Reflections on My Online Launch party

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A week ago today was my virtual book launch. It was both exciting and scary. Exciting because it was a launch for my book and not someone else’s. Exciting because it was a launch for my book and not someone else’s. I’ve been to others launches. But being the center of the launch was surreal.

I don’t have the sales figures yet because my book released on the 15th. But I think the launch did bring more interest in my novel. Paige Boggs, my marketing guru thought it went well.

Be Proactive

I decided to be proactive in advance. I’ve read lots of blogs from successful authors to start garnering interests early. I posted some trivia facts about Secrets and Charades and things I’d learned from my research on my author page every Monday for seven weeks. Then I post the whole group as a post the day before the launch. Then I composed seven trivia questions to post on my launch. Some were true or false. Others were multiple choice questions. You could check the facts before answering or just guess. Of course, I had to post the answers at the end of the party so those who answered the trivia could grade themselves.

Every commenter was placed in my drawing for a variety of things. I gave away one paperback version and one kindle version of my book and amazon gift card and stuff related to my story.

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I posted about each item and how it related to the story. And I cut and pasted the trivia questions so I had more time to comment to commenters.

The last portion was a Q &A for me. People actually asked me questions—amazing. My friend and fellow-author John Turney kept everything pretty lively with his silly comments and fun questions. Having veterans of launch parties attend helped keep the discussions lively.

People hung around at the end to see who won what prizes.  Paige has a randomizer thingy that choices winners. The winners were pretty excited. And it seemed everyone , whether they stopped by for the whole two hours or for a few minutes had fun.

Those from my stage crew who could attended were among my guests and they brought along their friends.

Benefits of the party

I noticed this blog has picked up some more traffic.

More people have their curiosity piqued about the book and are talking about it with friends.

I’ve been notified by those who attended or just saw the announcement that they had ordered my book.

After the party

Now I’m busy with the help of my amazing husband sending out prizes to the lucky winners. Note to self. Postage is a real downer.

 

Have you ever attended a launch party? What did you think of it? Have you hosted one? How did it go for you?

 

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Rebecca Waters:Be Prepared Because God Has a Plan…and It Includes You

 

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Becky Waters

Rebecca Waters

Today I’m so pleases to have fellow-author Rebecca Waters sharing some wonderful insights with us.

The end of March marks the three-year anniversary of my first novel, Breathing on Her Own. A couple of life lessons have been reinforced for me since I made the decision to become a published author.

 

 

Lesson 1- God can see around the corners and has a plan for you.

As a child I enjoyed capturing my thoughts and ideas on paper. As an adult I used my writing skills to entertain my own children as well as students in my classroom. I followed God’s lead to pen both a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation at the University of Cincinnati. The door then opened for me to serve as the chair of the education department at a Christian university. The university needed someone with the background, credentials, and writing skills to put together a state approved and nationally accredited teacher education program.

I knew I was a writer. I didn’t think of myself as an author.

My husband and I made the decision to retire early following his quadruple bypass surgery. We gave ourselves one year to make plans to retire then we would pack up our belongings and head to Florida for the winter—Tom to golf and fish and me? I was clueless as to what I would do. I prayed about it.

In February, two months after we made that decision, I announced to my husband I would become a published author. Tom, the encourager, offered his full support. The notion was God’s, not mine. I got busy drafting a business plan for my writing and crafting a novel.

I signed up for two days at the Write-to-Publish conference in Illinois, where, by the way, I met Cindy Huff as we stood side-by-side signing up for appointments with agents and publishers. My last appointment of the conference was with Eddie Jones of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. We met, I pitched my book, and two months later I received a contract for Breathing on Her Own. I finished writing it a few days before my “retirement” party.51Zlo60t2cL._AC_US218_

Breathing on Her Own was released the last week of March 2014. My husband died in a bicycle accident the last week of October 2014.

I trust God because He can see around the corners. He knew I needed this new direction in my life. He also knew my words could inspire readers. He had more confidence in what I could accomplish than I did. I cling to Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

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Lesson 2- Do all you can to prepare yourself for the work God has called you to do.

That February morning I was confident I was going to become a published author. I used spring break to research and draft the business plan for my new career in writing. I made a list of my strengths and weaknesses and set out to learn everything I could about the industry. I now work with writers to draft their own business and marketing plans.

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Part of my business plan was to attend a writing conference. I could only afford two days of the four-day conference but I made the most of it. I picked the brains of the presenters, agents, editors, and publishers. I gleaned information from every attendee I met. I knew nothing about blogs, building a platform, or even how to write a query letter. I wasn’t sure what God intended for me to write. I only knew I needed to be prepared and to walk through any door He opened.

Convinced that blogging should be added to my business plan, I researched the topic, read several blogs (making note of what I liked and didn’t), and signed up for a free webinar on blogging. I drafted several posts, signed up with a blog host and launched A Novel Creation the first week of January 2013 from Florida.

 

Preparing for the work God has called me to do has been fruitful. In addition to that first novel, I’ve published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Home Health Aide Digest, and The Lookout Magazine. I’ve taken my blog posts a step further penning the Writing to Publish series which includes three titles: Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing, Marketing You and Your Writing 101, and Writing with E’s. Money received from these handbooks for writers goes to The Thomas R. Waters Memorial Scholarship for Ergonomics Research fund set up by the CDC Foundation.writing with e's Edd 3

You may already have these truths permeating every thought and activity in your life. But for me, the journey has been a good reminder that God can see around the corners so I need to prepare myself for what He has in store next. He has a plan.

In honor of the Third Anniversary of Breathing On Her Own Rebecca is offering a free Kindle version to one lucky Commenter.

About Breathing On Her Own

Molly Tipton looks forward to a peaceful retirement, but her life suddenly spirals out of control when her oldest daughter is involved in a terrible accident. An icy road and a sharp turn leave one woman dead, another clinging to life.

While two families grieve, details emerge that reveal Molly’s daughter was driving under the influence. As she prepares her daughter for the prospect of a vehicular homicide lawsuit, Molly discovers her oldest child is not the only one injured and forced to deal with past mistakes. If it’s true that time heals all wounds, what are we to do with our scars?

Click here to order Breathing On Your Own.

click here to order Kindle version of Designing a Business Plan for Writers

Click here to order  an Kindle copy of Marketing You and Your Writing 101

Click here to order a Kindle copy of Writing to Publish Writing with E’s

Learn more! Visit Rebecca’s site & Read  her blog
Let’s connect! Follow her on Twitter & Like  her on Facebook
 Ask any questions you may have about marketing and the business of writing. Becky will be happy to answer them.

 

 

 

When Your Book Debuts:Virtual Book Launch, Giveaways and Blog Tours

 

celebration-2003146_1280Virtual Parties pepper cyber space. These events cover everything from a new product line to a Birthday party for a loved one far away. Virtual Book launch parties are the new must do thing for Authors who are serious about marketing their books. I’ve been to a few. Now it is time for me to host my own. I’m looking forward to seeing how successful my launch will be.

My novel Secrets and Charades releases Wednesday. I’m celebrating on my Facebook Author page. click here. My marketing Diva Paige has set up the event and all of you are invited to attend. Here is the link to the event page.

I’ll be playing a trivia game. Commenters can find the answers on my Author page. The prizes are fun items related to my story. A few lucky commenters will win free copies of my novel in Kindle and paperback. I’m also adding an Amazon gift card to the mix. I’ll be premiering my book trailer as well.

We’ll have a fun and you won’t even have to leave your house. The cool thing about a virtual party is you can go visit it after the party is no longer live. So if 2-4pm CST doesn’t work for you check out the fun for a few more days.

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My biggest fear in planning this party is very few people will stop by to say hello and comment. And when we have a Q&A no one will have any questions. So, this is a big step for me. I’ll share what I learned from my experience in a later post.

Stop by, invite your friends. I won’t be posting on this blog Thursday because I’ll be busy decorating.

