Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sincerely Yours Winners!

A really quick post to let everyone know who the winners are from the Sincerely Yours Giveaway.

We (all 4 authors) hope everyone enjoyed meeting all the authors & participating.  Interacting and hearing from our readers is what makes the hard days of writing, editing, researching and focusing that much more enjoyable!

Don't stop keeping in touch.  Please return to our Facebook pages & Sincerely Yours Facebook page to.

Thanks again to each one of you who joined us!  Here are the winners.  If they don't claim their prize within 2 weeks new winners will be selected.  Emails to the winners will be sent out today from Impact Author Services.

Beckie S. is our grand prize winner.  Asking Jane a question on her blog post was her winning entry! Thanks Beckie.
Amanda T & Robin K.W. are our two runner up winners receiving a copy of Sincerely Yours.  Their winning entries were subscribing to Jane's newsletter & liking Ann's Facebook page.  Thanks ladies for joining us!

Again, be on the look out for an email from Impact Author Services to claim your prize.

Don't forget that if you are looking for reader's perspectives (not just book information) be sure to visit some of Revell's {diverse} blogger websites here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 4, 2014

Amanda Cabot Interview {One Little Word}: Sincerely Yours Novella

"No doubt about it, I've been blessed" writes author Amanda Cabot. "I had parents who nurtured my love of reading and have a husband who's not just my best friend but who's driven tens of thousands of miles to help me research books and who, after all these years, still hasn't lost his sense of humor, even when dinner is late because I have "just one more scene" to write." Amanda is the author of two trilogies (that one can read in any order), a stand-alone book called Christmas Roses and her latest release Sincerely Yours where her novella is a part of a four-author collection.

"When people ask why I write, the answer is simple: it's part of who I am and who I was meant to be. I truly believe this is God's plan for me, and that's why it is my fervent prayer that my books will touch my readers' hearts and strengthen their faith in Him."

Interview with Amanda:

Your novella "One Little Word" has two of my favorite things: lilacs and a carousel. Can you share with readers how you decided to combine two such lovely images?

I've loved lilacs since the time I was a small child. The shape of the blossoms, the variety of colors and, of course, the wonderful fragrance all fill my heart with joy. One of my favorite places to visit when I lived in New York State was Highland Park in Rochester. I could -- and did -- spend hours wandering around the lilac bushes, trying to decide which one was my favorite. And, no, I never did decide. All I knew was that I wanted to have lilacs near me. Unfortunately, they did not grow well where I lived in New Jersey, but when I moved to Cheyenne, I was delighted to learn that lilacs thrive here. Are you surprised that the first shrub I bought was a lilac and that a number of others have joined that one to form lilac row? I didn't think so. All of that is probably more than you wanted to know, but it does explain why, when I started thinking about the setting for "One Little Word," I knew the resort had to be surrounded by lilacs. As for carousels, I developed an incurable case of carousel fever in 2000, which as it turns out, was the International Year of the Carousel. Coincidence? I don't think so. I've been fascinated by what are often called painted ponies and the men who created them ever since.

The research on carousels is woven in so well such as the tidbit about the size of the horses on the inner and outer rim or the names like the apprentice and romance sides. How did you discover those details?
I always enjoy researching my books, but I have to admit that the research for "One Little Word" was more fun than normal. That's because it included visits to actual carousels and museums as well as reading every book I could find about historic carousels. I was also fortunate enough to meet the staff at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum outside of Buffalo, New York. When I couldn't find a specific detail such as the type of engine that would have powered a carousel in 1892, they were able to help.

Have you ever ridden on the carousel on Coney Island or is it no longer there as it was in 1892 when your story is set?
Unfortunately, by the time I caught carousel fever, the majority of historic carousels, including most of them on Coney Island, had been dismantled, so I was not able to ride one there. But I have visited and ridden a variety of antique carousels, including ones in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Texas and Colorado. The one in Colorado was a surprise, because it revolves at a much faster speed than most. Who knew you could get dizzy on a carousel?

Like many young women, your character, Lorraine, is trying to find where she belongs. How did you decide to allow music and the arts to play into her future?
That's an intriguing question, Jane, and I'm not sure I have an answer. Unlike including lilacs and carousels, it wasn't a conscious decision. I think it may have been the result of the years of piano lessons I took and knowing that women of Lorraine's background would have been expected to be accomplished musicians. On a related note, when I read the other stories in Sincerely Yours, I found it interesting that music plays a role in both your "A Saving Grace" and Ann Shorey's "Lessons in Love." Perhaps we should have had sheet music as well as letters on the cover.

