Marketing to Readers vs Networking with Authors

KarenBaneyBy Karen Baney

As an author, I’m faced daily with the challenge of reaching out to quality readers. But, like many authors, especially in the early days of my book marketing, I found myself marketing to authors and not readers. This is fine if your book is for authors. If it isn’t, then I hope this discussion will help you understand the difference and give you ideas on how to refocus your marketing plan.

Networking vs Marketing

Every author needs a support system of other authors—people you can go to for advice about the business of writing (marketing, publishing, etc.) or the craft of writing (editing, POV, characterization, etc.). But many authors confuse the fine line of networking with authors with marketing to authors.

When you network with other authors, your mindset is about sharing information, learning from each other, and lifting each other up through cross-promotion, advice, critiquing, or whatever it is you are seeking from your peers.

Nothing frustrates me more as an author than when I join an author community and it is full of link dumping. I feel like authors are marketing to me. While I don’t mind some marketing, I prefer a community that is focused on networking with and not marketing to authors.

Link Dumping Is Spam

What is linking dumping? It’s the practice of dropping a link into a group, forum, or even on your own Facebook / G+ page with no explanation of what the link contains. If you did this in an email, your message would be marked as spam. We’ve been trained when it comes to email that we shouldn’t click on links that are in a message by themselves with no explanation. Why? Because it’s a common technique for trying to steal someone’s information or propagate a virus.

Yet, when it comes to social media, as authors, we’re using this same technique, hoping that we can draw readers to our website or our books. We don’t realize we look like a spammer.

But I’m Not A Spammer

How can we correct link dumping?

First, if you are doing it yourself, please stop. It’s okay to post links, but tell your group or fans why you are posting this link. What is contained in that page that is worthy of my time? Why should I go there? Is it an inspirational post that will encourage me today? Is it news about your new release? Is it helpful tips on how to write a better story? Is it a picture of ugly cats? What is it?!?!?!

For this blog post, here’s what I might write to introduce the link:

Have you ever thought about who you are marketing to? Are you networking with authors or marketing to them? Read more to learn about the difference and how you can change your ways.

See. Now you’re interested, because I’ve told you what this blog post is about.

What not to do? Don’t say, “Here’s my blog post for today.” That’s not any better than saying nothing. Hook your readers.

Ok, the next way to correct link dumping is to kindly ask those who are doing it in your group to please let the group know why they feel the link is worthy of sharing. What about the post inspired them to rush out and share it with their friends? Simple questions and kind wording can hit the point home without upsetting them.

Market to Readers

Go ahead and look at your Facebook and Twitter followers for a few minutes. How many of them are authors? What about the “readers” groups you’re in? Are they full of authors and only have one or two readers? If so, congratulations! You’ve found a ton of author friends to network with (and not market to).

But, Karen, how can I find readers then? Where are they?

  1. Readers love eBook discovery services, like ChristianEbooksToday.com. Did you know that ChristianEbooksToday.com’s reader following (not authors) is over 80 – 85%? In general, eBook discovery services are dedicated to seeking out new readers. They market to readers, use tactics to draw readers in, and they have a bigger base of readers than the typical author, because they offer readers a wide variety of what readers want—books.
  2. Readers follow book bloggers. Book bloggers focus on providing reviews and giveaways that appeal to readers. There are tons of book bloggers out there. Get them to review your book. Send them free copies. And don’t be stingy here. If the blogger wants a Kindle copy, pay the retail price of your book and send them a gift copy through Amazon. It’s a better user experience for the blogger. In the end, you still get a royalty on the book and the rest is an advertising expense. It’s the cost of doing business.
  3. Readers are in book clubs online and in real life. One of the coolest ways I’ve ever connected with readers was when an out-of-state friend of mine got her book club to read one of my novels. When they finished it, they ask me to video chat with them and answer their questions about that novel and my other novels. They were all extremely excited to talk to a real author and many expressed an interest in reading my other novels. If nothing else, they will remember me because they met me, virtually of course.
  4. Readers like to keep track of authors they like. One of the best things you can do to connect with readers is to include a link to your website in the back of your books (both eBook and print). Make sure your website has a link to all of your social media accounts and to your newsletter. Give readers a way to follow you once they discovered they like you.
  5. Readers see and respond to paid web ads. Yes, I just said paid. A well-designed ad strategically placed can really draw readers to your website. Or link it straight to your product page on a specific retailer. If you have a book that appeals to women ages 25-40, try placing an ad on a Christian mommy blog. Think about what types of readers you want to attract, where you can find them, and invest a little in your book.
  6. Readers do respond to reading related twitter hash tags. Both genre specific hash tags like #christian #romance, and more general hash tags like #amreading or #mustread or #ebookalert get the reader’s attention. Also try device specific hash tags like #kindle, #kindlefire, #nook, #kobo, #ipad. Just make sure your links take the reader to the appropriate retailer for that hash tag (i.e. iPad takes them to iTunes, Kindle takes them to Amazon).

