Category Archives: Series

Return to Downton–Part Two

Hello, my darlings! Suze here. What’s new with you? Lots of things going on in Suze-ville. Like, I heard from my editor and the Berkley team is working on my cover! My Greek restaurant series has a new, adorable name: The Georgie’s Kitchen Mysteries. Book 1 will be called Feta Attraction. I’ll be sure to let you know when I have a release date!

In the meantime, my Downton Abbey obsession continues. If you missed my post from a couple of weeks ago, click here.  So here are some more predictions for the characters of DA:

Lady Mary, what's wrong with you? Are you really going to let Lord Gillingham marry someone else?
Lady Mary, what’s wrong with you? Are you really going to let Lord Gillingham marry someone else?

Mrs. Hughes:  Guilt from the lie she told Mr. Bates continues to eat away at her.  So she hatches a plan to exact revenge on Lord Gillingham’s valet. Throwing everyone off the scent by saying she is needed by an elderly aunt suffering from the gout in the Outer Hebrides, Mrs. Hughes steals the estate car and travels to Gillingham’s estate. She lures the valet outside under cover of darkness and promptly dispatches him, stuffing his body into the trunk then driving back to the Abbey.  The next day, she presents Mrs. Patmore with a large amount of ground meat and requests that she make pasties.

Alfred: Fresh from his disappointment at not being accepted into the chef school, Alfred continues to hone his craft in the Downton kitchens.  After catching James kissing Ivy in the scullery, he secretly laces one of the savories (which he whipped up from some of the leftover meat he found in the newfangled refrigerator) with a powerful laxative and offers it to James. But before James can take it from the tray, Molesley swoops in and pops the tainted treat into his mouth. He spends the next few hours in the servants’ loo, lamenting his lowly, not-able-to-get-a-buttling-job state.

Carson: Carson refuses to eat the pasties, having seen what Mrs. Hughes has done. Although he now realizes he loves her passionately, his respect for her is erased and he knows he can no longer stay at Downton. He retires to his room and makes plans for his return to the stage. Working feverishly, in a single night he blocks out the choreography for a new production: The Downton Burlesque Revue.

Cousin Rose. Cousin Rose, desperate for a part in Carson’s show, enlists the aid of the Countess’s new maid (what’s-her-name) and her mad sewing skills to make her a costume–complete with rip-away bodice and a fan made from feathers pinched from the hats of The Dowager Countess and Isobel Crawley.  She wows Carson and it’s off to London with the two of them, where they mingle with all the wrong sorts of people. The Downton Burlesque Revue? It’s a smash!

Edith. Jealous, Edith decides she also wants to be in the show, so she steals Rose’s costume and tries it on. However, due to the fact that her midsection is swelling noticeably, she cannot fit into the tights and skirt.  Her cries of anguish can be heard all the way to Germany.

That’s all for now. Do you watch Downton Abbey? What do you think should happen?

A Great Whodunit, Sandra Orchard Style

“Step into my parlor for a cuppa tea,” said the spider to the fly.Deadly_Devotion_Sm

I am a huge tea drinker, but Sandra Orchard’s latest suspense series, the Port Aster Secrets, now has me questioning every ingredient that fills my teabags. The titles of the teas on my canisters all sound delightful, but after reading the first book in Sandra’s series, Deadly Devotion, I have to question what exactly goes into my African Autumn Surprise teabags…eeeek!

Deadly Devotion is the first book in a three-book mystery series in which a romance arcs the series, along with an underlying suspense plot. The heroine of the series, Kate Adams, is a research scientist who knows her herbs. She knows which ones are deadly and which ones could go undetected in an blind trustautopsy. But knowing this doesn’t mean she’s safe from their poison–especially when she starts sniffing more than tea leaves. She’s putting her nose where it doesn’t belong, and her amateur sleuthing is going to get her into trouble. Will the handsome FBI agent-turned cop, Tom Parker, be able to help her out? All I will say is they make a great team, and I am looking forward to Book Two, Blind Trust, releasing in January.

