10 Things That Inspire Me to Write

I’m happy to welcome back Soul Mate author Carol Warfield to the Power of 10 series. Today, Carol shares ten sources of writing inspiration and her latest release, The Unexpected Wife.

Here’s Carol!

1. True love! I’ve been married for almost fifty years and the healing magic of being with another never fails to inspire me. Human beings are born to join with the Other, and the myriad ways we do that never fail to attract me.

2. Families—What is a story without drama, pain, conflict, and ultimate growth and success. Nothing creates more drama than the things families do to and with one another. Nothing cuts deeper into our emotions.

3. Good books—when I become completely absorbed in an author’s world and the real world fades away it is a joy. When I put the book down, I’m challenged to up my game as a storyteller.

4. So-So books—on the other hand, writing has made me more critical. Sometimes I pick up a book and by page two I’m mentally rewriting it. I put that one down and think, “I can do better.”

5. Castles and mansions—I love touring grand houses. When I do, I’m often populating them with characters for books.

6. Bus and train rides—seriously! When I’m stuck on a crowded train, or in a lobby, or anywhere in a crowd I find myself casting the strangers I see. I play “If this were a Regency novel, which of these people would be the hero/heroine? The villain? The domineering father? The eccentric aunt?”

7. Travel—settings inspire me of course. When I’m someplace fabulous (Rome, Venice, Singapore, or just plain Philadelphia near home) I often think “I could put a story here…” And I do.

8. History—my favorite escape and fantasy world has always been inside a history book. Tudor England? I spent much of my teens there. Regency? It got me through raising children. Ancient Rome? I’ve walked with Cicero. Of course I want to write historical fiction!

9. Other authors—relationships with other authors have enriched my life beyond measure. We push, prod, and inspire each other.

10. Inner voices—somewhere deep inside there’s a well of stories that just demand to be told. They come to me unexpectedly and they talk in my ear. When I get an idea and I want to write some grand prose, however, they sometimes go into hiding.

Blurb

The Duke of Murnane expects work to heal him. He doesn’t expect to face his past and find his future in China.

Charles Wheatly doesn’t expect to find his great love when he accepts an unofficial fact-finding mission to Canton on behalf of the queen. He certainly doesn’t expect to confront his wreck of a marriage in such an exotic locale. Zambak Hayden follows her brother to China to escape pressure to make a suitable marriage. She finds the brother drawn into the world of greed, smuggling, drugs, and corruption and resolves to both sort out the truth and protect her brother from becoming prey to all of it—if only she could stop yearning for the one man she can’t have.

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Book Trailer

Other Books in the Children of Empire Series

The Renegade Wife

A desperate woman on the run with her children finds shelter with a reclusive businessman in the Canadian wilderness. Rand may be a recluse, but his heart isn’t as hard as he thinks. Can he save them all?

The Reluctant Wife

A disgraced Bengal army officer finds himself responsible for two unexpected daughters and a headstrong widow. When he’s forced to choose between honor and career, and people depend on him, failure is not an option.

Book Trailer

Bio

Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Where to find Carol…

Website | Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | BookBub | Email


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Happy World Kindness Day!

First launched in 1998, World Kindness Day is honored in 28 nations worldwide. The mission of the day is to create a kinder world by celebrating and promoting good deeds. Individuals, schools, businesses, and non-profit organizations are encouraged to pledge acts of kindness.

Here are ten quotes to inspire you…

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

“When words are both true and kind, they can change the world.” Buddha

“Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.” Confucius

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Dalai Lama

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” Lao Tzu

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa

Let us learn to live with kindness, to love everyone, even when they do not love us.” Pope Francis

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Princess Diana

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” William Shakespeare

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
Mark Twain

If you need a few practical suggestions, watch the following short film produced by Orly Wahba and her organization: Life Vest Inside.


10 Fun Facts About New Hampshire

I’m happy to welcome back award-winning Wild Rose Press author Peggy Jaeger to the Power of 10 series. Today, Peggy shares fun facts about her state and her new release, Dearly Beloved.

Here’s Peggy!

Joanne – I love visiting you and your readers! Thanks for this opportunity to tell you a little about my adopted state, New Hampshire.

All of my books are centered on the East Coast of the US. Hey, I’m an East Coast girl – so take that Katy Perry! Hee Hee.

My newest romance series, A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN, is set in the fictional New Hampshire town of Heaven, a charming quaint New England town filled with history and a bunch of quirky residents.

I simply love New Hampshire – especially in the Autumn. I’ve lived in NH for over 25 years, my daughter was raised there, and I can’t see myself moving any place else, any time soon. I’d like to tell you a few fun facts about my state so you can get a better feel for why I’m so happy to live there.

#10. Every autumn, millions of travelers drive up the Eastern Coast of the USA to view the fall foliage. In New Hampshire, we call these tourists Peepers and autumn we refer to as Leaf Peeping Season.

#9. Maple syrup is a NH commodity and it takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make I gallon of maple syrup. And in my opinion, NH maple syrup is the best in the nation!

#8. New Hampshire science teacher Christa McAuliffe, was the first non-professional astronaut ( civilian) to go up in space. The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium is located in Concord, NH and is a state-of-the art science museum dedicated to this brave woman who perished in the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion.

#7. The beautiful town of Dover, NH was settled in 1623, making it the oldest permanent settlement in the state.

#6. The state bird is the purple finch.

#5. The state flower is the purple Lilac ( New Hampshirites, apparently, lovelovelove the color purple!).

#4. The first potato planted in the USA was at Londonderry Common Field in the year 1719.

#3. NH adopted the first legal lottery in the 20th century in 1963.

#2. Of the 13 original New England colonies, NH was the first to declare its independence from England 6 months before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Even back then NH was a trailblazer!

#1. (and my favorite fact of all!) in 1833, the very first free public library in the US was established in Peterborough, NH, a town just over beautiful Mount Monadnock and 15 minutes from where I live!

If you ever get the chance to drive up through New England during autumn, make sure you stop along the way through New Hampshire and take pictures. Lots of them! The colors are phenomenal.

Blurb

Colleen O’Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she’s worried she’ll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn’t believe in marriage. His father’s six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He’ll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn’t plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.

When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.

Excerpt

I stared at him for a moment, mulling over how I wanted to ask him what I’d been dying to ask since we’d been in my office.
Finally, because there was no other way to get around it but bluntly, I said, “I feel like we need to discuss your father. Come to a decision about where he fits in the wedding.”

When the warmth in his expression shifted to ice, a weaker-willed person might have stopped there. Since I’m not weak and my parents have always told me I have a real problem with knowing when to quit, I pushed on. “It seems to me as if Isabella wants him to be included. Whether in a father-of-the-bride role, or simply as a guest, I really do think she’d like him to attend, but, for whatever reason, she’s reluctant to press you on it.”

Did I say ice? What’s colder than ice? Because whatever it is, that was the expression floating in Slade’s eyes right then as he glared at me.
Warning bells blared in my head, but that thing about me not knowing when to quit? Yeah, it’s real.

“I think Isabella’s afraid of upsetting you if she tells you how she feels or asks your permission. She loves you so much and respects your opinion.”

“You don’t know anything about my sister. Or me.” He lowered his hands from his hips, kept them fisted at his sides. “Or our relationship with our father.”

“True, but I get the sense—”


He barreled over me as if I hadn’t said a word.

“You’ve been hired to do a job, Miss O’Dowd. I suggest you do it and keep your thoughts about my family to yourself. You’re a wedding planner, not a family counselor.” His voice dropped a level, deepening as it became softer. The cadence became clipped, the tone more…lethal.

If this was the way he acted in business, it was a wonder he hadn’t been convicted of corporate homicide yet.

“Look, I’m not asking simply to be nosy,” I said, my voice rising in opposition to his. “I really do have to plan all this out. There’s still the rehearsal and the dinner after it left to deal with. Then there’s the reception seating. Plus, if he is included, I’ll need to make sure he has a room, a tuxedo, and find out if he’s bringing a guest.”

“What aren’t you understanding about this, Miss O’Dowd?” Slade asked, taking a step toward me. If he’d thought to intimidate me with his height, he’d miscalculated. Retreat wasn’t a word in my lexicon. I simply lifted my chin and stared right back at him.

“I understand a lot more than you think, Mr. Harrington. About all sorts of things. Arrogant and pigheaded men included.”

When he continued to stand like a plank of wood in front of me, his mouth turning down and creasing the sides of his jaw, I knew—knew—I should stop.

But…

Buy Links

Amazon | Wild Rose Press | Barnes & Noble

Bio

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and was a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

In 2018, Peggy was a finalist in the HOLT MEDALLION Award and once again in the 2018 Stiletto Contest.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Where to find Peggy…

Website/Blog | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Instagram | BookBub | Book Gorilla | YouTube

Happy Release Day!


10 Favorite Dream Quotes

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Christine Grabowski to the Power of 10 series. Today, Christine shares her dream quotes and her debut novel, Dickensen Academy.

Here’s Christine!

I released my debut novel, Dickensen Academy, last month. Without giving away the premise, the book deals with multiple variations of the meaning for dreams.

Today, I’m sharing my favorite dream quotes. (Some of these are used in so many places, the original author is unknown.)

1 – A dream is a wish your heart makes when it’s fast asleep. ~ Cinderella

2 – Cherish yesterday. Dream tomorrow. Live today.

3 – Don’t dream your life, live your dreams.

4 – Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. Dreams are Forever. ~ Tinkerbell

5 – If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse. ~ Walt Disney

6 – All of your dreams can come true, if we have the Courage to pursue them. ~ Walt Disney

7 – Dream as if you could live forever… Live as if you only have today.

8 – Dreams don’t work unless you do.

9 – It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. ~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

10 – If you work hard, your dreams may become your reality. ~ Josh from Dickensen Academy

Blurb

Dickensen Academy isn’t a typical boarding school. The faculty is hiding an unbelievable secret within their fine arts program. When Autumn Mattison receives an invitation to attend the high school, she yearns to escape her overbearing father yet remains reluctant to leave her mother and brother. Her doubts fade away when a vivid dream convinces her she belongs there.

Away from home, Autumn discovers a unique school environment that awakens her creative potential, and her new friends become like a second family. However, as she uncovers more about the dark side of the school and struggles with its curriculum, she questions whether Dickensen Academy is truly where she belongs.

When tragedy strikes, Autumn must learn to believe in her own power and stand up to her greatest fear or risk having her memories destroyed to protect the school’s secrets. Caught between secrets and dreams, can she find her true self?

Book Trailer

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Bio

After graduating from the University of Washington, Christine earned her MBA at the University at Albany. She honed her technical writing skills in marketing and consulting but attributes the creative part of the process to her passion for reading.

She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA).

When she isn’t reading or writing, Christine can often be found running, skiing, or hiking. She lives in Newcastle, Washington, with her supportive husband, two avid teen readers, and their energetic wheaten terriers.

Where to find Christine…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | BookBub


10 Fruitcake Tidbits

I’m happy to welcome author Vicki Batman. Today, Vicki shares interesting tidbits about fruitcake and her latest anthology, Whispers of Winter.

Here’s Vicki!

Since my story, The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, is in a holiday anthology, Whispers of Winter, I thought I’d share ten tidbits about fruitcake. I know many of you are naysayers and some are devotees. I love it. My favorite is chocolate dipped—tastes like candy!

1. The name “fruitcake” originated in the 1500’s.

2. Fruitcake goes way back, to Roman times.

3. Early ingredients included pomegranate seeds, raisins, and pine nuts.

4. The British added dried fruits in the 1400s.

5. The Victorians served the cake at tea time.

6. Mail order fruitcakes began in 1913.

7. Alcohol makes the cake edible for many years.

8. Manitou Springs, Colorado, hosts the Great Fruitcake Toss on the first Saturday in January.

9. 47 percent of people received a fruitcake as a gift and threw it away.

10. An ornate multi-tiered fruitcake was at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

FMI

https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/Fruitcake.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruitcake/
https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/menus/fruitcake3.htm/
http://www.creatinghistory.com/history-of-fruitcake/

Logline – The Great Fruitcake Bake-off

When a five-time champion Samantha Greene teams up with her new neighbor, Dixon Roberts, for The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, they discover baking a prize-winning entry is complicated, bad guys are plotting to take the crown, and first prize isn’t just about a ribbon.

Excerpt

“I’m not entering this year.” I pinned an unbreakable stare on Bethany, my co-worker and long-time friend who lived in the same apartment complex as me. Standing firm, I crossed my arms. “Period.”

We’d arrived early for work and were piddling over coffee in her cubical like we always did before diving into the nuts and bolts of company business. She rolled her eyes in the “I’m so not believing this” fashion and tweaked the Santa garland decorating her cube’s walls. “Why not, Samantha? You should be proud to be the five-time winner of The Great Fruitcake Bake-off. You’re a-a”–her words trailed off as she searched the ceiling for the ultimate in descriptive–“legend.”

I dropped my arms to twitch my black skirt in place, then I tucked my shoulder-length hair behind my ear. I let loose a long exhale, “Is being a legend in the fruitcake world a good thing?”

“What’s your point?” Bethany asked.

“Alright already, it’s exhausting. Finding the perfect recipe, then bake and exhibit it. The tension comes close to killing my holiday enjoyment. Besides”-–I shoved my finger in her direction—-“shouldn’t the love be spread? Shouldn’t somebody else win the Bake-off?”

“Oh, by golly, Sam.” Bethany’s hands covered her eyes. A few seconds passed, then she clasped them to her chest, inhaled, and composed her annoyance before saying, “We’re talking fruitcake here. It’s not groundbreaking like-like the Declaration of Independence. Or the Pyramids.”

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Social Media Links

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Author Central | Goodreads | Email


10 Little Known Big Apple Seeds About NYC

I’m thrilled to welcome author Missye K. Clarke to the Power of 10 series. Today, Missye shares interesting (and little known) facts about New York City and her novel, Jersey Dog.

Here’s Missye!

As my McGuinness/Pedregon Casebooks are set in New York City and bits of New Jersey—NYC’s also known by The City That Never Sleeps, The Big Apple, Metropolis, or Gotham to those of you in Rio Linda :)—I thought I’d share these Ten Little Known Big Apple Seeds About NYC with you. And as I’ve lived in this town two-thirds of my life, there’s even a few fun facts I didn’t know. Buckle up for some neat fun, mystery fans and lovers everywhere!

10. Up until 1957, the postal system in NYC used a pneumatic network to deliver mail around the five boroughs–more or less rendering the deliveries not seeing the light of day until they reached address destination–or lots of dead letter mail in the Address Unknown bins, I’m sure.

9. Though I don’t know this from personal experience, I’ve always wanted to try this. But I lived this through Casper and Logan in Jersey Dogs when they did it. If you entered the NYC subway system and never left, it’s so vast you can travel it for three days to a week straight without breaking a connection.

8. New York City has more people than 39 of the 50 U.S. states do.

7. The city’s tap water has tiny shrimp called copepods in it. Explains why I always thought that water was disgusting! >.<

6. Remember the PONY sneakers? I do–but I always thought it was just a word, like Pepsi or Nike or Xerox. If you don't remember them, it's probably because it's a regional/Northeast/NYC thing. Turns out, PONY's an acronym for Product Of New York. Now we know! (courtesy: http://www.pony-us.com)

5. The Flatiron Building—the odd one on 23rd Street and shaped like a triangle—isn't solely admired for its architecture. It has a wind tunnel causeway near it that a constant breeze comes through–and which lifts women’s skirts. Back in the day when it was risqué for any part of a lady's legs be shown, men gathered there to get free peeks of something they shouldn't. To this day, men still gather outside to watch the fun, weather permitting. (Don’t blame them for gawking—if anything, blame Mother Nature for taking advantage of city layout! 😀 )

4. Ah, NYC brownstones. Aren’t they gorgeous? Before you get all nostalgic for one, not all are what they seem. The ones with blackout windows and no address numbers on the doors are fake fronts. Instead, they’re there to hide the city’s subways maintenance and ventilation shafts.

3. Only one homicide happened on 9/11. To date, it remains unsolved.

2. Madison Square, Union Square, Washington Square, and Bryant Parks, all located in Manhattan, were once cemeteries. (Considering my Casebooks narrator’s name's “Casper”? 🙂 ) . . . Boo! Spooky!

1. Never mind spooky, let’s talk creepy: NYC buries its unclaimed bodies on a spit of land off the Bronx coast called Hart Island. Almost 1 million bodies have been buried there since 1869—and this island is not open or accessible to the public.

Bonus: Adjusted for inflation, a NYC hotdog vendor must pluck up almost $325,000 grand yearly for a permit if they wish to do business near The Pond of the Central Park Zoo. This zone is one of 20 of the most expensive places to run and operate a hotdog cart. Now you know what your $25 bucks shelled out for a loaded dog, a hot soft pretzel, and cold Coke is really going for!

I hope you enjoyed these fun NYC facts. Everyone should see Gotham once in their lives—and for those of you living there, play tourist for a day or a weekend. Either way, you’ll have a wonderful, helluva time!

Some facts courtesy of Buzzfeed and Museum of the City of New York (MCNY.org).

Blurb

Two adopted cousins. Two mysterious prostitutes. And a biologic father wants both sons dead.

Casper’s and Logan McGuinness’s junior year opens with a bloodstained, unexpected contact and an eerie text coming to pass. While Enzo and Angela de Francisci’s stubbornly refuse to explain the boys’ biologic parents’ backstories, the cousins dig into their pasts in stealth, only to unravel a sordid history meant to stay unknown and bigger than they realized. The first of several attempts on the boys’ lives reveals a desk clerk’s true identity, and conversations with a former john, lands Casper and Logan on the streets of New York and respite from a former madam. Through an intricate tale of loyalty, humor, first love, and discovering trust and sacrifice, Jersey Dogs Casper and Logan venture into the personal and collective unknown to stop a brutal killer and a network of thugs from fulfilling a murderous to-do list—and learning to trust one another so they’ll stay two steps ahead of alive.

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Bio and Links

Missye K. Clarke is a lifelong Big Apple fan, even though she and her family reside in central Pennsylvania (cost of living and lack of forestry drove them out for greener pastures).

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Email


The Road to Self-Publication

I’m happy to welcome author Ryan Jo Summers to the Power of 10 series. Today, Erin shares insights from her self-publication journey and her latest release, September’s Song.

Here’s Ryan!

“September’s Song” is actually my second self-published book, but the reasons behind each one, and the processes along the way, are vastly different.

In July 2017 I took my WordPress blog series and created a book and offered it to the public. It was a non-fictional account taken almost directly from the blog journal that chronicled the first two years with my adopted collie, Ty. The reason was simply to share the story of our successes and failures to a wide audience and offer encouragement to other pet owners struggling with a severely traumatized pet.

I used Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for that project because it was free, (which fit my budget), it was easy and almost mistake proof, and the system walked me through each step. For simple projects like blog to book, cook books, memoirs, etc.… I would recommend KDP. I used my own photo I took for the cover, so I had no outward expenses. Each sale is pure profit, which in turn a percentage is donated back to the rescue where I adopted Ty from.

Now, this past year I was feeling gusty and decided to take one of the manuscripts I’d been shopping around and self-publish it myself. I felt up to the challenge. First I selected a script that was well received by beta readers and agents, but turned down because it was hard to niche. Then the work really began.

# 1—Timing. I selected October 5th as my targeted release date. I needed something tangible I could strive for. I picked then because it happens to be my birthday and it seemed like a good present to reward myself with. Starting about April or May I started collecting downloads and printed them out from various sources on marketing, promo timelines, self-publishing checklists, and more. I thought I’d have about 6 or 7 months to put this altogether. I’d done Ty’s Journey with KDP in about a month, so this should be plenty of time to build up excitement. Reality… I have barely read any of those downloads. The 6-7 months of timing sounded good in theory but lacked in practicality. In May I left my full time security job to work full time in pet care and devote more time to my writing endeavors. I was completely unprepared for the pet care to require more time over the summer than my 45-55 hour a week security job had! Plus I took on a couple of computer-driven side jobs that dipped into my time. So I ended up feeling like a stumbled through the six months of preparation to release this book. But here is what I did:

# 2—I hired an editor to take the beta-read manuscript and give it a good final editing. I found a gentleman through contacts who used to edit for the Chicago Times as a journalist. It was costly and slow-going, but he made some great points I might not have noticed. Simple stuff really, but things that helped with sentence flow and syntax items. The drawback was he didn’t particularly care for the subject matter. Being a magazine journalist, he wasn’t well-read in fiction. Though he came highly recommended, and our initial phone call was over two hours long, in the end he wasn’t the right editor for this book. Lesson learned.

# 3—While the editor had the manuscript, I worked on a cover. I bought a limited trial through Shutterstock and bought some photos for the background and front image. It was fairly inexpensive and I also used my ten-photo trial to nab some pictures I think I might be able to use later. Then I bought a program called Book Creative to take those photos and background to make a front and back cover. It was a fairly easy process, and not terribly expensive. Edits were by far the biggest expense I’ve put into “September’s Song”.

# 4—Fine tuning the blurb, keywords, tagline, etc… I sent a sample out of a blurb and tagline to a Facebook group and asked for suggestions. A few good points came up and I tweaked the blurb. That process was free and well worth the two or three weeks I waited for everyone to respond. A publishing house I belong to has a list of keywords. I combed the list, looking for everything that described this story. Time consuming but worth it to find words I’d have never thought of.

# 5—Research. I didn’t want to return to Kindle KDP for this book, so I searched around at various platforms that allow writers to self-publish. This was massively time-consuming and required copious notes. Actually I didn’t wait until step # 4 to do this, I started even before the editor, but I made my final choice about now. I went with Lulu.com. There are pros and cons with every platform, and I read reviews of authors who went with each one, why they were happy or not. I looked at costs to create, return on investment, avenues where the books would be available and in what formats. There is just an endless amount of information to wade through when looking for a self-publishing option. I reached the conclusion there is no perfect self-publishing avenue and each one is a trial and error. We can only research and make the best education decision we can.

# 6—Final revisions. Once I had the edited manuscript back from the editor, I had to go through with my fine toothed comb and make corrections that I agreed with, do a couple more read-throughs, (and still found two tiny errors everyone had missed).

# 7—Formatting. Oh how I hate formatting. Once I had a clean copy, free of errors and exactly how I wanted it, now I had to format the document to Lulu’s specifications. Line by line, page by page, (330+ pages) it was tedious work. But it will make for a nicer looking book. So I sucked it up and formatted the script. I added a dedication page at this time too. Something else important I’d been chipping away at.

# 8—Creating/ pricing. Finally, I sat down at Lulu.com and walked through the process of creating the book. First, the ebook. It was completely free and really only took around 3 hours or so to do. I selected a free ISBN, had to convert my word doc to a pdf, which became an epub when it was finished. I uploaded my cover. I set my price and marketing selections and Wham… one book ready to go. So far it’s only available on Lulu.com and iBooks, but it should be available on all the regular channels soon. That was easy. Next…the paperback. There were a few more choices to make, mostly in design. Again, a lot of decisions and uploading. It helps to have a clear vision in your head before you reach this stage. Again I took another ISBN because each format needs its own number. I’m guessing this is a Lulu thing since it never applied to my other releases with the same ISBN across multiple formats. But they’re free, so whatever. Downside is I had to order a print proof (at my cost of $7.60) to be certain the book is exactly like I want it before it goes to Amazon/ B& N/etc.… It’s currently up at Lulu now in paperback, but I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive. So that will be a slower process. Live and learn.

# 9—Releasing. Now that they are both created and released and available at least somewhere, I wish I had started the previous step a little sooner. Not that it matters really. Now it’s just waiting to see when Amazon, B& N and the others accept it or if I’ll have to make modifications to be accepted. It sounds like the eBook is a done deal and just needs time to Que. The paperback first has to arrive, I need to read it and be sure it’s 100 percent okay-dokey. Then it still takes time to go through that Que. If it had to be out by a certain time, this could be a problem, fortunately it’s just my impatience shining through.

# 10–Etc. Cetera promo! Since I never got around to reading those stacks of downloads, I just handled promo the best I could on my time schedule and budget. First, I purchased a blog tour, then the company shut down. Bummer. Next I started lining up visits on every blog I could think of. I get so many emails and Facebook postings and such—like I’m sure everyone does. And every one that offered any kind of promotion I grabbed it. Most are free or low cost. I sent out queries and racked up a nice list of people willing to highlight me. Some were at a fee or giveaway too. But I’d been pinching my budget dollars all year in anticipation of throwing it all on this release. I also am a huge fan of Canva and use it for so much of my promotional graphics. So I designed a “Coming soon” graphic and pinned it on top of all my social media sites. Then I made it a point to post something, anything regularly so people would see my name on their feed, and see the pinned graphic to get to the new post. Tricky?? Naw, just finally understanding how that stuff works. Basically my promo plan has been to throw a big net over any source of promo that I can afford and see where it leads. Probably not the best plan ever, and I’d hoped to have something more solid before now, but with my crazy work schedule, it’s the best I can do. Maybe by next year things will settle down personally, and it will still be a new enough release I can focus on other avenues.

Someday I hope to do another self-release. There is a non-fiction manuscript, about 50,000 words that I’d like to see out there. So what would I do differently? Give myself a full year instead of 6-7 months. I’d read those stacks of downloads first. I’d use a different editor and maybe another self-publishing platform too. Mostly it’s just to compare platforms. Beyond that, I wouldn’t really change much. The biggest thing is it’s amazing how much time it takes to self-publish. Ty’s book was easy to fit into my schedule in a few weeks, last year, so I was fooled into thinking this year would be just as easy. I definitely needed more time to plan the promo before creating.

One final thought, something important to think about when self-pubbing… belonging to a traditional house comes not only with a team of experts to do much of these things, but the support of other authors to network with, celebrate with, commiserate with and bounce ideas off of. Going solo not only drops all the responsibility into the selfer’s shoulders, it also removes the author network.


Blurb

Ivey London who lost her military husband, tried to move on with their son, her Alzheimer’s mother, and a boss attracted to her. She finds him alive and amnesiac five years later. Armed with inexpiable abilities, he is pursued by a forceful group determined to reclaim him. Ivey is just as determined to keep her late husband. Together, they uncover what happened to him, who is after him, and search for how to reclaim what they once were–husband and wife.

Excerpt

“No, that’s okay. I can do this by myself.” She spun around, blinking. Picking up the paring knife again, she began peeling. She gasped as his arms gently encircled her waist and his breath fanned her bare neck. His lips nuzzled her ear and she closed her eyes. His hand took the knife from her fingers and she leaned into his touch.

“Keegan,” his name came out in a throaty rumble as her eyes slid closed.

“I don’t know what we used to do, Ivey, but I can tell you miss it bad. I’m willing to try and be your husband again, if you’ll help me.”

Hot tears stung her eyes. She swallowed hard. “So many times you said I was unforgettable. I…I guess–.”

The comment died unfinished, and his fingers reached down and caressed her back. Electric jolts shivered along her spine.

“Don’t push me away, Ivey. Let me be in each part of your life.”

Her breath hitched. This should be easy. Just tell him how they used to cook, what his favorite foods were, what they shared, how they made wonderful love. And miraculously all his memories will reappear. Except it hadn’t worked yet.

From the distant reaches of her mind, Ivey heard the phone ringing. Before she could pull herself away from the counter, it stopped. Assuming Jory answered it, the whole episode passed from her mind. Right now, Keegan took all her focus.

His fingertips trailed lazily up and down her back, igniting tiny fires in their wake.

“Keegan….I….” Words failed her. Heart beating frantically like a wild bird locked in a cage, her mind surrendered.

He gently turned her around, cupping her chin and tilting her up. Drawing a husky breath, he lowered his lips to hers, winding his fingers in the tangle of her hair. Her arms moved to encircle his waist, slipping under his shirt to feel the raised scars and corded muscles. A guttural moan escaped her.

Finally, having lost all concept of time, she pulled apart. Noble, he would not go further with a woman he did not remember making love to. She might respect his intention and restraint, but the unmet need was also killing her. Pulling in a shaky breath, she ended the kiss, stepping away and picking up the paring knife again.

She ran her tongue over her lips, more to steady herself, and rested one hand on the counter for balance. “I can work on this if you want to go see what Jory and Mom are doing.”

Keegan stiffened, hesitated and studied her. For a chilling moment, she hoped he ignored her request and lifted her bodily to carry her away to the bedroom. Then a darkness entered his eyes, a sadness that cut into her chest.

“Yes. Of course.” Spinning, he exited, leaving her alone with the ghosts of what had been.

Damn, damn, damn.

Buy Links

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Bio

Ryan Jo Summers writes romances that blur the lines of subgenres. She mixes contemporary with time travel, Christian, suspense, sweet, and paranormal like blending a fruit and yogurt smoothie. Her non-fiction works have appeared in numerous trade journals and magazines including ‘WNC Woman Magazine’, ‘Critter Magazine’, ‘Journey Devotions’, and ‘Vet Tech Journal’. She is a regular contributing author for the ‘Asheville Pet Gazette’.

Her hobbies include baking, crafts, gardening, enjoying nature, and chess/mah-jongg/word-find puzzles. She pet sits/dog walks when she’s not busy writing and she fosters homeless pets for area animal rescues.

She lives in a century-old cottage in North Carolina with her own menagerie of rescued pets and way too many houseplants. “September’s Song” is her second self-published work, the first one being the chronicles of the first two years with her adopted PTSD rescue collie.

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