Monday, March 31, 2008

Stay Sharp and Write Better Books

I'm notorious for telling friends and family if they try to do too much, they won't do any of it well. Finally, I have something to back up my theory. So in lieu of our Monday Market, I want to share some info that came to us through a newsletter from our insurance company.

Multitasking and Memory Loss
A study at the University of Michigan suggests multitasking could actually be doing us more harm than good. People who spent time stopping and starting tasks took 2 to 4 times longer to complete them. In addition, brain scans showed juggling tasks reduces the brain power available for each. Over time, stress hormones from multitasking can damage memory centers in the brain. Focus on one task at a time for better efficiency and memory.

Walk to Stay Sharp
Walking each day may sharpen your memory and help you juggle mental tasks. In one study reviewed by the National Institutes of health, MRI was used to track the brain activity of healthy adults age 58-78. After a 6-month walking program, brain function, attention span, and focus on goals improved. Light exercise increases blood-flow to the brain and jump starts hormones necessary for nerve cell production. Boost your brain and stay sharp by walking each day.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night with Curt Iles

I've never been a proponent of self-publishing, but I have to say Curt Iles makes me view it in a new way and with more respect. Curt says, "Self-publishing isn't for losers, it's for influence." And for some reason that makes sense to me.

I've heard the name Curt Iles for several years, many of my friends sing his praises, but I've never had the pleasure or honor of meeting him or hearing him speak until recently. The man is the epitome of truth and soul. I could close my eyes and listen to his voice all day long. So when I read stories from The Mockingbird's Song, or Hearts Across the Water, I hear Curt's voice telling me: This is true. This is important. This is my heart.

And I believe him. I want you to meet my new friend, Curt Iles. Here he is sitting in his office. Doesn't this picture make you yearn for the simple life? There's something to be said for being alone with God surrounded by His creation. And you can spot it in Curt's books.

What made you choose to self-publish when you know few editors and agents (even other authors) have respect for the self-pubbed author.
I had to publish—or die. I felt compelled to get my first book, Stories from the Creekbank, out. It was a matter of the heart and I sought out good advice seeking a good self-publishing company.

As with all authors, I seek to be with a royalty/traditional publisher in the future. However, I’ve made thousands of new friends and developed a loyal readership through self-publishing six books. Self-publishing has allowed me to devote full time to writing and speaking and I live each day with gratitude for that.

When I look over my mailing list of readers (over 2300) and realize how many friends I’ve made through writing, I’m glad I’ve chosen self-publishing as a means of expression at this time. If I’d sat back (something I’m not good at) and waited, I’d be missing a lot.

How long have you been writing and what is your writing process?
I’ve been a journal keeper since high school. I wrote short stories for decades before I ever even considered publishing them. It seemed to evolve and grow, much to my surprise.

How does your Louisiana heritage influence your writing?
The adage that we write what we know is so true. Branches of my family settled in SW Louisiana in the mid-19th century. I grew up on land settled by them and heard their stories, as passed down by my ancestors.

Additionally, I’ve lived in this rural setting all of my life. As one of my characters said, “We don’t own this land. I believe it owns us.”

What is your background?
I’ve had a varied and rewarding career. I taught high school (science and coaching) before entering school administration. I then served as an assistant principal/principal at my home school, East Beauregard High School. (Last week I helped judge the state Liar’s Contest held by the La. Storyteller’s Association. I believe my years as a principal qualified me for this. I daily heard some of the finest lies you can imagine.)

In 1992, I left education to pursue the life-long dream of leading Dry Creek Baptist Camp, also in my hometown. This year-round church camp has been a focal part of my life and I still consider my fourteen years there as manager as some of the best of my life.

In 2006 after the release of my fourth book, my wife and I decided it was time to jump off the cliff and write full time. So here I am.

How do you inspire yourself or what are your sources of creativity?
I have a vivid imagination and a deep curiosity—both of which sometimes get me in trouble. I’m inspired and motivated by music, the wood/nature, the people around me. I read a great deal and find inspiration through good writing.

Note from Jess: See some of Curt's favorite quotes.
In the near future, I hope to make available two radio interviews Curt had. Tell us about them:

I laughingly say I am the only person in America to have interviewed with both AFR and NPR in one month. In the NPR interview, we talked a great deal about the influence of music in writing. I walk early each morning with my iPod and get in the mood for what I plan to write that day.

What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?
-That writing is just hard work, full of rejection, and extremely discouraging at times. Having perseverance and being irrepressible are probably just as important as being a skilled writer.
-How many friendships and opportunities one gathers from being a published writer. It is extremely fulfilling!

What's the best advice you were given about writing?
-Write what you know.
-Use “said” in dialogue instead of trying to be cute.
-Develop your own voice and strengthen it.
-Always be in a learning mode. No one knows it all.

What is your proudest writer moment?
I will pick a recent one. I send many books to the Middle East to both our soldiers and workers. I received an e-mail from a young man. He’d been inspired by a simple story “Best Seat in The House” from my third book. He related how this story made a difference in how he viewed the sunset that evening in Iraq. The idea that something I wrote could influence and encourage a young soldier in a battle zone made it all worth it.

What is your favorite self-marketing idea and is marketing a challenge for you or are you a natural? In addition to loving to write, I also am motivated by the challenge of marketing. Going to an appearance or signing in a strange environment motivates me to win over people by simply being friendly and nice. When I leave an event, I am exhausted. I’ve tried to pour myself out, make friends, and be real.

Here are a few marketing tips I’ve learned:
-Get the name/address of every reader and put them on your database.
-Develop a speaking platform
-Take responsibility for your own marketing and promotion.
-Get bookmarks and business cards and hand them out as you tell about your book. I even carry The Wayfaring Stranger in my Wal Mart shopping cart to show people. I’ve sold many books that way. If you don’t believe in your book, who will?

What have you learned about yourself in this writing process? That the greatest obstacle to writing is not writer’s block, but writer’s doubt. Every author deals with it and the nagging feeling of “Is anyone but my mother going to like this?” Overcoming it and moving past it is a daily challenge.

