Cozy up with a Christmas Novella

The Holiday season can be a busy time of year. For me it’s not Christmas without reading a few Christmas novels. It’s a tradition as beloved as watching the cheesy Hallmark movies. If you can’t read a whole novel why not a novella?

Let me share a few I’ve read this year.

A Door County Christmas

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All four novellas are set in Door County, all have a Christmas cactus in the mix and each has healing framed in humor.

Backcover copy

.In this new and updated release of a popular Christmas novella collection, peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up—just as Lola the innkeeper promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love—along with cactus blooms—as promised?

 

If you only have time to read one Christmas novella I strongly recommend The ornament Keeper.

The Ornament Keeper.

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Eva Marie Everson is a fav author of mine. She writes southern fiction that keeps the reader engaged and in the scene until the last word on the last page. The main characters in this novella are married with a family and a messed-up relationship. As a reader we get to see the problems. It takes the couple a bit longer to figure it out. Ornaments play a key role in revealing things to the reader. I loved it. Read it in a few hours.

Back Cover copy:

Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays. The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, “I do.” Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.

For all my historical romance readers you’ll love Mary Conneally’s collection.

Three Christmas Novellas: Longhorn Christmas, The Sweetest Gift, and The Christmas Candle.

Three aweet stories that take you back to a different time and remind you of the true meaning of Christmas. I was particularly interested in The Sweet Gift as it is based on her great grandparents love story.

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Back cover copy:

Three previously released Christmas novellas.
Longhorn Christmas
Netty Lewis, a lonely young widow is saved from a raging mama longhorn by a passing cowboy who’s been wandering since the end of the Civil War.
She needs help surviving her rugged life and caring for Jeremiah, her young son. And that means rounding up a nice-sized herd of wild-as-wolves longhorns.
Netty and Roy, along with Jeremiah begin a journey toward Christmas, family, home and love.
And a herd of longhorns are making the way hard.

A sweet re-telling of The Gift of the Magi–with a happy ending
The Sweetest Gift
She longs for music. He needs a valuable horse to improve his herd.
When Christmas comes the gift they truly give is the gift of love.

The Christmas Candle
A lonely widower with a pair of out-of-control sons he never got to know while their mother was alive.
A woman with a love of nature and beauty and scent…and the little boys seem determined to destroy her way of life.
A feisty Ozark mountain granny who doesn’t put up with much nonsense.
The gift of a candle for Christmas and a Christ child who is a perfect match for this scent of heaven.

Grab a blanket, your favorite beverage and snuggle up with a Christmas story. Share in the comments your favorite Christmas novel, novella or collection. Maybe it will inspire someone for a last minute Christmas gift.

 

 

 

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An interview with Normandie Fischer and a Release Day Giveaway

Welcome, Normandie. I love your novels centered around sailing. Excited about your newest one  The Sea Prayers releasing today. I just got my preordered copy today. So excited. Before we talk about your novel let’s talk about your writing journey.

Author N Fischer

My brilliant eighth-grade English teacher inspired me to write poetry, and that poetic voice carried me through the turbulent teen years and all that came next in a life filled with messy moments. In my mid-twenties, I was hired as a proofreader and moved from that to copy editor and finally to senior substantive editor for a publishing company in Washington, DC—excellent for honing my skills in non-fiction and narrative non-fiction. It wasn’t until my early thirties that I decided to try writing fiction as a creative outlet. I’d been sculpting (mostly commissioned portraits by then), but I wanted more, and writing what I loved to read seemed to fill that need.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to go from paring a manuscript to bare bones for a technical tome to enlarging those spare words to create a fictional world? I read every how-to book published by Writers Digest Books, and I wrote, slashed, added, rewrote, and learned.

My first foray into crafting a full-length novel brought accolades, a contest win, and my first agent, but no publishing contract. So I wrote another manuscript and another and another. By now I had a second agent to whom I submitted manuscripts from on board our boat, Sea Venture. I was having so much fun sailing the Sea of Cortez that I didn’t push very hard for greater success; I just wrote and rewrote in gorgeous settings.