It takes time to build up a reader following. Most of the time it takes years of dedicated interaction with readers where they live. The above are ways to help speed up that process. But, if you want to build up a reader base on Facebook / G+ / your website, you have to keep things reader centric.

Stop marketing to authors. Start networking with them and start connecting with readers.

Best-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a10 Keys Cover Med Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website: karenbaney.com.  Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at:  www.myauthorservices.com.

Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses.  They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.

Her latest book, 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success, is now available on Amazon.

 

Advertisements

Blank Books: Imagining a Novel and Keeping Track of the Facts

By Johnnie Alexander Donley

Writing an authentic novel that takes place in World War II Europe requires more than just research. It also requires a system for keeping track of the facts and finding the right ones when they’re needed.

Helpful websites are easily found again by either bookmarking them or saving them to your browser’s favorite’s folder. Creating a simple bibliography will track books, videos, and personal interviews.

But what about the pages and pages of notes you take while conducting online research, reading books, watching documentaries, and talking to sources? How do you keep them organized?

I tried index cards, but then I needed to figure out some kind of filing system. Besides, an index box is awkward to carry from home to the library to the coffee shop.

Instead I use blank books. Not the fancy journal kind of blank book, but the office supply store blank book with spiral bounding so that the pages, which are about the size of a typical book, lay flat no matter which side I’m writing on. And I write on both sides.

I start out with two such books.

The first one is devoted to my novel. The blank book for my debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, begins with a journal-type entry written by Alison Schuyler, my female protagonist. A couple of pages have dates and years scribbled upon them as I figured out my characters’ birthdates and ages. Further on, each character gets a page where I write down physical characteristics, personality quirks, and any other significant information.

For example, my page on Count Theodor Scheidemann notes that he has a dimpled smile and a pale dueling scar across his lower cheek and jawline. He’s restoring an old family chalet in Bavaria, and his father died during the winter of 1938-39.

On other pages, I explored options for the characters and the storyline by freewriting about possibilities, motivations, and turning points.

An entry dated April 26, 2011 reads in part: “Surely [Alison] feels guilty about living in England instead of staying in Holland and enduring the hardships with her family. Someone (grandfather? great-aunt?) has to insist that she marry Ian and live her own life. . . . Alison’s loyalties are always torn between her dad and her grandfather. She loves and respects both men. Ian is a refuge from their ongoing quarrels.”

I’m not sure I’d have ever been able to understand Alison’s heart (or the family discord) without these freewriting entries.

The second book is a haphazard collection of research notes.

To write Treasure, I read books and watched documentaries on a variety of topics including Holland, Vermeer, the Monuments Men, the looting of art, Colditz Castle (a notorious POW camp), and survivors who hid during the war.

As I read, I copied interesting and pertinent information into my blank book.

I may have three or four pages of notes from Book A; the next page may be notes from a Military Channel documentary; then the next couple of pages may be notes from Book B followed by more notes from Book A.