What kind of support staff do you have? And who helps prop you up when you're in need of some props? Any author, especially a self-published one, needs to assemble a quality team around them. I’ve developed a team of teens who are tech-friendly and keep my internet things moving. I’ve also been blessed with a group who serve as editors/proofreaders. The best ones are those whom I do not know very well. (I have a paid proofreader in Dallas that is hard on me and that is what I need.) I also have a group of fellow writers/retired English teachers/avid historical fiction readers who act as a filter in my early drafts.

I have a young graphic artist who helps (for pay) on my covers and promotional materials. I believe he is worth his weight in gold.

I also am blessed with an emotional support team, beginning with my wife. It also includes my sons, their wives, and my church family. I meet each Tuesday morning with two lifelong friends for Bible study and prayer. They help me maintain balance and perspective.

What was the last book you read and why did you read it?I love to read and split my reading between enjoyment and learning.
Last week, on a long car trip, I listened to E.L. Doctorow’s The March. It is a historical fiction novel of Sherman’s March to the Sea. I wanted to hear the dialogue and sense the plotting and development of characters.

I am slowly digesting Donald Maas’ Writing the Breakout Novel. It is an excellent treatise on writing fiction. I recommend it highly.

In addition, I am reading two nature-oriented books. One is on birds (a frequent subject in my novels) and the other is on vegetable gardening. The country part of me has to get my hands in the dirt and great ideas grow when I do. (I am writing a short article right now comparing putting in a garden to developing a novel.)

What's your best advice for writers who are considering self-publishing?
-Don’t do it unless you must do it.
-Research your options and do your homework.
-Develop a team around you.
-Be willing and ready to promote and work.

What are your goals for your future as a writer?
Very simply: To connect with the hearts of readers and “write for a reason.” Without apology, I seek to be an inspirational writer. I believe we can be spiritual without being preachy in our writing.

Additionally, I want to continue development as a writer. I have a hunger to learn more and improve. I want to “be a sponge.”

At the present time, I plan on continuing writing fiction. I have the seeds of about four novels burning a hole in my heart.

What are you working on now and how can we purchase your books?
I am currently 20,000 (expected length 90,000-110,000) words into my next novel, A Good Place To Be. An agent is in the process of sharing my proposal with publishers. I prefer to publish with a traditional publisher, but we’ll just wait and see.

Its theme is “Life is full of storms, but families come out of the storms stronger.” It is the story of a Louisiana family and the difficulties of life as the Civil War approaches SW Louisiana. I have really enjoyed writing and researching it.
All six of my books, including audio books, are available at or by contacting me at or calling toll-free 1 866 520 1947.

Thanks Jess for the opportunity.
The Wayfaring Stranger

I have to say the pleasure is all mine. Please go to Curt's website and take a look. Interesting blog too. He has a picture of himself with President Bush and some wonderful family tales. And if you ever need a speaker or storyteller, drop Curt a note.

Friday, March 28, 2008

And The Winners Are . . .

North Texas RWA congratulates the following winners of the 2008 Great Expectations contest.

~~ Contemporary SERIES Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Megan Long, Editorial Assistant, Superromance, Harlequin Books
First: The Nanny's Secret by Ami Weaver-(requested)
Second: Diner Girl by Mary Malcolm (requested)
Third: The Cleopatra Secret by Greta MacEachern
Fourth: The Goblin's Trick by Lori Philbin

~~ EROTIC ROMANCE Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Raelene Gorlinsky, Publisher and Senior Editor, Ellora’s Cave
First: Running From the Past by Katie Reus- (requested)
Second: Wings of Desire by Cynthia Arends
Third: Eternally Three Perfection by Lee Swift

FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Tessa Woodward, Editorial Assistant, Avon Books
First: The Duchess Competition by Vicky Dreiling
Second: Midnight Promises by Anne Barton Ardizzone
Third: Passionate Persuasions by Jennifer Ziros
Fourth: The Making of Jenny Keeble by Courtney Milan

~~ INSPIRATIONAL Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Melissa Endlich, Harlequin Books
First: New Hope by Yvonne Harris (requested)
Second: Miranda's Mistake by Jessica R. Ferguson (requested)
Third: Sarah's Rainbow by Margaret Brownley
Fourth: Sourdough Creek by Caroline Fyffe

~~ MAINSTREAM with romantic elements Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Liza Schwartz, Assistant Editor, NAL
First: Kingdom on Fire by Yvonne Harris- (requested)
Second: One for All by Chris Keniston
Third: Heart Wishes by Edie Ramer
Fourth: Twisted Snare of Fate by Gracie Stanners

~~ Romantic Suspense Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Allison Brandau, Editorial Assistant, Berkley/Jove
First: Lying Eyes by Amy Atwell- (requested)
Second: The Surrogate by Tina Butts
Third: See Jane Run by Angi Morgan
Fourth: The Chameleon Effect by Tina Butts

~~ Single Title Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Alex Logan, Editorial Assistant, Grand Central Publishing
First: The Weight of Love by Vannetta Chapman (requested)
Second: The Cost of Love by Vannetta Chapman
Third: Saints and Sinners by Catherine Chant
Fourth: Once Upon A Margarita by Heidi Luchterhand

Fantasy, Futuristic, Paranormal & Time Travel ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Chris Keeslar, Senior Editor, Dorchester/Leisure
First: The Night Caller by Laura Martello w/a L.A. Mitchell
Second: To Tame His Heart by Lauren Sowell
Third: Love Bites...Literally by Michelle Lauren
Fourth: The Slayer's Circle by Michelle Odell

~~ YOUNG ADULT Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Karen Chaplin, Associate Editor, Puffin/Speak Books
First: Super Chick by Kimberly Duffy (requested)
Second: Megan Delaney, Psychic Misfit by Bonnie Staring (requested)
Third: Fear of Falling by Amber Royer (requested)
Fourth: The Art of Selling My Sister by Shana Silver

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Out of Pocket - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more I'll be away from my computer for the next few days. Just like in my early years of writing, I'll have a pen and notebook. We'll see how productive I am. :)

See you on Thursday, God Willing.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night with Author Pam Thibodeaux

Meet my friend, award-winning Louisiana author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux. She's multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction. Just google her--she's everywhere. Her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Pam is Co-Founder/President and Treasurer of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana and I'm delighted to share her with you today. Pam is the epitome of perseverance.

