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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Creating Back Cover Copy

The cover design is more than the front cover. In my last post, I shared the steps an author needs to take to help the art department create an awesome design and showed you lots of wonderful front book covers. Now let’s look at the second part of the cover design. It goes beyond the picture representing your story. A prospective reader who finds your cover fascinating will flip over to the back. This content will determine if the reader opens the book and takes it to the checkout counter.

The form I received from my publisher for cover design included sections for the back cover. My book’s back cover will have a blurb about the story, my bio, and a head shot.

Blurb

Here is my present draft. It will probably get tweaked before the final draft. This same blurb will appear on Amazon and my publisher’s website. Short, concise and intriguing are the keys to a good blurb.

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. Battlefield nightmares add to his burden, but his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, and a mail-order bride seems the logical solution. When an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, Dr. Evangeline Olson abandons her medical practice and travels west to become Jake’s mail-order bride.

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, they are faced with cattle rustling and kidnapping. Will they be able to put aside their differences and work together to save the ranch and their fragile relationship?

 

Biography

My biography will only be a few sentences. I’m meeting a potential reader, not a boss. I pulled a few books from my to-be-read pile and studied their bios. Each part of the biography encourages the reader that the author may be worth checking out.

Bio components

  • Taglines are something that defines what you write.

Cynthia Ruchti-tells stories hemmed in hope.

DiAnn Mills- expect an adventure.

Brandilyn Collins- Seatbelt Suspense

  • Awards

Awards this manuscript has won

Awards past books have won

Awards the Author has won related to the subject matter of the book

Awards for personal accomplishments in a field other than writing

  • Past and present accomplishments

Former job

Present position

Degrees

  • Family
  • Pets
  • Fun vacation spots or any other fun comment 

 

Study the bios of your favorite authors or read the back cover of library books to get ideas. Those in your own genre may be slightly different from those in another genre. If you have no awards, don’t worry. Readers want to know you, and the last few items on a list can make your bio friendly and fun.

Endorsements

There may be an endorsement or two on the back as well. Endorsements are short words of praise about your book from other authors or people in the field you are writing about.

Color Design

The colors on the back cover will match or be identical to the front.

Professional Photo

And the finishing touch is a professional headshot. An up-to-date photo is key in maintaining a professional image. Professional photographers touch up flaws. Hey, who doesn’t want a flawless picture? My professional headshot is a few years old so I am getting a new one.Small head shot of Cindy Huff

Right now I’m interviewing photographers. I want all the photo rights to be mine to do with as I please. I’ll talk about that in a future post.

Next post

I’ve asked my awesome editor Andrea Merrill to share a guest post. She’ll be writing about the relationship between author and editor. Stop by Thursday to read her wonderful insights. You don’t want to miss it.

Speaking of not missing a post. Subscribe to this blog in the right-hand column and it will come to your e-mail. Thank you so much.

 

Great reward for those who consistently attend writer’s conferences

My award. I am so blessed.

My award. I am so blessed.

For those of you who have never attended or no longer attend writer’s conferences I challenge you to rethink that. After attending writer’s conferences for six years, I have finally reaped an awesome reward. I was chosen as the recipient of the Editor’s Choice Award at the 2014 Write-To-Publish Conference. This award is for perseverance and potential. It entitles me to professional editing of my novel and mentoring and the opportunity to have my novel presented to the publication board of Lighthouse Publications of the Carolinas. Whether they actually decide to publish my book is another story. But it’s a win-win because my manuscript will be ready to present to any other interested party.

The truth about attending conferences

Often beginner writers approach a conference expecting to get a contract with the first editor they pitch their story to. They lug around their manuscript hoping someone will take it home with them. Those stories of instant contracts are few and far between, and if you get down to the real nitty-gritty of details, you will find most of these authors have paid their dues. They have attended conference after conference as true students of the craft of writing. Taking home all the information gleaned from the pros to apply to their own manuscript and marketing strategies. Networking with other writers to be encouraged as well as encourage.

Rowena Kuo presented me with my award. She is one of the wonderful editors full of enouragement for writers that I meet at Write-to-Publish.

Rowena Kuo presented me with my award. She is one of the wonderful editors full of enouragement for writers that I meet at Write-to-Publish.

Writers encouraging writers

For me, my first conference was a learning experience. I flew to Colorado Springs for the Writing for the Soul conference. On the plane I sat next to a published author. I don’t recall her name, only the blessing she was to me. During the flight she took the time to instruct me how to pitch my story ideas and who might be a good fit. She encourage me to enjoy the conference and have fun meeting others. At the conference one devotional editor took the time to mark up my devotional to show how it would best fit her needs. She gave me tips on the right attitude to bring to the editors I would pitch my novel idea to. The editors and agents were encouraging. I went home ready to write my novel.

Guess what, folks, I returned the next year to the same conference pitched my story, got interest. Went home and sent off my novel and got all rejections. 😦

Learning from rejection

That is the nature of the beast. One publisher was brave enough to say the writing wasn’t to their standard. 😦 😦 To his credit he was absolutely correct. I knew nothing about POV and many other fiction craft techniques. So, I took another class and read more craft books and continued submitting articles and writing skits and doing whatever writerly thing God brought my way while rewriting my novel.

Arthor Cynthia Ruchti not only was such a wonderful encouragement on my writng journey but she autographed her novel for me.

Arthor Cynthia Ruchti not only was such a wonderful encouragement on my writng journey but she autographed her novel for me.

Benefits of attending even if you don’t get a writing contract

The next four years I attended Write-To-Publish conference. Each time I went home and sent off my manuscript to those who requested it. Each time it was rejected. But I picked up other smaller writing assignments that gave me more publishing credits. I started this blog and a Facebook page. The third year I received excellent edits with my reject manuscript. I persevered through family tragedies and lots of life interrupting my rewrites and still wrote articles and short stories. Some getting rejected, others published.

This last year I reaped the blessing of my perseverance with this award. That is six years from my first conferences. Don’t wait until you have the perfect manuscript to attend. Don’t skip the opportunity because you have nothing to hawk. Come because you need to grow your craft, you need to network with writers, agents and editors. The secret ingredients at all conferences is the knowledge you can take home and the life-long friends you make. Both can grow your writing career at a faster pace than those who don’t attend.

 How has perserverance at a writer’s conference benefitted you?