Haphazard, yes. But somehow the mish-mash nourishes my creativity.

When it came time to plot Treasure, I read through my blank books (yes, there was more than one by this time) and wrote important info on square sticky notes. I arranged and rearranged the sticky notes on a large sheet of drawing paper to organize specific scenes and historic events.

As multi-stepped as it may sound, this process works great for me.

What are your favorite research and organizing tips?

joannieAuthor Johnnie Alexander Donley writes stories of suspense, intrigue, and romance set in World War II. Her debut book, Where Treasure Hides, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest for Historical Fiction in 2011. A history enthusiast, Johnnie has also edited nonfiction manuscripts and textbooks. She is a founding member of the Central Florida chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. A longtime Florida resident, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, shelves full of books, and her papillon Rugby.

Find Johnnie at Treasured Moments blog: http://www.johnniedonley.com

Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the cursejoannie2 that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?

To Obtain this book just click here

WRITING WHAT WE LOVE

H.C.Beckerr

I have always loved to read, and I have always loved music. I have also, for as long as I can remember, been completely mesmerized by the stars in the night sky, often wondering if there were any other civilizations out there for mankind to meet one day. While many of my childhood fancies have turned to dust (one being the idea of other civilizations in the cosmos…we can talk about that another time), the dreams of writing and being published have been, and are being, fulfilled.

But yet, when I start on a new project, there is that one teeny, tiny matter that always arises before me like that car that pulls out of the parking lot on to the highway in front of me just as I want to share the exact physical place at the same time; what do I right about next? What style of vehicle am I going to climb into and drive down the superhighway of words? Will it be serious? Will it be funny? Am I writing in the past, the present, or even the future? How about a combination of all the above? How about none of the above? I love music…could I write an opera? No, I gave up on that idea a long time ago. I mean since I can’t read music I really shouldn’t try to write any (thank you Mark Lowry), and besides…I have never enjoyed opera (with solemn apologies to all you opera buffs, yeah, both of you).

Alas, what to write indeed! One thing I would like to share with you, and it is a very obvious matter indeed (at least, to me). Write about what you love or about how you feel. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I didn’t say it would be easy….but it doesn’t have to be as difficult to figure out as Celestial Mechanics either.

So, here we go….what is inside you that is screaming to get out? What is it that, if given the opportunity, you would like to share with the whole world? Or, would you like the chance to share something so precious to you that if only one life on planet Earth could be changed for the better by reading it, you would have fulfilled your whole life’s destiny? All of this, and more, awaits you. You simply need to consider the individual vehicle of writing that works for each and every message that you want to stand upon the highest mountain and scream to the world. Or whisper.

You know, if I could write a message in the sky for the whole world to read, I would borrow a line from the Bible; Enoch walked with God and then was no more, for God took him.

So, sit down with pen or pc, and let God write a story with your heart. After all, He is the source of our inspiration. Let Him use you to touch lives!

IMG_9903H.C. Beckerr is the author of HILL OF GREAT DARKNESS and he resides in the St. Louis area. Over the past ten years he has served as an interim pastor at a small Baptist church, an associate pastor, as well as a youth pastor in the St. Louis area, all the while working on his first novel.

A love for the outdoors as well as a love for mystery and the unknown things of life was fostered in his early childhood by his many visits to an archaeological site not far from his home known as Cahokia Mounds. This is where the idea for his Christian based Science Fiction novel was spawned, nurtured, and brought to life.

Being a man of faith and family, as well as having a love for his country is at the epicenter of all that entails this simple mid-western man. He can be found on Facebook pages H.C. Beckerr, Henry Martin, and HILL OF GREAT DARKNESS as well as reached at hcm59@att.net.

9781449717957_cover.indd

In HILL OF GREAT DARKNESS, an ancient secret that lies buried deep beneath an American Indian Historical Site is accidentally discovered when a new type of rocket propulsion system is tested in near-Earth orbit. An good, old-fashioned, science fiction story with real-life Christianity (complete with our human flaws) at its core and tints of 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK fueling the adventure.