1) How long have you been writing and what is your writing process?
I began writing over 25 years ago in 5-subject notebooks. After 11 years of that, I bought my first word processor. It took over a year to type in my WIP at the time after which, I started typing in other stories. I worked on a word processor for 7 yrs before I got my first computer. As for writing process, I am 100% SOTP writer. Sometimes a character will introduce him/her self to me and start talking, occasionally a thought will generate the idea and sometimes I just get a blurb and then work from there.

2)How does your heritage or living in Louisiana affect/influence your writing?
Louisiana is steeped in culture as are the people who live here. As with any writer, I write what I observe. I have 3 books that are set in Louisiana. Tempered Dreams, book 2 in my series is set in Lafayette. The Visionary a single title women’s fiction novel is set in Lake Charles and Circles of Fate (un-contracted) starts out in Georgia but ends up in the Thibodaux area. I’ve been so disappointed in books I’ve read that feature ‘Cajuns’ as nothing more than backwater hicks so I hope to show we’re not that at all.

3) How do you inspire yourself or what are your sources of creativity?
I write Inspirational so my work is God-inspired and the Holy Spirit is my source of creativity. That said, I am also inspired in other ways, a song or even just a thought can quickly roll into a story or novel.

4) What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?
That writing is a business and sometimes a business without a heart. When I began writing I naively thought that all you had to do was write a good story and BAM! you’d get published. Then all I had to do was keep writing. Many newbie authors still start their careers under that same misconception. Writing is a business and from publishers to book buyers, the main focus is the Bottom Line. If you’re new, you must be BETTER than the best to even get looked at by Big Name publishers and agents. You’d better have a marketing hook, marketing plan and platform already in place. This is why so many authors are finding their niche in E-publishing. Although the goals of those publishers are also to make money, they’re just as interested –if not more so-in finding good stories and giving good authors a chance for their writing to be read.

5) What's the best advice you were given about writing? Keep writing and don’t give up, write from your heart and stay true to your voice.

6) What is your proudest writer moment?
EVERYTIME an editor says “I like it and the contract is on its way!” I doubt I’ll ever get over the thrill of that happening whether it be an article, essay, short story or novel. Also, seeing my book listed on the ‘current best seller’ list at the publisher’s site and receiving my royalty statement…whether I’ve sold one book or a dozen, I know that I’ve gained a new friend and gotten Jesus’ message out there to one more person.

7) What is your favorite self-marketing idea and is marketing a challenge for you or are you a natural?
Marketing is a challenge for me mainly due to time constraints. I love doing it, just don’t have the time to focus extensively on it. One of my favorite things is to carry around what I call an ‘envelope flyer’ about the size of a regular bookmark that I can easily hand out to people…waitresses, bank tellers, just about anyone.

8) What have you learned about yourself in this writing process? That I do have talent! Many people you know say they’d love to write a book, but not everyone will actually persevere to sit down and do it much less keep plugging away through years of rejection to see that dream come to fruition.

9) What business challenges have you faced as a writer? Any pet peeves? Challenges, pet peeves? You got all day, LOL! There are numerous challenges I’ve faced as a writer, especially since my writing doesn’t ‘fit’ a particular genre or niche. I write “Inspirational” NOT ‘Christian’ and that is a constant challenge as well as a pet peeve of mine. The CBA market is not open to more sensuality in their romances and yet the ABA is reluctant for their characters to actually have a personal relationship with God, one that shines through their difficulties. Oh sure, they can talk about God, even attend church, but to engage in actual dialogue with Him is not heard of. In fact, many self-proclaimed Christians don’t believe in this either. They love, honor and respect Him but that’s about as far as it goes. Me, I talk to God and, believe it or not, He does talk back…sometimes in a still, small Voice, sometimes in an ‘impression’ in my heart and mind and sometimes in a very audible way. He’ll talk to you too, if you’ll be open-minded enough to listen.

10) What kind of support staff do you have? Not the secretary or publicist or research assistant we'd all love to have, but the family, the crit partners, the prayer team, or whoever helps prop you up when you're in need of some props.
My husband and mother are my two greatest supporters…then there are the family members and friends that buy EVERYTHING I write. And of course, the members of Bayou Writers’ Group who stand by me at every twist and turn in my life.

11) What was the last book you read and why did you read it?
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I love reading inspirational/motivational books; books that make you think a level deeper. Many have deemed The Secret as un-Christian or anti-God or any number of other labels, but I’ve found that every principle in that book is backed by Scripture(s) and it has helped understand those Scriptures on a deeper level.

12) What's your best advice for new writers? Never give up! Writing is a gift and a talent….don’t bury your talent or hide your gift.

Tell us what's coming up next.
My Books: Tempered Series:
Tempered Hearts, Tempered Dreams, Tempered Fire (Com Star Media) are available now in Ebook and Print. Tempered Joy is due out this year.

Single Titles:
The Inheritance
(The Wild Rose Press) available now in Ebook and Print.
The Visionary (Enspiren Press) coming this year.

Short Stories:
Cathy’s Angel, Choices, A Hero for Jessica (The Wild Rose Press) are available as downloads only through the publisher’s site.

Visit Pam's website and her blog
Read her Articles:
Links to books:
Tempered Ebooks
The Inheritance Ebook
Cathy’s Angel

Link for Print Books

Keep an eye out for A Hero for Jessica - available after March 26th.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Miscellaneous Info

If you've submitted a manuscript snail mail, you might want to up the postage on your SASE because on May 12, 2008, postal rates will increase again. All I can say is -- Bah-humbug. You don't even want to know how I feel about another increase. And from what I understand, this is the norm from now on. Every May, postage will increase. Is that true? ARGHHHHH!

