Ways to Inspire Your Writing #WritingTips #WritingCommunity


Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

Ways I’ve found to inspire my writing

I often get asked where I go for inspiration. There are literally a million different storylines out there- you just have to be open to ideas.

The other night, on America’s Got Talent there was a trapeze act where the woman flipped in mid-air over a fiery pit of spikes. It made me wonder what her backstory was; why would she risk her life for a moment’s glory that way?

I follow a couple of amazing photographer blogs; Tofino Photography and Steve McCurry. Both of these men delve deep into the souls of their subjects. They fill me with awe and endless ideas for stories.

Another way that I get story ideas is from news clips. Whether you write murder mysteries, romance, paranormal, or true life there’s a story waiting to be told. Here’s an interesting story from my home province:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/possible-meteor-alberta-1.5457429

Many know my obsession with covers. I truly believe a great cover can lead to sales and the trickle effect of having your book noticed and talked about, but that’s not all. As a writer, if you decide on a cover prior to starting the book it can serve as inspiration for the story.

This is true for my contemporary romance, Valentine: A Hearts and Kisses Romance

Free from Feb 12-16

When I came across this cover, I immediately saw a rom-com and couldn’t resist snatching it up!

Blurb:

Take two humans who pretend they can’t stand each other and one matchmaking canine and the fun is nonstop!

Val Hodgins is on the road to success. His architect firm handles some of the biggest contracts along the western seaboard. He doesn’t have time to babysit his aunt’s aging house or her pain in the butt dog, but when she falls ill with pneumonia he drops everything to go to her aid.

Sierra Johnson’s dreams of owning a catering company go up in smoke thanks to a bad choice in boyfriends. Now, she’s stuck working for a tyrannical boss, care-taking an aging townhouse, and being tormented by the owner’s aggravating, caustic, way-too-attractive nephew.

Will these two get over their prejudices in time to realize love comes without a price tag?

Excerpt:

Val opened the door to the brownstone and ushered Norma Jean inside. What a fiasco. He was just glad it was over.

“Thanks for accepting my apologetic dinner. My aunt’s dog isn’t usually so…”

“Cute?” she supplied, smiling as he helped her remove her wet coat. Of course, it had to be pouring when they left the restaurant.

“Troublesome,” he corrected. Though really, he’d only been living here a week, so what did he know?

“It’s strange I never saw him here before your aunt became ill.” A horrified look crossed her pretty face. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”

He shrugged, uncomfortable. She couldn’t, he barely knew his great-aunt. “It’s fine, we aren’t that close.” He hung her jacket by the door. “Maybe next time we go out we can avoid setting off the fire alarms.”

He’d meant it as a joke, but when he turned and caught the hopeful expression in her sky-blue eyes he cursed his loose lips.

“That sounds amazing,” she sighed, then glanced down the hall. “Something smells good.”

Oh, hell. He’d left his roast slow-cooking while he took her out, but he hadn’t planned on the delay with the water sprinklers and the firemen who wanted to know what happened. He’d be lucky if it wasn’t beef jerky by now.

“Thanks,” he said. “I’m stocking the freezer for those days when I don’t want to cook after work. Do you want to join me for coffee and a sandwich?” he offered reluctantly.

She gazed longingly down the hall, but shook her head. “Maybe next time. I need to study, mid-terms are coming up soon.”

He sighed his relief. She was nice, and would make a great friend, but he wasn’t interested in anything else. He’d been burned by women enough to last a lifetime. He’d give love a pass.

“Okay, well… have a nice night,” he ventured, waiting for her to go up the stairs to her room.

She laughed softly and leaned close to brush his cheek with her cherry red lips. “Don’t try so hard,” she murmured, before sashaying away on the stilts she wore for shoes.

Val rubbed his jaw and strode down the hall. Maybe they could just be friends.

He entered the kitchen expecting smoke, and instead found himself staring at the shapely bottom of a woman bent over his oven basting his roast while the mutt who’d ruined his day sat nearby, a sloppy grin on its narrow face.

Now what?

Your turn; what inspires you to write?

Don’t forget, Valentine is FREE until Feb 16th!

happy valentine's day

Series or Standalones- Does it Matter? #amwriting #Romance


Series or Standalones

That was the question posed by a member of The Story Empire earlier last week. You can read his full thoughts here– well worth your time.

I’ve read many great standalone books, (Cinderella anyone?) but have to admit I enjoy stories set in a series much more. There’s a deeper connection to a) the characters, and b) location- though either of those can, and often do, change throughout the course of a series.

From NY Book Editors:

Writing a book series can be incredibly challenging (that’s the bad news), but it’s also one of the best ways to develop a loyal fan base (that’s the good news).

NY BOOK EDITORS-2016

The books can follow one or two main characters through a variety of adventures- such as J.D. Robb’s In Death series or the Harry Potter franchise.

They can also be set around a location and the citizens within- Susan Mallery’s Fools Gold series or J.R Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Some follow a progression of events and are best read in order, while others are self-contained stories within the series and can easily be read out of order.

Whichever style you prefer, series seem to be growing in popularity, some are even twenty books long and counting!, and readers can’t get enough.

I’m currently working on the third story in my Gambling Hearts series, My Girl. The series follows the lives, and loves, of three siblings born and raised on a Texas hill country ranch.

This is Aaron’s story:

Sometimes, the right decision isn’t the easiest one to make

Trish Sylvester knows her family and when they accept a week long stay at a rustic dude ranch, she is concerned- especially since it’s at her ex’s home.

Aaron is overjoyed at the opening of his family’s guest ranch, until he learns their first guest is his ex-girlfriend, her parents–and a fiancé.

And that isn’t the only surprise.

Excerpt

“I met your fiancé,” he said, his voice ripe with challenge. The outdoors clung to her skin, sun and flowers combining to intoxicate him more than the whiskey.

She lifted her chin, eyes narrowing. “What did you say to him, Aaron? I’d hoped we could all act like adults while we’re here.”

Aaron laughed, his hands doing the job his heart urged him to do, forcing her to come up against his chest with a soft oomph. “Darlin’, I’m definitely a man, make no mistake.” He leaned down and brushed her lips, setting up a warning through his chest. He was playing with fire, and if he wasn’t careful, there was little doubt who was going to get burned. Again.

“Aaron, stop this,” she murmured, though her lips parted on a sigh. “We can’t…”

He lifted his head and stared at her upturned face. “Can’t what, Trish? You invited yourself onto my territory and brought reinforcements. I want to know why.”

She moved out of his arms. He pretended not to feel the loss.

“We needed a break from the city,” she said. “Surely, you can understand that? Your sister sent an email to me highlighting the new business venture—congrats, by the way—and I thought it would be fun to come and check it out. End of story.”

He eyed her nervously tucking her hair behind her ear and knew she was bluffing. The question remained; why?


Box Set News

We have a new box set releasing August 30th!

Sweet and Sassy Baby Love 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KHEMW5

Add to your TBR list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47873355-sweet-and-sassy-baby-love

Recommend us on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/sweet-and-sassy-baby-love-by-suzanne-jenkins-and-jen-talty

Nine NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors offer stories of men and women who go to great lengths for the children they love.

A scent of innocence, that touch of softness, an angelic nap, and deep belly laughs. Babies and toddlers bring great joy, love, humor, and even conflict into our lives. But first, we need a passionate encounter, a romance that transcends time.

How do you feel about series or standalone stories? Let’s talk about it.

Bitmoji Image

Spinning Tires #WritersLife #amwriting


Spinning My Tires

Lately it feels as though my writing has come to a standstill and I’m just spinning tires without going anywhere.

We were talking about this at my local critique group meeting and I realized- thankfully- that at least I’m not alone with this dilemma.

Some call it writer’s block or writer’s slump, maybe winter doldrums, but whatever you name it, it can lead to depression and feelings of anxiety. I know I’ve been questioning why I put myself through this lately.

But, this is the thing… If you’re a writer, you write. It’s almost as important as breathing, so I’ve decided to search the internet for some inspirational quotes to help me (and you) feel better.

Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.

Wolfgang Puck
BrainyQuote.com

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

Benjamin Franklin
BrainyQuote.com

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

E.L. Doctorow
BrainyQuote.com

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Ray Bradbury
BrainyQuote.com

Today, I’m celebrating a landmark birthday and rather than allowing myself to dwell on getting older, or the fact my pen seems to have temporarily run dry, I’m going to concentrate on the positives- I have my health, a supportive family, fantastic writing friends, and it’s spring- anything is possible!

Newsletter Goodies

If you like deals and steals, check out my newsletter here: https://app.mailerlite.com/g7j1r2/

The #Blogging World is Alive and Well #Reading


Blogging is alive and well.

I’m surprised by how many writers feel they’re wasting time by building connections within the writing community. Where do they think book reviewers hang out?

As a reader, I’ve found many fantastic new reads thanks to the reviews I’ve read on blogging sites.

As an author, I follow blogs like Writers in the Storm and Story Empire to learn my craft. I’ve also learned the blogging community is open and friendly- always happy to welcome newcomers into their midst.

It’s a good way to build SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website, too! By commenting on other blogs, you’ll soon find your own stats will grow, along with your connections, so… win-win 🙂

A good way to do this is to make use of the WordPress Reader- you can find this on the top left of your website.

 

 

You can choose the posts you follow or do a search for those you’re interested in. I even follow the local news stations from there!

 

 

One of the best benefits to blogging are the friends you can make from all over the world. I’ve met people from South Africa, Sicily, England, France, the U.S and Canada. And the amazing thing is- we all love books!