If you haven’t read the Port Aster series, you can get started with Deadly Devotion now, then preorder Blind Trust for January. Or see below for a chance to win them!

Deadly Devotion

Research scientist Kate Adams and her colleague Daisy are on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy suddenly dies. Kate knows that if it hadn’t been for Daisy’s mentorship, she wouldn’t have the job she loves or the faith she clings to. So when police rule Daisy’s death a suicide, Kate is determined to unearth the truth.

Former FBI agent Tom Parker finds it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gives him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom’s just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation of her friend’s death, he knows his job is at stake. In fact, despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate looks a bit suspicious herself.

As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?

Blind Trust

Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money, and she can’t believe that it came from her sweet neighbor. Or that it lands her in the middle of another one of Detective Tom Parker’s investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor’s innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue that is far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation–and strikes too close to home for comfort. As family secrets come to light, her world–and her budding romance with Tom–begin to crumble. To Kate, it’s clear that she won’t be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster’s secrets. But is it too late for her and Tom?

Sandra_Orchard_3

Sandra Orchard is a multi award-winning author of inspirational romantic suspense with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense imprint, and Revell Publishing. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and The Word Guild (Canada). A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and now writes full time…when not doting on her young grandchildren.  You can learn more about Sandra’s books and bonus features at www.SandraOrchard.com or connect at www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard

At her website, Sandra loves to offer readers extra bonus features for each of her books such as deleted scenes, character interviews, location pics and even related recipes. And…

Christmas_gifts_pd

…as a special Christmas gift for her newsletter subscribers, she sends them a Christmas short story (this year’s is more like a mini-novella) that springboards from one of her novels.

If you’d like to receive it, click here to subscribe. You will receive a link to her 2011 Christmas story within the next day or two, so if you don’t see it in your inbox, be sure to check your spam folder. Your 2013 story will arrive in your inbox in December.

In the meantime, you can check out the rest of Sandra’s bonus features here:

http://sandraorchard.com/extras/bonus-book-features/

She also has a giveaway going on now until November 26th.

If you’d like an opportunity win a copy of Deadly Devotion (or an advanced copy of the second book in the series, Blind Trust) for yourself or as a gift for a friend, please check out the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Emma Right, Inspirational YA/Middle Grade Author Visits

 

 

Today, the Scribes invite Young Adult/Middle Grade Author, Emma Right to tell us aperf6.000x9.000.indd little about her latest inspirational adventure fantasy release, (that is on sale for 99 cents this week only) Keeper of Reign! And below you will see a place to enter to win  a Kindle!

 

But first I sat down with Emma to ask her a few Scribe’s questions to help us to get to know her and to see how she makes her writing a success.

 

So please welcome Emma Right!

 

Emma Tcheau headshotEmma, how do you battle the doubt monster?

 

The problem with life is that the Doubt Monster seeps into every aspect of our lives, right? He’s that negative voice that always tells us all to look at the cup half empty, to focus on the storm, and never on Jesus. And there is my sword. The Lord of my life, Jesus Christ. If I veer my eyes even a tiny fraction away from HIM and at the things I do, I will be defeated even before I start. HE who can turn water into wine, and bring the dead back to life can breathe life into my characters, even on my worse days. And that’s how I overcome all the Doubt Monsters, and there are too many of them around. So, I try to not focus on them, and remember I write for Jesus, I breathe for Jesus, and my stories are for HIM. He will overcome for me. He and His Word–just like my character Jules Blaze who had to realize that he had to go back to the Books to find answers to life, and that he’d been equipped all along to overcome his Enemy–see final chapters of Keeper of Reign 1. 

Well said! I know if I keep my eyes on Jesus, I will persevere. Can you tell us if you have a story you haven’t you told yet?  What is holding you back?

