Monday, July 16, 2018

Cover reveal: Finding Us (Pine Valley #5)

I'm excited to announce the cover reveal for the next book in the Pine Valley series:

FINDING US


Release date: September 6, 2018


Felicity Miner is not normally an anxious person, and she’s been on her own since high school. But after a shoplifter steals from her bookshop, she calls the cops. When Officer Leo Russo shows up, Felicity has to tell herself that just because the romance novel she’s been reading has a hero police officer doesn’t mean she needs to project her imagination onto the real man. Yes, Officer Russo is unexpectedly generous, and he helps make Felicity’s home more secure when her worries won’t settle down. But the more Felicity is around Officer Russo, the more she imagines a future between them. Is he merely doing his duty, protecting and serving the citizens of Pine Valley, or is there potential for something more?


 More books in the Pine Valley series:



Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Word counts of a full time writer


Frequently, people ask how many books I have published. I've counted before, but I don't technically keep track. I now have more novellas than novels written, and interestingly enough, I never thought I'd write shorter books, novellas, or short-stories. Now that I've written so many 15,000 word novellas (Timeless Romance Anthologies), or 25,000 word novellas (Timeless Regency Collections), 30,000 words novellas (Lady of Breken Manor, Mistress Grim), sometimes writing my longer novels (90,000-100,000 words) feels like writing two books ;-)

This year I've been focusing on the Pine Valley romance series, and those novels are on the shorter end of novel word count. Each one is between 50,000-55,000 words. This word count length enables me to write and publish them at a quicker rate . . . also because they are contemporary so the extra research I do with historical manuscripts isn't required.

I have many author friends who write more than I do, but I do keep track of my word count religiously. It's the way I track progress and meet my writing goals (which vary with each book).

I've cut and pasted some of my word count lists for various manuscripts in the Pine Valley series so that you can get an idea of the daily writing effort of a first draft. This of course doesn't include all of the later stages of revision work and editing. For those of you who have done the NANOWRIMO program with the goal of writing 50,000 words each November, that's pretty much what it feels like to be a full time writer. You are doing a NANOWRIMO every month of the year.

Finding Us: A Pine Valley Novel (coming sometime in September 2018)
WORD COUNT
6/5 3,000
6/6 4,500
6/7 6,500
6/11 7,600
6/12 8,000
6/13 11,200
6/14 13,700
6/16 15,000
6/18 15,500
6/19 16,600
6/20 20,000
6/22 20,500
6/23 23,000
6/25 26,100
6/26 28,400
6/27 30,500
6/28 31,500
6/29 36,100
6/30 37,200
7/2 38,200
7/3 41,200
7/4 44,200
7/5 46,300
7/6 49,700
7/7 53,100
7/9 55,300

Waiting for You: A Pine Valley Novel (released June 2018)
Can't find this word count list ;-)

Say You Love Me: A Pine Valley Novel (released April 2018)
WORD COUNT
1/25 3,200
1/26 4,400
1/27 8,000
1/29 11,700
1/30 15,800
1/31 18,200
2/1 21,200
2/2 23,400
2/3 25,100
2/5 28,100
2/6 31,100
2/7 33,400
2/8 36,400
2/9 38,800
2/10 42,000
2/12 45,100
2/13 50,000


Where I Belong: A Pine Valley Novel (released March 2018)
WORD COUNT
12/29 5,200
12/30 11,300
1/1 15,000
1/2 16,400
1/3 19,500
1/4 22,500
1/5 25,600
1/6 28,100
1/8 31,600
1/9 37,000
1/10 43,000
1/11 49,500
1/12 51,500
 

Worth the Risk: A Pine Valley Novel (released Feb 2018)
WORD COUNT
11/25: 1,500
11/27: 4,600
11/28 8,200
11/29 12,400
11/30 15,400
12/1 17,500
12/2 18,600
12/3 19,200
12/4 22,500
12/5 25,600
12/6 27,700
12/7 30,700
12/8 34,100
12/9 35,800
12/11 38,100
12/12 41,200
12/13 43,000
12/14 46,000
12/15 51,700
 

 
 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Cover reveal: Anna the Prophetess

I'm excited to reveal the cover for my upcoming Biblical novel: Anna the Prophetess.

Coming August 2018 from Covenant Communications. Below, I also have the introduction to the book which details some of the things we know about this remarkable woman.





