What’s a Harvey Girl? and a Giveaway

Linda Yezak is the final author I’m featuring from the novella collection The Cowboys. It releases today and I love having Linda round out the collection. She’s a Selah Award winner and loves all things western.

When I asked her to tell us about her research for writing Loving a Harvey Girl she graciously let me repost an excellent one she’d already written on the subject. Her excitement mirrored my own at being ask to be a part of the collection. Take it away, Linda.

When the managing editor for Smitten Historical (a Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprint) asked me to join in a collection of historical romances, I got excited. I’ve always wanted to write a historical. I’ve even delved into it a time or two with Slider, published in The Saturday Evening Post’s collection of short stories and an unpublished short story called Masquerade.

The as yet untitled story I’m working on now fits in with my series of contemporary western romances, except it’s a historical western romance. Things aren’t that different—cows, cowboys, and the girls they give their hearts to—but they’re different enough that I need to research. I was flipping through MSB’s Time Life collection called “The Old West,” and found reference to the Harvey Girls. Immediately I had my story idea involving a cowboy and a Harvey Girl. I’ve never heard of the Harvey Girls, so of course I jumped on the internet and did a quick search until I found a great article about them plus a vimeo of an interview with a latter-day Harvey Girl.

Along with these resources, I found one more. Not long ago, PBS did a series called “Texas Ranch House,” in which 21st Century Californians came to run a 19th Century ranch in Texas. Several folks from all over the US came to join the experience. Everything for this ranch was supposed to be authentic to 1867, after the Civil War, when cattle roamed the ranges free of ownership. But Fred Harvey didn’t start his Harvey House hotels and restaurants until the 1880s, so I have to make time adjustments. Still, the PBS series is vital because it shows life on the 19th Century ranch, and as I said, very little has changed. They still needed pens and chutes, range and water, and the men necessary to work it all in 1887 as they did in 1867.

So there’s my research start: books, internet, videos. From these I can learn setting details; character descriptions; clothing, kitchen items, and everyday articles of use; attitudes of the time; hazards of the time—lands, with these three resources, I can learn everything I need to know to write a romance novella set in the 1880s.

Using the resources I have at hand, I study and observe, noticing everything I can in the pictures and videos and looking up terms I’m unfamiliar with. I went so far as to figure out what an 1880 barbershop looked like and what all a barber did, because one scene takes place in a barber shop.

The trick with research is not using in your book everything you learned. Doesn’t that sound odd? But it’s true—as you study your era, setting, and culture, the temptation is to show off your new knowledge for your reader. This kind of info dump (or research dump, as I call it) bogs down the novel and bores the reader. So use of the information is the same as in any novel: you reveal what you’ve learned through the character’s daily activities.

I learned some fun things about the 19th Century barber shop, but instead of describing them to the reader, I let my character, Cal Hardy, do it:

Walter Neville swept up what looked like a half pound of hair and sent a stream of tobacco juice toward the spittoon. “’Afternoon, Cal. Be right with ya.”

“Ain’t in no hurry.” Cal rubbed his jaw and studied the handwritten sign over Walt’s new National cash register. Walt had gone up two bits on both hair cut and shave—three bits on a bath. And heaven help anyone who needed a tooth pulled.

So, on the off chance someone didn’t know that the barbers also served as dentists, now they do. They can also see the progress of technology through the cash register. NCR was founded in 1884, and one of the earliest Harvey Houses was built in Ladonia, Texas, in 1887, and Ladonia is close to Fort Worth, one of the cattle capitals of Texas, complete with stockyards which were built in 1887. Now we know the era of my setting.

I can know all this about when the stockyards were built, when NCR released its cash registers, etc., but it’s not necessary that my reader does. I want my reader to feel immersed in the time and culture, not educated about it. If she learns while she’s being entertained, so much the better. And if I can convince hardcore Texas history buffs that I did my research, so much the better still! But I’m a novelist, not the author of a history textbook, so my goal is to entertain and enlighten through the stories I tell. Research dumps have no place in Historical Romances.

More about Linda:

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.

 

Website: http://lindawyezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Facebook: Author Page

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage

Goodreads: Linda W Yezak

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/linda-w-yezak

Blurb: Loving a Harvey Girl

Eva Knowles can’rt imagine why the local preacher doesn’t like Harvey Girls–women who work serving tables instead of finding a husband and falling in love. But if Eva can get the handsome and wayward cowboy Cal Stephens to join her in church, maybe the reverend will accept the girls. Or maybe she’ll forfeit her job for a husband, hearth and home!

Don’t forget this is the last chance to enter to win a $10 Amazon card. You simple post here who your favorite cowboy is or anything you’d like to say about cowboys. If you haven’t commented on the other three posts about this collection go to mine, Jennifer’s and Sandy’s to add your comments for more chances to win and learn more details about the collection. I’ll be posting the winner next Thursday, August 22nd.

 

Tips for Publishing in the 21st Century Part 2

Today we are picking up where Author/Speaker/Editor Linda Yezak left off sharing about the publishing biz.  She’s busy on a blog tour and agreed to stop by twice to share her wealth of information. Here is the link to part one. The third and final book in her Circle Bar Ranch series Ride to the Altar is now available.  And there is another chance to enter to win her prize package. How cool is that.

Okay, Linda, continue to share with us how to reach our publishing goals.

To be published: This is the easiest possible thing to do. These days, there are hundreds of different ways, from networking with those who already know how and can help, to doing it entirely yourself, to hiring a press. There’s also the option of going with a small, upstart publisher that doesn’t require agent submissions. Here are a few caveats:

Linda Yezak

  • Be aware that self publishing brings with it a stigma we’re still fighting. Granted, now that many of the more successful and established authors are diving in to the hybrid (both traditional and indie) pool, the stigma is easing, but it’s still there. Two ways to fight the stigma: be professional (quality material, quality edits, quality book cover, quality formatting) and give yourself a name as a publisher. When you publish through Amazon, if you don’t have a publisher name, they will provide one—sure sign of self-publishing.
  • If you’re going through a service, research it. All of the services offer everything necessary to get your book on the market. Research everything from how much they charge to where they distribute. Some services suck you in, then continually demand funds. Be careful of what you’re getting yourself into. Check out their book covers. Look up their books on Amazon—use the “Look Inside” feature to see their format. Check other websites to see if their books are offered where they say they are.
  • If you think you’re going through a traditional publisher, and they ask for money for any reason, they are not traditional. Traditional publishers are royalty-paying. They may not all pay an advance, but they do all pay you a percentage from the sales. Read your contract.
  • If you’re going through a small publisher, understand that they’re probably just starting out. If they’re good, they’ll grow over time. But chances are, they’ll go bust. Make sure you retain your rights if they do. Small pubbers don’t have a lot of capital to invest in the books they release. The covers and format may or may not be subpar. Many of these publishers take on “apprentice” editors—unpaid beginners who need the experience. Best for you to go through a proven freelancer before trusting your work to these. Some are really good, but you never know.

 

To develop a lifelong career as a writer: I’ll dub this the be patient route. The process is slow, frustrating, and ultimately rewarding. All of the work that’s required in the other goals are required here also:

  • Build a platform (get out there in cyberspace and get known, the sooner, the better).
  • Join a professional organization and network with others from editors and agents. to website designers and marketers to other authors. Keep their business cards.
  • Study the craft (and write, write, write).
  • Have your work critiqued and edited.
  • Study the agents and publishers to see where you’d fit best.
  • This is hard, and it takes forever. Make use of the time by writing more.
  • If you’re not one of the few who gets an agent and gets published by a big name the first time around, self-publish. Learn how to do it. Learn how to promote yourself. Learn how to manage your books.
  • Repeat the process with your next project, and keep repeating until you have what you want. You’re not a one-and-done author, you’re wanting to make a career out of this. Keep at it.

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Before being indie became such a hit, I read about one author who went with small publishers for sixteen years before he hit it big. Now he’s huge.

For myself, in 2011, I went with a small, traditional publisher who ultimately cut my genre from her line. From there, I took the book the indie route and had the second novel published by another small (now mid-sized) press. I’ve been indie ever since, and only recently have I looked back toward going traditional again. My next work will release in November in a collection published by Firefly, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (a midsized publisher). Meanwhile, I have three novels and one novella published independently and one novella published in a collection with some friends.

My goal is to have the validation of a big-name publisher someday, but I’m not sitting on my thumbs until it happens. Once I finish my next novel, I’m hitting the trail again in search of an agent. We’ll see what happens.

You’ve given us some great tips to consider. Now share about your giveaway.

I’m offering a giveaway package during the blog tour. When the two-week tour is over, all those who commented throughout the tour will be eligible for the drawing for the prize. It includes a signed print version of the series, a 16-ounce Christian cowboy mug, a horseshoe picture frame, a Ph. 4:13 stretch bracelet, a cute set of magnetic page markers, and a Texas Rubiks cube. I’d like for each blog post to carry a link to the next post in the tour, so readers will have multiple opportunities to enter.  If you go to the next blog stop tomorrow you’ll get additional chance to win. Lynn Mosher https://lynnmosher.com/    

More about Linda:

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.

 

Website: http://lindawyezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Facebook: Author Page

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage

Goodreads: Linda W Yezak

 

 

Don’t forget you must comment in this post below. No comments on social media where I’ll be sharing this post will count. Take a look at the great prizes package. You had a total for four chances. This post, Tuesdays post and the two other posts mentioned today and Tuesday. And if you become a groupie on her blog tour you have more chances to get your name in the cowboy hat to in.

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If you enjoy reading Jubilee Writer why not subscribe and get it in your email every time a new post is available. Please and Thank you.

Tips for Publishing in the 21st Century Part 1

My guest today is author and editor Linda Yezak. Her newest novel Ride to the Altar, the final book in the Circle Bar Ranch series is available. I’m so excited, I’ve already preordered it. I’ve asked her to stop by while on her blog tour to talk about the publishing biz both self-publishing and traditional  She’s a wealth of information so I’m posting part two on Thursday. There’s an exciting giveway too. Look for the specifics later in the post. Linda Yezak

Take it away Linda.

Got your book written? That’s great! Edited? Even better. Now, what are you going to do?

We authors have so many choices these days, but we have to weigh our options carefully. First thing we have to determine, however, is what our goals are.

Common Goals

 

To get rich/famous quickly: This goal is usually based on the misconception that wealth follows publication. On rare occasion, it does. But for 99% of us, it doesn’t. If this is what you’re hoping for, here are a few tips that might up your chances:

  • Write a nonfiction book on a topic in which you are an expert. Even in self-publication, those who sell the most are those who have something to offer. In traditional publication, though, having something to offer isn’t always enough. You have to already have a name for yourself. Prove to the gatekeepers that you have a following, and you’re likely to get a big-name publisher’s trademark on your book’s spine.
  • Prepare to spend money on a publicist. If you don’t already have a big name and your goal is to become rich and famous, you’ll need exposure. A publicist can help you with that. Depending on who you are and who publishes your work, you may not see a lot of promo dollars being tossed out on your behalf. Chances are, you’ll have to make that investment yourself. It takes money to make money, so be prepared.
  • Also be prepared to validate your claim that you have something new and useful. If your publicist does a great job for you, you’ll have plenty of exposure—TV, radio, speaking engagements. You’ll have to prove that #1, you’re an expert, #2 you have something different to offer, and #3 your viewership needs what you have to offer.
  • There are all sorts of cyber-means of attaining the same results, albeit a bit slower, and there are all sorts of experts to teach you how. SEOs, funneling, etc. are things you can learn, often at a price but not always. The best time to learn how to do this is right now—whether you’re finished writing or not.

To snag a big-name publisher: These days, this one is only marginally more attainable than becoming rich and famous overnight. If you think about it, it makes sense. There are only so many well established publishers in existence, and with the advent of the computer, there are exponentially more wannabe authors waiting in the wings for their turn. Gaining a huge publisher on the first go-’round isn’t easy, and the first step in the process is to gain an agent. Try these tips (all based upon the idea that you have already studied the craft, written something amazing, and submitted it to critique partners and freelance editors):

  • Find an agent that specializes in your genre. Often you can discover this through the acknowledgment page of books in your genre. Writers Digest also features different agents.
  • Join professional organizations in your genre. Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America—and tons more. Every genre has an organization, and each organization provides an opportunity to network with the professionals in your field. ACFW, for instance, holds agent and publisher panels, during which these pros introduce themselves, what they’re looking for, what they expect from you.
  • Study the agent’s website so you can learn exactly how to present your manuscript. Agents have preferences as to how they are to be approached. Make sure you’ve studied their guidelines, then follow them carefully.
  • Also, make sure your genre is one that agent represents. No point sending a horror novel to someone who specializes in sweet romance. Agents are only as good as their connections. cover size 250 x 386(1)

Stay tuned for part Two on Thursday. Linda tell us about your giveaway. There are two chances to enter. Today and Thursday. How cool is that.

