Category Archives: Pie

Pre-orders, giveaways, and box sets

Riley swim classNovember…the time to give thanks! PJ Sharon here, and it’s been a crazy busy month–what with editing HEALING WATERS, finishing up my Christmas novella, and taking my sweetpea to baby swim classes. Have I mentioned that I LOVE being a grammy?

The good news is that everything is coming together. HEALING WATERS, book three in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy, is now available for pre-order and set for release December 23rd!

For those of you who can’t wait for this final installment, I’m offering a Goodreads Giveaway of three signed copies (Giveaway starts tonight at midnight). Enter below between Nov. 13-Dec. 15th, or pre-order it now to make sure you have the ebook before Christmas!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Healing Waters by P.J. Sharon

Healing Waters

by P.J. Sharon

Giveaway ends December 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Box set coverSpeaking of Christmas, I’m putting together this nifty box set. Sami’s Christmas Wish List (a brand spankin’ new 30k novella) ties together all the characters from Heaven is for Heroes, On Thin Ice, and Pieces of Love in one heartwarming Christmas story. Since all the girls hale from the same fictitious CT lake town, the box set is aptly named The Girls of Thompson Lake. I’ll be sure to let you know when it will be on sale!

I guess that’s it for now. Back to work. But don’t think I won’t be enjoying the Thanksgiving pie this month. I’m grateful for countless blessings, as always…family time and pie nearing the top of the list.

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

Book Signing Success

PJ here, just off a long weekend at the Granville Harvest Fair. I’ve done many such book signing events over the past couple of years, but this one was by far my favorite. For one thing, I live ten minutes up the road, so it’s close, and I inevitably saw lots of familiar faces. Thousands of folks ambled by my booth, many stopping to chat–whether they were teens or simply teens at heart. The fact that I was a local author was also a big draw. Putting a face to someone local who has achieved what so many others only dream about, seems to be an instant conversation starter. I can’t tell you how many people I spoke to—young and old—who said that they write in one form or another, and that it was nice to meet someone who has actually published their stories. It was lovely to be a source of encouragement and inspiration.

I’ve said in the past, that book signings have netted me little profit in the monetary sense and I’ve wondered whether they were really worth my time, but this event has changed my mind. In addition to making a modest profit from book sales, I gained a couple of dozen names for my newsletter list, and made many potential connections–including school teachers, librarians, mental health professionals, and teens interested in finding me on social media or purchasing my e-books for their e-readers after the fair. All in all, a great success. I thought I would share some tips that I found helpful. I hope you’ll share yours in the comments section below, so others may benefit from your experience.

harvest fair pic 11) THINGS TO BRING-A sturdy, 10×10 easy-up tent, a comfy chair, a couple of tables with table cloths (I have a six foot and a four foot table), books in plastic totes (don’t forget to take inventory and keep track of your sales), swag (bookmarks, post cards, etc.), tape, scissors, pens, plastic bags (recycle those plastic grocery bags and carry them in an empty tissue box for convenience), or have some nice bags made up with your name, website, and logo if you want to make an impression. You might reserve those for people who buy several books. Don’t forget a cash lock box, business cards, and candy (no chocolate on hot days) or a treat.

2) SIGNAGE-Invest in a nice banner, which you can have printed up through Vista Print. I have yet to do this, but I made do with a homemade banner. Plastic stand-up sign holders from Staples work great for specific table top signs. You can make whatever signs you want on your computer to fit the 8×11 frames. “Local Author of Teen Books,” “Sign up for my newsletter and enter to win…,” “Follow me on FB, Twitter, etc.” and pricing signs, are just a few ideas. Be creative.

3) PRESENTATION-Consider your brand, your audience, and your space. Create a visually appealing stage for your books. harvest fair pic 3Use color wisely to catch attention of passersby and don’t overcrowd your space. Too much to look at can be a deterrent.

4) SELLING-You can offer book sets with special pricing/discounts, you could sell merchandise related to your books (cups, tee shirts, or in my case, wooden whistles which I also offer as a free gift to those who purchase both book one and book two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy).