Introduction

            The prophetess Anna lived during a remarkable era—that of the Messiah’s birth and early years. Her name is the New Testament form of Hannah, and she is the only woman called a prophetess in the Gospels. Anna’s family history descended from the tribe of Asher, in which she was the daughter of Phanuel.
Unfortunately, Anna became a widow after a seven-year marriage, and there is no mention of whether she had children. She was, therefore, a woman whose life took a painful, unexpected turn. But as we will learn, Anna continued in her devotion to the Lord and determined to serve Him all the remainder of her days.
She is a testament to modern women that it’s possible to live a life of joy even when struck with a severe trial. She carried an eternal perspective in her heart, and it’s no small matter that she is heralded as a prophetess—one who draws close to the Lord and gains His utmost trust.
Interestingly enough, she never remarried but instead spent her remaining widowhood serving in the temple—a service time estimated at over sixty years. It’s an impressive record of service in the public eye. Not many women are able to perform such an act away from home and for the public. And like many other women, she prioritized her time so she could be there, likely maintaining a residence near the holy place.
            At the temple on Jesus’s presentation day, we meet Anna as a woman “of a great age,” of fourscore and four years (age eighty-four; Luke 2:37). With the forty days of Mary’s required purification after giving birth at an end, she and Joseph brought Jesus into Jerusalem. In Leviticus 12:2–5, we learn that for a male child, the woman was unclean for seven days and the days of purification lasted thirty-three days; for a female child, the woman was unclean fourteen days, and purification lasted sixty-six days.
Mary and Joseph were to present their newborn son to the Lord God at the temple, according to the law of Moses. Part of the presentation at the temple was offering a sacrifice of two turtledoves or two young pigeons in order to complete Mary’s purification (see Luke 2:24). Simeon was the first to meet Mary and Joseph; he had been promised that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. He greeted the parents and took Jesus into his arms and prophesied about the salvation that had come to earth.
            While Mary and Joseph “[marveled] at those things which were spoken” by Simeon (Luke v. 33), Anna entered the scene. Like Simeon, the Spirit led her to the Messiah and unmistakably informed her that this infant was the Redeemer.
Upon meeting the Messiah, Anna not only became a witness of the Messiah, but she also gave “thanks likewise unto the Lord, and [spoke] of him to all them that [looked] for redemption in Jerusalem” (v. 38). This notation leads us to believe that after Jesus and His parents fled to Egypt, Anna spoke reverentially about His birth and His presence on earth for as long as she lived. Her testimony may have been great before, as evidenced in her role as prophetess, but now it was magnified as she served as a sure witness to the Messiah’s existence.
            In this way, Anna’s lifelong devotion to the Lord was no longer based on faith, but like the brother of Jared, she “had faith no longer, for [she] knew, nothing doubting” (Ether 3:19, emphasis added). What a wonderful gift! It is important for us to remember what preceded Anna’s sure knowledge and what she embraced for at least sixty years of her life—it is something we cannot see or hear but only feel: faith.
            Anna’s devotion and role as a prophetess is further secured when we learn that she was the second woman in the Bible noted as fasting on a day other than the Day of Atonement (Esther was the first; see Esther 4:16). Fasting wasn’t normally encouraged for women during ancient times, yet it seems that for Anna it was part of her spiritual regimen wherein she “served God with fastings and prayers night and day” (Luke 2:37). It was part of her journey toward becoming like her divine Father in Heaven, and it was this sort of devotion that led to the opportunity of meeting the infant Jesus and becoming a physical and spiritual witness to His mission on earth.
            Anna’s fasting was likely no easy task, especially at her age, but she recognized the importance of it in bringing her close to the Spirit, and as she continued to fast, her faith was strengthened. We do not know if Anna recognized other signs of Jesus’s birth that had been prophesied and taught for generations. There is no clear indication that anyone in the Old World knew of a prophecy in advance of the Savior’s birth that a new star in the heavens would be a sign of His birth, but for this novel’s purposes, sighting a new star is part of Anna’s faith.
            At the age of eighty-four, Anna became a true witness, and certainly, her unquestionable testimony has blessed many lives. Her devotion to the Lord and her people, as well as the spirit of inspiration she cultivated in order to become one of the Lord’s spokeswomen, marked her long life as a touching example of a divinely led woman. Like some of us, her life didn’t turn out how she planned, yet she found ways to fill her life and devote it to the Lord. She moved forward with purpose and created a fulfilling life, giving us a wonderful example.
(Parts of the introduction were taken from the original publication of: The Divinity of Women: Inspirations and Insights from Women of the Scriptures by Heather B. Moore and S. Kent Brown, Covenant Communications, 2014.)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

COVER REVEAL: Wedding Wagers

Coming in August! I'm excited to be a part of this collection with authors Donna Hatch & Michele Paige Holmes.

