Memes, Storylines, and a Giveaway

Here are a few memes created for Secrets and Charades. Do you see a story thread here. They are a necessary part of your marketing tool box. If you’re not comfortable doing them yourself find someone who does. It’s worth the time and effort.

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meme 3

 

 

meme 2

meme 7

Eye twitch meme

Creating memes from key phrases in a novel is always a challenge. But it can be fun too. It is a great way to create interested in your novel.  Do you see the story thread in these?

I’d love to see your memes. Post them in the comments. Or the link to them. In honor of the upcoming release of Secrets and Charades I’ll give away an autographed copy to one of  the commenters.

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.

 

 

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.

herd of horses

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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Riding A Horse With No Name

I’ve ridden very few horses in my life. But I’ve ridden on the best of them through the pages of a book. My sister, Linda, however, not only rode horses but also owned a few and did rodeo roping and barrel racing. She was one of my go-to people when I did my research for my historical romance. I was quite surprised to learn that cowboys didn’t name all their horses.

photo by morguefile.com

photo by morguefile.com

Horses were work animals serving a purpose like cows, sheep and chickens. Most horses on a ranch were used for tending cattle and transporting cowboys from point A to point B. A wise cowboy took care of his horse before he took care of his own needs. The horse he was riding aided in his survival. A well-rested, well-fed horse made the difference in the productivity of a ranch and the success of a long cattle drive. Can you imagine naming a herd of horses? It wasn’t practical.

photo from morguefile.com

photo from morguefile.com

Many cowboys didn’t even own a horse. They owned their saddle and rode whatever horse the rancher provided for him. Those who did own a horse consider it one of their prize possessions. Nameless horses tamed the west on cattle ranches, Calvary units and service animals helping lay railroad ties. So important were horses in the old west, stealing them was a hanging offense.

photo from morguefile.com

photo from morguefile.com

Jake Marcum in my novel Secrets and Charades has a fine gray horse named Traveler. Jake served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War. If you’re up on historical trivia Robert E. Lee’s horse was named Traveler. Jake admired the man and respected his horse enough to give him a noble name.

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Tony Sanchez named his horse Bonita. He spends his spare time working with Bonita teaching her tricks. He is very attached to his horse and is the top horse whisperer on the ranch. He trains Artie Weaver’s horse to follow the lad like a dog. This is connected to an important plot twist.

Jake gives Evangeline a gentle mare named Sage. Evangeline has not had good experiences with horses. So Sage will also play a part in her healing.

photo from morguefile.com

photo from morguefile.com

Nameless characters are also present in novels. An incidential human character may not have a name either. The waiter is the waiter and remains nameless. He serves a purpose in the scene, but unless he is a pivotal character in future scenes, he remains nameless.

A horse has no name unless there is a connection to the human characters that contributes to the plot. So if the horse has a name be prepared to see some specific action occur in the plot with that horse’s name on it. 🙂

What fictional horse is your favorite horse hero?

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Evangeline with the Burgundy Hair : Creating A Heroine

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Monday I shared how Jake the hero in my novel, Secrets and Charades came to be. Today I’d like to introduce the heroine by her most startling feature—her hair. How to describe Evangeline’s hair color was a challenge. I could picture it so clearly in my mind’s eye. A girl I went to high school with had the most beautiful red hair, but it wasn’t red like Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett. It was more…more burgundy. Evangeline is the heroine and strong-willed mail order bride to my determined cowboy Jake. She has green eyes but no freckles. Her skin is peaches and crème. You know, porcelain skin with just enough blush on her cheeks to draw attention to her eyes. But she’s tall for a woman in the 1870s and a doctor to boot. A rare combination for the time and not a desirable mate for most men.

Evangeline is compassionate, determined and intelligent. She’s strives for independence and surrounds herself with a cloak of confidence. Beneath it all is a deep-seated fear that creeps out of the shadows to taunt any happiness she might reach for.

1870s woman

I wanted Evangeline to look different than the many heroines I’ve read about lately. I wanted her to have an unusual hair color and height not common for a woman of the era. No actress came to mind when I created her. She appeared before me complete with her own history and begged for her story to be told. She has not change one iota from the first moment she revealed herself to me. Jake on the other hand grew a mustache and sported a scar on his cheek after our first encounter.

Evangeline represents those women who feel their past has so tainted them they can never consider marriage as a path for their lives. Evangeline’s journey mirrors so many woman who still hang onto the past like a badge of dishonor that they fear others will discover and then reject them.

Her unique burgundy hair represents how she views herself. Different from other women. Stained, yet, her past has shaped her into the strong woman she is. Her whole existence is to help readers who can relate to her find closure and completeness. The 1870s were a less forgiving time and society’s view of women much more controversial.

Her painful past haunts her and colors how she responds to her new life. It’s a time to face her fears and grow into the woman she was meant to be and find love in the midst of it all.

If you were writing an unusual female character what would set her apart? Tell me in a comment below.

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