One such friend recently read my new release, Skating on Thin Ice, and posted an amazing review. Here it is- in part from Staci Troilo’s awesome blog:

When a romantic suspense (one of my favorite genres) set in the hockey world (one of my favorite past times) was released by one of my favorite authors (Jacquie Biggar), I had to bump it in the queue. And like Letang’s slapshot through a goalie’s five-hole, I blazed through it. Here are my thoughts:


★★★★★ She Shoots and Scores!

Jacquie Biggar has done it again. I have yet another new book boyfriend—Mac Wanowski, captain of the Victoria WarHawks hockey team.

Mac is the perfect guy—a body that won’t quit, a quick wit to match, intelligent, chivalrous, and just damaged enough to tug your heartstrings without wanting to bash him over the head for his stupidity. (Well, not too often, anyway.)

Sam is his perfect match—strong, smart, quick-tempered, sassy, big-hearted. And she has a past with true heartache and a present with secrets that make her just a little mysterious.

If they gave a Stanley Cup to authors, Biggar would deserve one for this story.

⛸🏒⛸

Blurb:

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

Amazon Purchase Link

⛸🏒⛸

As you can see, the blogging community is a valuable resource. One you, as a writer, cannot afford to ignore!

 

You can also read Skating on Thin Ice in an upcoming anthology published by authors from The Authors’ Billboard- A Night She’ll Remember

Available March 31st!

Lives change as passions flare when nine USA Today Bestselling Authors share tales of intrigue, hints of suspense and new romance guaranteed to keep you reading.

Second chances, broken engagements, accidents, misled information and opposites attract are just some of what you’ll find within the passion-filled pages of A Night She’ll Remember.

 

Be sure to check out our Authors’ Billboard Monthly Contests for free ebooks, gift cards, and paperbacks.

 

Celebrating a Milestone- Realizing a Dream #Romance #Writer #eNovAaW


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.”

#Writing like a Beast #Romance #mgtab


dont wish for it work for it calligraphy
Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

Have you ever been up against a deadline and the words won’t come? Yep, welcome to my world.

 

I have a holiday novella due by the end of September and it’s kicking my butt. Some people thrive under stress- I’m NOT one of them, lol.

I’ve been staring my climatic moment in the eye for weeks now and it just won’t cooperate. My vision for this story is a sort of cross between Beauty and the Beast (not the Disney® version but the 1987-1990 television series) with a sensitive, lonely ‘Beast’ and the beautiful kind-hearted woman who draws him out of his shell.

 

 

And the Hallmark® Christmas movie, The Mistletoe Inn featuring an aspiring writer 🙂 who signs up for a writing retreat after being dumped by her novelist boyfriend.

 

 

 

 

 

I took these two concepts and came up with my hero, Noah Kincaid, a scarred, lonely man (though he thinks he’s fine) in need of a new publicity partner after the recent death of his aunt, and the young and pretty single mother who takes the job.

Molly McCarty is used to tough challenges. Divorced and raising a five-year-old boy is no easy task, especially when she’s surrounded by her ex’s friends and family who all want to help get them back together again.

Desperate for some breathing room, Molly searches the web for opportunities and comes across the position of innkeeper in Christmas, Michigan. Her curiosity about the town named after a famous holiday leads her down a road filled with possibilities.

If only she can break through her partner’s tough shell.

 

 

celebration christmas christmas balls christmas decoration
Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

Here’s a short exclusive excerpt

Molly hurried to keep up as Leo wove in and out of the evergreens on display, the air tinted with the scent of pine and balsam. His childish laughter warmed her heart. He’d was unhappy leaving Alberta and his family behind. She couldn’t blame him, she’d been feeling down herself. Ever since her divorce from Jason, she’d been coasting, searching for… well, she wasn’t really sure. She just knew it wasn’t in Edmonton. That was her past, Christmas was her future.

Or, so she hoped.

“Leo, where are you?” she called, half laughing, half worried. The fairy lights strung in graceful arcs across the large gazebo-type structure were pretty, but they didn’t make finding a little boy in a dark jacket easy. Nearby couples glanced in her direction, then joined in the search. It wasn’t that big an area, but there were a lot of hiding places a mischievous little boy might discover.

“I’ve got him.” Noah strode out from between two thick conifers with Leo in his arms. He looked like an outdoor magazine model with his lived-in face and burly shoulders. Molly heard the appreciative sighs from the women around her and her heart stuttered. He really was a handsome man.

She thanked the searchers and shook her head as Noah reached her side. “He was there one minute and then he was gone. You seem to be making a habit out of coming to our rescue.”

He gazed at her with those dark eyes, his hair ruffled by the chilly breeze, and she had the strongest urge to reach up and kiss those uncompromising lips. He’d probably think she was crazy. She’d have to be to try, he hadn’t given any sign of a mutual attraction, and besides, they barely knew each other.

“He was just chasing after a puppy. I’m sure he’s sorry he worried you.” He nodded to Leo. “Better apologize to your mother, now.”

Leo looked at her, excitement sparkling in his eyes. “Mommy, you gotta come see. The puppy is so cute. He’s as white as snow and has blue eyes. Can I have him, Mommy. Please.” He kicked his booted feet, narrowly missing Noah’s groin. Noah winced and set him down.

Molly gave him an apologetic glance, then crouched beside her son. “Honey, you need to calm down. First, Noah is right. You should say sorry for disappearing the way you did. That’s a dangerous thing to do, and I don’t expect you to do it again. Capisce?”

Chastened, Leo scuffed his feet in the snow. “Capease.”

 

 

I’m close. I just have to rip out their hearts so I can hand them back again.

Easy, right?

You can pre-order the boxset below. I promise I’ll get it done!

•••••• NYT & USA Today Bestselling Authors!!! ••••••

.¸.*(¸.*(¸.*`(¸.*´`*.¸)`*.)`*.¸)`*.¸

LOVE CHRISTMAS 2

25 Holiday Stories Movies You Love!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G4K5YR2

International Link: http://books2read.com/LoveChristmas2

 

 

Sprinkle a little Christmas magic into your life with 25 ALL-NEW, never before released romances. Each title – exclusive to this set – is inspired by a favorite holiday movie, spun into a fantastic love story by a NY Times, USA Today, and/or award-winning, bestselling author and delivered to you in this wonderful collection full of cheer for the coming season.

 

 

 

CoversSellBooksImage

And don’t forget to enter our $50 Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrating a #CoverReveal with a #Free day! #mgtab


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?

 

 

pexels-photo-1051744.jpeg
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?

 

TLSNlarge

In celebration of this cover, which I love, The Lady Said No is Free one day only, Saturday, Sept, 1st.

Get your copy here!

 
CoversSellBooksImage (3)

Identity Crisis #writing #lifehacks #mgtab


 

close up of hand over white background
Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

 

Lately, I’ve been questioning my ability as a writer and it’s left me feeling lost and depressed.

Do you ever doubt yourself?

I think it began with the big change in our lives this summer. As many of you know, my daughter and grandson have moved over six thousand km away so she can continue with her dream to become a marine biologist.

While I’m incredibly proud of her, it’s also left a big gap in my days. I’m used to being there for my grandson, often picking him up for lacrosse or hockey or swimming practice.

He’s a key part of our lives and we are lost without him.

I’m empty inside and find it increasingly hard to put words on the page. I hope this is a short term thing, I mean it’s not like I can’t text or FaceTime him whenever I want. But, it’s not the same, either.

I’ve been working on a holiday novella for our Love, Christmas 2 collection set around the theme of our favorite holiday movies. Mine is Mistletoe Inn, taken from the Hallmark® movie, The Mistletoe Inn.

Here’s a short preview

 

For my story I’ve adapted the inn as more of a bed and breakfast with my hero as a scarred, bitter loner that the heroine, Molly McCarty, falls in love with.

 

MistletoecoverLG

 

Molly McCarty has picked up roots and traveled across the country to run a bed and breakfast with a sweet-sounding old lady. Imagine her surprise when her partner turns out to be a surly, way-to-handsome recluse. It’s too late to back out now, she’ll have to mend his lonely heart in time for the holidays.

I’m enjoying this heartwarming tale, but it’s also making me realize Christmas won’t be the same this year.

 

What do you do to get rid of the blues?

 

Don’t forget to enter our name that title contest- ending soon!

 

 

ONLY $0.99 for 25 BRAND NEW Stories

Never Before Published Holiday Romances

Pre Order Your Copy Today

Amazon – Nook – Kobo

The Christmas Movie (Box Collection) Contest

  1. Twenty-five winners will have their favorite movie chosen as the title. (Slight changes due to copyrights may be made.)
  2. That particular story will be dedicated to the winner.
  3. The winners will receive a free copy of the ebook or a free copy of whichever book you choose from your author’s backlist..

 

DEDICATED 2 Facebook(1)

Enter Here!

 

Finding Your Voice #Writertips #amwriting


laptop-3087585_640 (1)

 

When I first began my writing career I took a LOT of online classes on craft, editing, revision, grammar, technique, and the one thing that kept coming up was the need to discover your voice. The unique something that distinguishes your work and keeps your readers coming back for more.

But how?

What do the experts mean by voice anyway?

Do you have a favorite author? One whose pages you could read without seeing the cover and you’d STILL be able to say without a doubt, yes, that is definitely their book?

I thought so 🙂

That’s voice!

 

It’s a distinctive style that sets the writer’s work apart from anyone else. Some use setting, such as bestselling and award-winning author Louise Penny. Her books are set in and around the scenic mountain town of Three Pines, Quebec. If a fan were to read a brief passage from any of her books they would know who wrote the novel.