The only thing keeping me back is the lack of time. I have to remind myself that I am a mother first, before I am an author. That’s a hard pill to swallow since I feel I have also been called to write–something I had been resisting for one reason or another all these years. 

Understandable. Being a wife/mother has to come first. I’m glad you’re your family has supported you to allow you to have some time to write.

What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

I’d continue to still tell stories verbally. And then, there’s reading, which I absolutely love to do.

Wonderful! So they say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere.  What is yours?  What is it about?  What makes it terrible?  Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

I actually have a 300 page manuscript in my drawer/computer. It’s called “No Accident” and is a YA/MG Christian paranormal mystery about a girl who’d moved into a new neighborhood and finds the house revealing things to her about herself. One of these days I’ll find the time to edit it and publish it. Maybe when I am done with Keeper of Reign Book 2 and the new YA psychological thriller series, called “Dead Dreams” I am working on right now.

Look forward to them all! Now, Emma, tell us how do you come up with your shtick?

I try to incorporate some bible nuggets into my stories. They may not be big or obvious facts or revelations, since I am also trying to reach a non-believing reader, or one semi-luke warm Christian, through my books, but I hope to add something in the story that would “shtick” to the reader–something about the Bible or Jesus. Some not-well-known detail, or peculiarity that I hope will nudge the reader into thinking a bit more about the Bible and his/her salvation.

Tell us about the making of your story!

Look about and see something out of place. And ask “What if…” I give you an example…your husband comes home and he seems to be different…how do you really know he’s you husband? ….what if…fill in the blanks here.

Okay, that’s a little freaky. Let’s move on….What was your biggest misstep in your writing career so far?

Wasting time trying to learn to write to get a literary agent. It’s a lesson in courtship, and very tedious. And, I took six months off from writing novels to learn how to sell myself, or rather my novel, to agents. If there was one thing I couldn’t do to save myself, it was to sell anything. So after a while, and bored stiff, I gave up and said, “forget agents, forget publishing houses, I can do this because I have Christ and I am willing to learn.” If I have any time at all to dedicate to my writing I’d rather learn how to craft a better story or read a novel that would help my stories be more exciting and so forth. Besides, in this day and age, an author can hire editors, a designer, and even a book distributor, so the need to find an agent and a traditional publisher isn’t so important like it was ten years ago.

Do you have a word related pet peeve?

I absolutely detest the word “I”. Truly, why, may I ask, is “I” capitalized? It is not only troublesome to type–since we always have to capitalize that silly word, and hence waste time–I just feel that capitalizing it just make “I” look so puffed up and makes us focus on, guess who? “I,” of course.

Never thought about it that way! We don’t capitalize “you”. LOL!

What is your junk food of choice?

Cheese burgers, dripping with juice and stuffed with freshly cut onions.

MMMM…What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?

Rappelling down the bell-shaped 180-foot Moaning Cave–my teenage son’s idea.

Yikes! Not for me, either.  Tell us your guilty pleasure?

Eating toast that has been slathered with butter, then topped with creamy, smooth Nutella. And a cup of latte to go with it.

Mmmmmm…while I imagine that, Readers, enjoy the Keeper of Reign Book1 trailer at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwDNCsXsthIhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQKjBMLnnzE AND REMEMBER Keeper of Reign Book 1 is now 99c till Aug 16  at : http://www.amzn.to/12QkOOU

……………

Kindle Raffle!!

Keeper of reign Book1 is being showcased by the John 3:16 Marketing Network as part of their August Book Launch Event. Be sure to visit  http://bit.ly/Christian_Books for a chance to win a Kindle, a $25 gift card and a $10 Starbucks card, as well as purchase Children of Dreams.

 

Emma Right is a happy wife and Christian homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. She loves the Lord and His Word deeply, and when she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one.

Emma worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.

