The Importance of Reviews

By Susette Williams

While the most common thought of using a review would be to help a customer decide whether or not to buy a product, there are other reasons for leaving a review as well. Believe it or not, writing can be a very discouraging profession. More often than not, people tend to leave reviews when they don’t like a product and are less likely to leave a review letting you know how much they do like your product, or in this case, your book.

You may have heard that musicians are moody. The truth can be said of the authors, but the reason these creative types have the ability to be moody, or have a wide array of emotions is it allows them to connect on an emotional level with the character in their book or song. That also enables them to connect with the reader or listener. For this reason, authors can often use encouragement and one way to give it, is by leaving a review of their book. While it does not take very long to leave a comment, it really does help to encourage the author when you leave a review and tell the author that you enjoyed their story, and what you liked about the story.

But what should you say in the review? It is important not to leave too much information or you may spoil the story for another reader. Tell the author what you liked, if there was a specific scene, or how the story made you feel. You want to leave just enough information that another reader can tell that you actually read the book and the author didn’t ask all of their friends and family to leave glowing 5 star reviews for them.

There has been a lot of controversy lately concerning a few authors unethical practices concerning reviews.  Principals to consider when leaving a review:

  1. You should never write reviews for your own book. Writing a synopsis, blurb, or back copy of your book is different. Reviews are generally endorsements, telling readers what you liked, or did not like, about a book. Reviews are generally left at places your book can be purchased, or in forums where book readers will read about their favorite authors’ books.
  2. You should never leave a bad review because you do not like the person or their beliefs. Also, if you have a problem with downloading a book on Kindle, Nook, etc. do not give the author a bad review. It is best to contact customer services with the place you are purchasing the book from and settle the downloading issue with them. The author has no control over this and it is unfair to rate their hard work based on problems with the distributor.
  3. It is unfair to an author if you downloaded their book as a free promo and have not bothered to check and see if the book is the type of genre you prefer to read or not. Example, if a person downloaded a book that had pornography, religious aspects or content they would find objectionable and would not intentionally set out to pay for that type of story to begin with, should not write a negative review for the book because your mindset is already against that book and its content. This is one of the downsides to offering a free book promotion—because consumers see free and then begin reading the story to only realize this isn’t their normal type of reading material. The author should not suffer because you chose something you would not normally read.
  4. A negative book review should only be left if the writing is poor, there are obvious problems with the plot, the story is inconsistent, the author didn’t check facts, etc.
  5. You should never leave negative reviews for an author because you purposely want their book to do bad. There have been some authors who leave bad reviews for competitors. When the public has found out about this type of practice, it generally will cost the unethical author sales and readers because of their attempts to manipulate consumers and their purchases.

Authors need positive reviews for encouragement and to sell books. An honest review allows readers to see what other people thought of a book and may help sway them in their decision to also purchase the book.

If an author does a book promotion, especially the free book promotions, many of the promotion sites will not carry the author’s books unless they have a set amount of reviews, and usually they must have at least a four star average rank in reviews.

The most natural place for an author to seek reviews is through customers who have purchased their books. Previous customers who have reviewed books can also be a great resource for future book reviews. Build a rapport with readers and offer them a free copy of a future book in exchange for an honest review. As a reader, you can also contact an author and offer to write a review if they will provide you with an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy).

Another place an author can solicit reviews are through Facebook groups for reviewers; or groups that connect readers, reviewers, bloggers and/or authors. Also, if you are looking for more reviews and do a special book promotion or free book promotion, whenever you post about the promotion, ask people to share the information and ask them if they would please consider leaving a review.

Always be polite and considerate, whether or not you are an author, reader, or reviewer. Consider other people’s feelings, and when leaving criticism, try to make it constructive. It also helps if you can find something positive to say, because it will help to take the edge off of negative comments.

Please take the time to show your favorite authors some appreciation by leaving them an encouraging review. It will inspire them to continue writing and sharing their stories with loyal readers like yourself!

Books by Susette Williams:

 

falling in loveMaid for Murder: Deadly Business http://ow.ly/hJKp2

Accidental Meeting http://ow.ly/fR7ft

Falling in Love (Seasons of the Heart) http://ow.ly/fR717

Winter Chill (Seasons of the Heart) http://ow.ly/fR75F

The Quakers of New Garden (New Garden’s Conversion) http://ow.ly/fR7bB

 

Books for Children:

The ‘In’ Crowd (Life With Stef) http://ow.ly/fGsul

On My Own (Life With Stef) http://ow.ly/fR7GG

 

Author Website: www.susettewilliams.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Susette-Williams/182094681851446?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusetteWilliams

 

The Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving

The Treasure Seeker CoverLargeThe Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father was written to encourage and equip women who are either seeking God or who want to grow closer to God & Christ. At the heart of the book is the concept that we are a valuable treasure and when we finally connect with God and allow him to “find” us, we’ll enter an amazing rich relationship we never knew existed. Once we enter that relationship, God goes from the role of Treasure Seeker to that of Master Jeweler who will refine and make us into the gemstones we were meant to be. It’s about becoming a woman of excellence without all the pressure to be perfect.

Unique accompaniments:

  • Intriguing treasure stories
  • A study of the “Lost” parables including the lost coin, the lost sheep, the prodigal son, the treasure hidden in a field, and the pearl of great price
  • Points to ponder at the end of each chapter for reflection and discussion
  • A chapter highlighting gemstone attributes allowing readers to determine which gemstone they are most like
  • A Treasure Seeker Jewelry line created by author/artist Teena Stewart available at a discount when you purchase the book.Receive 10% off when you purchase the book and show proof of purchase. Here’s the link to the jewelry line.  http://www.serendipitni.com.

Women can use it for personal study or for group study. It’s a great resource to  share with someone you may want to understand the gospel in a very simple and non-pressing way.

Teena Stewart is an author and artist whose work reflects the spiritual message of being broken and yet valuable in God’s eyes—a Teena COmessage incorporated in her book  The Treasure Seeker: Finding Value and Love in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father (Wine Press). When she isn’t creating up-cycled treasure (artwork and jewelry) from discarded and found objects, she is writing articles and books or leading ministry for Java Journey, an innovative coffee shop ministry in Hickory, NC.

Teena understands firsthand what it means to go from something of seemingly little value to a beautiful and valuable treasure in God’s eyes.

The Treasure Seeker is available in paperback and ebook from and can be purchased at the following locations Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/anf7wza), Teena’s Website (http://teenastewart.com/) and Wine Press Books (http://tinyurl.com/a3v7byk) and most other book stores.The ebook version of The Treasure Seeker will be free on 2/17 & 2/18 on Amazon.com

The ebook version of The Treasure Seeker will be free on 2/17 & 2/18 on Amazon.com

How to Connect with  Teena

Her website  www.teenastewart.com

Her blog  http://nearly-brilliant.blogspot.com/

Personal Facebook http://www.facebook.com/teena.stewart

Facebook Author Pages http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Teena-M-Stewart/216334111720519

Twitter  @TeenaStewart1

Writing Your Roots

By Suzanne Williams

Familiar writing advice says to “write what you know.” I have taken this to heart.

Growing up in the same county in Central Florida as my parents and grandparents gives me roots here. It helps too that my grandmother was a history buff. She could rattle off who married who for ten generations in the family tree. So I grew up knowing how interconnected my life was to the past, to the people who struggled for a living here, to parents and children in old photographs she’d saved.

This photo is my favorite. It is a perfect depiction of how things were and where I come from. It is the land, the families that survived it, and the children who’d grow up on it.

 

the combee gang 640

 

If you’d have met my grandparents, you’d understand. Never were there two more kind, gentle people. He was a farmer, growing corn, beans, tomatoes, and any number of other vegetables, and toting them to market on weekends. My grandmother could cook you up a meal like you wouldn’t believe, most of which came straight from the garden.

All of that, I have applied to my writing, most often in the form of dialogue, but also in descriptions of the more rural areas around me, in the wildlife – the birds and reptiles particular to this area – and in the history, what happened in the late 19th century, how towns grew here or failed.

In the example below, an excerpt from my upcoming novel Love & Redemption (out March 1st), a girl named Anne Sawyer has gone for a swim at a natural spring.

“Lowering herself into the water’s clasp, she emptied her mind of the day’s troubles. This was her special place. Here, life was different, better. Here, her papa’s anger faded in light of the beauty around her. Her golden hair spread out in a fan, and tiny fish dancing on the water’s surface tickled her skin. Extending her fingers one by one, she watched their silver tails flicker in and out.”

 “A bird called, and her gaze went upward to its angular shape traced against the white sky. Wings held aloft, head crooked sideways, the bird absorbed the sun in muddied feathers.”

 “Her body cooled in the icy water, and she flared her palms upward, counting the ridges in her fingertips. Ducking her head below the surface, she swam into the spring’s depths. White sand and wavering grasses spiraled downward, ceasing only at the great crack split in the earth. Here, bubbles leaked from her nostrils, and she dug her fingers into the soil, delighting in the rush of water flitting over her flesh.”

All of that comes from who I am, from my roots here, otherwise I couldn’t write it.

But this thing within me, this Southern side of me, also emerges in my dialogue sequences. I write in dialect a lot. Love it, in fact, despite how it bothers some people. More than once, I have been told it is passé, that I should write with “good grammar.” However, speaking like that, in long Southern tones is what I know. It’s what I hear around me. It’s the voices of my past speaking in my ear.

In another scene from Love & Redemption, the main character, Michael O’Fallen, an Irish boy from New York, is fighting against a wicked man named Ferguson, who holds his life in the balance. Notice the use of dialect to give the character flavor.

“Ferguson yanked his horse around, and the group of men followed. Pausing briefly, he glanced at the house. The girl’s father lay unmoving on the earth.”

 “‘Pleasure doin’ business with you again, Milton,’ he laughed. He gazed at Michael, and his eyes glittered.

 “‘What’s this about?’ Michael asked. ‘And what do I have to do with it?’ His horse paced sideways, and the girl slid in the saddle. With a yelp, she reached out for his arm. He wrapped a hand around her waist to steady her. ‘You gonna tell me or not? I’ve kept quiet ‘til now. I never signed up for this.’”

 “Ferguson’s voice emerged a low growl. ‘You signed up to save yourself, and ye’ll do as you’re told. This here’s your wife, and we’re about to have us a weddin’.’”

Now, dialect comes in a million forms. Just as Ferguson is southern, Michael’s Irish roots come out in the story. For this, I had to do extensive research into Irish Gaelic. I also have segments where he’s remembering his mother talk. I used dialect to indicate her strong Irish roots. In another book I read recently, the characters were from Maine. The author did a fabulous job of writing dialogue to indicate their pattern of speech. It was as if I could hear them in my ear.

And that is precisely my point. As authors, we all individually have a background to share. Whether you’re from the West, the South, or the North, whether you grew up on the plains, the Rocky Mountains, or in the big city, you have something of you to include on the page. Don’t be afraid of the rules so much you fail to share it.

Because in the end, reading is traveling places in your mind that you’d never go, to eras you didn’t live in, with people you’d have loved to meet, and taking the reader to there is for an author the greatest sign of success. If my books never receive rave reviews but one person says it took them here, for me that’s the greatest pleasure of all.

 

Suzanne-900Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is Crossreads 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.

Love & Redemption

(The Florida Irish #1)

 

Take a trip into the past and fall in love with an Irishman.LAR-FRONT

 

Released March 1st

 

Michael O’Fallen simply wants to survive. A poor Irish boy living in post-Civil War New York, the events of one horrible night send him running­–far south to unsettled Florida and an unplanned marriage with a girl he doesn’t know.

Now, he must protect her from the lust and greed of evil men and figure out how to make their escape. Will the dangers and perils they face tear their marriage apart? Or will he finally find true Love & Redemption?

 

 

Where My Title Came From

By Jessie Powers

Right now as I type this my house is peaceful. Hymns are running through my mind, our daughter is peacefully sleeping in her crib, my husband is about to get up and head to work, and the sun is beginning its daily trek across the sky. I am pleased to admit that my house cozy, and full of wonderful memories. The promise of a day with new adventures waits.

11 years ago I could not have said all that. 11 years ago I was living in fear, pain, shame, and confusion. I felt abandoned by God. This God that I loved and had grown up loving, this God that I dedicated my life to serving seemed to be a god that was out of touch, that didn’t really care about me, that ignored me in my time of utter desperation. So, when I was at my worst in lieu of turning toward God and running into His comforting arms, His waiting peace, I ran the opposite way.

I took an act committed by men and blamed God. I blamed God for allowing human nature to run its course. I blamed God for my feelings, for my situation. In reality God was hurting just as much. God is our Abba, our Father and He loves us. He desperately loves us. When one of His precious children is abused He hurts. He hates to see us use the precious gift of choice to hurt each other. He wanted me to turn to Him. It had to be my choice though.

In my time of running I learned a lot of truths. I learned that the places where we expect to find God are not always the places where He is the most evident. I learned that good, loyal, lifelong friends are one of the most precious gifts on this earth. I learned that it is ok to admit that we are weak sometimes. I learned that rarely does life happen the way that we plan. I learned that no matter how far I run, no matter what I do, no matter how angry I get at the world, God still loves me.

I learned that even a broken vessel is beautiful to someone. 11 years ago I was a rape victim, a mother that lost the baby I conceived during the rape, I was a hopeless child craving the love of her Abba, and I didn’t know how to feel His love. I knew Him. I grew up knowing Him, but I didn’t know how to tune into that love when it was most needed.

We can now fast forward to today. The sun is beginning to peak over the mountains. My husband is getting ready to head off to work, and our 13 month old daughter is peacefully sleeping in her crib. Not only do I have the family that I have prayed for since I was a little child. I have something more. I have a hard won peace that comes from seeking God and finding Him. I have a joy that comes from knowing that after all this life has to throw at me (the beautiful and the ugly) I have Heaven waiting, and finally I will not just feel God in my soul I will get to see Him. I will get to say “Jesus, thank you. I love you. I praise you.” And that is why my book is entitled Joyfully After All.

jessieJessie Lee is the author of Joyfully After All: My Journey From Rape Victim to God’s Princess. It can be find in paperback and Ebook format on amazon.com. When she isn’t busy working on her next book or her blog (www.joyfullyafterall.wordpress.com) Jessie enjoys spending time with friends and family, both indoors and exploring the wonderful world God has created.  Jessie Lee can be found on Facebook under Joyfully After All and loves spending as much time as possible helping other women realize that no matter what happens, no matter what they do, God is offering them salvation, joy and peace.

 

 

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.

 

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!

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.

 

 

 

 

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/ 

Have you ever felt God calling you to do the impossible?

by Heather Hart

I had that happen recently. God is constantly bringing me writing opportunities, some, He tells me about just to have me turn down – He has to teach me how to say no. Others, He brings me seem impossible, but He calls me to trust. The latest assignment He gave me was like that, and it hasn’t been easy. Early on in 2012, I set the goal of finishing an entire book – on my own – before the end of the year. I have started dozens of books in that time, and finished a few joint projects, but all the ones that were mine, God kept telling me, “not yet.”

marketing bookFinally, I felt God give me the go ahead on my book for 2012. It was to be called, “A Year of Book Marketing,” and would be released January 1st 2013. The problem – God didn’t give me the idea for the book until November. I kept telling Him that it was impossible to finish the book by that date, but He kept telling me to try. Simply try, and trust Him. So I did.

I won’t tell you that I had perfect faith. I stressed over this decision a lot, and went back and forth about how smart it was to write and publish a book that fast, but God kept telling me to obey.

Before the book was even completed, God prompted me to start marketing it. I argued with this as well. I said, “God, it’s not even done yet! What if I don’t make my deadline?!” And His response? “It’s not your deadline, but mine. And I will meet it, so you don’t have to worry about it.”

So I obeyed. The project continues to grow, and God finally calmed my fears by allowing me to publish the Kindle edition of the book in two parts. Part one was released earlier this week, although I’m still not sure if God called me to write it for a specific author who needed it, or even just to teach me a lesson about trust, but I’m happy to announce that it is finished. Part two will be released in May of this year.

If you’d like to learn more about “A Year of Book Marketing,” you can find the information about it on my website at: http://authorheatherhart.blogspot.com/p/book-marketing.html or it is also available on Amazon.com

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Helping other authors since 2009, Heather Hart lives in Texas with her husband, Paul, where she fills her days caring for their four heatheryoung children, writing for Christ, and studying God’s Word. Heather works as a self-publishing-coach.com liaison, author, and authors assistant whose desire is to glorify Christ through her work and to help other authors do the same. You can learn more about Heather by visiting her website: http://authorheatherhart.blogspot.com/

Or, by connecting with her in the following places:

Twitter: @_HeatherHart

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatherhartauthoreditor

GNFA: A Year in Review

By Naty Matos

Well, if you are reading this it means you survived the 1,000th time since the existence of humanity where the end of the world has beenend announced. I tell you something. In preparation for the world not to end the authors of GNFA have been popping out books like rabbits.

Yes, this group has had a lot of accomplishments during the last 12 months. But let me start by telling you more about GNFA. It stands for Grace and Faith Authors. This is an organization that houses the best Christian Indie Authors in the market.

We pride ourselves with bringing the message of the cross and providing clean reads for Christians and non-Christians. Let me highlight some of the things that we can count as blessings more than accomplishments in 2012.

  • There were 95 books published amongst all the members of the group.
  • Two of those books have been nominated for Book of the Year by The Book Club Network
  • 2 other books achieved the #1 download in Amazon on their free day and another one reached #2
  • We opened a Facebook group for our readers to connect with our authors and now we have 101 members of the GNF Readers Connection!
  • There were 3 television appearances, 3 radio interviews, 1 magazine article and 1 newspaper article by some of our authors.
  • Two books from some of our authors were released on Audiobooks.
  • Our group count has grown to over 200 Christian Authors

I can tell you that our authors are already going full steam ahead in preparation for 2013. They will teach you, advise you, entertain you, comfort you and motivate you in the best way we know how, by writing good books.

But we couldn’t do any of this without you. So on this last day of 2012 I want to thank you for your support and following.

Happy New Year and have a blessed 2013!!!

Staci Stallings, Naty Matos & GNFA

2013

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