By 2011, my husband and I had to return home to NC to care for my aging mama. My life as a published author began with the sale of my debut novel, Becalmed, (which happened to be my third manuscript) and its release in 2013. Now I write from the Carolina coast, which is spectacular in its own way, and instead of dodging hurricanes by sailing to a safe port, we dodge by driving to a safe haven.

What a wonderful adventure you’ve had. Now let’s tak about your latest publishing project?

Sea Prayers ebook 9

The Sea Prayers!

Release date Today!

A waitress, a megastar, and an ex-addict wage war for the heart of a young girl.

Thirteen years ago, a spiked drink left Agnes with a permanent reminder of the man who date-raped her.

Her daughter looks like him, sounds like him, and even listens to his platinum records (of course, the dude’s a mega star because nothing is fair) but Brisa is everything Agnes has in the world. At least, she is until the day this music star sets his sights on getting himself a ready-made family.

He’s got millions of dollars, millions of fans, a high-powered legal team, and half Brisa’s DNA. Agnes has a run-down house, a friend who’s almost three years sober and afraid to say he loves her, and a lawyer willing to work pro bono.

Oh, and the whole town of Beaufort. That’s right. She’s got all those Beaufort folk at her back, praying to the God she has rejected, and not one of them is going to let Brisa go without a fight.

Another story of faith and redemption from the author of Sailing out of Darkness.

What inspired you to write The Sea Prayers?

Characters show up in my head, hinting at a story through snippets of dialogue or a line of narrative. For The Sea Prayers, it was this one: “How had her accidental sperm donor—or, to be more precise, her rapist sperm planter—found her?”

I couldn’t wait to find out more. Think of the questions those words generate.

Who was raped? What was she like at the time of the rape—and now?

What made her vulnerable?

Who raped her? What happened to him?

Were there consequences for her? How does she deal with them?

What happens?

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to tour younger self about writing, what would it be?

You don’t have to aspire to be someone else’s idea of great; you have to aspire to be the best you possible. Don’t put off beginning the process just because you imagine you’re better at something else and don’t ever let rejection hit a pause button in your head.

What’s next after The Sea prayers.

In what I imagine will be the final Carolina Coast story, my WIP, Shoal Waters, revolves around a woman who discovers that her memory is failing—and who tries to protect herself while she still can from her manipulative and very unhappy daughter. (I’m also working on a third Isaac’s House novel, just to keep my hand in the world of romantic suspense.)

What genre do you read for fun?

I require happy endings—or at least hopeful ones—in the books I enjoy. My attention was caught early on by comedy of manners authors such as Jane Austen and Balzac in translation, then by the humorous books of Georgette Heyer. But I read prolifically, which means I’m open to many genres if the books are well written (excepting futuristic, vampire, or erotica). Currently, my very favorite author is Charles Martin, who just writes good books.

More about Normandie:

A life-long sailor, Normandie Fischer has been writing and editing professionally since the seventies. She and her husband retired from cruising Pacific Mexico in their ketch, Sea Venture, to care for her aging mother. In 2013, the three of them sailed from Beaufort, NC, to NYC to publicize Becalmed and to welcome Normandie’s first grandchild, Ella, into the world. The Sea Prayers is Normandie’s seventh book, and number five among the Carolina Coast novels.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

My Website:

www.normandiefischer.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NormandieFischer/

Amazon Author:  https://www.amazon.com/author/normandiefischer/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingOnBoard/

Buy Links:

Carolina Coast Novels:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H5PYJSW/

Isaac’s House Novels:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MYV8IHQ/

The Sea Prayers

https://amzn.to/2wFSa5X

https://www.books2read.com/u/m0geDl

Thanks for sharing Normandie. Now for your giveaway. Comment on this post for a chance to win an e-book copy of The Sea Prayer.  Tell me what part of her interview inspires you and/or if you sail.  Winner will announced next Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview with the Hero of New Duet Dan Sweeney

As promised, I have Dan Sweeney, the hero of my latest novel New Duet. And once again we’ll be talking about some interesting factoids that may not have made it into the novel.

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Welcome Dan, or should I call you Daniel?

No ma’am, the name is Dan. Dad never liked long names. Then Uncle Paul told me an Old Testament character was named Dan. I had a heck of a time convincing teachers and the army that Dan was my legal name.