Visit Emma Right at her home site and sign for her blog feed and newsletter @ http://www.emmaright.com and blog for tips and ideas about books, homeschooling, bible devotions, and author helps from self-publishing to book marketing. Follow Emma Right on facebook.com/emma.right.author and “like” her fan page at http://www.facebook.com/keeperofreign for the latest events. Follow Google Plus emmarightbooks, and Twitter @emmbeliever. She’d love to hear from her readers.

A Visit with Shannon Vannatter

Please welcome Shannon Vannatter to the Scribes! We’re so happy to have you, Shannon, and excited to hear all about Rodeo Regrets, your Heartsong Presents book release.

Readers, Shannon will be here on Monday to reply to your questions and comments. SheShannon Taylor Vannatter Headshot - red is excited to interact with you, so be sure to say hi! And she’s giving away a copy to one lucky commentor. Winner announced next Sunday.

But first, Shannon answered a few questions the Scribes had for her to help you get to know her better.

The first was how she battles the doubt monster?  Doubt Monster: the nagging feeling while writing, that your prose is terrible, you plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no-one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.

So tells us, Shannon, what do you do?

When that happens, I find a writers meeting to go to. Being around other writers always gets me going.

Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you?  Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before.

Not really. When I first started writing, I dabbled with inspirational romantic suspense and realized I really stunk at it. There was very little suspense and I kept focusing on the romance. Plus I didn’t want to learn about guns and dead bodies. Finally, at a writers conference I heard an editor say that if you’re not sure what genre you want to write, pay attention to what you read. The genre you enjoy reading is probably what you should write.

It was an ah hah moment for me. Occasionally I read romantic suspense, but I have to be in the right mood because it keys me up. Occasionally, I read women’s fiction, but I’m always leery because I want a happily-ever-after. I don’t enjoy historicals or Amish. My consistent favorite read is romance. And I’ve given up on reading secular. I read to relax and I don’t want to be cussed at or unholy images planted in my head.

All that said, I can’t imagine writing anything other than inspirational contemporary romance.

What story haven’t you told yet that you want to tell? What is holding you back?

This French guy has been in my head for several years. I haven’t had time to deal with him because of deadlines for contracted books. A good problem to have. But I plan to carve out some time and write his story later this year.

What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?

When I learned that the Heartsong Presents line was being discontinued. And two of my books would die in the process.

And then Harlequin bought the line. My two books released and I got to continue the series with three more books.

Wa-hoo! So happy for you!

So, what would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

I guess I’d just be a stay at home mom. And when my son gets grown, I’d go back to some office job like I had before.

They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere.  What is yours?  What is it about?  What makes it terrible?  Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

Mine’s actually complete. And it’s the first book I ever wrote. It was a good story, but I had no idea how the mechanics of writing worked. It was about a girl with a stalker and the private detective who became her bodyguard. I actually completely rewrote it a few months ago. It’s now a rodeo queen with a stalker and the Texas Ranger she dated back in high school. It’s releasing in November. I don’t believe in leaving books in a drawer. All of my first efforts have been published—after lots of learning and revision—except for two and I haven’t had time to rework them yet. But I plan to.

Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book.  How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?

Things I see or experience often go in my books. This whole rodeo series started because my dad announced at a very small town rodeo when I was a teenager and I worked in the concession stand. Years later, I saw a cowboy wearing his wranglers, boots and hat holding hands with a girl in a pin-striped suit at the Arkansas State Fair. I wondered how they met and what they had in common. That became the basis for book one of this series.

How do you come up with your shtick?  (By shtick I mean that thing that identifies the story as belonging to you)

There’s always a dark-haired guy with green eyes. My husband has that coloring and that’s what I’m attracted to. So I can’t write a blond hero. My characters live in real small towns. They usually come with a southern drawl, use southernisms, and they all say y’all and drink sweet tea.

How did your current release come about?

Once Harlequin bought the line, my agent contacted an editor about me. The editor had just read book two in my series and wanted to know if I had anything similar to submit. I’d given all my characters in the series a happily ever after since it was only supposed to be a three book series with the previous publisher.

Except for Natalie. She was the rodeo slut who hit on every hero I created, got pregnant, gave her baby up, and skipped town two books ago. I figured out a way to redeem her, which went back to what happened to her to make her the person she was. I gave her a sister and a cousin for two more books. The editor liked the concept and another three books were born.

What was your biggest misstep in your writing career so far?

It took me three tries to end up with the right agent.

Do you have a word related pet peeve?

Padding. There for a while, it seemed like all the heroines were taking off their shoes and padding across the room.

What is your junk food of choice?

Milk chocolate, caramel, and nuts together in the form of a Snickers Bar or Turtles.

What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?

Skip study hall. I almost got caught and I never did it again. I’m pretty tame.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Sappy Hallmark movies. They’re nice, clean movies, but they’re a guilty pleasure because I should be writing, or cleaning, or something useful.

Oh, Shannon, don’t worry about those sappy movies. Consider it inspiration for your own stories. They get your mind set on the right track!

Thank you so much for sharing. I especailly appreciate the three agent misstep. Proof that you don’t want to take the first agent that comes along. Make sure you are a good fit.

Thank you, Shannon for being here! Readers be sure to check out Rodeo Regrets and get connected with Shannon too!

Rodeo Regrets coverRodeo Regrets:

NATALIE WENTWORTH’S PAST IS ABOUT TO CATCH UP WITH HER

Natalie once dreamed of finding true love. Then Lane Gray broke her heart. After running wild to fill the emptiness inside her, she heads back to her hometown to heal. But when she sees the cowboy she once loved so much, she finds him hard to resist.

Lane Gray is a changed man. The handsome cowboy wants Natalie’s forgiveness-and more. Natalie has made plenty of mistakes in her life, but so has Lane. Could falling for each other again be the worst one yet? Or the path to redemption?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Regrets-Heartsong-Presents-Shannon-Vannatter/dp/0373486669/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373158598&sr=8-1&keywords=rodeo+regrets

http://shannonvannatter.com/

Welcome YA Author M. Lathan

MEDIA KIT BookCoverMEDIA KIT AuthorPictureToday’s guest is YA Author, M. Lathan. M. lives in San Antonio with her husband and mini-schnauzer. She enjoys writing and has a B.S. in Psych and a Masters in Counseling. Her passion is a blend of her two interests – creating new worlds and stocking them with crazy people. She enjoys reading anything with interesting characters and writing in front of a window while asking rhetorical questions … like her idol Carrie Bradshaw.

Welcome to the Scribes, M. I’m so glad you could join us. Tell us about you and your book.

Thank you for having me, PJ. HIDDEN is book one in a YA fantasy/paranormal series. In the first installment, sixteen-year-old Leah Grant has given up on being normal. She’d settle for stopping the voices in her head, intrusive visions of the future, and better odds of making it to her seventeenth birthday.

That’s the thing about pretending to be human in a world where magic used to exist – at any moment, her cover could be blown and she’ll be burned to death like the rest of the witches.

Everything changes when she loses control of her powers and flees the orphanage she grew up in. She desperately wants to be invisible but finds her face plastered on every news channel as humans panic over the possible resurgence of her kind. And now the hunters won’t give up until they find her.
Making friends for the first time in her life and falling in love with one of them drives her to discover why she is unlike any being she’s ever met – human or otherwise. The dangerous powers inside of her that would repel Nathan, her new, handsome reason for living, are priceless to some. The locked up forever kind of priceless. And to others, they are too dangerous to allow her to live.

Let’s hope she can stay hidden.

EXCERPT:

A far second to oranges, the song I sang in the shower every night had a way of soothing me. More than anything, it made me tired enough to fall asleep. With Whitney gone, I didn’t have to whisper it.
The stars are out,
It’s time for bed.
Now close your eyes,
And rest your head.
May angels shield you with their wings,
As you dream your little angel dreams.
I didn’t recall composing that song, but apparently, I used to think I was good and perfect like the angels. I knew better now.
I stepped out of the shower and tugged a brush through my unruly brown tangles. I stared into the mirror over the sink as I started the song again. My skin screamed winter. I should be a warmer tan; I looked less creepy in the summer. Maybe that was why the girls had been digging into me so hard. I looked rather witchy. The unease that made them mock me was probably their souls warning them, urging them to notice I was different and dangerous.
At my worst, it feels like the fire that could easily shoot from my palm is raging inside of me. My heart picks up, more than when I’m scared. It pounds, I can’t hear. My blood dances, taunting me, begging me to hurt whoever’s hurt me. And I know that I can. I feel that I can.
But I don’t. I breathe and pray and let the magic cool.

Wow, cool excerpt, M. I can’t wait to dig into this series!

I asked M. a few silly–and not-so-silly questions. Here were her answers:

1. Do you ever read your stories out loud?
I didn’t know this was weird. It’s the only way I read when I’m at home. I hate reading in my head. There’s too much happening up there.

2. What are your future ambitions?
I want to be a wife and mother. I want to write every single day of the rest of my life. I don’t know what about, just that I will be doing that.

3. What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?
Hidden Book Two, Lost. There’s a new challenge for Christine that could end life on Earth she knows it. Wish her luck.

4. First book you remember making an indelible impression on you.
I remember reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as I child. I couldn’t put it down. I read it in my closet and prayed for the back of it to open to Narnia.

5. If you were a shifter, what animal would you like to be?
A cat. I would still want to live in a house, and I think it would be my best bet. If I were a dog, I’d have to be too energetic. I’d be an aloof, cool, creepy house cat.

Yikes! I knew there was a reason I wasn’t a “cat person,” LOL. Thanks so much for entertaining us today.

Goddess Fish Promotions organized this Virtual Book Tour for HIDDEN by M. Lathan. If you’d like to check out her other appearances, you can find her tour schedule here. During this tour, the author will be giving away a $50 Amazon or BN gift card to one randomly chosen commenter. To enter, please use this Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4343/

VBT Hidden Banner copy

If you want to follow M. or buy her book (only .99 cents right now!), check out the information below. Please make her feel welcomed and leave a comment, ask a question or enter to win that whopper of a gift card!

Author Information:
Website: mlathan.com
Twitter: @hiddenseries
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/hiddenseries/
Buy link: Amazon

Unlocked secret: Spread the word–we’re having a party–Scribe’s style! Please join me next Tuesday, June 25th as I launch WESTERN DESERT, book two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. There will be prizes–including a NOOK Simple Touch, signed copies of a few of my other books, and a swag bag for one lucky winner. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating! I look forward to seeing you there.

Cliffhanger or happy ending?

PJ Sharon, here to hang with you on a rainy Tuesday morning. And speaking of hanging…I thought I would pose a question to you, my faithful readers, writers, and book connoisseurs.

When reading a trilogy, do you like the second book to end on a happy note, satisfying our endless appetite for romance, or do you prefer the cliffhanger ending that leaves you breathlessly awaiting the next book?

For me, a good cliffhanger gets me every time. Don’t get me wrong. I love romance and I live for the HEA endings that are a hallmark of all my favorite books. With a trilogy, however, I expect my HEA to make its appearance in the final installment. In books one and two, I want to be led on the merry chase. I want suspense! Will they get together, or won’t they? Will everyone survive, or will someone be killed off? I think there can be–and should be–a complete story arc in each book, but the over arcing theme of the trilogy requires phases that bring your characters one step closer to their happy ending–just not too soon. Each book in a trilogy needs its own goal, motivation, and conflict, and we expect some resolution to come at the end of each book, but how much resolution is enough to be satisfying, and how much should be left open for book three? These questions are for professional research, of course. I’ve rewritten the ending of WESTERN DESERT, book two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, four times! I so want to get it just right before I release it on the 24th of this month and dive into book three.

How do you all feel about it?