5) SALES PITCH-This is an opportunity to hone your sales pitch. Have a one liner to pull people in. Keep it simple. “Feel free to take a bookmark.” Keep it real and fun. “This is the glamorous life of an author.” This last phrase spoken as I used duct tape to secure my tent signage or while I peeled tape residue off my tent poles. I got lots of smiles with this one. Pitch to your audience. “I write books for teens…and teens at heart,” when speaking to adults and elderly folks who actually might enjoy reading my books. I describe my contemporary YA novels as the kind of books that would make great Lifetime Network or Hallmark movies, and note when I’m speaking to parents of teens that I write books that I wish had been available when I was a teenager. I mention accolades and awards, my million plus reads of SAVAGE CINDERELLA on Wattpad (which made that particular book sell very well all weekend), and try to hone in on what might appeal to the demographic to which I’m presenting. “The book is about a girl who is kidnapped as a child, left for dead in the high country of North Georgia and survives in the wild.” One sentence grabbers are essential! Comparisons also work well as in “Savage Cinderella is like Law and Order SVU meets Nell.” Of course this only works for people old enough to remember the movie with Jodie Foster, LOL. With teens, I might compare The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael to the TV show, Revolution, or books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, but not quite as grim and gritty. As time goes on throughout the event, you’ll find what works best. It’s excellent practice for agent/editor elevator pitches at conferences. You never know who you’ll meet, so always have a professional and friendly demeanor.

6) GIVEAWAYS-Book signings are a great place to expand your newsletter mailing list. Offer entry in a prize giveaway, a FREE download, or some incentive to get people to sign up. Reassure them that your newsletters aren’t spammy and that their information will not be used for any other reason. Be prepared to offer something for free. You can be generous without giving away the store or breaking the bank. It costs me nothing to give away a free download of ON THIN ICE (I get a coupon code through Smashwords, and have cards printed up through Vista Print with my cover on the front and instructions and the download code on the back. I can usually get 250 cards printed up for free or next to nothing when I’m ordering other items through Vista Print).

Most importantly, have FUN! Try to stay engaged with people and don’t stick your nose in a book or hide behind your computer screen. Fortunately, we had a dry and beautiful weekend with a great turnout. I met some amazing people! I also had some fabulous apple pie with Granville cheddar cheese…yum! And yes, I even sold a good number of books.

Any other ideas or things I missed?

Multi-Author Signing

PJ here. First things first.

Thank you to those who shared in the launch celebration for WESTERN DESERT last week! I had fun entertaining the party-goers who stopped by to chat and wish me well. I can’t tell you how much your support means to me. Congratulations to Lysette Lam who won the Nook Simple Touch! I am in the process of contacting the other winners, so a big thanks to those who entered my contest and shared my celebration with the world!

Now that I’ve had a few days to breathe and take a break from all the hustle and preparation of the book release, I’m gearing up for another busy weekend. Technically, I’m off from my day job, but this weekend I’ll be doing what authors live for. Along with a host of other authors, I’ll be at the Enfield 4th of July Celebration in Enfield, Connecticut, meeting readers and signing books. Everyone’s books will be available all day on Saturday and Sunday, but we’ll be rotating shifts to spread the coverage among us. I’m scheduled for Sunday from 11:30-5:30, but I’ll be around to help out on Saturday as well.

I hope you’ll join me, Katy Lee, Casey Wyatt, J Monkeys, Susannah Hardy, Rebecca Rose, T.L. Costa, Marian Lannouette, Gerri Brousseau, Jesse Hayworth, Belle Calhoun, Kourtney Heintz, Lon Unghire, Tammy Young Cote, and Renata Bowers at the Town Green on Enfield Street right in front of the town hall, Saturday, July 6th and Sunday, July 7th. And huge KUDOS to Katy Lee for organizing the signing for us.

I grew up in Enfield, so this event will have special meaning for me. If you haven’t attended a 4th on the Green, you’re missing a great time. From the live bands to the awesome parade, and the fabulous eats to the fantastic fireworks on Sunday night, there is tons of fun to be had. I participated in a few of the pie eating contests over the years, but my favorite event was the opportunity to dunk a local high school teacher who was sporting enough to take the plunge for a good cause. It’s supposed to be a great weekend weather-wise, so if you’re looking for a fun family event to attend and you’re in the area, stop by and meet some of your favorite authors and hang out with the Scribes.