If you hadn’t mentioned the army, I’d have guessed it by the ma’am address. Is that where you lost your leg?

No, ma’am. I left my fingers in Afghanistan and shards from an IED explosion cut my cheek. I lost my leg in the good old USA. You’ll need to read the novel to get the whole story. God only knows why I’m not dead and only lost my leg. I’m grateful for the second chance. I’d planned a career in the army so it’s taking time to readjust to civilian life and my disability. It’s harder than anything I did while in uniform.

Tell us a bit about Brutus.

Even though I tell myself I don’t need a service dog, I do. Brutus keeps my panic attacks at bay reducing my need for meds. He helps me if I fall. Super dog, Brutus knows how to perform tasks beyond my needs. Which is at times annoying. He was trained for a boy with severe disabilities who died. Brutus has bonded with me. He seems to know my thoughts. He’s a great companion but his manners around women need work.

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I understand you have a home in Aurora you’re fixing up. Why Aurora?

My uncle lives in Aurora. I’m not close to my sister, and my folks passed. I graduated from East Aurora High School, so it made sense to find a place there. I’ve been working on it every leave I had for three years. Then I had the accident. My buddy Steve and a few friends rehabbed the bathroom and some doors to make my ranch home handicap accessible. I won’t let them do any more. It’s my house, my project.

How’s your social life?

You sound like Steve. He grilled me on it hard one day. Tried his hand at matchmaking. And I’m not saying anymore, ma’am. Any further reference to my social life is on a need to know basis. Only those who buy New Duet will be upgraded to need-to-know status.

Clever, Dan, very clever way not to reveal too much of the plot. What’s been the hardest thing for you since you got out of the service?

Adjusting to a lost leg and a lost career. I’m back in college with a bunch of kids and it’s not easy. But good friends, a supportive family, my goofy dog and a special someone makes the adjustment easier.

 

Thanks for giving us a peek into your world.

Here’s the link to the book trailer.

New Duet is available in e-book and paperback on Amazon. You can request it at any bookstore and it’s also available to order online at Barnes & Noble. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss future posts with interviews of real people and information on other writerly stuff.

 

 

An Interview with My Heroine Isabella Wilson from New Duet

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Today I’m welcoming Isabella Melinda Wilson to my blog. If you’ve read New Duet, you know she is the heroine. I thought it would be fun to learn a little about her. A morsel or two of trivia that may not be in the novel. So, welcome, Isabella.

I’m surprised you wanted to interview me. As surprised as I was in the reporter from the Beacon News who came to my mural reveal.

Take a seat on the couch, and we’ll begin.

Isabella, tell us a bit about your background.

I was born in Nicaragua and spent time as an orphan on the streets. I can’t recall my mother, but I do recall a sweet voice that made me feel safe. I was six when the Wilson’s adopted me. My sister Ming was adopted from China. She was part of the Wilson family three months before I joined them. There was a mix up with my paperwork, and it looked to my parents like the adoption wasn’t happening. They applied for Ming. And when my paperwork was sorted out, they had two daughters the same year. Ming was three. We spoke a combination of Spanish and Chinese the first year. When I was in junior high, my parents went on a mission trip to Haiti and fell in love with a young teen. They adopted Henri when I was in eighth grade.

He was my age. The three of us always got funny looks from students when my dad’s job moved us to a new school. Ming told everyone she and I were twins. She sounded so sincere, people believed her. She is the humorous one and the most caring. I have two older siblings, Ken and Carla. They are my parent’s natural born children. Carla was a great big sister and Kenny was your typical big brother—a pain. My parents encouraged all of us to follow our dreams. Mine was to be an artist so I attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Not until I moved to Aurora did I really come into my own as an artist.

That brings up another question. Why did you move to Aurora?

Well, it’s complicated. Much of that story is in the novel. Briefly, as a widow I needed to start over in a new place. My sister Ming had moved to Aurora a few years earlier at the suggestion of a friend. I moved in with her and started over. It was hard finding my true self again. Exploring the art community in Aurora and with help from some great friends, I found my art muse and grew in my faith.

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What was your first impression of Aurora?

Paraphrasing Dorothy form the Wizard of Oz, I’m not in Iowa anymore. Although my family moved a lot growing up, the three of us would spend the summer with our grandparents. They lived in a small farming community. I have fond memories. My late husband and I lived in Indiana, but the atmosphere was quite different from Aurora. It has a population over 200,000 and lots of interesting things to see and do. Ming took me on a tour and showed the sights. I loved exploring the downtown on my own. There are museums and art galleries and fun restaurants.

Sounds like you have adapted well to your new hometown. Now we’re shifting directions a bit. What is your biggest fear?

Not being good enough. When I was first adopted, I felt unworthy of these wonderful people. It took me years before I believed all their words of affirmation. After I married Ron, he reminded me daily how I fell short.  His sudden death fed that feeling of unworthiness. It took me a longtime to release all the guilt others had put on me, not to mention the guilt I put on myself.

I can see by your smile that isn’t the case anymore. Do you have someone special?

Yes. But you’ll need to read New Duet for all the details.

Cool segue there, Isabella. Tell my readers why they’d want to read your story.

New Duet is about broken people finding love. A simple statement with a powerful message of hope and renewal. God loves healing broken people. It’s more than a simple love story because life is complicated. But complicated is much easier to unravel with the right person. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and your local bookstore. Just ask the clerk to order it. It’s also available in e-book.

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Thanks for stopping by. Thursday it will be Dan’s turn to be in the hot seat.  

 

Click here for link to trailer.

If you’ve not subscribed to Jubilee Writer, then please do so before you exit this blog so you don’t miss meeting the adorable hero of New Duet, Dan Sweeney.

 

 

Why I Set My Novel in My Hometown

 

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Aurora, Illinois has the Fox River flowing through downtown

 

 

The idea for New Duet ruminated in my mind for a while before I chose a setting. During that time, my husband and I went to a First Friday celebration. (Aurora, Illinois has fun events downtown every first Friday during the summer, starting in May and runs until September.)  The theme for that Friday was spotlighting local artists.

 

My husband and I walk around downtown visiting art galleries and stores, bars and restaurants that featured artists and photographers’ offerings from Aurora and surrounding areas.

 

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Isabell Wilson is inspired by this sculpted water fountain called The Dancing Stones

 

When we visited some artist’s studios, I knew my characters would meet in Aurora. Isabella has an art degree from a Chicago art school and yet, she married a music minister and never create art again.

Isabella needs to rebuild her life after her husband’s untimely death. Resurrecting her art muse in a city that supports the arts was a perfect plot twist.

 

Aurora has a diverse ethnic population of over 200,000. Museums, fun restaurants and the beautiful Fox River gave me scene settings—not to mention possible date opportunities in Chicago, 70 minutes to the lake shore by car. The local college and wonderful local architecture play a part in my story.

 

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The Paramont Theater a great place to see Broadway quality productions

 

The biggest challenge for me is I’m directionally challenged. My sweet hubby double-checked all my physical references and made sure they were on the correct street and my characters were headed in the right direction.

An extra bonus to placing my setting in Aurora are local book signings. I’ll be signing books at If These Walls Could Talk this summer.  This lovely framing store is also a gallery for local artists to display their work.

 

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If These Wall Could Talk Framing and Gallery

 

A wonderful scene in New Duet takes place in that shop. The co-owner and gallery manager, Jennifer Rauch was happy to feature me on…drum roll… First Friday in August. What a great cycle of creativity.

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Buy Link Click here

If any of you are in the Aurora area the First Friday in August come by and say hello. I’ll be sharing more behind the scenes things from New Duet in future posts. Don’t miss out. Subscribe.

 

 

 

 

Announcing My New Baby : New Duet

My new baby, contemporary romance, New Duet arrived May 1st on Amazon in e-book format. It already has 5-star reviews. Check out the wonderful cover.

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Here is the back-cover blurb.

Isabella Melinda Wilson has been squeezed into the music ministry model of her controlling husband’s making. Before she can leave him, he leaves her a guilt ridden widow. Her mother-in-law is no comfort and presses the guilt button at every turn. Isabella flees to her sister’s home in Aurora Illinois insearch of her own identity and a new beginning.