Websites, tag lines, and titles, oh my!

PJ Sharon here today, and I’m asking for your help with some of my more immediately pressing concerns. First off, prioritizing my duties as an indie-published author and entrepreneur is challenging to say the least. There are many moving parts to this job and I wear more hats than guests at a royal wedding.
While I await my second round of edits for WESTERN DESERT, I have time to work on my marketing strategy for the release next month. Priorities include scheduling a short blog tour, setting up an advertising budget for paid ads, a possible launch party of some sort, sending out press releases, and finishing my back cover copy and art. The list goes on, but sometimes, I just need to let my instincts take over and tell me what is most important for the day.

Of course, writing this blog is always on my Sunday to-do list—though it often falls over to Monday night at midnight—but today I was talking to my DH about a new website. Those of you who know me, know that I have talked about switching over to a WordPress site for my website and blog for at least the past year. Currently, I have a blog on Blogger and I have a website that I love, but it has some significant limitations. My Circle Pad site, which I pay the requisite $8.95 a month for hosting, has some quirks that make it not compatible with Apple products for one. Search engine optimization is lacking, and the interface, as user friendly as it is to work with, is antiquated and doesn’t stand up to today’s market equivalents. Even with all of that, I have resisted switching to WordPress because,

a.) I’m tech-phobic and,

b.) I can’t seem to make decisions about details such as colors, design, theme, or whether to go with .org or .com?

In a come-to-Jesus moment, I have decided to just suck it up and do it! No matter how overwhelmed I feel, the website change is a must-do. In forcing the issue, I have come to realize that part of what holds me back is that I still haven’t clearly identified my brand. I’ve gotten as far as to say, “I write romance fiction for teens and beyond,” but other than that I don’t really know what defines me as a writer these days.

This brings me to my second dilemma of the day:

Should I change my tag-line, and what should I change it to? My first three books, being contemporary YA romance with hopefully ever after endings fit fine with my “Extraordinary Stories of an Average Teenage Life” tag line. But now that I have added dystopian to my repertoire, “average” doesn’t seem suitable—not for genetically altered teens in a futuristic setting. There is still a romance, but the story clearly fits in the YA category of dystopian fiction rather than upper YA/NA stories. Romance readers are not necessarily sci-fi readers and vice versa, so I feel like maybe I need to change my image a bit to reach out to a broader audience. It occurs to me that maybe I’m having trouble pinpointing my target readership because I haven’t truly discovered my “hook”—that message in our style and voice that makes us unique and offers readers the promise of something different.

Once I understand what makes my stories extraordinary, and have narrowed down my tagline to who I am and what I write, then the web design should be easier. I also just finished taking an online web-design course to get me over my tech-fear, and DH has vowed to help me get set up on a WordPress site by the end of June when I launch Book Two in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, WESTERN DESERT.

This takes us to my third issue of the day, month, year…a title for the third book in the trilogy. Here are the parameters:

1) Title must be in adjective/noun format (Waning Moon, Western Desert)

2) It would be nice to keep with the “W” alliteration, but I’m not attached to that.

3) The title should reflect that Lily and Will are embarking on the final stage of their journey across a post-apocalyptic US. This time they are leaving Las Vegas and heading east along the southern route, which will take them through the Southern Swamps. (I already thought of that as a title but I think that would only work if there were a fourth book since this one will culminate in the final battle with the Industry and will take place in Chicago and then Vegas again. I do wish I had made it a series and not a trilogy…another lesson learned.)

4) Basically, I want a title that sounds catchy alongside the other two, is different enough to not be competing with a dozen other books by the same title, and one that metaphorically shows the shift to a hopeful ending rather than a title that focuses on gloom and doom.

These are a few of my ideas. I’d love to hear yours!

CHANGING/SHIFTING/RISING TIDES (you get the drift)
SHIFTING/RISING WINDS
STORM SURGE
HEALING WINDS

Thanks in advance for any help, advice, or suggestions!