Blog Tours

Blog Tours are another must for Authors. So, I’m doing guest posts for twelve different blogs.Three have already been posted and the rest will post this week. Tomorrow the actual day my book releases you can find me on three more.

here Author Culture

here Beth Ziarnek

here Love lines from God

. I’ll be giving away books to commenters there too. More chances to win

Speaking of winners Heather Roberts is the first official winner of my novel from last weeks post on memes. Congratulations Heather.

 

 

 

Grammie, Why’s Your Picture On This Book?

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My three granddaughters with Grammie’s book.

You can see by the picture my proof copy arrived. It was a surreal moment. I stared at the cover. Ran my hand over the picture. Turned it over to see my face staring back at me. Opened the pages and read snippets. I wrote these words. Somehow it doesn’t seem possible that the story I labored over is now between the covers of a book.

My granddaughter, Victoria said it best. “Grammie , why is your picture on this book?”

Books are something we have. Something we take for granted. My grandchildren read their stories with no thought of the process involved in writing them. Most author pictures are strangers to the reader.

The revelation comes to us. Books are written by real people when we know the author. People have told me how excited they are to know a “real” author. My minimal celebrity status feel weird.

I’m thrilled to have a book published. But I know this is only the beginning. I don’t want to be a one-book wonder. I know my fame lasts only until the reader finds another author to follow. Unlike movie stars, no one will remember what I look like. They may vaguely remember the title. And in the pool of millions of authors, I am a raindrop in the ocean.

Still, it’s nice to know my efforts are recognized.

I love this story and hope others do too. That would be my greatest accolade. Someday my granddaughter will have enough reading skills under her belt to read this story if she chooses too. I hope the connection will help her understand why my picture is on the back cover. I hope by then to have many more stories with my face smiling at perspective readers.

Secrets and Charades releases March 15th. You can order it on Amazon in either paperback or kindle. Click here.secret-charades-front-cover

Want to keep following my blog? Maybe see some more cute pictures of grandchildren. 🙂 Click on the button in the left-hand column to get started.

 

 

Three Favorite Reads for February

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Writers should be readers.

We often hear, “Writers should be readers.”  And I love knowing it’s okay to do so. It helps stimulate my brain when I take a break from writing my own novels. In the last month, I’ve read three books. One was a collection of seven historical romances, a contemporary romance, and a humorous romance.  They were all page-turners that kept me engaged. Maybe you’d like to check them out as well.

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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

The historical novella collection, Seven Brides for Seven Texans has all seven Hart brothers scrambling to find brides before years’ end. Their father has a heart condition he is keeping from his sons. All seven are content to be bachelors but Pa wants to see grandkids before he dies. If these handsome Texans aren’t married before December they forfeit their inheritance.

Each story is clever and the couples involved are very different. The only common denominator is the inheritance. I loved the premise and the creative of all seven authors: Amanda Barrett,Susan Page Davis, Keli Gwyn, Vicki McDonough, Gabrielle Meyer, Loma Seilstad and Erica Vetsch. Their scenarios are so believable scenario while blending characters from the other books into the story line. As each brother finds his bride the womenfolk population grows on the ranch. By the time, Bowie the lone holdout marries life as the bachelors knew it is drastically changed.

At times, I laughed out loud and other times my eyes misted with tears. You’ll love the Hart boys and their feisty brides.

51ogzyn6ixl-_sy346_Dance Over Me

The next novel Dance Over Me  by Candee Fick has a wonderful premise. A musical theater major finally finds a job performing in Dinner Theater. We often forget Christians pursue many different career paths.

Dani is a product of foster care and was adopted at 10 by her dance instructor. Her one main goal in life is finding her baby brother who was adopted shortly after her parent were killed in an auto accident. Her childhood promise to look after him still haunts her. Now she Is pursuing her dream of being and entertainer while calling every Wilson in the Fort Collins Colorado white pages in hopes of finding Jake.

Alex the hero, trumpet player and band leader in=s content in the family business. His parents own the Wardrobe Dinner Theater. The first musical performed is 42nd Street. The plot of the novel loosely follows the storyline of the musical. It’s fun and faith-building. Dani comes to realized various truths about her relationship with God and people. I loved the title Danced Over Me based on a scripture verse declaring God dances over us with joy. What a wonderful reminder.

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Every Bride Needs A Groom

The last of the three was Every Bride Needs a Groom by Janice Thompson. So funny. Told in first person through the eyes of small town girl Katie Sue. She loves her hometown Fairfield Texas. She never wants to leave. Her entire life is one big rut of sameness. Not until she enters a contest to win a free designer wedding gown from Cosmopolitan Bride does she begin to discover the rut she’s in. Her longtime boyfriend never proposes and leaves her with the embarrassing dilemma of truth vs lies. While spending time in Dallas trying to sort the no groom mess out she meets Brady James, a pro basketball player on medical leave working alongside his mother at Cosmopolitan Bride. Katie’s zany family and close-knit small town upbringing colors the basic plot with lots of funny twists. Including three brothers, an aunt and a crazy cousin who can’t stay out of her business.  Everything works out in a deliciously entertaining way by the last page.

Read for inspiration

All three of these books a total of 9 stories in all inspired me. The words are honed to perfection and I found myself experiencing Texas in the past and present and Colorado’s musical theater lifestyle. I love the you-are-there feeling in novels.

Writers must make time to read. Maybe you don’t read as many books a month as I do. But even one in two months can make a difference in your writing.  I read in my genre and out of it. It keeps my creative juices challenged. And there is a certain amount of writing technique we learn through the osmosis of reading others people’s works.

Check out these books by clicking on the covers.

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What have you been reading this month?

 

 

 

An Interview with Jake Marcum Hero of Secrets and Charades

s-c-jakes-quoteSecrets and Charades has a very interesting hero. Jake Marcum, rancher, Civil War veteran and doting uncle. I corralled him long enough to do this interview.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Well, ma’am, Evangeline insisted it was my turn. Not so sure how interesting I’ll be but go ahead and ask your questions.

Tell us a bit about your childhood.

I had two brothers and a sister. Our family headed west when my Pa got gold fever in ‘49. Our wagon broke down near Ben Mitchell’s place. He talked sense into Pa and taught him all he knew about ranching. Our small spread adjoined Ben’s property.

What happened to your family?

My sister run off with some no count drummer. That’s a traveling salesman. Then Clevis went back to Kentucky to attend college. He wanted to be a lawyer. I’d rather ranch. When the conflict broke out Clevis planned to join the Confederate Army. Pa sent me to Kentucky to bring him home. My older brother persuaded me to join the cause instead. He died six months later. My little brother Robert died from an injury falling off his horse. My Ma had died before I went to get Clevis and Pa died while I was away.

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photo by morguefile.com

What was it like when you returned from the war?

Tougher than the battlefield. There was this gal, Nora. I thought we had an understanding. While I was gone, she’d married my brother and expecting their child.   Well, I ain’t proud of my action at the time. Nightmares from the war made me unfit to be around. Ben Mitchell invited me to join his outfit. He helped me dry out and introduced me to the Lord. He’d lost both his sons in the war so he kinda adopted me. I inherited his ranch when he passed. A year later Nora died in childbirth. They buried her newborn son with her. My brother and I were working out our differences when he died. My niece, Juliet come to live with me. She was six. Having her in my life helped heal the rift between Robert and me.

After your conversion, did you still have nightmares?

Sure. God changed me and helped me be a better man. But when the responsibilities of running this spread make me lose sleep—the nightmares come. And worrying about Evangeline coming gave me a few doozies. I still have them. Not as often. I reckon it’s a cross I must bear.

What challenges did you encounter taking over a ranch the size of the Double M?

Yeah. The neighbors looked at me as a gold-digger. But  I think you mention it in your book. Anyway,  Ben was a real Duke or something back in England. He called the ranch the Royal M. I think his surname was something different before he came to America. Anyway, the Double M stands for Mitchell and Marcum.  Several of Ben’s crew have stayed on with me over the years. Cookie Slade was Ben’s old foreman before he got gored by a steer. He stays on helping where he can. Don’t know what I’d do without him. He’s the one who encouraged me to take in Juliet and get me a mail-order bride.Brides71

What were you looking for in a bride?

Let just say, I think God was laughing when I made my request. He knew the kind of wife I needed even if I didn’t.

What was your biggest challenge before Evangeline came into your life?

There were two. Too few cowboys to run the ranch.  My wealthy neighbor kept stealing my men by offering them huge wages. The loyal ones stay. Sides they don’t like that Farley character much. He thinks he’s King of the county.

The second, I had to juggle teaching Juliet to read and cipher around chores. So, her education was sketchy. I felt like I’d betrayed my sister-in-law when I saw how much of a tomboy Juliet was becoming. Nora wanted her daughter to be the bell of the ball, not a ranch hand. So, finding an educated wife to teach my niece was my number priority.

Thanks so much for spending time with my readers.

My pleasure, ma’am.

If you missed my interview with Evangeline, the heroine of Secrets and Charades click here.

Jake and Evangeline’s story Secrets and Charades is available for preorder on Amazon.

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An Interview with Secrets and Charades Heroine Evangeline

secret-charades-front-coverToday, I’ve invited Dr. Evangeline Olson-Marcum to my blog. She is the heroine of my Historical Romance, Secrets and Charades, set in the imaginary town of Charleton Texas circa 1872. I thought an exclusive interview with Evangeline might be fun. I’ve asked her to share back-story and tidbits, not in the novel.

Welcome, Evangeline.

It is my honor. As I told Juliet, family history is important. So, please ask your questions.

Tell us about your parents and siblings?

I was born in New York, one of six children. I was the youngest girl and my baby brother Charley and I were close. My father Hans Olson’s parents came from Norway and my mother Molly O’Malley immigrated here from Ireland with her sister May. Pa owned a small mercantile, and she worked as a maid. It was love at first sight. They left New York when I was a wee thing and homesteaded in Wisconsin. Uncle Carl had offered to bring Pa into his business but he had his heart set on farming.

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How was life after your mother died?

Pa spoiled me. I have my mother’s burgundy hair and green eyes. While my three sisters have Pa’s blond hair and blue-eyed. I spent more time playing with Charley then learning domestic skills. Greta, Heidi, and Katie took turns mothering me. If they joined forces, I hadn’t a prayer. When I was 12 my father died and Ernest, the eldest took over the farm. By then Greta and Heidi were married and Katie engaged.

Are you comfortable telling my readers what happened when you were 13?

Not really. I’ll just say the months I spent in New York with Uncle Carl’s family changed me. I buried the details in a journal and the hurt hidden in my heart.

Why did you become a doctor?

My sister Katie married a doctor. Shamus was a pacifist. When the War between the States broke out, he offered medical aid to both sides of the conflict. She and I became his nurses. We gathered the wounded from the battlefield. Confederate and Union soldiers. Shamus encouraged me to pursue a medical degree. Unlike Katie, I discovered I liked restoring health. By the time, I found a medical school that accepted female students my apprenticeship under Shamus had put me well ahead of the male students. The challenge of staying at the top of the class as a female was exhausting. The professors and male students did their best to discourage me. After completing my degree, I went into practice with Shamus. Even though the community knew me, they did not respect me as a doctor.

1870s womanWhy would a doctor choose to be a mail-order bride?

My niece, Maggie, trapped me into it. And of course, the secrets from my past. God had me right where he wanted me. Your readers will have read my story for themselves.

What would you like readers to learn from your story?

My heart changed when I accepted the lesson Jesus had for me. The past does not dictate my future. The Lord forgives and offers a new beginning. I hope your readers will take courage and embrace their faith with confidence.

Thanks for coming, Evangeline

My Pleasure.

Here is the back-cover copy for Secrets and Charades:

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage.

If you want to learn more pick up a copy of Secrets and Charades available for pre-order.

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