I hope to see you there!

Happy Hopping

PJ Sharon here. Thank you for joining me at the Secrets of 7 Scribes group blog. I’ll give you today’s Unlocked Secret right up front. Writing is a tough job. Try to have a good time along the way. Fun may be defined differently for all of us, but a few of my favorite parts of this writing life (aside from writing!)are great conferences and group promotional events. I’m looking forward to RWA Nationals in Atlanta this July, and Fiction Fest this fall with my CTRWA pals. In the meantime, I have several group promotional events coming up.

Tis the season of Blog Hops and Book Lovers Buffets!

I’m currently participating with sixty-one other authors in the annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop. Authors_in_Bloom-300x250Since Dianne Venetta and friends organized the whole event, I didn’t have to do much accept prepare my blog and promote the heck out of it this week. The hop runs from April 10-19th and offers a Grand prize of a Nook or Kindle Fire and a $25 gift card to your favorite e-retailer.

The way it works is that you “hop” to each author’s blog where readers can collect gardening tips and awesome recipes (you must check out my super easy and scrumptious recipe for Sunny Delight Pie), and a prize will be offered just for showing up and leaving a comment. You can find the links to participating author sites on both my blog and the AIB landing page noted above. Prizes range from swag baskets to free books, signed copies to gift cards, and much more. On my blog site, all commenters who leave a valid e-mail address (not to be used for any other promotion), will be given a FREE short story called SOUL REDEMPTION, the prequel to WANING MOON, and will be entered to win an audio book copy of HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES.HeavenisforHeroes_audiobookcover

I’m so excited to be able to offer the audio book as a prize. I’ve been listening to it at home and LOVING my narrator, Erin Mallon, who has totally brought Jordie and Alex’s story to life. Hearing the story is very different from reading it, and the experience is a bit surreal for me as the author. The audio book will be available for purchase in May! Also in May, the 1st-3rd to be exact, be on the lookout for the Book Lover’s Buffet, where you can pick up a ton of fabulous books for only .99 cents!

Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of being a published author these days, I try to focus on the “fun” stuff. Blog hops, audio books, contest wins, and conferences are at the top of my list. I truly do enjoy opportunities to hang out with amazing like-minded people and learn exciting new ways to write great books and connect to readers. I am honored to be a part of such a hard-working and innovative community. You guys rock!

So what keeps you going when you get overwhelmed? Do you have a favorite (“fun”) part of being a writer that makes the hard parts easier to endure?

Happy Pi Day!

Hi, peeps. Suze here, continuing last week’s discussion on letting your geek flag fly, and wishing you a very happy Pi day.

481237_10151813240887942_1970623928_n[1]Pie? Did someone say pie? Sorry, this is not a bait and switch tactic. March 14, or 3-14, is a happy little holiday celebrating that mathematical wunderkind, Pi. Pi is defined as:

  • A mathematical constant: a number approximately equal to 3.14159 that is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and is represented by the symbol π

Now don’t run away, screaming. I don’t find advanced math very interesting either, beyond (1) being able to balance the checkbook to see how much money I can spend on books; and (2) doubling cookie recipes.

But one thing I do find interesting is the notion of a constant. A thing whose value never changes. A thing you can always count on. Among my constants are my love for my family and friends and my love of the written and spoken word. Will those things change and grow over time? Sure. But the underlying value to me will always be there.

Pucker up, sweetie!
Pucker up, sweetie!

And now, because I feel bad about leading you on about the possibility of dessert, let’s chat over coffee and this virtual lemon meringue pie. What are your constants? What kind of pie do you like best?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, darlings! Suze here, writing to you from the deck of my cabin in the woods. I woke in time to see the sunrise over the lake. A flock of ducks just came in for a landing on the water below me. A bald eagle just flew past (I never, ever fail to be thrilled, no matter how many times I see them!). And if I’d remembered to set up the coffeepot last night, I’d be enjoying a cup right now, making it pretty much a perfect morning. We make our own electricity here and must be frugal with what we have, so it’s an old-fashioned top-of-the-woodstove percolator for us–no Keurig machine!