A fun blend of science fantasy/fiction, patriotism, various world views, and terrorism all rolled into one roller coaster of a ride!

Trusting in God Despite Our Circumstance

By June Foster

Habakkuk 3:17-19 are a couple of my favorite scriptures. The verses depict the prophet’s faith in the Lord despite his material circumstances. I think it would be interesting to put this into modern day language.

Here’s the original. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.

Now for the updated version. Though I don’t have the money to buy more than rice and beans at the grocery store, and I can’t pay my electric bill, though my car is sitting on empty, and I can’t find a job, though there’s very little food left in the cabinet, and only oatmeal to set on the table for my kids, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord will provide. He enriches my faith and opens the doors to His provisions. He supplies that job I need so badly and lifts me out of my poverty because I seek first the Kingdom of God.

I don’t believe this revision is merely an interesting exercise, but I think it has meaning for many. If this version brings a bit of hope, email me personally if you’d like. I’d love to hear your testimony. junefoster11@gmail.com

Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. He wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.

Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.

Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can he make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?

June Foster is a retired school teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She writes full time and travels in her RV with her husband Joe. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012. June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, will be published by WhiteFire Publishing in the near future.

They Met at Shiloh

By Phillip Bryant

shiloh151 years ago, thousands of lives were changed forever

War in the history books is a punctuated affair. This army met this other army at this location, a battle ensued and there were x number of casualties. One army was the tactical or strategic victor. On this other date this army and that army … you get the picture. We boil down a conflict into events and then study their meaning in the overall fabric of time. As a historian, I add the minutia of daily life and the movements of those armies into the overall understanding of the why, beyond the casualty figures. There are hundreds of events that occurred 151 years ago that colluded to bring us the battle that took place at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee around a small Methodist Church called Shiloh.

Those events involved soldiers and generals and impacted civilians everywhere, not just those who were left in the wake of the passing of the armies to and fro, but those who sent men into those armies. We are approaching several of those anniversaries again, when Confederate General A.S. Johnston abandons Bowling Green, KY and sends 16,000 of his force to Fort Donelson against the approach of a Union army. While this may seem like boring historical minutia, the results of all of these moves bring about one of the war’s largest battles up to that time. February will be a month that sees Johnston pulling back from his positions in Kentucky and the tacit surrendering of Fort Donelson (Feb 15, 1862) and his consolidation of forces at Corinth, Ms.

For the soldiers, the war was daily toil and duty in all weather. Long hours marching in the cold, rain, snow and the inevitable mud that developed on Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi roads. These events produced a camaraderie impacted by privation and common experience. The soldiers attended services on Sundays, some by volunteer and some by regimental edict. Services held in open air or in area churches and all hailed from a common background and many attended services with one another before the war, companies being raised from the same townships. These soldiers had volunteered for war months before and had little idea of what to expect. None expected to be sleeping out in the cold without tents or marching through sleet and the cold of winter, as Johnston’s soldiers did as they retreated to Corinth, or Union soldiers who manned rifle pits and entrenchments in front of Fort Donelson and shivered uncontrollably with nothing to protect them from the biting wind. War was adventure when they volunteered, when both sides figured that victory was one battle away. Those battles came and went and the armies grew in number.

These actions happening in February 151 years ago allow one army to take advantage of the ill preparedness of another, launching an attack that ultimately ends in a casualty list that dwarfs anything that had yet been suffered. These soldiers, these men of all ages who gave up family and comfort to do something for a common cause, they stepped into a maelstrom on April 6-7, 1862 that made widows and orphans of thousands of the family left behind and filled the graves of thousands who now rest in peace along the bluff above Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee.

I wrote my first novel, They Met at Shiloh as a means of exploring the human part of any battle, the soldiers. The war for them was more than just a tactical movement or a march from here to there. It was a daily experience molded by military discipline. That there were battles occasionally was just the culmination of all those marches and uncomfortable days and nights. As one reviewer has pointed out, she felt like she was listening to someone who had actually been there. That was the reason I wrote it, to give voice to the common soldiery of the time.

Phillip M. Bryant attended the University of New Mexico and earned his bachelor’s degree in history and with a minor in American studies. He has been active in local New Mexico reenacting and on the national level is a member of the 23rd SNY as part of the Army of the Pacific, 1st Federal Division. He has been researching the American Civil War for over 25 years. His sources have included diary accounts, autobiographies, historical monographs and first-hand reports on the actions taken 150 ago published in the War of the Rebellion battle reports and War Department communications.

They Met at Shiloh http://www.amazon.com/They-Met-At-Shiloh-ebook/dp/B005FCAIDW

Pittsburg Landing was a place at peace—one that never expected to be the site for one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Peace is shattered as Confederate and Federal troops meet on the fields and farms surrounding a tiny Methodist church. In the midst of death and destruction, friendships form as four soldiers struggle to survive the battle.

Forced to leave his position as minister, Phillip Pearson knows his life is in danger, but not just from the Confederates. The Harper family, incensed at Pearson’s refusal to bury a philandering son, has a vendetta against him that is played out on the battlefield.

Demoted from his command by a West Point graduate, Capt.Michael Greirson is forced to choose between ambition and duty.

When a bumbling youth becomes his shadow, Private Robert Mitchell gains an unlikely friend—something that has been missing from his life. Afraid to trust, he is forced to confront those fears and depend on others in the heat of battle.

War is an adventure to Private Stephen Murdoch and his best friend, William Banks. For months they dream of the glory of war before volunteering together. On the eve of battle, they sense something momentous is about to happen. Their idealistic views fade in the blood of their fallen comrades.

Of the 40,000 Confederates and 30,000 Federals about to come face to face along the banks of the Tennessee River, these four soldiers will experience fear and questions of faith for what lies beyond. Two days of horrific fighting turn boys into men and sever the sacred bonds of comradeship in the bloodiest days of the war.

phillipPhillip M. Bryant attended the University of New Mexico and earned his bachelor’s degree in history and with a minor in American studies. He has been active in local New Mexico reenacting and on the national level is a member of the 23rd SNY as part of the Army of the Pacific, 1st Federal Division. He has been researching the American Civil War for over 25 years. His sources have included diary accounts, autobiographies, historical monographs and first-hand reports on the actions taken 150 ago published in the War of the Rebellion battle reports and War Department communications.

Phillip served 15 years in the Army, New Mexico National Guard, with the 44th Army Band in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Me and Timothy Cooper

By Suzanne D. Williams

I submerged myself into the life of a historical fiction family for an entire year. I wrote four of a six book series, expanding the tale of the father, the mother, their friends, and one of their children. After writing the last book, a story with a particularly difficult moral storyline, I was burnt.

I write every day. Every single day, rain or shine. So I wasn’t burnt from writing. My exhaustion came from carrying around inside a subject so deep and tough to deal with that frankly, I needed something lighter, something that reminded me of the fun, happy side of life. I also needed something contemporary.

 I love writing historical fiction. I can see a historic object and it sets my mind to thinking about who handled it, what they were doing at the time, and where they might have been going. But it has its challenges, the biggest of which is not putting modern objects into a historic scene. Well, after a year of doing that, the very idea of including cell phones, computers, and cars was liberating.

 Therefore, I decided to write a contemporary young adult story and began with the simple concept of a girl with a crush on a boy. I didn’t plan it out more than that. I am primarily a pantser, taking the story as it comes to me. I only plot the next chapter or next couple scenes, so as I wrote this story – Me & Timothy  Cooper – I didn’t really know what would happen at the end.

 That, in so many ways, makes the end very rewarding. Because when I got there to the pivotal scene, it all fit in place. There is no reason for that except God guided my words. When I decided what assignment their English teacher, Mrs. Walker, would give them in Chapter 1, I had no idea how it would affect the main storyline or the life of Timothy Cooper come Chapter 12.

 In short, I love this story. I am proud of all of my work. But this story in particular speaks to the deepest part of me. It is how I love to write; it is what I love to write about, and it came together literally within a week’s time.

 My best friend-author, after reading it, told me, “I love this book!” She also said, “Okay let me stop here and say I think Tim should be about 40-something and married to me.” Those are to me some pretty great endorsements. They are also evidence that young adult stories are not just for young adults. There is something about the innocence of teenagers just figuring themselves out that appeals to all ages.

 Pick yourself up a copy and spread the link around to your friends and their children. And look for more of my young adult short stories in the future.

 Read an excerpt on my blog:  http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/2013/01/story-saturdays-me-timothy-cooper.html

 99cents from now until Valentine’s Day!

 Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Me-Timothy-Cooper-ebook/dp/B00AYYJGXO/

Smashwords Link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/272950

  Seventeen-year-old Taylor Lawton has a crush on Timothy Cooper, a boy at her school, and as crushes go, things are normal. He ignores her. She doesn’t speak to him. Until their English teacher, Mrs. Walker puts them on a project together. A turn of fate then throws them both for a loop. For an entire week, they will stay beneath the same roof. Will this be too much togetherness? What will Taylor do with Timothy’s painful secret?

 

A light novella with a touching storyline, this tale is enjoyable for both young adults and grown-ups alike.

Suzanne-900Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.

To learn more about what she’s doing visit http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/ or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor.

 

 

 

 

My darkest days

By Jen Gentry

When I was asked to write this devotional I started to panic. You see I love the Lord with all my heart
and I remind the Lord every day “I have never not believed.” I can’t remember a time in my life when
I did not know the Lord Jesus as my personal savior. I have recited the sinner’s prayer many different
times in my life as I rededicated my life to him. But I still can’t recall a time when I did not know of Jesus
and believe that he died on the cross for my sins.

Back to my original panic here, how can I write a devotional in what I deem to be one of the darkest
periods of my life in what has been the worst year of my life? How can I share what the Lord has done
for me and how he has saved me when I am suffering so? There is only one way. I have to believe. John
3:16

Let me share with you how this past year has changed my life forever. My story is heartbreaking and
difficult to tell. On February 2, 2012 my youngest son was backing out of my driveway struck my two-
year-old granddaughter and killed her. He was her uncle as she was the daughter of my oldest son.

How can I convey in words the heartache me and my family have suffered? Sadly I find there are no
words. The pain is indescribable. In the hours and days immediately following this great tragedy our
church stepped in to minister to us and an entire community reached out to my grieving family. Some
of us questioned how could God let this happen? I got on my knees and prayed. I was hurt, angry,
confused. I begged and pleaded for my granddaughter back, but the Lord told me very clearly. He is
sovereign. Every knee shall bow every tongue shall confess…Romans 14:11

I promised God that I would praise him through this awful storm. I did not know what else to do so I
praised him. It was then in my complete surrender that changes began to take place in my home. My
husband who always confessed to being a Christian but never lived the life started going to church with
me. He rededicated his life to Lord. This may sound like it was a very simple thing, but let me tell you for
me this was huge. This was an answer to a prayer I had been praying for over the last twenty years.

In the months following I completed a novel I had been working on for the last year. It was not my first
work, but it was the one I felt the most sure about. This was the work I would see published for the first
time. The Lord has performed a great and mighty work in my life over the last year and I give him all the
praise and glory for it.

I have learned it is when our days are at their darkest we must cling to him the most. Just as King David
praised the Lord continuously during times of great tragedy as when his first son from Bathsheba passed
away and the Lord was merciful and forgave David his sins. So must we be like David and cry out to
the Lord as we sing his praises in the midst of the storms in our lives. Psalms 9-10 It is in our complete
surrender to the Lord that he can do his most mighty works in our lives.

The Gift of Light

imag002Emily and her Aunt Gemma are two very special women. They see into the spiritual realm and commune with angels. With this exciting tale, reminiscent of the great Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, debut author Gentry portrays in realistic terms the angelic and demonic creatures who inhabit our world, and why.

A centuries-old battle, waged in the heavenly realm between the forces of good and evil, is fast reaching a flashpoint in Hook Pond. Demon Prince Azelius has a centuries-old stronghold over the family of Senator Brad Steel, whose goal is to become President of the United States, a goal Azelius wants him to achieve. Azelius wants the senator’s son as well, but someone is praying and interfering with his plans. That someone must be silenced, permanently.

When young Bradley Steel finds the Lord, he goes through a profoundly life-changing experience. He is overwhelmed with the need to ask forgiveness for an adolescent transgression that has haunted his life. Marta forgives him and promises forgetfulness as well. They become friends and eventually fall in love and marry. Bradley goes to Afghanistan as chaplain and is critically wounded in an explosion, but a pregnant Marta is told of his death.

With the presidential election drawing near, Senator Steel makes his bid, and threatened with exposure of past misdeeds including adultery and kidnapping ending with murder, he utilizes his demonic connections to summon the Ba’al and a shaman priest.

A spine tingling ending that will have you cheering.

Find Jen Gentry online: 0

Website

https://jengentrysbooks.com

Twitter

https://twitter.com/jengentrysbooks

facebook

http://www.facebook.com/jenny.gentry.758

The Gift of Light Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+gift+of+light+jen+gentry&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Athe+gift+of+light+jen+gentry&ajr=0

THE LOVE OF A MYSTERY

By Cynthia Hickey

Since I opened my first Nancy Drew mystery at the age of nine, I’ve been hooked. What is more fun than trying to figure out a clever crime along with a beloved character? Writing a mystery runs a very close second.

The challenge of laying subtle clues, depositing red herons like bread crumbs in a forest, provides as much fun for a mystery author as it does for the reader. The challenge comes when the author is successful at keeping the culprit’s identity a secret at the very end, yet leaving the reader satisfied that they weren’t cheated when they think back and realize how the clues led them down a cleverly placed trail. Then, the reader closes the book, smiles, and feels satisfied.

Add a quirky character the reader can relate to, and you’ve got a successful cozy mystery. Not an easy task for the writer. Most mystery authors are not seat-of-the-pants writers. Instead, writing a cozy mystery involves days, if not weeks, of planning and note taking. A lot of hard work and a lot of fun. Especially when the reader leaves positive feedback.

The items needed for a good mystery are:

*A quirky character

*Well-placed red herrings

*A supportive cast of secondary characters

*Humorous happenings

*A clever crook

*A satisfying ending

In my Summer Meadows mysteries, the main character Summer Meadows doesn’t start out with then intentions to take up sleuthing, but when she finds diamonds, a rusty can full of cash, and a bloody gardening glove, what’s a girl to do?

530859_525989884095235_1824965818_nDeadly Neighbors is the first in a new mystery series in which the first book deals with drug-induced sleepwalking.

When Marsha Calloway’s daughter is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, Marsha is determined to find the real culprit. She enlists the help of her Cadillac driving mama, the man who ditched Marsha at her high-school graduation but kept her heart, and a bumbling police officer. Folks around River Valley are having things disappear while they are sleeping with their eyes open. Seems everyone has a dream and not enough funds. Someone is determined to kill for that dream. Will River Valley’s cast of colorful characters live to see another day? Can Marsha find out who the thief is before she becomes one of the sleep walkers?

See all of Cynthia Hickey’s mysteries at www.cynthiahickey.com and connect with her on FaceBook where she loves to talk up a good mystery.

Best-selling mystery author, Cynthia Hickey lives in Arizona with her husband and the youngest of their seven children, where she is 155126_508450599182497_734971298_nbusy writing her next mystery. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, crocheting, or visiting with one of her five grandchildren.

Cynthia Hickey/Cynthia Melton
MYSTERY & SUSPENSE – CAN YOU OUTRUN WHAT’S CHASING YOU?
FUDGE-LACED FELONIES, CANDY-COATED SECRETS, 
& CHOCOLATE-COVERED CRIME, CHECK OUT MY OTHER EBOOKS AT http://www.cynthiahickey.com/ 

New Hope

By Shaina Cilimberg

I’ve been watching another movie called New Hope. I really liked that baptism was included in the credits, although it wasn’t included hopeas requirement for Salvation. However, the Bible says it is required (Acts 2:37-28)

I really liked it because it reminded me of my book in a way. However, with a book you know what a character is thinking better. In my book, “Crowded,” I write in Josh  feeling sorry for the way he treated Cole and wanting to stop but was feeling like he can’t.

Ben Davies (Lucas) did pretty good with facial expressions. With the look on his face in the scene where Samuel Davis (Mike) apologizes, you can see on Lucas’ face he is sorry for bullying Mike. Of course it gets followed by Lucas being cocky but you could tell his cockiness was more fake than before. Earlier in the movie Lucas was just cocky and a jerk. In that scene it looked as if he felt a need to “Keep it up”.

Crowded 2nd CoverIn my book, “Crowded” Josh stands up to Cole’s abusive dad just to talk bad about him a few sentences later. Josh shows vulnerability in most parts of my book, while Lucas shows vulnerability after he manhandles Jasmine (Perry Frost).

I really enjoyed Lucas’ emotional scene where he was hitting baseball bats against a tree. Ii showed how he really felt and he was not taking it out on another person in that scene. I also liked Lucas’ vulnerability in the roof scene and when he tells Mike God doesn’t want anything to do with him (Lucas). Those scenes remind me of Josh in “Crowded” who feels the same way and does attempt suicide as well.

Mike’s sister Faith was adorable. She was great comic relief and said probably what most kids are thinking “I never get to hear the good stuff” and calls people “meaner”.

New Hope was a great movie about loving the unlovable and forgiving others. I really liked it. Some of the ending pictures were cheesy but I liked some of the pictures. I like Beastly and some of that was cheesy too.

Heretofore…

By Lynn Mosher

“Heretofore the Lord has helped us.”
1 Sam. 7:12 Amp

What did the year closing bring into your life? Joys? Sorrows? Trials? Triumphs?

Look back over the year now closing. With what was it filled? Which side of the scale
tipped over with the most weight…the positive side or the negative side? Did adverse
circumstances gobble up your days? Did heartaches keep you awake at nights?

In all the highs and lows, was God any part of it, or was He in every part of it?

My guess is that He was in every part of it, even if you didn’t recognize His presence.
My guess is that He brought you through many situations. My guess is that He spoke to
your heart with words of comfort and peace and quite possible discipline, encouraged you
through others, gave you hope for a renewed future.

Do you desire God to do a new thing in your life this year? No matter how this year
played out for you, the New Year offers you a new beginning. Whatever it brings your
way, the Father will carry you through it all and bring a host of others to lift you up in
prayer and encourage you in your walk.

The end of the year may have its lingering troubles or disasters, but the Lord is gracious
and will never leave you without His help or comfort. He stands close, with His arms
outreached, awaiting your call.

My prayer for each of you is that your heart be guarded with the hope of a better new
year and that you will experience a special touch of the Lord’s presence upon all you do.

“Heretofore the Lord has helped us…”

…and He will yet again.New Year’s blessings, Lynn

About Lynn

Lynn Mosher

Through many hardships, trials, and health issues, I have learned to depend entirely on the Lord for everything. After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2000, the Lord whispered to my heart to write for Him. So, now, out of a great passion to reach others, I obey His call. You can find Lynn at http://lynnmosher.blogspot.com/

%d bloggers like this: