Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My New Book Cover

Here's the cover of my new book, Cold Justice, which will be in book stores June 2012. Isn't it awesome? I'm thrilled with it.

A cover and title says a lot about a book. One look at this cover with the stark trees, a raven flying, and the red letters of Justice . . . well, you know this novel must be a suspense. When I saw the raven, I was reminded of a book my parents gave me when I was only 15. It had a raven on the cover as well. They gave me Tales of Edgar Allan Poe. I was puzzled as to why they would give me a book with such dark stories, but I also thought it was super cool especially when I read those stories.

Hmm, as I think about it, I wonder if reading that book sent me down the path of liking suspense. I always thought reading romantic suspense novels were to blame, but the more I think about it, I realize the seed had been planted when I was young. Anyway, I think it's so totally awesome, cool, terrific, and all sorts of wonderful that my new novel has a raven on it.

Now let me tell you a little bit about Cold Justice. Here's the back cover blurb.

After overcoming missed connections, murder accusations, and years of living lives apart, Regi Bernard and Samuel Tanner’s happily ever after is finally within reach. On the eve of their wedding, however, Samuel disappears, and Regi wonders if once again he has run away from both a life with her and a membership in the Church.

Quite the opposite; Samuel has been kidnapped by the Raven Clan, a powerful Alaskan tribe, and is en route to stand trial in front of their justice council for a puzzling crime that happened years ago.

When Regi and Samuel’s close friends suspect a kidnapping, Regi—with the help of her sister, Claudia, and friend Wakanda—resolves to follow Samuel to Alaska but soon learns secrets about her
fiancĂ© she hadn’t bargained for.

While Samuel struggles with his faith and with understanding why he has been accused, Regi risks life and love to set him free.

I'm working on promotion for this novel, trying to decide when and where to have the book launch. And I'm thinking about whether to do a blog tour. If I do, I'll need influencers.

What's an influencer? Influencers promote a book online. Generally they receive a free copy of the novel to read and then post a kind review of the novel and/or author interview, the book trailer, and a link to where people can buy the book. I'd like to do something a little different, though. I've noticed on some blog tours that they are pretty repetitive. I want to try to mix things up and make the tour more fun. Another thing about influencers, they help spread the word about your novel on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.

I'll have twenty free copies of the novel to giveaway to my influencers for the tour. If you're interested please leave me a comment, and I'll put your name on the list.

Thursday I'll post a wrap up on February's value, Faith, introduce March's value, and also give you a short review of the non-fiction book The Miracle of Freedom Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World. This was a very thought-provoking book. I can't wait to tell you about it.

So tell me, how do you like my new cover?


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Building a Writing Fortress

Are you building your writing fortress? As writers a lot of action happens in our minds. We create characters, think up situations to put them in, and hope that what we write sounds realistic. To help with the realism factor, we do extensive research by sometimes going to the actual places where we've set our books, or we do what our characters do. This doesn't mean we have to build a fortress with mortar and brick, but we do need to have a certain amount of knowledge to build our stories. Gene Roddenberry didn't fly through space, and I highly doubt Stephanie Myers has kissed a vampire, but they knew how to write scenes with feeling and basic knowledge to make their stories real for their readers. Basic knowledge adds to your writing fortress.

Last night I added to mine. I write YA time travels and romantic suspense. My current book is another romantic suspense. Many times my main characters need to defend themselves by shooting a gun. In an effort to truly understand what it feels like to fire a weapon, I signed up for a class that would teach me how to shoot a shotgun, rifle, and handgun. I really wanted to do this, but I was scared out of my mind.

There were five other women in the class: a mother and her two adult daughters, a doctor, and a surgical nurse. We had various reasons for taking the class. As each woman introduced herself, I saw strong characters for future novels. The doctor traveled the world going to dangerous countries to give aid, so she wanted to know how to use a weapon. The nurse had traveled as well, and in fact, at one time had been taken hostage having a machine gun aimed at her. And the mother and daughters just wanted to know how to handle weapons for safety and protection. Then there was me. I didn't tell them that I was a writer. I didn't want them to act differently. Sometimes when people learn I'm a writer they become self conscious, or . . . I hate this . . . they tell me they have a story I should write. So I just said I wanted to learn how to handle a gun with confidence. The teacher said that was exactly what he was going to teach us.

We learned how to load and unload a handgun, how to aim, where to aim, and how to hit what we're aiming at. After two hours of instruction with the various weapons, we went to the firing range, put on safety goggles and ear protection, and then we were ready to actually apply what we'd learned with live ammunition.

I loaded the Glock, snapped the magazine (they only call them clips in the movies), cocked the gun, and I was ready. Holding the weapon within my hands and pulling it up to take aim, I prayed I'd hit the target. Squeezing the trigger, I was ready for the repercussion that jolted my arms as the bullet launched. I saw how smoke coiled from the gun barrel and smelled the cordite that hung in the air. I had hit the target and was filled with exhilaration because I had accomplished what I'd set out to do.

I now know how my characters feel when they pick up a gun, what they smell when the gun goes off, and how fear can be overcome with knowledge.

The reality of firing a weapon and how it feels will always stay with me. And believe it or not, I plan to go to the firing range as often as I can. I'm building not only my confidence, but my characters.

What have you done to build your writing fortress? What experiences make up the mortar and brick of realism in your story?


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Keep the Faith in Your Writing

Keeping faith in your writing can be difficult especially when the rejections stack up, when you have no support from your family, or when writing becomes a chore. Fortunately there are ways to keep the faith.

Don't worry about rejections. As I mentioned last week on my blog, rejections are the stripes you earn in your battle for publication. Be proud of them, don't dwell on them, and move on.

Sometimes you may not feel as though your family supports your writing. And you know what, that's okay. Lend them your support in their dreams, but remember your dream is important, too. You can find a place and time to write. Just look around you, find a spot, and get to work. You can write as you're waiting for school to let out. You can study stories as you watch TV with the family. There are a number of ways you can work around the demands of being a Mom or Dad. There was a time in my life when I had three kids in high school, plus extended family living with us. I literally had to put my computer and desk in my bedroom's walk in closet (Yeah, I was a closet writer for a time).  And to write I'd have to find time late at night. But I wrote some great stories in that closet. If the desire to write is deep inside, you'll find a way to do it.

And if writing ever becomes a chore, you need to rethink your dream. Writing should be your time to escape, your time to dive into another world of make-believe and have fun.

So . . .

especially in your writing. You can do it!!!

How do you make time for writing into your busy life?


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rejections Tell a Story and Build Faith

Rejection. How a writer handles rejection can make or break a career. Rejection can also test your faith in your abilities. Most every writer has felt the sting of rejection. I have a huge file folder filled with rejection letters. Every once in a while I pull the file out and read them. Not because I'm depressed, but because those letters tell a story, my story of how I kept working on my craft.

Do you want to take a peek in my rejection folder? I don't show it to just anybody, but for you, I'll make an exception. Give me a minute. (Using a crane to pull it out. Yah, it's heavy.)

As I open the file, you can see my first few rejections and that they are the standard form letters. Some have pretty letterhead. These are antiques. Most rejections are sent through email today. Anyway, I kept these standard form rejections and continued to work and send out my manuscripts.

Now look at the next batch. See how the standard form letters have handwritten notes of encouragement from the editors and agents. Cool, huh? Well, I knuckled down after receiving those and worked harder.

Ah...look! These rejection letters are gold. They identified problems in my manuscripts with recommendations on how to fix the problems. And see, there at the end? The editor said that if I made the revisions he'd like to see the book again. Totally awesome! Of course, I made the corrections. (Closing file and holding on my lap.)

My rejections tell the story of where I've been and how much I've grown as a writer. They certainly tested my faith in my ability, but they also made my faith stronger.

You might ask, do I still receive rejections? Yes, however most are through email. I have an online file for those. Over the years, I have learned there are many reasons for rejections: the publisher just bought a novel similar to mine, the publisher isn't the right one for my work, the publisher has reached their limit on accepting novels for a while, and on and on. Serious writers can't afford to let rejections stop them from trying.

Rejection letters/emails can be depressing. But that's okay. Just file them away (online or print them up and put them in a draw) and have faith in your ability to learn and grow as a writer. Rejections are the stripes you've earned in your battle to publication. Keep them and every year or so look at them. They will tell your story of where you've been, how you've grown, and give you hope. Really, they will.

You might want to set yourself a goal of receiving so many rejections a year. I did that. I reached that goal for a couple of years and then one day I actually sold a book. I firmly believe my rejections helped me build faith in myself so that my dream could true. They can do the same thing for you. :)

How do you feel about your rejections?  Are they your friends? Or your enemies?


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Where Faith and Life Meet

Isn't that an interesting road sign? Imagine seeing that along the highway. It would certainly make you wonder what was ahead, wouldn't it? But life is one big adventure, and you never know what is going to happen from one day to the next.

I remember one Saturday morning a long, long time ago waking up and learning that the Teton Dam had burst. At the time, my husband and I lived in Idaho Falls. The dam was many miles away, but we knew our lives would never be the same. A huge wall of water devastated  Sugar City and Rexburg, and the water was heading for Idaho Falls. Before this disaster was over it wiped out the homes of many of our friends and family members, and it took the life of my husband's father. They say adversity can make you stronger. We learned how true that was for we witnessed our community come together to help one another, and we experienced miracles. Many people had their faith strengthen.

Disasters tend to strengthen your faith not only in your fellowman, but in God. I don't know why some people died and others didn't, but I do know miracles took place during that time. Some within my own family. We hold those moments close to our hearts for they are very tender and sacred.

A good friend of mine sent me the video below, which reminded me of that time in my life. I was tempted not to watch it because it's eight minutes long, but believe me if you watch this your heart will be touched and your faith will be strengthen.

Have you had an experience where faith merged with your life?


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Your Writing Shield of Faith and Three Basic Questions.

As a writer you need to be armed with a shield of faith to help you fight against the pitfalls of self doubt. I'm speaking as a person who has gone to battle against self doubt. And I must be truthful, there have been times when doubt overshadowed my belief that I could really see my end goal of having a book published. But I learned something very important . . . those who succeed are not always the most talented, or the most knowledgeable. Those who succeed are those who have armed themselves with the belief that they can.

Sounds to simple, doesn't it?

Well it is and it isn't.

Ask yourself three basic questions:

Do you want to write because you have something to say?

Do you want to write because you love telling stories?

Do you want to write because you can't imagine life without writing?

If you answered yes to these questions, you can succeed because your shield is built with the basics that will see you through self doubt.There's more to your desire to write than money or fame. It's part of who you are.

You might not be the most talented writer in your group or the most knowledgeable, but remember talent is in the eyes of the beholder and knowledge can be gained.

Study your craft from all angles. Do you like to write in third person or first person? Do you like middle grade or young adult genres? Or is romance your thing? Whatever style or genre appeals to you most make certain to do your homework, read all the books you can (both about writing and fiction in your genre) and then . . . write, write, write.

Every time you write you're building your writing shield of faith because you're building your knowledge and learning. And that my friend will help keep you from self doubt.

How do you build your shield of faith for your writing? Do you write everyday? What are some of the best writing books you've found that have helped you? Was there an author who inspired you to write? 


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What is Faith?

Many years ago, I taught a song to Primary children about faith and how faith was like a seed and if they planted it the seed would grow. The song was cute and the kids loved to sing it. That song taught what faith is. The picture above shows how faith develops, but it leaves out an important step and that's . . . work. You have to work to develop faith. You know the saying, faith without works is dead. As I've grown older I can see the truth in those words. I found the perfect example this last weekend.

On the weekends my daughter and I usually go to a movie. We went to a couple, but the one I enjoyed most was Big Miracle. As I've thought about the movie I realized why I liked it so much was because the plot revolved around people having faith that they could save three grey whales. This movie showed if you ask for help, work very hard, and believe . . . you'll be successful.

And that in a nutshell is faith; asking, working, believing, and then finally seeing the end result.

The movie was based on a true story. I thought you might like to see the trailer.

This month on my blog I'm going to focus on faith.

Faith in your life.

Faith in your writing.

And faith in a loving Heavenly Father.

How do you explain faith? Why do you think faith is important? 


Thursday, February 2, 2012

February's Writing Virtue

On Thursdays I give tips to help your writing. I'm going to do that, but I'm also going to kick off the month of February with a virtue to work on. You're probably wondering what that picture has to do with it. Hang on. I'll tell you in a minute.

The virtue for February . . . I've heard a lot about this virtue over my life. When I served in the Young Women's program in my church, this virtue was at the top of the list for the young women because it was so important. Life would be very flat without this virtue.

February's virtue is . . .

So what does the picture at the beginning have to do with faith? Everything. Faith that the sun will set. Faith gives you peace like a sunset. Faith . . . well, I'll dive more deeply into faith next Tuesday, but let's discuss faith in regards to writing because a lot of what you do as a writer depends on faith. Really. Think about it.

You have to have faith in yourself to even begin to write a story.

The faith in your ability as a writer grows stronger with each word you type, with every scene you describe, with every character you give life to. That faith grows and grows. You may hit some snags as you ask people to read your work and you receive critiques. Your faith may titter a little, but then you step back and realize that maybe valid points were made, so you set to work again.

Faith grows even more once you finish your novel. You did it! You've written a book. This is a big deal, and you should feel good about yourself. But don't rest now. Find an agent or publisher and get your darling in the mail. Then have faith that you'll succeed.

During February we're going to work on developing iron-clad faith that will give you a shield to help maneuver around the pitfalls of self-doubt, a sword to cut through rejection, and a fortress of faith to build around you so you can succeed.

What do you do to keep faith in your ability as a writer?



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