Dan Sweeney has one goal. Be as normal as possible. After losing a leg, some fingers and his self-worth, he needs his service dog Brutus to help keep his PTSD at bay. Career-less and clueless about the future, he struggles to put his life back together.

Isabella isn’t looking for a new relationship and Dan feels unworthy of one. Can these two broken people heal into one whole love?

Here’s the buy link for the e-book.

Paperback coming soon.

Why I wrote a contemporary romance

Writing a contemporary romance after writing a Historical romance was a challenge but so much fun. An editor at a conference asked me why I wrote a contemporary after writing a historican. I told him the  characters called to me. I had to write this story.

The struggles these characters face is in part things people I love have gone through. But the lessons they learn about life and faith are mine.

Stay tuned for some fun upcoming blogs. I’ll be talking about New Duet’s setting. And interviewing Isabella and Dan.

I hope if your purchase New Duet you will leave a review. That would be wonderful.

If you’d like to keep tabs on my upcoming babies, read other author interviews and learn writerly things please sign up to receive this blog so you don’t miss a thing.

 

 

 

The Many Marketing Categories of Your Novel

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Imagine we are in the hallway at a writer’s conference with a group of fellow-writers. We’ve been discussing highlights of the event and throwing out snippets of knowledge. Small incomplete bits that need further information. My post today is a snippet. One I need to understand more fully but thought you might find interesting. Or better yet you might have thorough knowledge and could share in the comments.

Marketing snippet

Here is my factoid about marketing. I’ve noticed it as I complete my second author kit for my upcoming Contemporary Romance. I’ve heard it mention by many publishers. I’m still a bit confused.

Authors define the genre their book falls in before they begin writing. We use that tag to focus our words toward those readers. This is the general category our book would be marketed in. Secrets & Charades is a Romance. More specifically a Historical Romance.

For marketing purposes, it can be placed in a variety of other categories. Because of its faith theme.

  • Christian Fiction
  • Christian Historical Fiction
  • Christian Romance
  • Clean Romance
  • Christian
  • Inspirational
  • Religious

Because of the cowboys:

  • Western Romance
  • American Western Romance

Amazon allows you to list your book under three categories. My understanding (this is where I remind you this is my hearsay in the hall) if you change the listing you could increase your sales. If a historical novel were a secular romance it might be categorized under some additional categories steamy romance, erotic romance, sexy romance.

Some of the categories cross over as far as audience appeal. If a prospective reader loves Historical Romance with lots of heat my novel might not be their cup of tea. But then again, they might love it because the storyline engages them.

My upcoming contemporary romance can be listed under Romance.

And because of its faith theme:

Christian Romance

Inspirational

My hero has a prosthetic leg so we can add Wounded Warrior Romance (yes, it is a thing).

It might even be classified under categories that appeal to dog lovers. My hero has a service dog.

Don’t choose wrong categories

Although we narrow our genre focus while we write our story we want to be sure we are marketing it to as broad a market as possible without missing the mark. My novels are not children’s books or sci fi. Neither contain gratuitous sex. Listing them as erotica will irritate perspective readers. (No need for angry reviews.)

Another example

A YA Sci Fi would be classified under YA fiction

Sci Fi

Fantasy

Dystopian

Again, if it has a Christian theme it might also be listed under Christian Fantasy

Christian Dystopian

Christian Sci Fi

Inspirational and Religious.

If there is a strong romance element it might be listed under YA Romance or Sci Fi Romance.

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Variety of categories draws more readers

Adults could find a YA book in the Sci Fi categories. Adults read YA, by the way. Men might find Secrets & Charades in the Western and my upcoming release in Wounded Warrior.

I’m too new to this publishing biz to have any idea what is the winning category. And some of the categories I mention may not be one anymore. Even so I need to have some alternative genre categories in mind to add in future marketing. And for me I leave the final decision to my publisher and my marketing gal. If your self-pub you might want to ask your successful Indie friends what they would recommend.

Okay readers, any of you have more snippets of information to share about this topic. Curious minds are desperate to know.

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Secrets & Charades book trailer: