Rebuilding an Author Brand After an Absence

Norma Gail is an inspiration to me and I asked her to share her story. Perhaps you will be inspired to press forward toward your publishing dreams.

Rebuilding an author brand after an absence is as difficult as building your brand in the first place. It takes persistence to gain recognition of a tagline or phrase synonymous with what you write. Silence for a long time period causes name recognition to be lost.

 

My brand went silent from July 2018 through January of 2020. I had four major surgeries in the space of two years. The death of my mother, moving an elderly aunt and uncle to a care facility near me, my aunt’s death, and the sale of both homes along with changed family dynamics overwhelmed me.

 

These life-changing events destroyed all desire and motivation to promote my first book, Land of My Dreams, or maintain my blog schedule. At the same time, my husband moved his office home, our son moved in. As I began to gain recognition again, the COVID crisis led to my husband’s retirement and uncertain book sales. Life as I knew it ceased to exist.

 

My two brands, 2MefromHim Devotionals and Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit vanished from daily social media. There are seasons to be gentle with ourselves. I finished the blogs I had scheduled and walked away. What I write is written for God. What I become is up to God. What is important is to cling to God.

 

I discovered that to edit and rewrite my book in progress was therapeutic. The familiarity of my characters and their story ministered to my heart. God allowed my own fiction to refresh my spirit.

My social media presence consisted of shared scripture and memes that ministered to my heart. While my following on Facebook increased, my other social media accounts lay quiet.

That book was rejected. Challenges in my personal life damaged my confidence. However, someone believed in my story and offered to publish Within Golden Bands. With a miracle from God, I’m now a hybrid author. The royalties revert to me when the publisher is paid back. I learned from the criticism and rewrote entire sections. During a recent promotion, it remained in the top spot in three Amazon categories for three days.

 

The brand still suffers. COVID has changed everyone’s marketing and social media. I don’t receive the comments I did formerly on my blog. Land of My Dreams recovered well.

 

I have no secret to share. Look for opportunities. Trust God to create and recreate your brand. Make pleasing Him your aim. He is faithful.

 

© Norma Gail Holtman, June 26, 2020

Author bio:

Norma Gail’s debut novel, Land of My Dreams, won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award. Within Golden Bands releases May 19th. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals have appeared in several publications. She lives in New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

 

 

Book Links:

 

 

Thank you so much for this. Life does sidetrack us but He is faithful to get us back on track in His time.

 

 

Fiction outside the Box

I’m so excited to have Norma Gail here again to talk about her newest release Within Golden Bands. Could not put this wonderful books down.

Fiction Outside the Box

By Norma Gail

 

Fiction Outside the Box could be my tagline instead of Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. My new release, Within Golden Bands follows the lead of my debut novel, Land of My Dreams in that it’s not a predictable “Hallmark Movie” scenario. I write Christian romance, and romantic suspense. However, if you don’t read romance because of worn and repetitive elements, you’ll find more than one twist in my books.

 

Set in contemporary times, American female protagonist, Bonny, moved to Scotland in Book One, where she met Kieran MacDonell, a Scottish sheep farmer. My second book, following the same characters, enters the realm of romantic suspense. Some elements edge toward women’s fiction, since the story explores infertility and adoption. Add in long-hidden family secrets and a crazed stalker who seeks to steal their livelihood and their lives. Kieran and Bonny, never have a dull moment.

Lest the term women’s fiction sound too heavy, throw in a blend of ingredients from happily-ever-after, to fast-moving suspense, with a dash of heartbreak. In a world where nothing goes as planned, fiction shouldn’t be predictable either. To borrow from one of my reviewers: anyone can write a love story where the couple falls in love and lives happily ever after. Within Golden Bands offers a tale of deep commitment, hardship, and loss, tied together by an abiding faith in Christ.

 

Abortion is a hot topic once again. As the adoptive mom of two adult children, I believe more people should see adoption as a positive option for an unplanned pregnancy. No spoilers, but fertility treatments can create tension in any marriage. This isn’t my story but Bonny and Kieran’s emotions are typical.

 

For added interest, tie in a desert-dweller’s adjustment to life in the rainiest part of Scotland. The comparison and contrast between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and misty Scottish Highlands create a backdrop for Bonny’s ping-pong ball emotions as a head-over-heels-in-love new wife to a frightened woman who longs for safety.

I invite you to hop over to my blog at NormaGail.org to read the free first chapters of both books under “Norma’s Book News.”  Here’s hoping that my books will be your cup of Scottish Breakfast tea!

 

Author Bio:

Norma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (released May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

I am excited to announce that anyone who comments on my blog will be put in a drawing for a chance to win a copy of Within Golden Bands. The winner can choose either e-book format or paperback ( US only).

 

My April Reads and a Giveaway

I love to read. What books have you read now that you stay at home?

Writers must read, it is part and partial of what helps us grow as authors. I love to read. More accurately I love escaping to other times and places. I have since I first learned to read. I want to share with you some of the books I’ve read so far in last month. I’m in the middle of my own writing projects so I don’t read as furiously as I like.  I enjoy a variety of genres. Each of these stories inspired me. The research was well-done and the story arcs solid. Things that writers need to see done, not just read about in craft books. These are fresh off the presses novels that I hope you’ll take a chance on. These authors write great stories.

Contemporary Romance/Suspense

Book Blurb of Within Golden Bands by Norma Gail:

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child.

But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. When faith in love is not enough, where do you turn? Buy link.

My Review: This book is so new you can’t write reviews on amazon yet.

I loved Land of Our Dreams, book #1 in the series. Within Golden Bands is even better. The first book brought Keiren and Bonnie together and you expect a happily ever after. But Within the Golden Bands from page one presents a myriad of trials that could break a marriage. Add to that someone is trying to destroy everything they love. The character’s reactions to the situations are so real. Norma Gail’s description of the Scottish settings and the splattering of Gaelic throughout drew me into the story in a deeper way. There is a faith thread that is unmistakable but not preachy. The action will have you turning pages well into the night. A great story.

Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Book Blurb of Traces by Denise Weimer:

Even if she evades The Eye, someone wants her silenced.

When a failed romance and a $500,000 prize lure Kate Carson into participating in the reality TV show, Traces, the least she expects is to pick her partner. After all, she’s the PR spokeswoman of the company that derived a thirteen-lens, rotating camera from military use and installed it atop Atlanta’s tallest skyscraper. But she never would have chosen to evade techno hunters for twenty days with “G.I. Joe.”

Stoic, ex-military Alex Mitchell is the sort of man she always vowed to avoid, while the shadows of Alex’s past cause him to spurn emotional involvement. When Kate’s insider knowledge makes her a target of someone more threatening than game show hunters, Alex offers her only hope to reveal the dark plans of proponents of The Eye. Buy link.

My review of Traces:

Denise Weiser has taken a what-if moment to create a wonderful love story and so much more. Putting two people together with nothing in common to compete in a Reality TV show is interesting enough. Add someone trying to kill them and you have a heart-pounding Suspense Romance that leaves you wondering just how much Big Brother is watching. Love the vulnerable characters and the inspirational thread that made me root for their happily ever after moment, even more. Denis Weimer delivers well-written stories with satisfying endings. I find myself thinking about the characters throughout the day anxiously waiting for a chance to rejoin them on their quest. Grab a copy.

Women’s Fiction

Book Blurb for Libby’s Cuppa of Joe by Rebecca Waters:

Sonja Parker is about to find out.

Excited to leave her stale life in the big city behind, Sonja takes the money her grandmother left her and purchases Libby’s Cuppa Joe, a thriving coffee shop in a small community in Wisconsin’s Door County. Sonja may have business sense, but is she ready to face the world on her own?

Sonja soon discovers owning a business requires more than offering a good cup of coffee. She must make major repairs to the building as well as major repairs to her heart. Do the former owners, Libby and Joe hold the answer? As Sonja seeks to make Libby’s Cuppa Joe a viable business, can she also find herself and the God she has abandoned?

Libby’s Cuppa Joe is a riveting tale of second chances, forgiveness, and not living on borrowed faith. Buy link.

 

My Review of Libby’s Cuppa of Joe

Sonja Parker is your sweet naive girl next door who buys a successful coffee shop in Door County. The story is told from her viewpoint and we watch her stumble about as she finds her brand for the business. She makes foolish mistakes and discovers her need for true faith. Sonja is bright but deals with the fear of failure. The community of shopkeepers and year-round residents help her find her way. Door County is a wonderful setting and the coffee shop makes the whole story more intimate. A fun inspiring read for lovers of Women’s fiction. I look forward to more from Rebecca Waters.

Book Blurb for Devyn’s Dilemma (Book two of the Thousand Island Gilded Age series) By Susan G. Mathis

Longing for love, can she escape the shadows that follow her to Dark Island?

1910, Thousand Islands, New York. Others may consider The Towers castle on Dark Island an enchanting summer retreat, but to Devyn McKenna, it’s a prison. Yet as she works as a maid for Frederick Bourne, former president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, her life blossoms under the kindness of his family and fascinating entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lipton, and Captain Vanderbilt. But more than anything, the growing friendship of Mr. Bourne’s valet, Brice McBride, begins to pry away the painful layers that conceal Devyn’s heart.

Brice is drawn to the mysterious Devyn even though he’s certain she’s hiding a secret, one far more dangerous than the clues they find in The Towers that hint of a treasure on the island. When Devyn is accused of stealing Bourne’s investment in Vanderbilt’s New York City subway expansion, he might not be able to protect her. Buy link.

My review of Devyn’s Dilemma

I so enjoyed learning about The Thousand Islands through this sweet romance. The characters were well-developed and Devyn’s love interest Brice being Irish added to the story with his appropriate Irish sayings scattered throughout. Exploring the castle summer home of the Bourne’s, real life people from the early 20th Century, held my interest. The details regarding the secret passages showed how much research the author did to capture the setting. The dialog and attitude of the time were spot on. I cheered on Devlyn and Brice and booed the bad guys as the story unfolded. I will say although Devlyn had a guilty secret that haunted her, I thought she cried or held back tears way too much. That said, I loved all the characters, even the wicked ones and can’t wait for the next book in the series. Stories such as this set in Historical places have always perked my interest. Susan Mathers has done such an excellent job of sprinkling history and historical characters throughout the story that I learned all sorts of wonderful things about the time period. I will definitely be ordering the next book in this series when it comes out.

Before April is over I plan to finish a few more books on my to be read pile. What have you been reading since your confinement? I’m offering a $10 Amazon card to one lucky winner who posts what they are currently reading or their favorite genre. I will notify the winner next Monday.

 

 

 

Returning to Writing After Life Interrupts and a Giveaway

During this time when life threw us a curveball. I think this guest blog by Norma Gail is very timely.  The time gap between her first novel and its sequel is a lesson for all of us Thank you for joining us, Norma.

In the midst of building your writing career what put the skids on it for a season?

The first book came too easy. I received a contract following my second writer’s conference. The second was to take six years. My debut novel, Land of My Dreams, released in April of 2014. Two years later, the sequel was written, but it was rejected. I set it aside and concentrated on promoting the book I had, fearing more rejection. Sure enough, when I got up the courage to pitch it again, the editor rejected it. Then life got complicated.

About four years ago, I began to make a five-hour trip about every 2-3 months to help my childless aunt and uncle in their 90’s. My mom died halfway through that time period, shortly after my second knee replacement. Within two months, my cousins and I moved our aunt and uncle to assisted living near me. I helped clean out both houses. My aunt died several months after their move, and I had two ablations for atrial fibrillation. I still care for my uncle.

Throughout these experiences, there has been a lot of pain and struggle. I couldn’t write a sentence that didn’t sound hurt and angry. That’s not a heart attitude that allows you to share your words with others.

I understand that feeling. But you did begin again.

When did you know it was time to resume writing and how did you go about restarting?

When you fall off a bicycle, you get back on and try again. Twenty-five percent of the reviews for Land of My Dreams ask for another book. I felt a responsibility to give them one. I also knew that God had given me the story for the sequel, one very dear to me. I started slow, just re-reading the manuscript, which had been edited. Reading it reminded me of how much I loved the characters and the story. I wanted it to be read. I began to write again, and things just flowed. The editor loved it more than the first book.

Add a comment for a chance to win a copy.

I couldn’t blog or write anything after my mom died, exhausted from surgery and emotion. A year later, I attended another writer’s conference and pitched my sequel again. I felt this story was truly what God wanted me to write. A publisher who knew the first book, and believed there was a market for the second one, offered to publish it for me. The result is Within Golden Bands, the story of my heart.

How did it feel to finally get words on paper again?

I had let Within Golden Bands go, but the book wouldn’t let go of me. As I regained strength, the desire to write returned. After I knew it would finally be published, I began blogging again. I’m not doing as much as I did before, that will come with time, but I am writing again. I’ve been through a lot. Sitting down and writing is good therapy. It helps me heal and it’s a good escape.

 I admire your determination. What lessons did you learn during this time?

The biggest lesson is that it’s a mistake to quit writing completely. If all you can do is journal, then journal every day, but never stop putting words on paper like I did. That hurt more than anything else. To not write created a hole in my heart. If I had written, I would have healed faster. Two deaths, four surgeries, and all the family dynamics that surround such major life changes needed an outlet.

Writing is a gift, and God calls us to use the gifts He has given us. After leading women’s Bible studies for over 21 years, I knew better than to ignore a call from the Lord. I also felt the need to minister to someone out of all the things I experienced. Both writing fiction and the devotionals for my blog stem from what the Lord has done in my life, lessons learned from walking with Him for many years. Once I began to write, all the hurt from my difficult experiences began to heal.

Fiction speaks to people who will never attend a Bible study. My feelings come out through the experiences of my characters. Writing allows me to share how the Lord has worked in my own life, even it’s not my personal story. I see writing as a ministry, the same as leading Bible studies. I must write.

About Land of My Dreams:

Alone and betrayed by a former fiancé, American professor Bonny Bryant accepts a position at a small college in Fort William, Scotland. But when she meets a fellow professor, Bonny discovers her wounds may be the scars of healing Kieran MacDonell needs to reach past his own grief. Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.

About Within Golden Bands:

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child.

But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. When faith in love is not enough, where do you turn?

Norma, your feelings do truly come out in your words and many women will be touched by them. Thank you for coming. I look forward to having you visit a few more times as the release of Within Golded Bands draws near.

Giveaway:

While we wait were going to have a drawing for the first book in the series: Land of My Dreams.

Tell us about any struggles you are having trying to get words on paper or just say I’d love a copy of the book in the comment section below.

Your name will be entered in a drawing. The winner may choose either a Kindle or a paperback version.

About Norma Gail:

Norma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (releasing May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, or Amazon.

Follow her on social media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNormaGail/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Norma_Gail

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/norma-gail-holtman-3b271a42/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/normagailth/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/normagailwrites/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7874459.Norma_Gail

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Norma-Gail/e/B00ILHXBAK/

Order her books:

Land of My Dreamshttps://www.amazon.com/Land-My-Dreams-Norma-Gail-ebook/dp/B01ENKEL02/

Within Golden Bands – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084TSQ432/

 

Before I sign off, don’t forget to comment below for a chance to win Land of My Dreams.