Other writers have a certain way with characterization that’s a dead giveaway, such as Jill Shalvis. Her writing style is part sass, part angst, and a whole lot of heat!

 

 

One of the best styles of voice comes with deep POV (point of view).

Military romantic suspense author Suzanne Brockmann does this better than most. Deep point of view is when the character acts, thinks, or talks and there is no need to add a name tag because we know this character. He/she is as real as if we were watching them on our favorite television series. Suzanne does this by creating distinct mannerisms that we immediately associate with that person. She does this so well, she can write entire passages without a name/ and frequently does, and yet it’s easy to know who is talking at any given moment.

Voice is something a writer gains with time. It can’t be forced, but for readers it’s that magic thing that will make them your fans. If you have a backlist take another look, you might be pleasantly surprised 🙂

I’m currently working on a summer romance set on an island in the Pacific Northwest. A theme that runs through my stories is the value of family, and this one is no different.

Here’s the blurb for Sweetheart Cove:

Josie Sparks is looking for escape after a disastrous relationship. A summer job on a small Pacific Northwest island seems perfect. That is, until she meets her irascible new boss. She thinks she can help his sweet little girl–he’s another story.

Jacob Samuels needs someone reliable to care for his special needs daughter, but is sorry he trusted his sister with the task when help arrives in the shape of a too-young, too-tempting therapist with pain-filled eyes he can’t ignore.

Sand, surf, and soft island breezes bring two lonely hearts together in this heartwarming tale of second chance romance and a love that lasts forever.

 

SClargeFront

 

Exclusive excerpt

Josie wasn’t sure how she got through the next few days. She must have acted reasonably normal because no one questioned her absentmindedness, even when she set the puppy’s food in the refrigerator instead of the pantry where it belonged. Jacob’s kiss lived front and center in her thoughts, and his hard, masculine body encompassed her dreams. A moody, short-tempered grump who made her pulse skyrocket.

How could she feel this way about him when she’d been hours from marrying another man a month ago? She added fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to the picnic basket she’d prepared and glanced down at the pup sitting quietly at her feet. “If you’re looking for handouts, you’ll just have to wait. No offence, but I don’t trust your stomach in the car.”

“Is it time yet?” Jane wheeled into the kitchen, her face expectant. The dog, thinking it was playtime, crouched, nose on his front paws, butt in the air and tail wagging a mile a minute. He let out a couple of excited yips, then raced around the room and jumped against Jane’s short-clad legs. “Ow, Mischief, that hurts,” she cried, then stopped in shock and stared at the red marks already fading from her skin. “It hurt,” she whispered.

Josie pushed the dog out of the way and crouched at the little girl’s side. “Honey, this is great. I’m so happy for you. We better tell your father, so he can get you into the specialist for a checkup.”

Jane shook her head and gripped Josie’s wrist. “No. Can we keep it a secret? Please, Josie? Just for a while. I want to get better and surprise Daddy by walking. Please?”

Her pleading eyes undid Josie. How was she supposed to say no to that? She nodded. “Okay, but if you have any pains at all, you tell me, understand?” She patted Mischief’s silky head. “Guess your dad knew what he was doing, getting you a dog. Maybe we should name him Miracle instead of Mischief.”

Jane giggled. “It’s not Mischief, Josie. It’s you. You’re the miracle.”

 

 

I’d like to think I’m gaining a voice, but you the reader are the only ones who can tell me whether I’m right. What do you think? 🙂

Help, my secondary character is taking over the book! #amwriting #Romance #mgtab


laptop-3087585_640

 

Have you ever started to write a book and had a secondary character try to take over the story? It doesn’t matter how hard you work at putting them on the sidelines, they keep popping up at the most inopportune times.

I’ve found it’s better to go with the flow and see where it takes me– usually into another book and thereby creating a series I hadn’t actually planned on writing!

When I was working on The Rebel’s Redemption, book two in the Wounded Hearts series, the hero’s best friend stepped up and insisted I do his story at the same time! I had a lot of fun with those two and the side benefit was interlocking stories that practically wrote themselves. I wish it was always that easy, but truthfully, most books take a lot of blood, sweat and lots of CHOCOLATE before they begin to take shape.

 

Maybe it’s because I’m a pantser. I never know what’s going to happen until it does, and then I say, “That’s brilliant!” lol. Sometimes, it’s a great first line. One of my favorites is from The Beast WithinHer skin was tender as the belly of a kitten. And just as fragile.
Click to Tweet

 

And other times, it comes from a picture I’ve seen:

 

racehorse-horse-race-course-sport-53122.jpeg

 

Like this one I used as inspiration for Missing: TheLady Said No, a mystery set around the Kentucky Derby.

 

And then there’s the ones that emerge from a cover you fall in love with. This one was made by Michele Hauf.

 

HappyBirthdayMy Love

 

This is Sophia Shaughnessy’s book. She first showed up as the cute sister of Matthew Shaughnessy in Hold ‘Em, but her character became important to the story and readers connected with the young woman desperate to prove herself in a man’s world.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Sophia lightly flirted with Rico—as they’d done all their lives—and pretended not to watch every move Tony made. She absolutely didn’t notice his tough farm hands closing into fists when Rico grasped her waist, or sense the tension emanating from his powerful body as he watched the two of them acting like frisky colts. She’d feel guilty, except the big jerk should know there hadn’t been anyone but him for her since she’d reached puberty.

Damn him.

“I thought I’d take Cleopatra out for a ride,” she said to Rico, making a conscious effort to ignore Tony’s glower. “Do you have time to join me?”

“Sure.” Rico nodded. “Just give me a few minutes to finish these stalls, bueno?”

“Weren’t you supposed to exercise the yearlings today?” Tony growled. “Just because the princess deigned to visit, doesn’t mean the ranch is on holiday. Get to work, Juarez.”

Rico bristled. “I can do that later, they aren’t going anywhere.”

Tony took an aggressive step forward and Sophia hurried to step between the two men. “Stop it,” she hissed. “It’s my fault, I wasn’t thinking.”

She turned and forced a smile for Rico. “I’ll meet you later and we’ll catch up. It’s been too long.” She squeezed his arm in reassurance. “See you at dinner?”

Rico glared at his boss, then gave a slow shrug and dragged his attention back to her. “Yeah, sure. It’ll be like old times, ?”

Sophia saw his intentions in the mischievous glint of his eyes. She braced herself for the fallout as he leaned in and gave her a big, smacking kiss on the lips before jauntily wandering away with a tip of his hat. She’d get even with him, the tease.

She glanced up at Tony and cleared her throat, subduing the instinct to rub suddenly sweaty palms on her pants. “I didn’t mean to create problems, I know this is a working ranch.” That much was true, anyway. She’d tried so many times to insert herself into the business, to be a valued member of the team, but her ideas were brushed aside as the dreams of a young idealist. After a while, she’d given up trying.

Tony met her gaze and sighed. “I probably overreacted. I tend to do that a lot around you,” he admitted. Sophia didn’t have time to enjoy the warm glow his words wrought, before he added, “But you should know better than to come down to the barns dressed like that. You’re distracting my men.”

She wasn’t sure which rose faster, outrage or pleasure. She went with outrage, it was safer. “I’m wearing blue jeans, they’re hardly haute couture. And most of your men have known me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, you’re exaggerating my appeal. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see my horse. At least she doesn’t judge me.”

She’d stomped past three stalls, the horses within staring at her with inquisitive eyes, before Tony caught up to her. “It’s been a long time since you’ve been on much of a ride, I don’t like the idea of you going out alone.”

Sophia huffed out a strangled laugh. “I was born on this ranch, I’m pretty sure I know my way around it. Besides, it’s your own fault I don’t have a companion, you got rid of him, remember?”

Tony grabbed a couple of bridles on their way past the tack room. “That idiot would be too damn busy showing off to protect you,” he snapped. “And I wasn’t worried about you getting lost so much as getting bucked off and, if you were lucky, landing on that delectable keister. I’ll go with you.”

“No.” She swung around to face him. “I want a fun, relaxing ride. You’ll just mess with my Zen.”

“You want to go, princess, then I go too. End of story.” He opened the stall for his bay and entered, mumbling sweet nothings to the horse while he swung the bridle over the gelding’s head.

Oh, yay.

 

 

I have a secret; I love secondary characters. They have a sense of mystery about them. You need to find out their story and they leave all sorts of possibilities open for future books. 🙂

Crazy Little Thing About Love releases Tuesday, May 15th. I hope you’ll buy a copy and see if you can pick out the next character who needs his/her story told.

What about you? Do you have a thing for secondary characters? It’s okay, I won’t tell 🙂

To #Blog or Not to Blog, that is the Question #Writerslife #mgtab


handshake-2009183_640
To blog or not to blog; I hear this question often. There are many demands on a writer’s time. Most of us have families, day jobs, pets, houses to clean, yards to maintain, the list goes on and on, so how are we supposed to keep up a regular blog as well?

And why should we?

woman-1733891_640

I get it, I really do.

But, on the other hand, as authors we want to be recognized, right? There’s no sense (other than personal satisfaction) to waste our precious time writing those stories if we aren’t going to do our best to get noticed.

WordPress Now Powers 26% of the Web

The most recent stats are showing that since March 2016, WordPress is actually powering 26.4% of the Web, and it’s on the rise. It is still by far the most used CMS, with 59.4% market share. Also interestingly on a daily basis there are over 500 sites being created on WordPress.

https://managewp.com/blog/statistics-about-wordpress-usage

As you can see, these numbers are already a couple of years old, but it’s safe to say blogging is a crucial– and often under-utilized– tool in marketing our product.

One of the best things about blogging– it’s free!

Just think, all those users out there, all you need to do is provide them with content.

In this post, Nicholas Rossis shares a graphic made by Websitebuilder on the phenomenal growth in the blogging world.

18.7 million blogs on WordPress alone! That’s a lot of people and possible eyes on your books. (You have your blog connected to your website with a listing of your books, right?)

“But what am I going to say?” you ask.

Well, that’s the beauty of it, your blog, your rules. 🙂

smartphone-1445489_640

The biggest thing is that you’re going to make connections around the world. And if those people like what you have to say, chances are, they’ll check out your books, mention you to their workmates, their friends and family.

See?

All that because you took the time to #blog.

Come on, what are you waiting for? Let’s get connected!

Speaking of spreading the word, here’s some shameless self-promotion on two new releases I have coming in the next few weeks. Shares appreciated 🙂

WTHCoverBiggar

Available 01.30.18

What happens when two of Tidal Falls’ most beloved citizens have second thoughts just before they get married?

Jared Martin can’t wait to tie the knot with the woman of his dreams and become a real father to his son, Chris.

Annie Campbell is finally going to marry the man she’s loved for most of her adult life and she couldn’t be more excited–and anxious.

An unforeseen event will test their devotion to each other and bring the entire town in on the action. Will Jared and Annie’s love stand the test, or is their relationship doomed?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0788BB53H

International: https://books2read.com/WithThisHeart

Add to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37830620-with-this-heart

Excerpt

She yanked the door open and then jumped backward with a shriek as a brown and white shape hurtled through the gap and stumbled in the drive.

“Dad, save Bambi,” Chris cried from inside the cab.

“What was that?” Annie whispered, hands clenched to her chest.

Jared was torn between taking her into his arms or checking on the injured animal for his son. A further cry from Chris as he scrambled to get out of the pickup cemented his decision. He sent a quick glance Annie’s way before hurrying to kneel beside the fawn and stop its frantic movements. “Son, bring that blanket with you. His scent is on it now, it may reassure him some.”

“Is he okay?” Chris hopped down from the crew cab, tugging the blanket behind him. “Hi, Mom,” he chirped on his way by, “guess what Jared did? He hit a baby deer.” The last was said with a mix of nervous tension.

Jared looked up in time to see Annie’s scowl turn to concern. He held out his hand for the quilt. “Here, I’ll cover him up and then you keep him still while I call the vet. Deal?”

“Deal,” Chris agreed, plopping onto the grass and startling the fawn. He scrunched his shoulders and shrugged. “Sorry.”

Jared smiled. “Just take it easy around him for the first few days. You have to remember he’s not used to people. This is all very strange for him.” He wrapped the trembling body, careful to avoid the bad leg. “Pet his head like I showed you before and I’ll be right back, okay?”

Chris nodded without looking away from the delicate face of the deer. “Sure, we’re friends already, see?” He proceeded to rub between the fawn’s ears. “He likes me.”

“Well, sure he does. What’s not to like?” Jared rumpled his son’s red hair—so like his mother’s—and rose. After making sure the fawn was content, he turned to Annie. “Sorry we couldn’t call. Reception was bad out there.”

“What if you’d been injured?” Annie sniped under her breath so as not to alert Chris. “I had no idea where you’d gone. Where to search. It was an irresponsible thing to do.” She folded defensive arms across her chest.

“Whoa, where is this coming from?” Jared grasped her forearm and pulled her resisting body to the front of the truck. “Sweetheart, it’s not like I planned on driving home in the dark and clipping a fawn during our first father-son road trip. You’re not being fair.”

“Fair?” she cried. “Chris is my son, Jared. I have the right to know he’s safe.”

Stunned, he released her arm. “Actually, I thought he was our son. What’s going on, Annie?”

She stared up at him with tear-drenched eyes. “Maybe we’re a mistake.” She looked at his dented vehicle, and at Chris caring for the injured deer, before meeting his gaze with a defiant lift of her chin. “I don’t think I can marry you anymore.”

JacquieBiggar_ValentineAHeartsandKissesRomance_800

Available 02.13.18

Take two humans who pretend they can’t stand each other and one matchmaking canine and the fun is nonstop!

Val Hodgins is on the road to success. His architect firm handles some of the biggest contracts along the western seaboard. He doesn’t have time to babysit his aunt’s aging house or her pain in the butt dog, but when she falls ill with pneumonia he drops everything to go to her aid.

Sierra Johnson’s dreams of owning a catering company go up in smoke thanks to a bad choice in boyfriends. Now, she’s stuck working for a tyrannical boss, care-taking an aging townhouse, and being tormented by the owner’s aggravating, caustic, way-too-attractive nephew.

Will these two get over their prejudices in time to realize love comes without a price tag?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078QFJH4H

Universal: https://books2read.com/Valentine

Add to TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38088692-valentine

Excerpt

Val stepped closer to the crazy woman guarding her virtue with a kitchen utensil. He’d been enjoying the view for the past five minutes as she swayed to the music, her back to him while she worked at his sister’s kitchen sink. Even though she wore the required hair net, he could see she was a fiery redhead, her body slim and compact beneath the wraparound apron. He should have announced himself sooner, but he hadn’t expected to freak her out so badly. Normally, Sam’s kitchen was a hub of activity; he was surprised to find it empty except for the pint-sized warrior.

“You can put down the weapon.” He hid his amusement behind a placating smile. “I’m harmless, though my sister might be tempted to disagree. Is Sam here?”

When the woman stared at him like he was the creature from the black lagoon, Val waved a hand in front of her eyes and grinned at the resultant snap of temper. He was right, she was a feisty one. “Sorry, I’m in a bit of a hurry. Is there a chance I could get you to answer me any time soon?”

She glared at him, threw the rubber spatula unto the counter, and swept the net from her hair, allowing the coiled layers to flow down her back. “You have a bad habit of sneaking up on people,” she snapped, reddened fingers moving to untie her apron.

What was she…?

Oh.

He snapped his fingers and pointed at her. “You. The klutz that destroyed my dinner the other night. What are you doing here? Don’t tell me my sister was foolish enough to hire someone who can’t even hold onto a pot without it becoming a catastrophe.”

Her eyes narrowed and she stared past him to the big block of knives sitting on the stainless-steel countertop. Val hurried to block her view. “Uh, uh, uh, temper, temper. You don’t really want to stab me, just think of the mess.”

The Snowball Effect #Writertips #HolidayRomance #mgtab @mimisgang1


PhotoFunia-1511057744

The Benefits of a Writer’s Group

 

A few months ago Mimi Barbour, creator of The Authors’ Billboard, a group of over thirty bestselling romance writers, came up with the ingenious idea of setting up box sets varying in size from six to eight books and enrolling them into the Kindle Select program.

The hope was to gain new readers, and of course sales, of our individual books. We started out with two or three sets, just to see how they would do.

 

books-1900467_640

 

There was such a fantastic response from our readers, three more followed. Then three more, then… well, you get the picture 🙂

As quick as we could put them together, they were getting read; to the tune of millions of pages read (Kindle Select’s method of determining how much to pay authors from a fund Amazon adds to each month)

http://akreport.com/amazon-kenp-rates/

It has proven to be a snowball effect, benefiting the group in ways we never expected.

 

snowman-1227018_640

 

We’ve become stronger as a group.

Friends who have each other’s backs. We support and promote new releases. Celebrate achievements. Share information. Build on our successes. And commiserate our failures.

No matter what, we know there’s someone who will listen when we need advice.

If you ever get the opportunity to join a writer’s group, I highly recommend giving it a try!

If you’d like to meet our group and have some fun at the same time, stop by November 29-30 at our 2nd Annual Christmas Bash on Facebook. There’ll be plenty of chatting, games, and giveaways! You don’t want to miss the party, we’d love to meet you there!

 

 

ABB Christmas Bash

 

Reviews are the lifeblood of any successful author. Without you, we can’t be heard.

If you enjoy the story, please consider sharing on your favorite social media sites, as well as GoodReads and from wherever you’ve bought the book and visit us online for great deals, interesting blog posts, contests, and much more!

The Authors’ Billboard

We’d love to have you subscribe to our blog and to sign up on for our Weekly Newsletter.

http://authorsbillboard.com/newsletter-sign-up/

Thank you!

PhotoFunia-1511914152

 

And here’s a listing of our #boxsets: available for a LIMITED TIME!

Love, Christmas

Unforgettable Romances: Unforgettable Heroes

Unforgettable Heroes: Unforgettable Passion

Unforgettable Christmas: Gifts of Love

Kiss Me, Thrill Me

Dangerous Encounters: Love on the Edge

Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics

Sweet and Sassy

Sweet and Sassy Christmas

Love on Fire

Sweet Heat

 

Hearing Your Hero For the First Time #AudioBook #mgtab @Audible_com


cropped-book-1014197_1280.jpg

It’s hard to express the feeling I had this week when Audible released Missing: The Lady Said No to audiobook. Hearing your hero speak for the very first time is indescribable.

I’ve been waiting for ACX- (Audible Creation Exchange) the company that produces audiobooks for leading suppliers such as Audible, Amazon, and I-tunes to allow Canadians into their marketplace and this June 1, 2017 it happened!

 

 

 

Here’s a little background info on the increasing popularity of audiobooks from the Publishers Weekly site:

A new report issued by the Audio Publishers Association found that 2016 was another good year for audiobooks. The findings show double-digit growth for both audiobook sales and title output.

Total sales rose 18.2% over 2015, to an estimated $2.1 billion, while unit sales did even better. According to the report, unit sales rose 33.9%, to 89.5 million. Sales are based on reports from about 20 audiobook publishers. The APA then extrapolates from those figures, to derive an estimate for the entire market. The title output from reporting companies was 50,937 in 2016, a 43.1% increase over 2015.

I think that’s cause for a celebration, don’t you? 🙂

The process is easy. ACX walked me through the steps of loading my book, choosing passages with a variety of characters for the auditions, and setting up my contract with them. You can choose to be exclusive to Audible for seven years (keep in mind they do upload to the three biggest suppliers in the industry) or you can buy your rights and load the book wherever you like.

There are also a variety of ways to pay your narrator.

  • You and your Producer can agree to a Pay for Production Fee (a one-time flat fee) or a Royalty Share Deal (in which case your Producer won’t earn money up front, but will instead share in the proceeds from the sale of your audiobook 50-50).
  • Want a higher royalty rate on sales of your audiobook? You can opt for a significantly higher ACX royalty rate by granting Audible exclusive distribution rights to your ACX-produced audiobook. If you want to keep more distribution options open, you can distribute your audiobook through ACX on a nonexclusive basis and receive the standard ACX royalty rate.

Then you wait for the auditions to pour in (wishful thinking :)) or you can search through the ACX database of narrators and place your offer with the one you like.

I was extremely lucky to have Daniel F. Purcell find me and agree to perform my books. He’s simply amazing! His vast repertoire of voices brought the characters to life.

I’m so impressed!

As he read the chapters, he loaded them onto the ACX site so that I could listen and give input on any areas I thought needed changing. There were very few 🙂

Next, there was a wait of about a week while ACX checked the files over to make sure it all sounded good, then they published!

Oh yeah, they also give the author and the narrator 25 codes each for review and promotional purposes so if you’d like to hear Gus’ story comment below and I’ll pick someone to receive a #Free copy!

This has been a positive experience from the start. I highly recommend ACX and Audible to any authors who have been on the fence about producing an audiobook.

Do it!

 

Start your #Free Audible Trial today with Missing: The Lady Said No!

 

Missing The Lady Said No audio cover

Missing: The Lady Said No

 

The Race is on to find a Killer in the heart of Kentucky horse country

Detective Augustus Grant is faced with his most baffling case to date. Well-respected race horse breeder, John Jorgenson, is murdered in his den days before the Kentucky Derby and the list of suspects is growing.

Complicating matters, Gus’ ex-girlfriend is the last person to have seen the victim alive.

Rebecca Hayes owes the Jorgenson family her loyalty. They gave her a new life after a disastrous affair leaves her alone and pregnant.

With all the evidence pointing in Becky’s direction, will Gus do his duty?

Or follow his heart?

 

http://books2read.com/u/3Lrqre

http://amzn.to/2jXEbAP

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34033805-missing

And Now on Audio Book!- http://a.co/23uX6b8

What I Learned From Lucifer #Writer #Suspense #mgtab


It’s not what you’re thinking. Okay, maybe it is.

I’ve fallen in love.

He’s Handsome, smart, charming, and oh yeah, he’s the devil.

And I’m not alone.

Thousands tune in every Monday night to watch what is quickly becoming a craze on Twitter and various other social media platforms.

That’s right, it’s Lucifer.

So what is this phenomenon all about?

Based on characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg, this series follows Lucifer, the original fallen angel, who has become dissatisfied with his life in hell. After abandoning his throne and retiring to Los Angeles, Lucifer indulges in his favorite things (women, wine and song) — until a murder takes place outside of his upscale nightclub.

For the first time in billions of years, the murder awakens something unfamiliar in Lucifier’s soul that is eerily similar to compassion and sympathy.

Lucifer is faced with another surprise when he meets an intriguing homicide detective named Chloe, who appears to possess an inherent goodness — unlike the worst of humanity, to which he is accustomed. Suddenly, Lucifer starts to wonder if there is hope for his soul.

Like Lucifer-played by the amazing Tom Ellis, I think we all go through phases where we don’t feel good enough (He thinks he was sent to Hell as punishment from Father. His older brother, Amenadiel- played by D.B Woodside, tells him it was actually because He trusted Lucifer to keep the evil ones down there and so protect humanity.)

human-silhouette-1725041_640

Lately, I’ve been struggling with personal self-esteem. That’s the problem with being an introvert, you spend way too much time in your head.

My sales are down. My writing is slo… ow going, each word is like pulling teeth, and my family has been having medical problems.

Hard to stay positive in the face of all that adversity.

But, then hope appears (much like Lucifer’s guiding light, Chloe). A good review here, a kind word there, and the darkness falls away. Maybe I can finish this story. Find new readers. Make my mark in this crazy world of writing.

Maybe.

If you haven’t watched Lucifer yet, you should. It’s surprising what the devil can teach us. 🙂

By the way, I have a new release coming out!

July 1st 2017 is the one hundred fiftieth birthday of Canada’s Confederation and our local writing/critiquing group decided it would be fun to do an anthology to celebrate.

My contribution, My Baby Wrote Me A Letter, stems from a news segment I watched. A woman bought an old desk at a yard sale. After bringing it home she began the process of refinishing the wood and happened to find a letter taped to the back of a drawer.

When she read the message, she realized the note could be important to someone, and with little more than a faded name to go on, began a search for the writer of the mysterious letter.

It was placing a picture on Facebook that led to the son of the man who had written that long ago message to his family. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer and feared he would never survive to see his children grow, so he wrote them a letter from the heart.

The news story had a happy ending; the man survived the cancer and lived not only to see his children to adulthood, but several of his grandchildren as well.

His story was an inspiration to me,

Jacquie

JacquieBiggar_MyBabyWroteMeALetter_800px

You Are My Sunshine #LazyDaysOfSummer #amwriting #mgtab


poster-1568247_640

I don’t know about you, but when the warm winds and indigo blue skies of summer appear on the horizon, the last thing I want to do is sit in a chair forcing myself to fight past the sticky middle of my current WIP (work-in-progress).

It’s literally like pulling teeth.

I’d much sooner have my hands buried up to the elbow in fine black planting soil, or daydream on the end of a water hose watching the hummingbirds and butterflies play in the breeze.

 

butterfly-199115_640

 

But, I also realize if I want to take this writing career seriously, and I do, I need to sometimes make sacrifices.

One thing I’ve learned is better time management. I’m a late riser, mornings are not my thing :), so I usually sit at the computer with my coffee and go through the social media platforms sharing and promoting.

Then I spend an hour or two visiting my mom next door before FINALLY waking up enough to begin my day!

I take the computer outside to our gazebo where I can work on my story while watering the flowers, and occasionally catching a glimpse of a friendly hummingbird or two.

 

IMG_3283

 

Sometimes, I don’t get much writing done, but that’s okay. It’s a WIP, just like me 🙂

If you’d like to see what I’ve been up to lately, you can check out the new anthology written by members of my critique group to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary!

 

My Baby Wrote Me A LetterA family's brush with the past will threaten the fabric of their lives.

 

Dreams and Promises

Dreams and Promises includes six short stories and novellas written by authors who live in beautiful British Columbia.

It’s our way of honoring Canada’s Sesquicentennial.

Some of Canada’s major cities were founded in the seventeenth century, but July 1st 2017 marks 150 years since our country became a Confederation.

Our stories range from the era of the fur trade, to a commercial enterprise that opened up the Canadian and American West, to present day James Bay, a thriving neighborhood in the garden city of Victoria, British Columbia.

Universal link: http://books2read.com/DreamsandPromises

 

Amazon: 

 

Add to your TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35387646-dreams-and-promises

 

 

 

The Purr-fect #Collection of #CozyMysteries Happy Homicide 5 @Goddessfish


TourBanner_Happy Homicides

Happy Homicides 5: The Purr-fect Crime

by Joanna Campbell Slan, Linda Gordon Hengerer, LouLou Harrington, Neil Plakcy, Teresa Trent, Terry Ambrose, Amy Vansant, Randy Rawls, Christina Freeburn, Wendy Sand Eckel, and Karen Cantwell

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE: Cozy Mystery anthology

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

The purr-fect way to meet your new favorite author! This collection of traditional mysteries will be like catnip for feline-friendly readers. It’s paw-sitively the best Mother’s Day gift ever. Plus, you can email us to get a FREE Bonus File with recipes and holiday craft ideas. You’ll enjoy stories by these bestselling and award-winning authors: Joanna Campbell Slan, Linda Gordon Hengerer, David Bishop, LouLou Harrington, Neil Plakcy, Teresa Trent, Terry Ambrose, Amy Vansant, Randy Rawls, Christina Freeburn, Wendy Sand Eckel, and Karen Cantwell. For more information, go to http://www.HappyHomicides.com

 

MediaKit_BookCover_HappyHomicides

THE BOOK IS ON SALE FOR $0.99 DURING THE TOUR

 

EXCERPT:

 

THE NAMING OF CATS: A Rosalie Hart Mystery

Wendy Sand Eckel

Editor’s Note: The quaint little town of Cardigan on Maryland’s Eastern Shore seemed like the perfect spot for Rosalie Hart to open the Day Lily Café. A flat stretch of land between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the Eastern Shore is home to crusty watermen, dug-in farmers, and people who are fiercely proud to call it home. Rosalie has enough on her plate running the restaurant. But when her Maine Coon uncovers a mystery, the cat has been let out of the bag.

 

Chapter 1

“Your cat is up to something,” Tyler said as he walked into my kitchen. I set a steaming cup of coffee next to him and watched as he scrubbed his hands under the faucet.