I have so much to be grateful for, more this year than most, perhaps. So I’m making a Thanksgiving resolution: to live more mindfully and to practice gratitude in some form every day.

That being said, I’m thankful for all of you, my friends!

Now that the mushy stuff is over, how about a no-longer-secret recipe? I make my Black Friday stew every … Black Friday! I’ve never shopped on Black Friday, and don’t intend to (except maybe once as a bucket list kind of thing). It takes a while, but it’s easy, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers.

SUZE’S BLACK FRIDAY STEW

Pick as much meat as you can off the turkey frame and refrigerate the meat. Get a big stock pot and put the frame in the pot, breaking it up if you need to. Toss in the wing tips, and any other bones that people didn’t gnaw on (legs, thigh, wings), as well as a quartered onion, a couple of bay leaves, a few carrots, a few stalks of celery, and a parsnip if you have one. Fill the pot about 2/3 full with water, cover, and put the pot on the stove. (I make mine on a woodstove here at the cabin). Bring the water almost to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for several hours. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Strain out all the solids, discard, and return broth to the pot. (I find it works well to use two strainers—one with larger holes nested inside one with finer mesh).

Now comes the fun part. Add in:

-2 cans of cream of celery/mushroom/chicken soup, undiluted, or a combination of soups

-3 cans of creamed corn

-Leftover mashed potatoes

-Leftover gravy

-Leftover corn (or a can of corn, drained)

Stir to combine, and heat through (10 or 15 minutes is plenty). A few minutes before serving, add leftover turkey and heat for a couple more minutes.

Ladle into big bowls, and serve with a green salad and a loaf of French bread (I’m a fan of the Pillsbury French bread, the kind that comes in a tube in the refrigerator section).  Don’t forget leftover pie for dessert.

This feeds a crowd! If you don’t have a crowd, freeze the rest. It’s nice to pull out a tub of homemade soup for a quick supper or lunch on a cold winter day.

Have a wonderful day!

Wyatt’s Whoopie Pies

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here. I hope you are all enjoying holiday treats week!

One quick announcement – the winners of Embrace the Highland Warrior are: Gerri Brousseau and Anne Francis. Congratulations ladies!

In case, you haven’t noticed, I have a thing for chocolate.

One of my favorite indulgences is Whoopie Pies.

For those unfamiliar with Whoopie Pies, they are a Northeastern treat whose origin is hotly contested. Maine claims to be the home of the Whoopie Pie while Lancaster, Pennsylvania begs to differ.

I’m not getting in the middle of that debate!

So what is a Whoopie Pie?  Some call it a cake, others a cookie, but one thing it’s not is an actual pie. There is no tin. No flaky crust. Usually they are chocolate, but I’ve seen gingerbread, pumpkin, and red velvet varieties.

I like to think of Whoopie Pies as an inside out cupcake (because the frosting is on the inside!) My favorite recipe uses boxed cake mix (hey, I like it easy) and homemade filling. You can find a link for the recipe at the end of the post.

The first time I made Whoopie Pies, two Christmases ago, I made them for a holiday party at a friend’s house. Within the first hour, my intrepid, chocolate loving friends were already sneaking them off the plastic-wrapped plate. By the time desert rolled around, a noticeable dent had been made.

Of course, I knew who the culprits were. My friends have no shame. Chocolate was involved so the little Whoopies were fair game. (Rhyme unintended). Friends are funny. Mine claim that there are no calories in food eaten at parties. Just like there are no calories in food eaten standing up.

Uh. Huh. Don’t we all wish?

I won’t lie, these treats take a little more work than cupcakes. First, you have to make the chocolate “pie” by dropping teaspoons of batter onto a cookie sheet. Once they cool off, they need to be assembled like Oreo cookies. And, of course, you have to resist the urge to eat them under the thinly veiled disguise of “quality control”.

But they are worth the effort. And I love to see the smiles on my friend’s faces. If you’d like to try making  these delightful chocolate treats, click here!

What treats do you like to make? What brings smiles to your friends and family?