I’m offering a giveaway package during the blog tour. When the two-week tour is over, all those who commented throughout the tour will be eligible for the drawing for the prize. It includes a signed print version of the series, a 16-ounce Christian cowboy mug, a horseshoe picture frame, a Ph. 4:13 stretch bracelet, a cute set of magnetic page markers, and a Texas Rubiks cube.  Visit the next blog on the tour tomorrow for an additional chance to win.  Cecilia Pulliams: https://ceciliamariepulliam.blogspot.com/ 

More about Linda:

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.

 

Website: http://lindawyezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Facebook: Author Page

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage

Goodreads: Linda W Yezak

 

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What a great prize package.

Be sure to comment below to be entered in the drawing. Comments on social media where I’ll post this blog won’t count. And don’t forget to follow her tour and enter on those sites as well. You’ll get a chance to win and learn a lot more from Linda too.

If you enjoy these writerly post subscribe to Jubilee Writer and recieve it in your email when a new post is available.

 

Writing Prompts and Giveaway

writing

Have you ever been to a writer’s class where the teacher starts it out with a writing prompt? You get a few minutes to write something based on a sentence opener. A few brave students share their words. I hate it. Don’t misunderstand, I love writing prompts they get my mind engaged and the creative juices flowing.  I don’t want to share that initial mess with anyone. I always write poo my first attempt. There are moments I’m inspired immediately and the cleaver words flow onto the page. But that is rare.

The writing prompt isn’t designed to embarrass or prove what pathetic creatures we writers are. It’s a chance to loosen words from your brain. Like fruit trees the ripe ones fall to the ground first where they get bruise and rot in a short time. Later we get a ladder and pluck the ripe fruit by hand carefully placing it in baskets. The bruise fruit can still nourish as part of a pie or sliced so only the good parts show. But if they’d never fallen to the ground, we’d not have realized how ripe the fruit was getting. How ready we were to write those particular words. Creating something delicious for the reader.

Completing a sentence not of our own creation can open our mind to so many possibilities. A storyline forms, a call to action from deep in our heart takes shape or a long overdue belly laugh sets us in the right mood to open those neglected word documents.

Below is a list of prompts. Pick one.  No timer—just write. When you’re done reread it. How’d it turn out?  Did the exercise inspire? Are you ready to conquer those other projects?

Here they are:

Why is it Mildred always___________

 

“Harald, this is the last time______________

 

Willy raced ahead, his legs pumping hard on the pedals of his ten-speed. “Why ___________

 

“Pling, pling, pling water droplets beat against the pans covering the floor____________

 

Blood smears trailed along the kitchen floor to the back door where a large _______

 

Let’s make it more interesting

You can start with the prompt or put it anywhere within the paragraph or two or three or pages of words your imagination pours out for you. Have fun.

Anyone who is brave enough to share their creation (or a part of it if it goes beyond a few paragraphs) in the comments please do. If you prefer to tell me how doing this exercise help their creativity. Wonderful. All commenters will be entered into a giveaway.  I’ll send an autographed copy of Secrets & Charades to one winner.

If you’ve read Secrets & Charades I’ll send a copy of Writing in Obedience: A primer from Christian Fiction writers by Terry Burns and Linda W Yezak as an alternative.  So, enjoy the prompts. Write away and comment. The drawing will take place next Tuesday the 25th.

Don’t forget if you’re not following this blog but would like to please subscribe so you don’t miss a posting.

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Three Free Marketing Platforms For Novels

social-icons

graphic from iconion.com

Again today I want to share a few tidbits from the writer’s conference I attended last week. No matter how often I attend a conference I always something to learn. Last week was my tenth consecutive conference. The industry is constantly changing. Besides writing skills, workshops including marketing skills. The internet has ushered in new ways and creativity in marketing.

More and more marketing is done by the writer, not their agent or publisher. So, we need to learn it, use it and find ways to do it cheaply. The biggest marketing tool you can use—and it’s free—is social media. I took a continued class on the subject taught by best-selling suspense author DiAnn Mills.

Wow! So much to learn.

The number one social media tool is Facebook. Twitter following a close second. And if you write YA, Instagram is the go-to media. YA readers apparently think Facebook is for their parents.

All of these are free to use. You can grow your following and get readers excited about your books.

The key is not to talk a lot about your book.

I saw that. Your eyes popped for a moment while you scratch your head. Why use social media to market your book if you’re not going to talk about it.

facebook-icon

graphic from softicon.com

Facebook

The formula is 1 to 5. For every five posts only one should be about the sale of your book. The other four should be about your reader. Memes of fun things. (A meme is a cartoon or photo with a quote on it.) Comments about your life.

Author of The Final Ride, Linda Yezak posts silly things about her coffee addiction. And Shelley Arnold, author of The Spindle Chair, shares her cooking fiascos. Others post word-for-word humorous dialog that took place with family members or co-workers. Sharing sales of other authors’ books or favorite books is another option. You don’t need an author’s page to do this. Although if your goal is over 5000 followers, you will need one. (Or if you want to separate your author life from posts only for family and friends on a closed group page.)

Twitter

graphic from softicons.com

Twitter

Same formula applies. However, Twitter gives you an opportunity to reach all your followers with the same sorts of things in 140 characters or less. Twitter unlike Facebook, has no algorithm that selects which of your followers get your posts at any given time. So, Twitter is a better promotional tool for announcing book signings and speaking engagements. Don’t understand Twitter? Google has lots of how-to info. And You-Tube has step by step instructions.

instagram

graphic from iconarchive.com

Instagram

All I know about it comes from watching the young people in my life share photos. I don’t write YA so I’m not adding that to my marketing arsenal. I want to focus on the best tools for my genre. Women’s Fiction and Romance readers are found on Facebook and Twitter.

This is only a small portion of what I learned about using social media for marketing. I’m still digesting all the information. Later I’ll post some other insights as I perfect them myself. (Maybe not perfect. Rather, figure out. J )

How is marketing through social media working for you? Which of the social medium platfrorm do you enjoy using? Share in the comments.

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My Personal Pick of Books For Holiday Gift Giving

I love to read. What books have you read this year?

I love to read. What books have you read this year?

Over the last few years I have written almost 80 reviews. My goal is to reach 100 in 2015. Because I love to read and people often ask me for book recommendations I thought I’d share a list of some of the goodies I’ve read in past year.

Add some to your to-read-list or buy them for your favorite book worms.

I’ll divide them by genre and encourage you to check out my reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.

Some on this list are debut novels of exceptional quality. All of the authors have a wonderful grasp on the craft of writing and draw readers into their stories. This list reflects my love of reading and willingness to review books outside my own genre of historical.

Historical:

World War II settings:

With Music in Their Hearts by Carole Brown

Under the Silk Hibiscus by Alice J Wisler

Lightning on a Quiet Night by Donn Taylor

Revolutionary War setting:

Fields of the Fatherless (YA book) by Elaine Cooper

1800s setting:

Kincaid Brides Trilogy by Mary McConeally

Trouble In Texas Series by Mary McConeally

Mystery:

The Cat Lady’s Secret (cozy) by Linda Yazak

Chapel Springs Revival (humorous) by Ane Mulligan

Murder on Edisto by C Hope Clark

The Simulacrum by Brad Seggie and Linda Yezak

Firewall (FBI Houston #1) by DiAnn Mills

Contemporary Fiction:

Breathing On Her Own by Rebecca Waters

Reservations For Two by Ann Patrick

Traveler’s Rest by Ann Tatlock

All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman

Lake Surrender by Carol Grace Stratton

Give The Lady A Ride by Linda Yezak

Fantasy:

Blood For Blood (Vampires, 1800s setting) by Ben Wolf

Innocent Blood; Equinox of Reckoning (Halloween setting with Celtic lore) by John Turney

Crossing Into The Mystic (The Crossing Trilogy #1) (Ghosts) by D L Koontz

Whiskey Sunrise (Crime Drama involving the supernatural) by John Turney

Devotionals:

Dare U To Open This (8-12 yrs. olds boys) by Carol McAdams Moore

Just Sayin’ (8-12 yrs. old girls) by Carol McAdams Moore

God, Me and Sweet Tea (women) By Rose Chandler Johnson

Hungry For God, Starving For Time (women) by Lori Hatcher

These are only a portion of the ones I read this year. Some authors I would recommend that may or may not have made this short list whose overall body of work are wonderful reads are C Hope Clark, DiAnn Mills, Brandilyn Collins, Virginia Smith, Gilbert Morris, Jerry B Jenkins, Carole Brown, Elaine Cooper, Mary Conneally, Cynthia Ruchti, and James Scott Bell.

What books have you read this year? Which ones would you recommend?

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