“I think Sweeney Todd is happy to be outside.” I lifted my coffee mug and blew over the surface to cool it. “This is the first day it hasn’t rained in over a week.”

He dried his hands and turned to face me. “Thanks for the joe.”

Tyler Wells leased the farmland of my new home, Barclay Meadow. It wasn’t really my choice to move here. Three years ago, when my dear Aunt Charlotte bequeathed me this two-hundred-year-old house and the vast land surrounding it, I was happily immersed in my married life in Chevy Chase. But all that changed when my husband of over twenty years pronounced his love for a much younger and blonder version of me.

The sun streamed through the windows, warming the honey wood floors. Tyler and I had fallen into the habit of sharing a cup of coffee every morning before we started our days. I checked the clock. I would be leaving soon to go to the restaurant I recently opened, the Day Lily Café, currently serving breakfast and lunch five days a week in the sleepy little town of Cardigan.

Tyler brushed his sandy blond hair off his forehead. “Sweeney is digging pretty close to the vegetable gardens. You might want to stop him.”

“I’m on it.” I set my coffee down and headed outside.

My shoes squeaked on the grass as I rounded the house. A dense mist rose from the Cardigan River at the end of the sloping lawn. It was a beautiful spring morning on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

I spotted Sweeney by an old Sycamore tree. Its trunk was gnarled and twisted looking like something out of Sleepy Hollow. He was digging furiously at the ground with his front paws.

My adopted Maine Coon cat was originally named Sweetie Pie. But on the first day I brought him home, he slaughtered four goldfinches in under an hour. That’s when Tyler suggested the name change. At the precise moment I started to disagree, Sweeney dropped a fifth lifeless bird on my peep-toe pump.

I knelt down next to him. He had dug so deep almost all nineteen pounds of him were immersed in the hole.

“Hey, what are you . . .” He swiped one paw with a particularly vigorous motion and a clump of dirt launched onto my black skirt. “Sweeney, for goodness sake.” He stopped digging and let out a long, guttural mmrrrow. He pushed back out of the hole and eyed me intently. My stomach tightened with dread. “What have you found, baby?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

The authors are supplying a bonus gift for readers.  They can receive it by sending an email to HH4Bonus@joannaslan.com

HH5 Bonus File

.

Happy Homicides 5: The Purr-fect Crime authors include Joanna Campbell Slan, Linda Gordon Hengerer, David Bishop, LouLou Harrington, Neil Plakcy, Teresa Trent, Terry Ambrose, Amy Vansant, Randy Rawls, Christina Freeburn, Wendy Sand Eckel, and Karen Cantwell. For more information, go to http://www.HappyHomicides.com or visit us at http://www.facebook.com/happyhomicides To read a free sample, get your copy of Happy Homicides 2: Crimes of the Heart here: http://bit.ly/2HHCrime

 

I’m honored to share this interview I did with award National bestselling and award-winning author Joanna Campbell Slan. She has written more than 30 books. Her non-fiction has been endorsed by Toastmasters International; her first novel was shortlisted for the Agatha Award; and her historical fiction has won the Daphne du Maurier Award. Joanna edits the Happy Homicides Anthologies and co-authors the Dollhouse Décor & More series. One of her short stories has been included in the prestigious Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology. Visit her at www.JoannaSlan.com

What do you think is the best way to publish these days?

I don’t think there’s one best way to publish. It really depends on your goals.

If you want to get a book out there quickly, if you are detail-oriented and technologically savvy, if you are business-minded, if you are willing to pay for services like editing and cover art, then self-publication is a fast-track option. In two weeks’ time, you can hold a paper book in your hands. If your only goal is to see your name on the cover of a book, this is definitely the way to go. That said, self-publishing can also be very disappointing. The average self-published author earns less than $500.

On the other hand, there’s a lot of cachet with traditional (legacy) publishing. To be able to tell people, “I have a New York publisher” feels good. Really good. (At least it does at first.) They pay you for your work. Money comes in rather than going out and that’s always a plus. However, the author must be prepared to give up a lot of control over the finished product. You’re also expected to do most of your own marketing, and that advance must be repaid before you earn more money. The turnaround time from manuscript to market is painfully slow.

In short, there is no one decision that’s best for everybody. (I’m not even going to touch on hybrid publishing. Suffice it to say, that might be the best of both worlds.) You need to carefully assess what you want, what you are willing to give up, how much money you’re willing to spend, how long you’re willing to hang in there, how comfortable you are with rejection, how willing you are to learn, and whether you are in this for the long haul…or not.

And even then, even after you think you’ve answered all these questions, it’s critical to realize that this industry is changing on a daily basis. Just because your decision is right today, doesn’t mean it will be right in six months or a year.

 

What are your favorite genres to read? Why?

My favorite genre is anything, anytime, anywhere. I am totally eclectic in my reading tastes, sprinkling non-fiction in with suspense, thriller, cozy mystery, biography, history, historical romance, romance, women’s fiction, sci-fi, paranormal, cereal boxes, dystopian, short stories …see? I can’t choose just one, and luckily I don’t have to.

But if you insist on pinning me down, I will admit that I really love mysteries. Mysteries deal with people at their best and their worst.

 

How do you approach starting a new book?

When it comes to writing a new book, I’m like a dog that turns around and around in circles, trying to find that perfect spot to lie down. Sometimes I’ll scribble notes, fill out worksheets, diagram relationships, plot scenes with sticky notes, and outline extensively. Other times, I dive right in. Typically there’s an idea I’m wrestling with, and it bugs me until I write about it. Over the years, I’ve learned not to worry too much about getting that first scene perfect. Instead, I will hack away at the book, building momentum. Then I step back and try to work out the first scene, which IMHO should be a like snow globe, a microcosm of the work that follows.

 

What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?

Best books and blogs on writing. Hmmm. I love Stephen King’s On Writing, Annie Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Hallie Ephron’s Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel, to name a few. William Zinsser’s On Writing Well totally transformed my writing career. He explains that writing is a process of discovery. Before I read his book, I thought I had to have all the answers before I started writing. Now I know that I’ll never have all the answers, and if I let that stop me, I’ll never get anything done. As for bloggers, Elizabeth Spann Craig offers terrific information. I’m a huge fan of Joanna Penn, for many reasons. Her podcast is essential for staying current with both writing and marketing.

 

What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?

To relax, I work on miniatures. Two years ago, I built my first dollhouse and entered it in an international contest. It received an Honorable Mention. Since then, I’ve felt like I can tackle anything! I’ve even used power tools. Whooohoo! And when you come to visit me at home in Florida, I’ll show you where I grouted my bathroom floor. (My motto is: If you can do it small, you can do it big.) When I’m not working on a structure or furnishings, I make miniature rugs, using French knots. (That’s 2,000 knots per square inch, in case you are counting.) Needlework designer Theresa Layman calls me a “knotty girl,” and I’m proud of that.

 

Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?

Personal heroines include authors Charlaine Harris and Elaine Viets. I fell in love with Charlaine’s Shakespeare series, especially when I read the scene where the protagonist Lily Bard told a whining woman that nobody has a charmed life. All of us have bumps, bruises, and scars. We fall, we pick ourselves up, and we keep going. Charlaine is incredibly wise, and her work springs from a deep desire to remind her readers of the importance of tolerance and acceptance.

Elaine Viets has been a wonderful friend and mentor. She’s also an inspiration, because she has survived six strokes and fought her way back to health. All of us in the mystery community wondered if she’d ever write again. Not only did she regain her ability to write, she’s going gangbusters and adding a new thriller series to her body of work. Although most people think of cozies as being lightweight, Elaine always includes social commentary in her books, which makes them a cut above the normal books in our genre.

 

Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?

I worked in a greenhouse to put myself through college, Ball State. Back then, it was common to dig up local dirt, mix it with vermiculite, and use it for soil. Turns out, the government used to plant hemp—AKA marijuana—in Indiana during WWII for the war effort. The hemp was turned into rope. Those seeds lingered in the rich Hoosier farmlands. One day, as the greenhouse owner, Mr. Waldo, walked past me carrying a huge fuchsia, I did a double-take. It looked to me like pot had sprouted in the hanging planter. I pulled Mr. Waldo aside, told him what I thought he was holding—and watched in horror as he dropped the fuchsia and sprinted into his office. He came back with a Crimestoppers brochure written by local law enforcement agencies. Now you have to realize this was at the height of the War on Drugs. We were constantly being shown TV commercials that asked, “Why do you think they call it dope?” Dear Mr. Waldo was 70 years old and a real straight arrow. He opened the Crimestoppers booklet to a page where they’d attached a laminated cannabis leaf. Yup. I’d correctly identified an illegal substance. Mr. Waldo thought I’d saved him from a life behind bars. I became his official “mary-gee-wanna” spotter for the rest of my greenhouse career.

 

What was your best date ever?

My best dates have always been with my husband. The most memorable was the night in 2009 when we attended the Kennedy Center Spring Gala. I saw Barbara Walters, Alan Greenspan, and other luminaries milling about. We had prime seats in a patron’s box in the balcony. At the intermission, I loaded my purse with M&Ms, because I was starving. During the second half of the concert (a tribute to Hungarian music), I was the most popular girl in our box because I shared my candies. Afterwards, dinner was served on the plaza of the Kennedy Center, overlooking the Potomac. When I found my place at our table, I saw that the place card immediately to my right said: Béla Szombati, Ambassador to Hungary. I thought, Is this a joke? But it wasn’t! Béla had only been in our country ten days. He was as fascinated by me as I was by him. (And ladies, he was easy on the eyes. After a few drinks, a woman at another table came up and said to him, “I just loved you in that new James Bond movie.”) All in all, it was an enchanted evening.

 

Tell us something you are really proud of.

I’m really proud of my son. He’s loved video games ever since he was a kid, even though we did everything we could to dissuade him from playing them. Now he’s an owner of Team Dignitas, an esports company. He has a business partnership with the Philadelphia 76ers. How cool is that?

 

Can you confide something you wish you were better at?

I don’t think you have room for everything! Okay, here goes: I wish I was better at 1.) eating mindfully 2.) exercising regularly 3.) not getting my feelings hurt 4.) setting priorities 5.) saying, “No” 6.) scheduling my time 7.) being organized 8.) downsizing 9.) swimming 10.) sports in general 11.) accepting compliments 12.) moving outside of my comfort zones 13.) speaking French 14.) standing up for myself 15.) being kind to myself and…are you out of room yet?

Lol, we have the same goals 🙂

 

Joanna Campbell Slan:  RT Reviews has called Joanna Campbell Slan “one of mystery’s rising stars,” and it’s easy to see why. She’s the award-winning and national bestselling author of three mystery series. Her first series, the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery series, was an Agatha Award Finalist, and features ace scrapbooker Kiki Lowenstein. Previous to writing fiction, Joanna penned seven scrapbooking technique books and wrote for Creating Keepsakes, Memory Makers, and PaperKuts. She has taught scrapbooking online, on cruises, and in Europe, as well as here in the US.

http://joannacampbellslan.com

http://www.facebook.com/JoannaCampbellSlan

Linda Gordon Hengerer

Linda was a football widow during her first marriage, and she wrote American Football Basics (original title Football Basics) because she thought more women would enjoy football if they understood it. She is also interested in food and wine, and has written an easy guide to food and wine pairings.

New Jersey native turned Florida resident, Linda moved to Vero Beach in 1996. She writes the Beach Tea Shop Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in an area suspiciously like Vero Beach.

https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Gordon-Hengerer/e/B008ENHISC

LouLou Harrington

Writer, traveler, and nature enthusiast Loulou Harrington is the author of the Myrtle Grove Garden Club mystery series. Originally a native of northwest Arkansas, Loulou now resides in the Tulsa area and spends frequent weekends wandering among the lakes and foothills of northeastern Oklahoma, the setting of her cozy series and an area she hopes her readers will enjoy as much as she does.

Beginning her career as a romance novelist, she published nine contemporary romances with Harlequin, writing as Ada Steward, before succumbing to the lure of her first love: the mystery novel.

First discovering Nancy Drew as a child and continuing with Miss Marple and Travis McGee as an adult, Loulou learned to appreciate the puzzle and suspense of the mystery combined with the familiar characters and settings of the recurring series. So while she still believes that into each life a little romance should fall, she has come to the opinion that it should trip over at least one dead body along the way.

http://www.facebook.com/loulouharrington.author

http://loulouharrington.com/

Neil Plakcy

Neil Plakcy is the author of the Mahu Investigations, mysteries which take place in Hawaii. They are: Mahu, Mahu Surfer, Mahu Fire, Mahu Vice, Mahu Blood, Mahu Men, Zero Break, Natural Predators and Children of Noah.

His M/M romance novels are GayLife.com, Mi Amor, Love on Site, Love on the Web, Love on Stage, Love on the Pitch, and the Have Body, Will Guard series: Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, Dancing with the Tide, Teach Me Tonight, Olives for the Stranger, The Noblest Vengeance and Finding Freddie Venus.

He has also written the golden retriever mysteries In Dog We Trust, The Kingdom of Dog, Dog Helps Those, Dog Bless You, Whom Dog Hath Joined and Dog Have Mercy.

He is co-editor of Paws & Reflect: A Special Bond Between Man and Dog (Alyson Books, 2006) and editor of many gay erotica anthologies. A journalist, book reviewer and college professor, he is also a frequent contributor to gay anthologies.

http://www.mahubooks.com/

Teresa Trent

Teresa Trent writes cozy mysteries that take place in small towns in Texas. She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee but with her father in the military, didn’t stay for long. She’s lived all over, but likes to call three states her favorite homes. Colorado, Illinois and of course, Texas.  Being a fan of the Andy Griffith Show and Murder She Wrote she loves creating quirky small towns and colorful characters. She decided to feature a character with Down syndrome in the Pecan Bayou series because after giving birth to her own son with DS, she discovered there were very few people like him in the world of cozy mysteries. If you’re wondering which book to start with in the Pecan Bayou Series, start with #1 A Dash of Murder. Many of Teresa’s mysteries occur before or during a holiday and A Dash of Murder is her Halloween book.

http://teresatrent.com

https://www.facebook.com/teresatrentmysterywriter

Terry Ambrose

Terry Ambrose started out skip tracing and collecting money from deadbeats and quickly learned that liars come from all walks of life. He never actually stole a car, but sometimes hired big guys with tow trucks and a penchant for working in the dark when “negotiations” failed.

A resident of Southern California, he loves spending time in Hawaii, especially on the Garden Island of Kauai, where he invents lies for others to read. His years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons including—always keep your car in the garage.

http://terryambrose.com/

http://facebook.com/suspense.writer

Amy Vansant

Amy specializes in fun, comedic reads about accident prone, easily distracted women with questionable taste in men. So, autobiographies, mostly.

Amy is the former East Coast Editor of SURFER Magazine but the urge to drive up and down the coast interviewing surfers has long since left her. Currently, she is a nerd and Labradoodle mommy who works at home with her goofy husband.

She loves interacting with fans when the dog isn’t laying on top of her, so stop by her blog or Twitter and say hi!

http://www.amyvansant.com/

https://www.facebook.com/theamyvansant

Randy Rawls

I’m Randy Rawls, author of mysteries and thrillers. I grew up in northeastern North Carolina, then did a career in the Army. I’ve been an avid reader all my life and have tried to incorporate what I learned from the best into my writing. While I live in South Florida, my heart resides in Texas. I’d love to hear from you at RandyRawls@att.net.

http://www.randyrawls.com/

https://www.facebook.com/randy.rawls.315

Christina Freeburn

Reading has been a part of Christina’s life since she can remember and soon developed into a love of writing.

Read about her writing process, her hobbies, and the heroines she believes are a self-rescue princess at her blog The Self-Rescue Princess.

https://www.christinafreeburn.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christina-Freeburn/245592138834150

https://theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com/

Wendy Sand Eckel

Degrees in criminology and social work, followed by years of clinical practice, helped WENDY SAND ECKEL explore her fascination with how relationships impact motivation, desire, and inhibition. Combined with her passion for words and meaning, writing mystery is a dream realized. She lives in Maryland where she enjoys family and friends, two cats, and living near the Chesapeake Bay.

https://www.wendysandeckelauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/wsandeckel/

Karen Cantwell

Karen’s novel, Take the Monkeys and Run was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (under the original title of Monkeys in My Trees)and has gone on to be a Kindle bestseller on Amazon. She has written three more books in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series: Citizen Insane, Silenced by the Yams, and Saturday Night Cleaver.

When she’s not writing, Karen loves gardening and spending time with her family. She is currently working on the release of Keep Me Ghosted, the first book in the new Sophie Rhodes Ghostly Romance Series, as well as beginning the draft of Kiss Me, Tate, part of the upcoming Barbara Marr spin-off, Love in Rustic Woods Series.

https://www.karencantwell.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Cantwell-Author/122900861086954

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

 The authors will be awarding a $50 Etsy GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Birth of a Hero #NewRelease #ChandlerCounty #amwriting


17841780_667887290084508_1151115451_n

Readers often ask where do writers come up with ideas for their characters? In my case, the birth of a hero comes from a variety of sources. News reports, television programs, books I’ve read; all are great resources.

cropped-cup-of-coffee-1280537_1280.jpg

But my favorite characters grow organically from stories I’ve already written. For my new release, Missing: The Lady Said No, the idea for my hero, Augustus Grant, came to me from a previous book where the main character was a mystery writer suffering from writer’s block.

Gus is the character my hero, Joel Carpenter, (in the holiday romance novel Silver Bells) was writing about. I fell in love with the bumbling detective and decided then and there he needed his own story!

16466420_10211613245151079_1174612553_o

Gus is smart, irreverent, a little bit clumsy (okay, a LOT clumsy!) and still in love with the girl he let get away.

Rebecca Hayes.

Here’s a short excerpt. Gus is investigating a murder at a horse ranch and runs into the one person he never thought he’d see again.

Becky stood at the top of the grand staircase and felt the world give way.

Augustus.

It had been too long.

And not long enough.

She couldn’t believe he was here. Or maybe she could. It had always been his dream to become a detective. After all, that was the reason they had split up, wasn’t it? He’d craved the excitement, and she’d needed stability. Safety.

Well, it was too late now, on many levels. The best thing she could do would be to put on a brave face and escape with her pride.

“Hello, Augustus,” she called. Careful not to let him see her trembling, she gripped the banister and reluctantly went to join the man who had stolen her heart. He was every bit as tall as she remembered. Still just as handsome, too. A few more lines around the eyes and mouth maybe. She shied away from his lips, focusing instead on the crooked tie and wrinkled shirt. A wry smile touched her mouth.

“I see you still haven’t figured out the right side of an iron,” she murmured.

He glanced down and ran a strong, tanned hand down his chest. Something fluttered to life in hers.

He met her gaze with a grin that slowly faded away. “I looked for you,” he said.

Oh, God.

This wasn’t what she expected. After leaving Bourbonville and moving here, to Balmoral, she’d second-guessed her decision often, but never realized maybe he did too, just a little.

“You’re the cop. You could have found me if you tried.”

As you can see, there are a lot of unresolved feelings between these two. The question is, can Gus make it right? You’ll have to read on to find out. 🙂

missing-the-lady-said-no-ebook

Get Your Copy Here

Add To Your TBR List

This is part of a branded series set around the running of the famous Kentucky Derby. I hope you’ll enjoy my story and give the other books in the Chandler County series a try!

CC-1

Celebrating my first featured @Bookbub #Sale #mgtab


For an indie author, the tough job of writing a book, editing, choosing covers (all of mine are done by the fabulous Kim Killion), learning how to format (if you’re doing your own I highly recommend Vellum!) and uploading to your chosen vendors can seem overwhelming.

hustle-and-bustle-1738072_640

Fortunately, there are many informative blogs, such as Kristen Lamb, Writer Unboxed, and Bookbub to guide our tottering steps through an unfamiliar territory.

One of the main pieces of advice I’ve heard over and over again is the importance of building a backlist. It only makes sense; how can you keep a reader’s interest if you only have one or two books to share with them?

To this end, I’ve been hard at work the past couple of years and just listed my ninth book, Missing: The Lady Said No for pre-order!

missing-the-lady-said-no-ebook

Another tip I’ve learned thanks to the mentorship of two special ladies, Mimi Barbour and Anna Markland, is the importance of building connections in the writing world. One of the best ways to do this is multi-author box sets.

I’ve been blessed to be involved with some very fine authors in these sets and made friendships that I treasure. I can’t recommend this enough-if you get the opportunity to join a box set, go for it!

One caveat I have to make to this- do your research. I went into one set where I didn’t know the coordinator, but was familiar with some of the other authors. A few months later, after many unanswered emails and Facebook messages, we found she had taken our money and our manuscripts, and skipped out on her obligation to the group. It was only through the hard work of some of the other members we received our money and a legal letter that she would never publish our books in any part.

So now, how do you get the word out about your new book babies?

One way is to post on blogs like this. Another is to promote on the many Facebook reading groups and tweeting five or six times a day (yes, they recommend at least that much!), or you can apply to book promotional sites.

Some are easy and not too expensive, but they also don’t have the benefits you can reap from the granddaddy of advertising: Bookbub

There are many different rumors about the difficulty of landing an ad with Bookbub, and to be honest, I tried a LOT before they finally accepted me, yay!

One thing I can say, it’s NOT true that you need a bunch of reviews (I heard everything from 50-150) I have 5, yep, 5.

It’s also NOT true that you need to be on all vendors sites before they will accept you. I’m loyal to Amazon.

It IS true that a professional cover is critical. As is a good blurb- one without grammatical errors and isn’t five pages long 🙂

It IS true that Bookbub is expensive to advertise with, but then, they have hundreds of thousands of followers and almost always propel a book into the top hundred in Amazon (Fingers crossed!)

It IS true that you can advertise internationally for a minimal upgrade. (I did, hoping to gain a new readership)

I’ve tried to benefit from this promotion by booking some smaller sites before and after the big day. I also set one of my other books to #Free during that period, The Guardian.

#FREE Feb 5-9 2017

her-taste-reminded-him-of-blue-skies-and-endless-meadows-of-songbirds-and-bubbling-brooks-she-was-his-fire-when-he-got-cold-and-food-when-he-was-hungry-she-made-him-weak-yet-superhero-strong-all

And don’t forget the pre-order for Missing: The Lady Said No. The book doesn’t release until April 25/17, but I thought this would be a good chance to gain early interest 🙂

So, I bet you’re wondering what book made it through the rigid Bookbub criteria?

JacquieBiggar_WoundedHearts3D_HR

Available for a limited time at just .99 pennies

BUY NOW!

And watch for it February 6 as Bookbub’s featured sale!

How about you? Any advice on writing or promoting you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you 🙂

Rookie Mistake by Alice Ward #SportRomance #Contemporary @AuthorAliceWard


Rookie Mistake
Alice Ward
(Beasts of Baseball, #1)
Publication date: October 1st 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Sports

I thought I’d achieved everything I ever wanted. Then I lost her…

Standing on the pitcher’s mound for a professional baseball team has been my dream since I was a small boy. Now I’m here, pitching for the newest team in the league — the New York Beasts — with the woman I’ve loved since high school by my side.

Calvin and Whitney forever! Wow, we made it.

But there’s a downside to instant fame and fortune, a trap that unleashes self-control and morals. A gilded cage that separates us from the real world. This is the big city, the major leagues — the big time. And temptation is around every corner. People change. We changed. Neither for the better. I don’t even recognize us anymore.

Calvin and Whitney forever? I used to think so, but the beasts that had been hibernating in both of us have taken control, and now I’m not so sure. The dream has become a nightmare. Can we wake and find our way back to each other?

Rookie Mistake is the first sexy installment in Alice Ward’s brand new sports romance series, The Beasts of Baseball. But don’t worry, this book has an emotionally charged HEA you won’t soon forget, and no cliffhanger.

Goodreads / Amazon

t3

Q&A WITH ALICE WARD

What motivated you to start writing?

I was a shy kid so lived out many of my fantasies through the stories I read. In time, I decided that I wanted to write some of my own. What a blessing it is that there are readers who want to read them!

What kept you going throughout the writing process?

Nothing keeps me going. I mean, I don’t need anything to keep me going. I absolutely love writing and look forward to it every day.

Who is your most meaningful character and why?

This is a tough question. It’s like asking me to choose between my babies. But if I’m forced to answer… I think all the characters in my first book, Reckless, were my most meaningful. That story… those characters… helped show me that I might actually be able to do this. Tell stories that other people want to read. So it will forever hold a special place in my heart.

What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?

I think this is, for me, the opposite. I was a shy kid so a big part of why I started to write was so I could have the adventures in my own head that I thought other people were having in real life. So, I guess I might be writing about the things I might want to do and then I just let my imagination take off from there.

Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.

Well, my mother brought me up to never lie so I guess I’ll have to tell you now that all my books are based on my own life. Before I settled down and got married, I had one hell of time!

What do you think makes a good story?

The characters – if I don’t care about them as I write them, then the reader won’t either. And, if the reader doesn’t care about them, having the best story in the world won’t save the book to make it an enjoyable read.

Do you ever experience writer’s block and if so, how do you overcome it?

If any other writers are reading this – please don’t hate me! I have so many overflowing ideas that my biggest problem is having enough time to write them all. So, no – I don’t experience writer’s block. At least, not yet. Hope I haven’t just jinxed myself!

What was the scariest moment of your life?

Hitting “Publish” for the first book I ever uploaded to Amazon. What a deliciously terrifying time that was! All my hopes and dreams went into that moment and I had no idea how it would all turn out. That book is called Reckless and I haven’t looked back since. I count my blessings every day.

What would we find under your bed?

Isn’t that where the monsters lurk? Oh wait, I’m a romance writer not a horror writer! Under my bed… probably a couple of dust bunnies and a paperback or three.

What hobbies do you actively pursue?

Reading… I tend to have a one-track mind. But I also enjoy scrapbooking. I have one dedicated to potential hot male characters and go to it when I need some inspiration.

If it was mandatory for everyone to read three books, what books would you suggest?

Any three books. It doesn’t matter what they are. Just read. Discover the joy of losing yourself in a good story.

 

Author Bio:

Alice Ward is the bestselling author of dozens of hot and steamy contemporary romances. She’s an amazingly prolific writer, releasing a new book almost every single month. Her books are widely read, especially by women and any other lovers of the romance genre. My Stepbrother, My Lover, was her first smash hit.

Alice lives in Miami with her hunky husband. The beach is her all time favorite place to relax with her laptop and write.

She might or might not have a thing for Gerard Butler (it’s the accent).

To find out what Alice is up to currently, visit authoraliceward.com.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

How Writing Is Like Hair Color #amwriting #Writertips


girl-856924_640

 

This might get a little longwinded so bear with me 🙂

 

How many of you remember arguing with your parents when you were a teen and desperately wanted to color your hair?

My daughter used to drive me crazy with these requests.

“Please, Mom, Stephanie’s mom let her do it.”

Or my personal favorite.

“You just don’t understand.”

No amount of talking would persuade her that it was a fad and it would pass. And I refused to allow her to change that beautiful golden-brown she’d been blessed with at birth.

Stale-mate.

Years later she became a mom and when her son wanted his hair shaved on the sides and colored blue on the top, she bought removable dye and did it for him.

The lesson?

Times change. People change.

Aiden almost 7 yrs old-March 2014

 

What does this have to do with writing you say?

Maybe nothing, but recently I’ve been hearing lots about author branding and when I delved further into what this mysterious identity might mean, this is what I found.

From a Google search:

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets.

business – The Basics of Branding – Entrepreneur

Makes sense; we all want an edge right?
Except, it’s not that easy, is it?
How do we decide our ‘brand?’ What does it look like? How do we promote it? Does it mean we can only write in one genre?
Many professionals tell us this is the case. Pick one road and ride it to the top.
Sounds good, right?
Except the top is a very slippery slope. It changes almost as fast as those hair color fads.
rockfall-99146_640
When you pick up a story to read, what do you choose? Is it the same genre time after time? Is it the genre you write in, or something completely different?
How does this affect your writing?
One of my favorite posts on finding your voice/brand comes from Chuck Wendig, who is a master at getting his point across.
This is another great post from The Writer’s Digest:
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that voice is as unique as you are, so don’t try hiding behind the latest fad.
Be who you are, and people will follow.
Jacquie Biggar