, Jodi. Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, let me see.  I’m a native North Carolinian and SO proud of that!  Until I married my Army husband and we moved and moved and moved, I never realized how important home really is.  I returned to teaching last year after an eight-year break.  I love to cook and to read (and, oddly enough, to read cookbooks).  My favorite place in the whole world is Frisco, NC, and if we ever somehow magically get rich, I’m so moving there and planting myself on an ocean-front deck.  I laugh too loud and I probably don’t cry enough, and it’s pretty much a guarantee that I’m going to talk way too much. 

Lots of writers also love to read. How about you? Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
The joke in my family is that I read everything.  When I was about six, my grandmother found me reading the dictionary because there was nothing else readily available.  I can remember, under my grandmother’s living room cabinet, she kept Reader’s Digests  from as far back as the sixties.  I think I read every single one of them.  That’s the reason I think there is so much useless trivia in my head today.

I bet that trivia comes in handy when you’re writing. Would you tell us why you write?
Because I don’t know how not to.  As long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil, I’ve written stories.  I used to get my friends on the phone and just pull stories off the top of my head.  No planning.  No idea where I was going.  Just story after story.  I could never figure out why they couldn’t reciprocate.  It was only a couple of years ago that it hit me we’re all wired differently, and not everyone can turn a thirty-second TV commercial into a two-hour drama in their heads. 


Tell us about your latest book.
Freefall is a military romantic suspense set at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  The Division Parachute Officer for the 82nd Airborne has been framed to look like she’s running a smuggling operation.  In order to save herself, she’s going to have to team up with her ex-husband, whom she’d rather forget ever existed.  Or… would she?

That sounds like a good mystery and love story. What inspired you to write this particular book?
My agent said to me one day, “Have you ever thought about writing a military suspense?”  I told her no way.  But then this scene popped in my head. Then another.  And another.  And then my husband got involved and started giving me ideas.  Before I knew it, I was halfway done and obligated to finish because, once I bring a character to life, I have to see them through to the end.  If I don’t, it’s like I killed them.  Yes.  I feel that kind of guilt. 

Where do you get ideas for your books?
Usually, it’s one scene that suddenly leaps up.  I’ll be sitting around and pop!  There’s this quick flash of something.  It gets bigger.  I start to wonder what happened before and after.  The next thing you know, it’s growing.  For Freefall, it was this flash of a woman coming home, opening the closet door, and finding a man in there.  Only he wasn’t there to hurt her.  It gathered steam from there.

What themes do you write about?
I have noticed grace is huge for me.  I have four completed books and two in progress, and every single one of them deals with forgiveness and accepting grace.  They are all different versions of that theme, but it seems I can’t get away from it. 

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
Can you hear me laughing?  Before I went back to teaching, I sat down at the computer when my daughter went to school and I didn’t get up until she came home.  Boy, do I miss those days!  Now, I snatch moments when I can.  We recently cut a deal.  We come home from school and she works on homework while I lock myself in my office and write for an hour or so until her daddy comes home. 

Do you put yourself in your books?
Every female character has something of me—or the me I want to be—in her.  They’re sarcastic.  They’re dealing with “my” stuff.  They’re tougher on the outside than they are on the inside.  They’re in massive need of grace.  They have a tough thing in their past.  But are they autobiographical?  No.  I say they’re “spiritually autobiographical.” 

If you could interview any character in one of your books which one would it be? What shocking thing might that character say? Why?
In my very first book, my beta readers and I ALL fell in love with the MC’s best friend/cousin Ryan.  He ran away with his scenes. I had not planned to write a book two, but he and another character practically begged me.  It’s my favorite book I’ve written so far because he is so unafraid to be himself, so honest and downright cute.  I wish he could be in every book, because writing him is such fun.  There is no telling what he’d say, because he has this way of calling it like he sees it.  He’d probably start interviewing me. 

What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Sleeping.

What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?
Well… I went to ACFW conference in 2010, and I thought I really had it together.  I already knew a few better-known authors, so I figured I’d be able to handle myself without turning into crazy fan-girl.  And then I walked around a corner and ran almost smack into the author who turned me on to Christian fiction in the first place.  I was totally not expecting her to be there, and I grabbed her by the arm and just totally went out-of-my-head, call-the-cops, crazy-fan-girl on her.  My head was saying, “Shut up!” and my mouth was just out of control.  Poor thing practically ran away from me.  I really wanted to chase her down and yell, “I’m not crazy!” but that wouldn’t have helped, I’m sure.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Thank you for having me!  This has been so much fun. 

It’s my pleasure, Jodi.

Bio
Jodie Bailey has been weaving stories since she learned how to hold a pencil. When she grew tall enough to reach the desktop, her grandmother plugged in the family’s old yellow typewriter and let her spend hours writing such literary gems as “Ann Goes to the Fair.” Later, Jodie developed a sense of plot by making up stories for her friends… and wondering why it was they couldn’t seem to come up with any good plots in return. It was only recently she learned that everyone doesn’t make up whole other lives for fun in their spare time.

She is an Army wife, a mom, and a teacher who believes Mountain Dew, dark chocolate and a trip to the Outer Banks will cure all ills. In her spare time, she reads cookbooks, rides motorcycles, and searches for the perfect cup of coffee. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband and her daughter.

Visit Jodi at: http://jodiebailey.com/

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Looking in the Window: The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’d like to thank my friend, Lisa Lickel, for letting the thought that I might have the next big thing cross her mind and inviting me to join the blog hop. Lisa and I met at Clash of the Titles. Now we’re critique partners. I love her new mystery. It’s kept me guessing and turning pages plus it’s a heart-warming story with interesting small-town characters, including a sweet baby and a cat. Be sure to read about it here

My work-in-progress (WIP) takes place in a small mountain town in North Carolina. In the book the hero and heroine gaze out a restaurant window at a scene similar to the one here.


Below I’ve answered ten questions about my WIP and have tagged four other authors who could be writing the next big thing. Be sure to hop over to their blogs and check them out.

THE QUESTIONS
What is the working title of your book?  Hot Cash and Hair Calamities

Where did the idea come from for the book? For years I wrote non-fiction articles at work and as a freelance writer. Eight years ago I launched into fiction, something I’d always wanted to do. For a very long time I’d knocked around plots in my mind for a story about my mother’s beauty shop. I spent so much time there as a child her work and customers remain a part of my life. I decided on a mystery concerning the beauty supplies then added a handsome man who enters the heroine’s life and becomes the victim of a robbery. Since the products have changed over the years, I had my hair dresser read over my manuscript. The nature of a beauty shop hasn’t changed.

What genre does your book fall under? A Christian romance with comedy and mystery.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? For the heroine I’d choose Sandra Bullock; the hero, Hugh Grant.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Cultures collide when Philip Wells walks into Eve Castelberry’s beauty shop in Triville, North Carolina, then mystery, mayhem and suspense follow.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I’d love to have an agent, but currently I’m actively seeking a publisher on my own.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Hmm. The first draft. I was writing other stories as well as this one. I believe it took about a year.  However, I recall the latest re-write very well. It was after I attended James Scott Bell’s Next Level Writing Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee, this past August. Many thanks to him and his wife, Cindy, for hosting the workshop. I arrived feeling blessed to have an opportunity to get some writing tips from Mr. Bell. Later I realized the experience went way beyond what I expected. He’s passionate about sharing. I learned more than I could have imagined. Not only that Mr. and Mrs. Bell made the two days so much fun. Then Mr. Bell critiqued the first chapter of Hot Cash and Hair Calamities.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Some of Nancy Mehl’s books.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? Memories of my mother and her beauty shop. The following story isn’t in the book, but I’ll take this opportunity to share it, because it shows both heartwarming and comical elements of my mother's professional experience.

Every year on Christmas Eve Mother’s customers brought tons of gifts. While she styled their hair, I cooked part of our festive dinner.

One year Mother told me she’d ask her clients to put their presents on the back porch, so I wouldn’t be interrupted.

I was at the sink cutting up oranges and pineapple for Heavenly hash. A lady from the beauty shop opened the door leading from the back porch to the kitchen and stuck her head inside.

“I brought your mother some turnip greens,” she called out.

The next one plopped down a ten-pound bag of potatoes. Then there were cakes, pies and candy.

“Thank you,” I said to each of them.

As I put the whipped cream dressing on the Heavenly hash and started mixing it someone called out, “I’m putting your mother’s gift out here,” and shut the door.

“Bawk. Bawk. Bawk.”

It couldn’t be. I cracked the door and peeked on the porch. A live chicken strutted around, clucking amid the fruits, nuts, vegetables and desserts.

I went straight to the beauty shop.

"Mother, there's a live chicken on the back porch."

“Shut the back door and the door to the kitchen and don’t open them for anyone. Your father will deal with the chicken when he gets home.” From the calm tone of her voice one would have thought we had barnyard animals on our porch every day.

I went to the kitchen and closed both doors.

Right before dinner I heard the back door slam, the chicken squawking in staccato. I peeped out as my father ran across the yard with the bird in hand, its wings flapping frantically. That was the last time I saw it.

 What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The characters who are a bit different in a fun way from people most of us see every day. Yet once the readers get to know them, they’ll be reminded of someone somewhere they know who’s similar to them.

Be sure to check out The Web sites of the following four authors on December 5th to read about their works-in-progress.
Here’s a little about them and some of the books they’ve written. I can’t wait to read about their WIPs.

Staci Stalling’s a versatile writer with books in many categories, including young adult, motivational, inspirational and Christian. She’s often at the top of Amazon’s readers’ list. Her book, Princess, shows that love can elevate people from a storybook fantasy to a more meaningful reality. http://spiritlightbooks.wordpress.com

K. Dawn Byrd’s a prolific writer who puts lots of emotion into her work. She writes non-fiction and fiction with romance and suspense for adults and young adults.  Amazing Love, her latest book, is a modern-day version of Hosea and Gomer from the Bible. It tells of God’s unconditional love for us. http://www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com

Christine Lindsay’s book, Shadowed in Silk, won first place in 2009 for a historical novel in the prestigious American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest and has received several awards since. Shadowed in Silk is filled with suspense and romance set in political unrest in India. http://www.Christinelindsay.org

Judah Raine writes classic romance and runs the popular Classic Romance Revival Web site featuring books of romance the way it used to be. Her book, A Thick Black Line, is characterized by suspense, love and desire with restraint. http://www.judahraine.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Winner of Shadowed Dreams


Tina's winner for Shadowed Dreams is...

Drumroll...

Congratulations, Megan Parsons!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Tina Pinson Talks about Shadowed Dreams, Shares a Beautiful Thanksgiving Devotional, and Gives Away a Book.

To enter to win a copy of Shadowed Dreams, leave a comment and an email address.             


Thanksgiving and Trust

One of my favorite verses in Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to proper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

This scripture reminds me that God has something more for my life than I can comprehend. He loves me and has the best of plans for my life. Plans He set in motion before I was even born.

I really try to hang on to that promise.

But if I am honest, I might say I believe it, but my actions don't always prove my words. When I get caught in a whirlwind of trouble, a lot of times from my own making, when I'm worried or feeling inadequate, I find myself asking where God went and what happened to the wonderful plan He had for my life. Certainly the mess I find myself, the mess that is now my life, isn't what God would call the best plan. Is it?

As I continue through the mess, I spend more time complaining than I should. Why can't God get me out of it? Why can't He snap His finger and make everything right again. Right the way I want it? He's God isn't He? Sometimes I treat God like a genie in the bottle, I call Him up when I need Him to take care of something and put Him back in safe keeping when things are fixed to my satisfaction. Sadly even when He does work a miracle, I still find reason to complain, especially if it wasn't the miracle I wanted. And it's so silly because usually after God has gotten me through and I look back, I realize it was the best plan all along.

Hmm

I realize many of you will never have to deal with this. But for the sake of sharing my heart, and maybe touching another soul out there or even looking like an idiot, I figured I'd tell the truth.

I don't thank God for my past, my present, let alone for my future. How does one thank someone for something that hasn't happened yet? Maybe by the willingness to lay your life in God's hands without knowing the outcome is a good start. Maybe by trusting that He is who he says He is.

But of course I don't do that like I should. And thanking Him for my present. Ha. Maybe when everything is calm and running smoothly in my life. But when the storm clouds move in…

When I do what it says it 2 Peter 5:7 Cast all my cares on the Lord… I have stipulations. Do it this way. Do it in this time. And please don't make me go through it again. Usually I snatch my life and problems back up and try to fix everything.

Forgetting that He has a plan and cares.

Why is that? Why do I pretend to trust that God holds my future and trust that He knows my cares enough to take them on, yet I can't believe it enough to really lay my problems at His feet and leave them alone?

Knowing that when I do, I'll find rest. Just like God promises in another of my favorite verse is Isaiah 40:31 -- They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles they shall run and not grow weary. They shall walk and not faint.

I suppose if I'm agitated and weary, and scared that would be a significant signal that I'm not trusting in the Lord. Because if I were… I could trust the words in the promises He's given and I could thank him even though I don't always understand.

Trust and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving and Trust. They go hand in hand.

What can you thank the Lord for this holiday season? What can you put in His hands in trust, thanking Him for what will happen in your life without waiting for the outcome, knowing that He has the best plan for your life?


About Shadowed Dreams
Matthew has braved the war and near death with one thought in mind… Rebekah. He won her hand in marriage, and now he has a few short months to make her see how much he loves her. How much he needs her. Given the wall she's put up between them, he prays he'll have enough time.

After fleeing the war, Rebekah is determined to go west to Oregon, only to be turned down when she tries to join the train. Matthew's proposal of marriage, in name only to help her west, becomes the miracle she needs. Loving him as she does, she dreads the idea of letting him go once they reach Oregon, but how can she ask him to stay with her, to love her? How could he love her once he's found out her secret? She must guard her heart and his.

Excerpt
Caroline finally made it out of the store after wrestling herself free, and all but slammed the door behind her. She tugged her dress into place with a 'humph'. "Doesn't anyone know how to fix anything here?"

Her diatribe of complaints continued outside as she nearly tripped on a loose slat, and maneuvered around a couple of men who forced her to the outer edge of the walk. She continued toward the hotel, hugging the outer posts when she could. "I see manners are lacking here as well."

She was so busy mumbling complaints to herself she didn't notice anyone else on the walk. It was too late by the time she did. She ran into a man. It felt like she hit a brick wall.

Unbalanced, she teetered, grasping for air, and fell off the walk. She found herself deposited face down in the muddy street. She righted herself quickly, and sat there stunned and fuming. Her hat was down on her forehead. She pushed it back, and with clawed fingers dragged the mud from her eyes, then wiped the mud from her face, which only added more mud.

An open hand slipped into her limited field of vision. "Let me help you." There were
some gentlemen here, evidently. She started to accept until he added, "Sorry about this. Didn’t mean to knock you off the walk."

She snatched her hand back. This man, the one with whom she collided, was trying to offer her assistance. "How dare you? You weren't watching where you were going!" Caroline renewed the attack at the mud on her face with the backs of her hands.
"Ma'am, honest, I'm really sorry but..."

It was a good thing he stopped talking, because it sounded like he was going to blame the entire situation on her.

"There are no buts about it. You ought to be sorry! Just look what you've done! Do you realize how much this dress cost?" Muddy tears filled her eyes. Caroline lifted her arms from the mud. The sleeves, weighted and wet, hung heavily, like muddy flags in the air. She flapped them. "Look at this mess you've made!"

"Can't comment much on the dress, ma'am. But it was you who ran into me. I'd be happy to help you." He stepped behind her, reaching down for her, and caught her under the arms and began to lift.

Caroline craned her head back to look at the stranger. He had soft and strangely familiar blue eyes. He was even somewhat handsome.
But he was dirty.

The buckskin britches and the shirt he wore were filthy and sweat-stained. He looked like he hadn't seen water in weeks.

Caroline continued her rant as she flapped her arms. "How dare you touch me? Remove your filthy hands from me this instant!"

"I daresay my hands are a heck of a lot cleaner than you are right now, ma'am." He smiled. She noted he had nice white teeth, and a little dimple playing just to left of his lips. "Besides, I doubt you want me to let you go right now."

"I do." Caroline stiffened her legs, and used her dead weight against him. Tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Ma'am, you're in a precarious position."

"Only because you're touching me." Nice eyes, bright smile, and dimple aside. "I don't want your foul hands on me! Now let me go!"

"Whatever you say." The stranger shook his head. "Tsk, tsk, as you wish." He let go of her. She flopped back into the mud, making a sploshing sound when she landed.
"How dare you! How dare you!" She kicked her legs and screamed, like a two-year-old having a tantrum.

BIO
Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of thirty plus years, Danny. They are blessed to have three sons, and six grandchildren with another on the way.
Tina started her writing in elementary school. Her love of writing has caused her to seek creative outlets be it writing poetry, songs, or stories. Her WWII story Trail of the Sandpiper won third place in the Genesis in 2003.  In the Manor of the Ghost and Touched By Mercy and When Shadows Fall Book 1 in the Shadows Series are available through Desert Breeze Publishers.

To Catch a Shadow the next installment of the Shadow Series about the civil war and the Oregon Trail, will be available, June 2013. To Carry her Cross will be available January 2013 and Then There was Grace a Sept 9/11 type story will be available Sept. 2013 and Christmas in Shades of Gray an offbeat Dickens type tale releases December 2013.

Visit Tina at her Web site
Tina's twitter address: Twitter:@Tina_Pinson
On Facebook

Purchase Tina's Books at Desert Breeze Bookstore.
When Shadows Fall

Touched By Mercy

In the Manor of the Ghost

Shadowed Dreams

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Looking Out the Window: K. Dawn Byrd Talks about Amazing Love, the modern-day version of the Hosea and Gomer Story from the Bible. She Hopes It Will Show God's Unconditional Love





K. Dawn will give away a gift card for a free download of Amazing Love.


Welcome, K. Dawn. What would you like readers to take away from your book?
Amazing Love is the modern-day version of the Hosea and Gomer story from the Bible. I'd like for readers to take away that God loves us with an unconditional love. My heroine, Dee, does some pretty terrible things and believes that God could never forgive her, but He does.

Why did you choose to write this book?
A couple of years ago, I was reading the story of Hosea and Gomer in the Bible and the thought came to mind that it would be fun to retell the story in a modern setting.

What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that even though the Bible gives us stories about individuals who lived in Bible times, it's vague at times about specifics. This gives a fiction writer a lot of leeway to let their imagination run wild.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
Finding time to write. I work a full-time job and also a lot of weekends, which means that I have to be really devoted to my writing time. I set aside at least an hour every night, six days a week if possible. The fact that I start with a well-developed plot makes things move faster.

What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?
I fill out character sketches in order to get to know my characters better. I ask myself what their goals are, what motivates them, and what's keeping them from reaching their goals. Sometimes, I start by writing a synopsis. This gives me information about the plot as it develops. I usually have a pretty strong plot before I actually begin the story.

Why do you write?
I write because I can't stop. It's more than a hobby, it's a passion. It's the most fun I've ever had in my life!

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
A big time plotter. Because I write all of my books in 30-day marathons, I have to start with a thorough plot. That doesn't mean that sometimes the story doesn't take a life of it's own, surprising me when it takes me down a road I hadn't planned to travel.

What's next for you?
I have three releases in 2012, all young adult. Something Beautiful in January. The Hot Line Girl in June. Luck of the Draw in November.

What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Probably still riding a Harley. I sold my bike in order to have more time to write. On weekends, I'd rather curl up with my laptop and the story in my head.

Tell us a little more about yourself , with three things not many people know
about you.

a) I have a masters degree in professional counseling from Liberty University.
b) I'm an animal lover. I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs, an African Gray parrot, three ferrets, and several aquariums in my home.
c) I love sour foods. I'd rather have olives, pickles, or dilly beans than something sweet sometimes.

Thanks. It's nice to learn more about you. What do you do for fun when not writing?
When not writing, I love to read. Romantic suspense or young adult novels are favorites.

Tell us what you think readers will enjoy about Amazing Love.
My latest release, Amazing Love, is the modern story of Hosea and Gomer. It was a tough story to write because my heroine suffers severe consequences for her sins, but it was necessary to portray how low we can go and how much God still loves us through it all. I hope readers will take away the fact that no matter what we do, God loves us with an unconditional love and is ready to accept us back into His loving arms.





More about Amazing Love
Gabe Knight, a pastor in a small coastal town, finds his life is turned upside down when Dee Dillow arrives and hires him to remodel an estate she's inherited from her aunt. Dee dashes his plans for wedded bless when on a drunken binge, she divulges that she's the highest paid call girl in Nevada and part-owner of the ritziest brothel in the state.

Gabe falls in love with her, but can't believe he's hearing the voice of God when a still, small voice tells him to marry her. After much questioning, they marry and he is deliriously happy. Until, Dee betrays him.

Gabe soon discovers just how hard it is to have the unconditional love God calls him to have for his wife, the kind of love God has for his children. When faced with losing her, Gabe realizes what true love is, how much it hurts, and just how much God loves and is willing to sacrifice for his children.

 Interviews of the characters in Amazing Love
The heroine, Dee
Dee, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I'm not sure how interesting it is, but it would be pretty shocking to most people. I grew up in a brothel outside of Vegas. My mother owned it and since I was home-schooled, I spent most of my life there. I don't know exactly how it happened, but I became the highest paid call-girl in all of the state.

What do you do for fun?
Shop. I love fancy cars, fine jewelry, and designer bags and shoes. I also like to invest money. It's exciting to watch it grow. I left the brothel when I was teenager and ended up trying to survive on the streets when my mother turned her back on me. I never want to live like that again and that's why I save money.

What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I put off going to church with my husband, Gabe. I'm just not into all that religion stuff. I know he expects me to go, but I'm pretty good at coming up with excuses why I can't.

What are you afraid of most in life?
I'm afraid of having to live on the streets again as a prostitute like I did when I was a teen. I'm also afraid of going hungry.

What do you want out of life?
All I want is to have a family. I never even thought about a husband and kids until I met Gabe and now that's all I think about.

What is the most important thing to you?
My money and Gabe.

Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
Remodeling magazines. Gabe is remodeling a huge estate I inherited from my aunt.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd want to make Gabe happy. He expects me to accept his God, but I just can't. It's hard to believe in a God you can't see.

Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pets. I really don't have time for them.

If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I would go back to the day I was born and find a way to take me away from my mother. She allowed terrible things to happen to me.

*      *       *      *       *        *        *       *        *        *        *       *       *       *       *      

Interview with the hero, Gabe
Gabe, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I'm a preacher and God told me to marry a prostitute. Am I crazy? Am I hearing voices? I know God told Hosea to in the Bible, but this is 2012!

What do you do for fun?
I love working with my hands, especially carpentry work. I also own some old vehicles and like to work on them. Sometimes they're a challenge to keep running and my wife, Dee (the prostitute) hates them, but I can't afford all those fancy sports cars she drives on a preacher's salary.

What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I put off dealing with drama. An ex-girlfriend has stirred up all kinds of trouble in my relationship with Dee. Maybe I shouldn't look the other way so much. Maybe I should tell her like it is. I just hate hurting people and I have the church to think about. My greatest fear is that something will split it.

What are you afraid of most in life?
Dying alone. I want a wife and kids.

What do you want out of life?
I want it all. A wife. Kids. A little white house with a picket fence. Of course, I'll settle for Dee's mansion on the hill overlooking the ocean since that's where she wants to live. She inherited it from her aunt and I've been working on it for her.

What is the most important thing to you?
My faith. I've worked long and hard to get as close to God as I am and I don't want anything coming between us.

Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I read remodeling magazines.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about myself, it would be my past. I didn't always live for God. I did my share of drinking and had my share of women. If I could go back in time, I'd live my entire life for God.

Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No, I don't own any pets. I'm so busy with my job as a preacher and my side jobs remodeling that there's no time for them.

Buy Amazing Love at Amazon and
Barnes & Noble

Get in touch with K. Dawn
Email: kdawnbyrd@yahoo.com
Blog: www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com
Twitter: kdawnbyrd
Pinterist: kdawnbyrd
Facebook: kdawnbyrd

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Jewels for the Kingdom by Delia Latham Part of the New Heart's Haven Series. Read about the Series. Delia Gives Away a PDF Copy of her Book, Shares a Recipe and Bible Verses

Delia Latham talks about a new series, Heart's Haven, and her new book, Jewels for the Kingdom. She'll give away a PDF copy of her book. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address. 

Nourish the Body

Wow! A Delicious Recipe for Apple Pie from the 1800's
From Delia:
I’d like to share a recipe from Heart’s Haven, if I may…
Back in the 1800s, when Hart House was operational as a boarding facility, Lily Hart’s apple pie was famous. She made the best in the entire area, possibly the whole state of Texas! Lots of things have changed in the intervening years, but one thing that has not changed is that most single men will go anywhere and do anything to at the right place, at the right time, when a home-cooked meal—and, in particular, homemade desserts—are being served. Yet die-hard bachelors in Angel Falls would not step foot inside Hart House, even for Lily Hart’s mouth-watering apple pie. Can you guess why?
Here’s the recipe, and I have it on good authority that it is every bit as good as Lily’s reputation said it was.

Lily Hart’s Apple Pie
Crust
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening or butter
1 cup milk
Filling
6-8 tart apples, cored peeled, sliced bite size
1 c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1½   tsp. cinnamon

Combine flour and salt for crust. Cut shortening into mixture with a pastry cutter or fork until the flour is in pea-sized balls. Add the milk. Crust should be wet. Rolling out the pastry will add flour to the crust, giving it a drier consistency that will be easier to handle. Divide mixture into two even balls. Place one ball on the well- floured pastry cloth or board. Roll out into a thin circle. Place in 9 inch pie pan. Press into edges. Using fork tines, poke holes in the bottom of the crust to let out steam and prevent bubbles.

Combine flour, sugar and cinnamon for filling. Pour over apples. Stir until all the apples are coated and flour mixture is absorbed.  Pour into pie crust.  Roll out remaining ball of crust. Place over the top of the apples. Crimp edges. Slice off excess crust. Pierce crust top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Optional Crumb Topping (instead of top crust):
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar (packed)
1½  tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
6 T butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Thoroughly blend first 5 ingredients. Add chilled butter cubes; cut in until mixture resembles wet sand. Pack topping over and around mounded apples in bottom crust. Bake pie on baking sheet until apples in center are tender when pierced and filling is bubbling thickly at edges. Cool until warm, about 1 hour. Delicious served with ice cream.

Scrumptious, right? So what could have possibly been the problem with those Angel Falls bachelors? You can find out for sure in the pages of Jewels for the Kingdom—Book One in the Heart’s Haven collection.

A bit about Heart's Haven:
Heart's Haven is a one-of-a-kind apartment complex located just outside the fictional town of Angel Falls, TX, on the outskirts of the Angelina National Forest. It's owned by Andrew Hart, a crusty old guy who is rumored to have the ability to see and speak with angels. Does he? Well, who knows? But there is, without a doubt, some kind of divine presence that makes itself felt by every tenant. The complex consists of eight small cottages, each with its own tiny yard and trellised gate. Over each gate, a hand-carved sign proclaims: May love find all who enter here. And it usually does...




About Delia's new book, Jewels for the Kingdom
Pia Peretti’s past could destroy her future. Thanks to her pre-Christian lifestyle, she can’t marry a believer, and she won’t marry a non-believer. Minister David Myers wants to help Pia release her guilt and trust that God has forgiven her...but the young minister is working through his own trial of faith.

After a failed counseling session with a wounded soul, David's confidence is shaken. He accepts a new pastorate, and moves to Angel Falls to find a haven for his wounded heart.

Is it possible these two hurting hearts are meant to mend each other’s brokenness with some divine intervention?

Excerpt from Jewels for the Kingdom:“So you live in one of my uncle’s little houses.”
“Yes. At the bottom point of the heart.” Her low murmur of laughter shivered its way up his spine, and he forced a chuckle past his throat.
“Oh, yes, the heart. Uncle Andy is nothing if not romantic.” He’d been amused at the taciturn bachelor’s whimsical arrangement of the small apartments. From an aerial view, it would look like a loosely drawn heart.
“Romantic?” Pia’s head snapped his way, making her hair swing around her face like a silky curtain in a playful breeze. She fixed him under an incredulous stare. “Are we talking about the same Andrew Hart?”
He laughed. “Well, he’s apparently doing a good job of keeping you from knowing it, but the old guy really is a softie at heart.”
She arched one perfect, wing-shaped brow. “Deep at heart, perhaps. So deep it might never be seen again.”
He studied her for a moment. “Did you know he sees angels…talks to them?”
Pia slanted him a doubtful look before returning her gaze to the road. “You’re serious, aren’t you?”
“I am. He speaks with his guardian angel on a regular basis. Other folks’ angels, as well, from time to time.”
She hesitated, and then spoke softly. “That’s why I sometimes see him deep in conversation with…no one.”
“It’s someone. Trust me.”
“You really believe that?”
He cocked his head, watching her absorb his words. “He gives His angels charge over us, to keep us in all our ways. That’s biblical.”
She tugged at her lip with teeth like small white pearls, and David’s stomach did an unexpected cartwheel. “Oh, I absolutely believe in angels. But do you really think they can be seen?”
“I believe some people are open enough to the idea to make it possible. For instance, children see many things adults do not because we’ve ceased to be open to the possibility. Some people come face to face with God’s messengers and never realize it. And other especially sensitive, faith-filled folks, like Uncle Andy, converse with them often.”
Her head moved up and down again, but she said nothing. David touched her arm. “Want to know something else?”
“I’m not sure. Do I?”

Delia’s bio:
Born and raised in Weedpatch, California, Delia Latham moved to Oklahoma in '08, making her a self-proclaimed California Okie. She loves to read and write in her country home, and gets a kick out of watching her husband play Farmer John. She's a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings. She loves Dr. Pepper and hearing from her readers. Contact her through her website (www.delialatham.net) or send an e-mail to: delia AT delialatham DOT net.
Delia writes inspirational romance and women's fiction, and is currently contracted through White Rose Publishing and Vinspire Publishing.

Nourish the Soul
Delia's Favorite Bible Verses

Psalm 51:10—Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

I love this verse because it’s a prayer I need to pray all over again every day, and sometimes more than once a day. I keep it close to my heart, so I’ll be reminded to keep my heart pure and my spirit sweet.

Philippians 4:8— Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

This scripture amazes me, because there’s so much talk about what we, as Christians, should and should not allow into our minds. Well…there’s really no need to question it, is there? It’s all spelled out right here in these 43 words—exactly where our thoughts should be. Could it be any clearer? God lays things out for us so beautifully!

Given the direction God has been taking my storylines, and my writing as a whole, there’s another scripture that’s becoming increasingly meaningful to me. It is:
Psalm 91:11— For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

Without any planning or foreknowledge on my part, angels keep appearing in my books. I have no clue what God’s up to with that, but who am I to question His leading? And there’s something more than a little comforting to me in knowing that He cares so much about me—yes, ME, as an individual—that He’s assigned a special angel to watch over me, lead me, guide me, and keep me—in all my ways. Without going into a lot of elaboration, may I just say…wow! God is utterly and completely AWESOME!

Other Heart's Haven Authors and Books

Marianne Evans (Heart’s Haven, Book 2, Operation Breathless)
Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create.
Evans’s novel, Hearts Communion, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category and readers have lauded her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.’ Evans has also won acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence where she has been a finalist twice, the Ancient City Romance Writers Heart of Excellence contest where two of her novels earned distinction as finalists and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest.
A lifelong resident of Michigan, Evans is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She’s also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.
Connect with Marianne:
Website: www.marianneevans.com
Blog: www.marianneevans.blogspot.com
Facebook Reader Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Marianne-Evans/308711716744
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Marmo212

Tanya Stowe (Heart’s Haven, Book 3, Leap of Faith)
Tanya Stowe has had an eclectic career in market research, arts education and event coordination.  She has written for television, publicity firms, national publications, and even collaborated on a Christmas musical.  Tanya has been married to her high school sweetheart for thirty-eight years.  They have four children and eighteen grandchildren.  Recently her husband retired from government work to take a new position.  They are living in the Middle East and have had many adventures!