I've always had a special relationship with my mailbox. - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more These days it's empty. Believe me when I say, email is just not the same. Some of my old letters from friends go back to the 60's. Actually, I have some of my dad's love letters when he was in the navy. There's nothing as special as a personal note in your mailbox. Guess they'll be a thing of the past...if they aren't already.

So make note: First-Class Mail letters (1 oz.) will increase from $0.41 to $0.42. You can use the Forever Stamps you purchased prior to May 12 at $0.41, even after the price change. All rates are increasing, so weigh your submissions carefully, and affix the proper postage.

While I do love post office boxes and mail receptacles of all kinds, I can't say the same about the telephone book. I can't often find what I'm looking for--in the white pages or the yellow. So when I say there's got to be an interesting way to use the monstrosity of info to our advantage, I'm hoping each of you can come up with something.

Just look how many people are listed in the phone book: addresses and phone numbers. Surely we authors can get creative with that info. It's got to be used for something more than choosing our character's names and holding our office door open.

What say you? Got any 'yellow book' ideas? Share them!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's Never Too Soon - Part II

It's never too soon to start thinking about your marketing plan. Here are a few more tips from my bag of tricks. Of course, keep in mind, my bag of tricks might be slightly dated but you're welcome to attach your own spin to them. If you get an idea, jot it down. Don't trust your memory. :)

1) What's your book about? Are there any clubs or support groups that would be interested in knowing about your book. If you're writing a mystery using a scrapbooker, of course you'll want to send info about your book to every scrapbooking store in the country. Don't forget the churches that host scrapbooking night once a month.

2) Every piece of mail that leaves your house should contain a bookmark inside and a stamp of your cover or release date on the outside of the envelope. You want every person who handles that piece of mail to be informed about your title and your name.

3) Private parties are great. When my book, The Groom Wore Blue Suede Shoes, came out, my family hosted a private booksigning. I supplied the guests list which came to more than 300 people. Waldenbooks ordered the books and handled everything at the signing. It was fantastic. :-) If I do say so myself. Who was on the list? All friends of family, all relatives, old classmates and church buddies, other authors. Even an old girlfriend of my dad's showed up. How interesting was that? Earlier that morning I had a book signing at the mall with four other authors, then during the afternoon we had the very laid-back private party. Remember to take a break from your signing so you can visit with your guests. I forgot and since there were so many friends and family members I hadn't seen in years, I regret not mingling. Oh! don't forget door prizes.

4) Every tip you leave in restaurants should be coupled with a bookmark.

5) Okay, there's an entire phone book at your fingertips. Got any ideas? :)

Why do I place so much importance on the old fashioned, tangible things like bookmarks and brochures? I like them. Sure I like trailers and blog tours and interviews too, but I get tired of sitting in front of the computer surfing through all that stuff. Give me a magazine with an article in it or a post card to hold in my hand, and I'm happy.

6) And what's on your bumper sticker?


Think about it 'cause if Mary Kay can do it, so can we.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday Markets

One of my fantasies is to be published in the My Turn column of Newsweek. I've never sent them anything, but one day . . . one day . . . :-)

Check out their Submission Guidelines
For an automated message with further details about My Turn, please call: 212-445-4547.

For the Website the essay should be: a) An original piece, b) 850-900 words, c) Personal in tone, and d) About your small business, but not framed as a response to a Newsweek story or another My Turn essay. Submissions must not have been published elsewhere. Please allow two months for your submission to be considered; if your story is time sensitive, it may not be appropriate. Please include your full name, phone number, e-mail address and address with your entry. We also encourage the submission of a photograph of the author as well as pictures and/or video related either to the writer or the subject matter. We are fully aware of the time and effort involved in preparing an essay, and each manuscript is given careful consideration.

For the Magazine
The essay should be: a) An original piece, b) 850-900 words, c), Pasted into the body of your email, d) Personal in tone, and e) About any topic, but not framed as a response to a Newsweek story or another My Turn essay. Please do not include photographs or other attachments. Submissions must not have been published elsewhere. Please allow three months for your submission to be considered; if your story is time sensitive, it may not be appropriate. Please include your full name, phone number and address with your entry. The competition is very stiff-we receive over 800 entries per month-and we can only print one a week. We are fully aware of the time and effort involved in preparing an essay, and each manuscript is given careful consideration. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we will only contact you if we want to run your essay. If you haven't heard from us in three months, feel free to submit your essay elsewhere.

My Turn Editor, Newsweek
251 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019-1894
fax: 212-445-4120 (attn: My Turn Editor)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night

Haiti is located in the Caribbean on the western part of the island of Hispaniola. The name Haiti actually means mountainous land. The population of Haiti is approximately 5,054,000.

In 1975, my husband and his mom traveled to Haiti. They went for two different reasons. His mom wanted to meet up with some missionaries she'd supported for years. She had never been on a mission trip but worked in the background sending clothing, Bibles and money. Her heart was missions.

My husband Jim was curious about Haiti because of dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier taking power in 1957. Jim has always been an avid reader of history. By the time he and his mom traveled to Haiti, the country was being ruled by the dictator's son, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. All this to say, listening to Jim's anecdotes about his time in Haiti was what drew me to the book, Young Ladies of Good Family by Anne Marie du Bois de Chene. Here's my interview with the author.

What is the name of your book and what's it about?
Young Ladies of Good Family is 25 chapters of short stories based on true events in the lives of 3 generations of my family; a rare white Haitian family.

How did you come up with your subject?
My mother made me promise to try to write a book about "this crazy island and family. People don't believe our stories, but maybe if you write them in a book they finally will!" She loved the way I wrote.

She unfortunately died before I got it written and published. I started writing it after her death, in her memory, as we had a great distance between us during the last 8 years of her life, and she died a month before we were to finally reunite. I loved her to pieces but she kept hurting me with words, so I was afraid to hurt her back.

What made you choose to self-publish when you know very few editors and agents (even other authors) have respect for a self-pubbed author.
I self published to keep my promise to my mother. Plus, I intend on finding a way to become a bestselling author, in order to afford to send money to Haiti for education and reforestation; perhaps in my mother and father's names?