Pre-order on Amazon.


Monday, March 12, 2018

COVER REVEAL: Road to Gretna Green

I'm excited to announce my upcoming novella in the Road to Gretna Green collection with Lucinda Brant and Julie Daines.

Coming May 15, 2018. You can pre-order on Amazon.

Here's the cover!



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

USA Today Bestseller!

I neglected to add this announcement to my blog, and I wanted it connected to my other USA Today bestseller posts. 


I'm excited that the Murder & Mayhem boxed set hit #22 on the USA Today Bestseller List on November 16, 2017. My full-length thriller Poetic Justice was published in this boxed set (and is now available as a standalone). The Murder & Mayhem boxed set sold over 36,000 copies, placing above five other books in adult fiction that week that were included on the New York Times list. Because the NY Times list is editorially culled, publications such as boxed sets are typically left off. I think the most recent boxed set to be included on the NY Times list was in January 2017.

The USA Today list has two main requirements: 1. sales numbers, 2. wide distribution. The format of the book (or boxed set) can be e-book only, or a combination of e-book, paperback, and or hardcover. The books have to be "widely distributed"--in other words, selling good numbers on both Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and GooglePlay.

If you go to Amazon on any given day (or any given hour, for that matter), and pull up the Top 100 selling books, then look up the publishers. What do you see? In my research, I've found that about 20% of the Top 100 titles on Amazon are Apub titles. (Apub = Amazon imprints that operate as traditional publishing imprints. An author typically needs an agent to submit. Advances are offered. Contracts include foreign rights sales, audio production, print production, and e-book production--exclusive to the Kindle Unlimited program). These Apub titles include the imprints of Thomas & Mercer, 47 North, Montlake, Lake Union, Skyscape, etc. Full list here.

Since Apub publishes their e-books to Kindle Unlimited (meaning Kindle only), it's very rare to see an Apub book on the USA Today list, and even more rare on the New York Times list. Most of the Apub book sales are e-book/Kindle sales. So an author would really have to be hitting it out of the park to garner a high number of print sales as well on other distribution sites such as Barnes & Noble. This is why you won't see these 20/100 bestsellers on Amazon on the national bestseller charts . . . except for the Wall Street Journal. They take the best of all worlds. Distribution isn't dictated. Purely sales. This also means that Wall Street Journal bestsellers are selling an incredible amount.

Remember how the Murder & Mayhem sold over 36,000 copies in a single week? This number wasn't even high enough to get onto the Wall Street Journal list. (I believe we were very close, maybe 1,000 or 2,000 off.) 

It's staggering to think about.

Recently, Amazon (I believe in answer to the editorially culled list of New York Times and the distribution restrictions of USA Today), has created their own elite bestseller list called Amazon Charts. There are two categories: Best in sales, and Most Read. That's it. Check out Amazon Charts here. It's fun to see which books are hitting all lists, and which books are selling like crazy, yet are ignored by the other national bestseller lists. I'm sure the authors can take solace in their royalty checks, growing amount of readers, and movie deals ;-)

I'd also like to address some questions that authors might have. Yes, the Murder & Mayhem boxed set had 20 authors in it, and yes, we priced it at $0.99 for the first week of release, then the boxed set went up to retail price. This was done as a promotional effort in order to cross-promote readership, bring new readers to our thriller stories with very low risk ($0.99 cent risk), and some of the authors were hoping to get a "USA Today bestseller status" on their writing resume. 

Some might consider this "gaming the system," when in fact, all publishers and authors are looking for ways to increase exposure, increase readership, increase sales. Publishers will offer free Advance Reader Copies to reviewers. Publishers will pay for Publisher's Weekly, Book Life, and Kirkus Review ads. Publishers will pay for reviews (that are to be unbiased, or course). Publishers will buy advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and hire publicists to run social media campaigns. 

Discounting a title is simply a marketing strategy. 

More than you probably wanted to know, but information is education, and education promotes success.

Monday, January 8, 2018

COVER REVEAL for Pine Valley series

Happy New Year! I'm excited to announce my new contemporary romance series: Pine Valley Novels. The first book will debuting Valentine's Day (2018), I hope you'll love these stories as much as I've loved writing them.

First up, Worth the Risk. Pre-order on Amazon here: http://a.co/hOQ0qk5



Here are the first 3 covers of the series:




2018 Release Dates:

Worth the Risk: February 14, 2018
Where I Belong: April 17, 2018
Say You Love Me: June 12, 2018