Mary Manners (Heart’s Haven, Book 4, Dance with Me)
Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus.
Mary’s debut novel, Mended Heart, was nominated Best Inspirational Romance 2010, and was finalist for the Bookseller’s Best Award and her follow-up, Tender Mercies, was awarded an outstanding 4 ½ star rating from The Romantic Times Book Reviews and was also a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Buried Treasures, her third novel, was named Book of the Year by The Wordsmith Journal. Light the Fire, her fourth novel, took top honors for the 2012 Inspirational Readers Choice Award while her fifth, Wisdom Tree, continues to garner top ratings. Mary was named Author of the Year by Book and Trailer Showcase. She writes romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.
Learn more about Mary Manners at her website:
www.MaryMannersRomance.com
and at her author pages:
www.PelicanBookGroup.com
www.Amazon.com

More about Heart's Haven on facebook http://www.facebook.com/HHFriends?ref=hl 

Delia's Web site www.delialatham.net

Monday, October 22, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Multi-published, Award-winning Author Mildred Colvin Takes Up Self Publishing and Tells Us How. She'll Also Give Away a Book.


Less than two years ago in April of 2011, I started a journey I have yet to regret. With fear of the unknown and the possibility of failure hounding me, I joined the ranks of the Indie-Published, otherwise known as self-published. The publishing world was not new to me after more than ten years of writing for Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents line. But there, I had the backing of editors and all the many people who bring together a manuscript into a polished book. Once I stepped across the line to the do-it-yourself side, I found that most, if not all, of that work fell on my shoulders. Since that first book, Learning to Lean, I’ve published ten more in seventeen months. Eight were never before published, while three are from my back list. Two of those, Cora and Eliza, each grew from 50,000 word books to over 80,000 words. They now contain the full story of Cora’s Deception and Eliza’s Mistake. Readers who have read both versions have commented that they seem like new stories now, and they like them better. I have two more books planned for the Brides of Cedar Creek—Rebekah’s Scorn and Deborah’s Secret.

Mildred will give away Lesson of the Poinsettia. Read below to see how to get your free copy.   
In Lesson of the Poinsettia, through the eyes of a child, Abigail and Seth learn to see beyond the darkness of their lives and in the process find love to last a lifetime
Welcome, Mildred. I imagine you've gotten lots of questions since you started self-publishing. Would you share some of them with us.
I’ll try to answer them as best I can and hope to be of help to anyone who is interested. If you have more insight into any of these issues, please feel free to share in the comments below. Here are answers to some I've been asked in no particular order:

1. Do you put your books on Smashwords and Amazon?
Yes, although I still have one more book to publish with Smashwords. I simply haven’t found enough to get everything done, but my plans are to do that with every book I publish. Amazon has been a better selling avenue for me, but Smashwords provides an opportunity for those with an e-reader other than Kindle to buy my books. I want my books available for everyone.

2. What is Create Space?
Create Space is a print on demand publishing company affiliated with Amazon. I publish in paperback first with Create Space. This allows me to buy a proof copy of my book for editing purposes and to see how the book cover looks. Create Space also handles the selling of my paperbacks through Amazon and other retailers.

3. Could you share links to information about these sites?
http://www.amazon.com
http://www.smashwords.com
http://www.createspace.com

I recommend you go to each of these sites and read everything you can find there about publishing. Smashwords has a detailed step-by-step guide to publishing called Smashwords Style Guide. I follow it for all my e-books.

4. Do your format your own books? Is it the same for both sites?
Yes, I format my own books. It isn’t hard if you follow the Smashwords Style Guide as I mentioned above. Formatting is similar for both Amazon and Smashwords, and I make one file formatted as directed in Smashwords Style Guide. The one for Smashwords is saved in Word 97-2003 document. Save another for Amazon in Web Page, Filtered. Other than that, the main difference between the two is the copyright page. My advice on what to put on your copyright page is to look at published books and make your own decision from those. However, for Smashwords, you will need to mention that this is the Smashwords Edition. That should be covered in the style guide.

5. How long does it take to get a book ready for the sites after it's written?
After my book is written and edited, I set aside a day to format and publish. I’m getting faster at this after publishing eleven books, but it still takes me most of the day to publish.

6. Do you make your covers? If so, is there special formatting for this?
I make most of my covers. I’ve even started taking my own pictures for many of my books. Sometimes that isn’t possible, of course. Yes, there is a certain pixel requirement for the covers. I believe 1600 pixels wide x 2400 pixels tall is right for either site, however, it’s a good idea to check with each one before you make your cover. Both Amazon and Smashwords have more information on that in their instructions.
 
I use a free download, Gimp 2.6, to design my covers. I use the many Gimp Tutorials on YouTube.com or in articles to learn new ways to use Gimp.

7. Where do you get your pictures?
As I mentioned, I try to take my own pictures. If that isn’t possible, I buy photos from Dreamstime.com. The Preacher’s Outlaw Bride needed more on the cover than I could come up with so I turned to Dreamstime and found my beginning action scene played out in an illustration. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find something appropriate for the other three in that series.


In The Preacher’s Outlaw Bride, a pretend wedding gives eight-year-old KodyAnne the assurance that even the Orphan Train cannot separate her from Michael forever. Their love transcends time until her father, a banker, and a sheriff change their lives.



You will find several photo sites if you google them, and you may prefer one over the other just as I do.

8. What about trademark or rights?
I’m no expert on this, but I would be very careful to determine the picture I use is copyright free. Those on Dreamstime are and also have model releases on most. Watch for the ones that are useable and stay away from anything that might come back and give you more trouble than you want. There again, your best course of action is to read all the fine print at whatever site you buy your photo. Both copyright and trademark is something you want to consider before you buy and should be covered in the terms of use.

9. What's the out of pocket cost to get started?
The cost of publishing can vary with the individual. If you are very careful, you can publish for free. I paid approximately $15.00 for both the illustration and photo for The Preacher’s Outlaw Bride. I also purchased the paperback proof for $7. 05 so I could get some final editing and proofing done on the interior.

 10. Why did you decide to Indie-publish?
The idea of publishing the many books I had written that were taking up file space with no place to go rolled around in my mind for months before I found the courage to do anything about it. I talked to my crit partner, Regina Tittel, author of The Ozark Durham Series, about this new method of publishing. She was interested, too, and sent me some info from a fairly new author, Victorine Lieske, who wrote Not What She Seems. Victorine is generous in giving information to new authors trying to learn. Her blog, http://www.victorinewrites.blogspot.com, has a wealth of information for authors and is encouraging. After reading all I could find, I decided to try it.

 11. What marketing advice would you give other Indie-published authors?
I published Learning to Lean near the middle of April 2011 and sold three books. In May, three more books sold. Another seven sold in June. Not one to give up, I decided to add a couple of more books, so in July, I published A New Life and Lesson of the Poinsettia. My sales increased to a total of 21 books then dropped to six in August. That should have discouraged a normal person, but I added two more books by December, Love Returned and Cora’s Deception. As 2011 drew to a close, after nine months of trying to sell e-books on Amazon, I had sold only 135 total books.
 
 
 
 
 
In Learning to Lean, six kids seem like too many to Matt and Heather. Learning to lean on God can take a lifetime or maybe only a lesson in trust.
 
 
 







In A New Life, Kim and Travis have a problem. She’s city. He’s Country. She just found out they have something in common. Her son!




                                                                          

In Cora’s Deception, betrayal, abandonment, and a brush with death shake Cora’s beliefs. Lies—easier to believe than truth.

 

 I tried blogging, doing interviews, forums, etc. I didn’t know how to market. I still don’t, but near the end of December 2011, I put Love Returned on for free at Smashwords. It had been selling an average of two books a month, so I figured if I gave it away I wouldn’t be losing anything. In January, Amazon price matched, making my book free there as well. That’s when everything changed. Approximately 10,000 free books were downloaded before I re-instated the 0.99 price after which Love Returned sold 629 copies on Amazon during the remainder of January. Giving away copies may be one of the most effective things you can do.



In Love Returned, Megan falls in love. But circumstances say Scott’s son is the baby she gave away nine years ago. If she confronts him, she’ll lose his love, and he’ll take his son away. If she marries him without telling who she is, she’ll have both husband and son, but be living a lie. Is there a happy ending?

 12. Do the sites have any special tips for promoting?
Yes, if you browse through Amazon’s publishing information, you’ll find tips for promoting. Smashwords also has a free download titled The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success and another titled Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.

13. What do you like least about Indie-publishing?
That’s an interesting question, but I’m not sure I have an answer for it. Like anything there’s room for improvement. But overall, I believe Indie-publishing is a good system for author and reader. I would like to have a better way of promoting my books on Amazon. I believe the author should be allowed to offer a book at a reduced rate or for free for a limited time. I see that as a win-win-win situation for readers, authors, and Amazon.

14. What do you like best about Indie-publishing?
I enjoy the freedom of writing the story God has laid on my heart. If I write a sequel to a book, I don’t have to fear an editor’s cut. Although I still have to write blurbs for each of my books, I don’t have to worry over a synopsis. Also, I can write at my own speed, and I like that. I’m grateful for the royalty system, which is much fairer than traditional publishing.

 15. Where should a first-timer start?
My advice to someone who is just thinking about publishing his or her own book would be to go to each of the sites I’ve mentioned and read everything there that has to do with publishing. There’s a lot, so it’ll take time. Download the free how-to e-books from Smashwords and read them. If you decide to try your hand at publishing something, you might like to start with a novella. It’s shorter so won’t take as long to write. You can price it for 0.99 without feeling as if you’re losing money, which leads me to the last question.

16. How much can you make when you Indie-publish?
There’s no one answer to that question. You might make enough for dinner out for two or you could make a few million dollars. I’ve heard of both happening. No one knows how well a book will sell. There is a sort of trend, however. Most authors publish their first e-book and find it’s invisible, which means very few or no sales. After a month or so, the book is discovered and sales begin to grow. Some very slowly, some by leaps. Some authors recommend publishing several books to make them more visible. I’ve heard you should have a minimum of three books. My experience would be to double that. Amazon pays the author royalties of 35% for e-books priced below $2.99 and 70% for e-books priced at $2.99 to $9.99.
 
I hope I’ve helped someone who is teetering on the edge of Indie-Publishing, unsure of what to do. If something I’ve said is still unclear, leave a comment, and I’ll try to answer or maybe write a second blog addressing those issues.

Thank you for sharing, Mildred.

Mildred's giving away Lesson of the Poinsettia, a free Christmas e-book. To download your free novella clikc here. The offer will be good from now until November 3, 2012.

Find Mildred's books on Amazon here

Find Mildred's books on Smashwords here