When a self publishing agency finally offered to publish my book for an affordable price, my husabnd told me to do it.

How long have you been writing and what is your writing process?
I have always loved to write, but I truly started writing a great deal when I left home to go to college, see Europe, and work on ships. I'd write home to share my exciting, hilarious, and sometimes unbelievable experiences and adventures! My mother loved the 'books' I sent her home, and shared them with many.

How does your Louisiana heritage influence your writing?
Living here has inspired me in my writing. I would look out my bedroom window and be delighted with the sight of an egret walking by, like a snob wearing a too tight corset! Whenever I felt tired, friends and acquaintances would encourage me on, telling me that I could "do it, and would find a publisher; even if I had to pay for it myself, I would eventually find one I could afford".

I graduated from Loyola in New Orleans, having chosen Louisiana for the similarities in our heritages of French colonial days, and Caribbean, even Haitian influences - in the food, language, and religion. I felt at home away from home.

What is your background?
Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, of an American mother and German-French- Haitian father. Like my main character, I first left home to see the world at two years of age, but was thankfully found and returned. I left again at 19 and never stopped leaving at the first chance I got, to see more of the world.

What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?
The difficulty in finding a literary agent or publisher. It is a nightmarish Catch 22; they are interested in known and successfully published author; while one cannot become one without getting published!

The huge cost of self publishing; unless one finds a newer, affordable self publising agency.

The tremendous costs of advertising one's book; which is one blood, sweat, and tears. To reach, like Oprah, and other super 'door openers' appears impossible; one meets brick walls.

But, I'm very determined, and I keep digging away. I will find my celebrity(ies) to tell the world to buy my book!

What's the best advice you were given about writing?
Never give up; write like you speak, use your own words and style, and keep on truckin!

What is your proudest writer moment?
The moment I saw it published, in full color cover, and my title and name on it; I may have shed a tear.

What is your favorite self-marketing idea? Is marketing a challenge for you or are you a natural?
My idea to send my own self written and designed press release to friends and family, to forward to everybody they know; result? Over 100 books sold by myself! Invest in buying at least 100 of your books yourself, to sell when someone wants one, and to make a far larger profit.

Then send out a second Press Release including reviews from readers, with their permission, of course! Add it to your publisher's website, and your own, if you have one.

What have you learned about yourself in this writing process?
That my Mom was right; I am a good writer, and people really love being able to experience my family's crazy adventures in the safety of their couch or chair. Plus, I have learned that perseverance pays!

What kind of support staff do you have? And who helps prop you up when you're in need of some props.
My husband, Peter, plus friends and family and even strangers! In Luoisiana, everybody cares!

What was the last book you read and why did you read it?
I don't remember. My favorite one was "Don't stop the Carnaval" by Herman Wouk; hilarious in it's island life similarities, which is why I chose it. I used to read a book or two a week, until I began working on my book, which took up all my time. The my job exhaust me, so I content myself with magazine short stories.

What's your best advice for writers who are considering self-publishing?
Remember that you will have to prove yourself to be a true writer. I have entered contests, and will continue to do so, in the hope of winning; such honorable alcolades should help prove that you/we are worthy of publication, and of becoming best sellers!

What are your goals for your future as a writer?
First I wish to concentrate on getting Young Ladies of Good Family noticed, acclaimed, and in as many reader customers hands as possible. Every teenager should read this book; it will open their eyes to a whole other world, and teach them positive thinking, perseverance, and gratitude for what they have; plus let them know that they can obtain what they do not now have, and need or wish, no matter what their past is; they can decide their future, just like little Annie did since she was 2 years old.

Next I plan on writing about Annie's adventures after those on ships! Some experiences were so traumatizing, I have had to heal before I can bring myself to put them down on paper.

WRAP-UP: Give us websight, blogsite and tell us what you're working on now & how can we purchase your books:

For a sample reading, to purchase, and learn more, visit or

I am now working on introducing "Young Ladies of Good Family" to over 1 million readers by advertising it in the South Florida Sun Sentinel Lifestyle on March 16!

EDITORS/ MEDIA: For review copies or interview requests, contact: Promotional Services Department; Email: When requesting a review copy, please provide a street address.

A Note From The Author: Haiti's population is unofficially over 10 million; officially over 8 million that were found to be counted in 2007.

It's Never Too Soon - Part I

Are you thinking about how to market your book when it finally sells? Feel foolish fantasizing about something that may never happen. Believe me, it's never foolish or too soon to be jotting down ideas and making marketing plans. When my Silhouette Romance, The Groom Wore Blue Suede Shoes , hit the stands, I wasn't all that prepared. I did the traditional book signings and hated the experience. Did them alone and did them with friends. I can't think of one book signing I loved. I felt like an idiot sitting there hawking my wares. :) Here are some other things I did:

1) Mailed press releases and promo kits to newspapers. Since we'd lived in eight towns in Louisiana and Texas, I rewrote each press release connecting myself and my family to that town.

2) Spoke to civic organizations and writers' groups. Right now, stop and make a list of friends (connections) who belong to different organizations in your area--retired teachers groups, newcomer's clubs, etc. Every city has a Newcomer's Club, an organization all new-to-the-area women join. Check your yellow pages or chamber of commerce to see if your city has one. They usually meet once a month for lunch at the country club, and have a speaker. You need to be the speaker for the month your book hits the stands. Don't forget to have a door prize when you speak--usually a basket of goodies with your book being the biggest and best. :)

3) Don't forget to take advantage of class reunions and alumni magazines.

4) Send your press material to area/regional libraries. Many libraries bring in speakers (that would be you) and you'll be able to sell a few copies of your book. Payment is usually slim to none, but they often give a modest honorarium. There's something pretty neat about seeing your book on a library shelf. :)

5) Take advantage of your Chamber of Commerce. I've never tried this but if I ever sell another book, I plan to publish my first chapter in pamphlet form and make sure the Chamber of Commerce has beau coups of copies to give away at the state line. How you design the cover of your pamphlet is totally up to you but make it eye-catching: MEET LOCAL AUTHOR _______. I'll include a picture, a bio and ordering information. Want to try this one with me?

One last tip: at every speaking engagement, book signing, at every opportunity, make sure you're collecting names and addresses. For door prizes, require your audience to put their name and address on a sheet of paper and drop in the "hat, sack, box, can" that you've brought with you. You'll be able to send them a post card when your next book comes out.

I'm always collecting marketing information. In fact, several friends have suggested I become a publicist instead of an author. Mmmmmm, think they're trying to tell me something? Like...give up writing and find a job you're good at. :) Maybe so. Something to think about, huh?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Something To Think About

The true goal - improving in your craft, increasing your readership, and honoring God with the opportunities and talent He has given you - are things that are elusive, never ending. No writer ever arrives. And that is one of the joys of this profession. ~Brandt Dobson

There is a price to this writing life. The price is that you will almost certainly always be stretched thin, you will always have less free time, you will always have less money. That is grossly unfair, because we Great Artistes deserve better, but that is the fate the uncaring universe has dealt us. ~Randy Ingermansen

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. ~G. Bernard Shaw

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~Aristotle

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A CFBA Review: Sweet Caroline

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing

Sweet Caroline
(Thomas Nelson February 12, 2008

by Rachel Hauck


I graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Journalism. As a member of Phi Mu sorority, I partied my way though the last few years of college.

But, the truth is, and always will be, I belong to Jesus. At the age of six, I knelt at the altar of a Tulsa Methodist church and gave my life to the One who loves me.

After graduation, hired on at Harris Publishing as a software trainer, determined to see the world. And I did it without a laptop, a cell phone, an IPod or portable DVD player. Those were hard times.

But, I traveled to Ireland, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Canada and the U.S. from California to Maine. But, life on the road is difficult. Working twelve to fourteen hour days, one doesn't get to see many of the sites. In Ireland, our company's distributor drove me around at night so I could see something of Dublin.

I met Tony, my husband, in '87, at church, of all places. We got married in '92. Tony has been a pastor for twenty years. I've worked with him in eighteen of those twenty. Our heart is to see teens and adults passionate, radical and whole hearted for Jesus.

Tony and I don't have any children of our own, lots of kids-in-the-Lord and we love them all. However, we do have a very spoiled dog, and an even more spoiled cat.

I've always wanted to be a writer. My dad used to tell me, "You're a writer." I have letters he wrote me post college, exhorting me to write. In this, I believe he had the heart of God.

In '93, I started an epic WW2 novel with two plots. It was well rejected. After that ordeal, I took a break and put efforts into my job as a software project manager. But, I missed writing and in late ' 99, I took up the craft again.

With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ' 04, Lambert's Pride, a romance novel. I love writing chick lit and romance. I love writing. What an honor.

Rachel has several other books that have been received with great praise, including Diva Nash Vegas and Lost In Nash Vegas

You can purchase copies of Rachel's books, signed personally for you,
at this site: Signed by the


When a Southern waitress inherits the Lowcountry cafe where she works, she suddenly has to balance more than just her next food order.

Caroline Sweeney has always done the right thing--the responsible, dependable thing--unlike her mother who abandoned her family. But when her best friend challenges her to accept an exciting job adventure in Barcelona, Spain, Caroline says "yes" to destiny.

Then, without warning, ownership of the run-down cafe where she's been waitressing falls right into Caroline's lap. While she's trying to determine the cafe's future, handsome Deputy Sherriff J.D. Rand captures Caroline's heart.

But when her first love, Mitch O'Neal, comes back to town, fresh from the heat of his newly-found fame as a country music singer in Nashville, Caroline must make some hard choices about love and the pursuit of the sweet life.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Markets

Those of you who know me, know I believe we should collect bylines whenever and wherever we can. Writing credits boost our credibility and our morale. And I love anthologies. I like reading them, trying to write for them, and I like giving them as gifts and door prizes. I particularly enjoy the variety of points of view on the same subject. Sort of like a family. I just came back from visiting my family and I'm amazed how we grew up under the same roof, yet we're so very different. We see everything in a different way. But I digress.

For years I've toyed with the idea of pulling together my own anthology. I jot down ideas, write out the guidelines then put it all away for a few weeks. By the time I get back to it, the idea isn't nearly as appealing to me. . . or I learn that someone has already done it. :)

Check out A Cup of Comfort and their writer's guidelines, but please note that the deadline for A Cup of Comfort for Military Families has passed. If you have a piece you think is suitable you might contact Colleen Sell, the editor. Sometimes deadlines are extended. :)

A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers

Few experiences bring forth as many anxieties, blessings, challenges, wonders, and changes as having a baby-whether it's your first child or fifth, your birth child or adopted child. And nothing is as miraculous as giving birth to or witnessing the birth of your baby. This heartwarming anthology will be filled with birth stories and newborn homecoming stories as well as a wide range of stories about the various experiences, emotions, and concerns involved in adding a new baby to one's life and family. Potential topics include but are not limited to: nursing (or not), caring for a newborn, bonding/falling in love with infant, lack of sleep, relationship with spouse, how siblings respond, returning to work, balancing responsibilities, post-partum depression, self transformation, unexpected joys, life lessons, small miracles, etc. The majority of the stories will be about birth children, but the book will likely include a couple adoptive stories as well. Likewise, most of the stories will be written from the new mother's perspective, but we are open to including a few stories written from the spouse's or a very close family member's perspective. All stories will be uplifting and positive, no matter how difficult the situation portrayed in the story might be. We do not want stories that simply recount misfortunes and sorrows and that do not clearly reveal a positive outcome or redeeming result (silver lining).

Submission Deadline: 4/01/2008
See Writer's Guidelines for additional details.

A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families

The primary purpose of this book is to celebrate adoptive families and to recognize the extraordinary and challenging experiences that are unique to "chosen children" and their families. We are most interested in stories written by adult adoptive children and their adoptive parents and siblings, but the book will also likely include some stories written by members of the extended adoptive family (grandparent, aunt/uncle, cousin), close friends of the adoptive family (i.e. godparent), and birth family members. Virtually any topic relevant to adopted children and their adoptive parents is acceptable-as long as it is authentic, positive, insightful, and uplifting or inspiring. We do not want heartbreaking stories about adoptive parents or birth families that regret the adoption; there is a place for stories of that ilk, but this book is not that place. All of the stories in this collection must show a positive aspect of adoption and must bring comfort or joy or inspiration to those who have been adopted and/or to the families who adopted them-no matter how difficult the experience and emotions portrayed in the story might be.

Submission Deadline: 6/15/2008
See Writer's Guidelines for additional details.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Weekend of Silence

I'm headed out of town so there will be no Louisiana Saturday Night this weekend. Instead, I'm declaring a "weekend of silence" and asking everyone who visits Prayers, Prayers and Observations to send up a prayer for Patrick Swayze.

James 5:13 states: Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyhone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

I know we all have friends and loved ones who have been attacked by cancer and other illnesses.

1 John 5:14 states: Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked him.

The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be 37,680 new cases of pancreatic cancer in 2008 with 34,290 deaths in the U.S.; only five percent of patients live more than five years after being diagnosed.

Breathe a prayer right this minute for Swayze and his family. Better yet, hit your knees. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have.

If you have a heart for praying for Hollywood, you might consider joining the Hollywood Prayer Network

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What's In a Mood?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

A mood is a relatively lasting affective state. Moods differ from emotions in that they are less specific, often less intense, less likely to be triggered by a particular stimulus or event, however longer lasting.[1] Moods generally have either a positive or negative valence. In other words, people often speak of being in a good or bad mood. Unlike acute, emotional feelings like fear and surprise, moods generally last for hours or days. Mood also differs from temperament or personality traits which are even more general and long lasting. However, personality traits (e.g. Optimism, Neuroticism) tend to predispose certain types of moods. Mood is an internal, subjective state, but it often can be inferred from posture and other behaviors.
I've always heard that writers who let their mood affect their writing or dictate when they write are not considered professional writers. Yet I look at my "old friend" Sylvia Plath, remember her journals and letters home, and I know her mood dictated much. Read one of her poems and you'll probably guess what kind of mood she was in when she wrote it. Okay, Sylvia might be a bad example. I think she might have always been in down mode.

But what about your mental disposition? How does it affect your writing? When you attack your novel, are you always in the same mood? When you read through your story for the first time--in it's entirety--can you see mood swings? I'll bet you can if you try. Look at the pace of your book. Does it drag in spots? I wonder what kind of mood you were in when you wrote that portion of the book?

Does this make sense?

The reason I'm examining mood is because I recognize it in my own writing. Especially my non-fiction. I queried an editor regarding an article on writers and depression. I'd made all my notes, done much of the research and was really gung-ho about the article. Four months later, I received a letter from the editor:

Thank you for thinking of the (name of magazine). I apologize for not responding to your query sooner, but I really wasn’t certain how I felt about an article on depression. After much thought and discussion with several (name of magazine) board members, we decided to pass on this subject at this time. However, I will let you know if we reconsider.

By the time I received this rejection, I'd lost my zest for the article. Sure, I could have still written it, but the tone would have been different because my attitude toward the my subject--my mood?-- wasn't the same as when I originally queried.

Tell me how your mood affects your writing. Are you consistently happy and on top of the world? Are you pretty hum-drum all the time, moving even-keel into each day and each chapter? When you receive a rejection, does it knock you into darkness until something/someone tosses you a life jacket of encouragement?

I find mood interesting. And sometimes, unfortunately, my mood is the boss.

Quote of the day:
I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.
~Dr. Haim Ginott

Says it all, doesn't it? Makes me realize that in my writing. . .I am the decisive element.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Something to Think About

Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. ~John Steinbeck

Any man who will look into his heart and honestly write what he sees there will find plenty of readers. ~Edgar W. House

When you become detached mentally from yourself and concentrate on helping other people with their difficulties, you will be able to cope with your own more effectively. Somehow, the act of self-giving is a personal power-releasing factor.
~Norman Vincent Peale

I used to throw things out saying, 'This isn't great.' It didn't occur to me that it didn't have to be great. ~William Saroyan

The worst of writing is that one depends so much upon praise. ~Virginia Woolf

The pit is deep, but God is deeper still. ~Corrie Ten Boom

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday Markets - New Kid in Town

Fiction Guidelines for Summerside Press™

Fiction Goals
· Provides an alternative to secular romantic fiction by offering a pleasurable, escapist reading experience that is wholesome and inspirational.

· Supports a biblical worldview, whether explicitly or implicitly.

· Entertains but also edifies readers both intellectually and spiritually.

· Offers a story that is fresh and new, not clich├ęd or formulaic.

· Maintains high standards of excellence in craft and overall quality.

Content GuidelinesWhile these serve as guiding principles for fiction published by Summerside Press™, books will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Questionable content that is central to the progression of the story might be tolerated, but gratuitous content is subject to omission or revision.

· Realistic: The novel does not sacrifice realism in order to tell a feel-good tale.

Characters speak, think, and act naturally; relationships feel realistic and authentic; settings are accurately depicted; and plotlines are believable.

· Relevant: The novel engages and relates to readers, so that its message is applicable and meaningful.

The novel is not afraid to honestly depict some of the real issues people face in this world, explore moral gray areas, or tackle themes of sin and redemption, but it does so from a biblical perspective in which God’s truth prevails. It does not sugarcoat the struggles of the Christian faith, but it does not engage in wanton depictions of sinful lifestyles.

· Wholesome: The novel is free of offensive language and gratuitous descriptions of sex and violence.

The novel may acknowledge that the physical aspect of romantic love is designed by God to enhance intimacy between a man and a woman, but references to sexual relations are not explicit. Furthermore, they either: 1) take place within a marital relationship, or 2) reflect the consequences of extramarital sexual relations from a biblical standpoint.

· Positive: The novel is constructive and affirming. It ends on a note of hope and optimism.

The story conveys a positive view of both romantic love and Christianity, but without becoming preachy, trite, or unrealistic.

Summerside Press™ inspired by love
Summerside Press is an inspirational fiction publisher offering fresh, irresistible stories to and uplift the heart and delight the mind.

Call for Proposals:
Love Finds You™ Inspirational Romance Fiction

About Love Finds You™Summerside Press™ is launching its Love Finds You™ fiction line in 2008, featuring inspirational romance novels set in actual small towns across the United States. We launch our first 4 titles in the fall of 2008, and we plan to release 12 titles per year. These will be full-length novels, with a word count of between 60K and 100K words (220 to 380 pages). The stories may be historical or contemporary.

As the majority of the action in each novel will take place in the title town, plot details should remain reasonably faithful to the town’s history, geography, and atmosphere. Although Summerside Press™ will provide titles and clear content boundaries, authors will be allowed the creative leeway they need to develop excellently-crafted fiction. Please refer to our Fiction Guidelines for more information regarding the goals and criteria for the line.

About Summerside Press™
With strong financial backing, Summerside Press™ offers distribution with an ECPA-member publisher to all major book retailers including Mass Market, ABA, CBA, Gift, Catalog, and Specialty Accounts. Projected units sales per title are 20,000 to 100,000. Summerside Press™ offers writers an advance, a competitive royalty, and author credit on book covers.

This is a chance for writers to be on the ground floor of a fast-growing publishing house and the opportunity to do many future products based on success of the first title. It is also an opportunity to be part of a “can’t miss” series that brings the success of regional fiction together with upscale design for a unique and powerful presence in the market.

Book Proposals
As we have already named our first 12 titles, we would prefer “from scratch” proposals designed specifically for our project (though we might consider an exceptional existing manuscript if it could be renamed and modified to fit with a given title). Book proposals must include: an overview of the novel, a chapter-by-chapter synopsis, and at least 3 sample chapters. Please send proposals to:

Rachel Meisel
Fiction Editor, Summerside Press™
rachel at

Please contact Rachel Meisel with any specific questions.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night with Barbara Colley

I'd like to say I'm dancing in the kitchen 'til the early morning light, but I'm not. However, I have kicked off my shoes for this Louisiana Saturday Night. This is a new feature I'm adding to my blog: interviewing Louisiana authors. We have a lot of talent in our Bayou State. I hope to introduce you to much of it.

First on our list is Louisiana author Barbara Colley. Barbara and I go way back to 1988. I lived in the New Orleans area for three years and we enjoyed critiquing and encouraging each other, exchanging advice on everything from writing to child-rearing. I have more respect for Barbara than any writer I know. She's listened and learned and bucked the market, and chased it from one end of publishing to the other. She hung in there. She persevered through many ups and downs. It is my great honor to share Barbara with you today.

What is your writing process?
Something--an article I've read, a story on the news, a haunting melody I hear, etc.--for whatever reason, interests me. Then, in my mind, I begin playing the "what if" game. If the game goes well, then I might actually sit down and write out my idea in story (synopsis) form on the computer.

What is your favorite self-marketing idea?
I actually have two. One: I created what I call a bookmark/flier. When folded, it's a bookmark. When unfolded, it's a two-sided flier. I always keep a supply of these on-hand and give them away to anyone who seems even a wee bit interested in my books. They are inexpensive and contain a lot of useful information. Two: Recently, I helped create a video book trailer for my latest book, WASH AND DIE. It's on my web site and on YouTube. Why one of my favorites? Guess it's because that's the closest my books will ever come to being made into either a TV series or a movie. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she? :-)

What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?
The unselfish generosity of fellow writers and fans.

How do you inspire yourself or what are your sources of creativity? I try to come up with something exciting or different for my character to do. Sources of creativity? Hmm, a multi-book contract that I've signed and the fact that I have to produce a book by a certain deadline always inspires me to be creative. :-)

What is your proudest writer moment?
One of my proudest moments as a writer was when I received a letter from a reader who told me that reading my book RACHEL'S WAR had changed her life, and now she was able to forgive things in her past, whereas before, she wasn't able to do so.

What's the best advice you were given about writing?
Just do it--sit yourself in the chair and do it.

What have you learned about yourself in this writing process?
I like to "have written" rather than "have to write." Also, I'm a creature of habit, and I have to follow my routine each day to get anything done.

What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
One of the biggest business challenges I've faced yet as a writer was trying to decide whether to risk ending my series by holding out for a larger advance. At the last minute, I caved and accepted the smaller advance.

What kind of support staff do you have? Not the secretary or publicist or research assistant we'd all love to have, but the family, the crit partners, the prayer team, or whoever helps prop you up when you're in need of some props ?
I have a wonderfully supportive husband, grown children, and grandchildren, all of which are there to encourage me and cheer me on. I'm also blessed with several Christian friends who are also writers and who understand the process of writing and publishing. In addition, I have two totally professional critique partners who have been with me for the past nine books.

What is your writer life philosophy?
We must endeavor to persevere.

What was the last book you read and why did you read it?
The last book that I completed was a book that was one of six that I was given to read as a judge for the RWA RITA contest.

What's your best advice for new writers?You must endeavor to persevere, and never, never burn bridges in this business. Be nice!

WRAP-UP: Tell us what's coming up next.
My latest book, available this month, is WASH AND DIE, book number seven in my Charlotte LaRue mystery series. In case you're unfamiliar with this series, its a cozy mystery that features a sixty-something year-old maid named Charlotte who works exclusively in the New Orleans Garden District and also happens to solve murders.

Jo Ann Vicarel with Library Journal says, "There is something so engaging, so charming about Charlotte LaRue..."

In the meantime, as Charlotte would say, "Keep it Clean!"

Watch for WASH AND DIE, available February, 2008
SCRUB-A-DUB DEAD, now available in paperback

To see Barbara's very original book trailer and get titles of her other books, check out her website.