Can you tell us what you're working on now?
Although readers know me as the author of nineteenth century historical romances, a change is coming. My next trilogy, the Texas Crossroads series, will be set in modern times. Yes, I’m expanding to contemporary romances. The first book in the series, At Bluebonnet Lake, will be released in October. It was so much fun writing about a run-down resort inspired by a memorable vacation my husband and I took. Think about a roof that leaks – where else? – right over the bed and power that goes out just when it’s time to use the hairdryer. And then there’s cell service, or the absence thereof. My big city heroine is not happy, but then she meets … I don’t want to spoil the story, so let’s just say that there’s more to the resort’s handyman than she realizes.

Amanda loves hearing from readers. To learn more about her or to contact her, please visit her web site: www.amandacabot.com.
She is also on Facebook

Revell has provided an excerpt of Sincerely Yours. A chapter from each author can be found here: Sincerely Yours Excerpt

A Blog Tour & other Giveaways happening!

If you would like to read some blogger reviews (and some are giving away the book as well) go here to see the list of bloggers posting over the next week or so.  Be sure to tell them you are dropping in from my blog

Jane's Giveaway!

Meet each of the authors and enter to win a pen & stationary gift set!  A copy of Sincerely Yours will also be included. There are entries that can be done each day, so be sure to do as much as you can to increase your chances to win.

Giveaway runs from April 1- April 8.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Winners must have a US shipping address.  Email addresses will NOT be sold to anyone, however each author will receive a list of all entries.  They will NOT sell the email list either.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ann Shorey Interview {Lessons in Love}: Sincerely Yours

Ann Shorey's writing journey began with a family story, turning pages of a journal into a book for relatives to treasure. That was just the beginning. Next she turned her mother's works into a three novel series called At Home in Beldon Grove. Her second series has just begun in Where Wildflowers Bloom set after the close of the Civil War bringing women's stories to life. Ann and her husband live in Oregon and her recipes too have earned her recognition. She offers good food and good food for thought! I'm so glad she could join me today.

What gave you the idea to create a confusion for your columnist in your novella "Lessons in Love?" 
Women as authors were looked down upon in the 19th Century. Nathaniel Hawthorne (author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables) famously referred to them as a "d---ed mob of scribbling women." So for Merrie to have her work accepted when her publisher assumed she was a man seemed like a fun idea for a novella.

Well so much for Nathaniel Hawthorne's opinion! I know Dorothea Dix received criticism while writing during the same time and hers were letters to the editor. Were you ever a columnist in a local paper? Where did you discover the insights about Sarah Josepha Hale and her influence on female readers in her day? 
I've never been a columnist for a local paper. The closest I've ever come was writing a monthly column when I was president of a local writers group. 

Initially, I came across the insights about Sarah Josepha Hale when doing research for my novel, The Edge of Light, which is set in the late 1830's. I needed recipes and housekeeping tips from that time period, and discovered a reprint of The Good Housekeeper, first published in 1839. Sarah Josepha Hale wrote that book. The forward gave a brief biography of Mrs. Hale. The book went on my research shelf after I completed The Edge of Light, but I remembered the author and her housekeeping tips when I brainstormed the types of articles Merrie would write. When I plotted "Lessons in Love," I did further research on Mrs. Hale. She was a remarkable woman.

Since you have a culinary background yourself earning awards for recipes, Mrs. Hale's book must be a treasure.  In your "spare" time, when you're not writing fabulous novels and novellas - or cooking - you teach classes about writing. What's your favorite writing subject to teach?  
My favorite isn't on technique, but rather one devoted to encouragement. I love to teach "Powering Through Rejection." I've learned a lot about the subject over the years [smile], and it's rewarding to see the hope on writers' faces when they realize they're not alone. The Q & A after the class is always fun--everyone has a story to share.

I so agree. Everyone has a story to share. What's one word of advice you always want to give your students? Would you have a word of advice for your protagonist Merrie about her writing?
My advice is a bit longer than one word: "Don't quit. Keep improving by applying the suggestions you most often hear in rejections or from critique partners. Don't stall out on one book--start another if the first one goes nowhere."

I would encourage Merrie to continue with her columns--and to heed her own advice when she weds.

Never quit. Solid advice for writers...and any commitment we make. What are you working on now?  
My agent just sent a proposal out in response to a request from a publisher. So while I wait I'm working on a novel set in a city that's dear to my heart.

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Jane! Great questions.

To connect with Ann, please visit her website where she also has a signup for her newsletter.
She is also on Facebook

Revell has provided an excerpt of Sincerely Yours. A chapter from each author can be found here: Sincerely Yours Excerpt

A Blog Tour & other Giveaways happening!

If you would like to read some blogger reviews (and some are giving away the book as well) go here to see the list of bloggers posting over the next week or so.  Be sure to tell them you are dropping in from my blog.

Jane's Giveaway!

Meet each of the authors and enter to win a pen & stationary gift set!  A copy of Sincerely Yours will also be included. There are entries that can be done each day, so be sure to do as much as you can to increase your chances to win.

Giveaway runs from April 1- April 8.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Winners must have a US shipping address.  Email addresses will NOT be sold to anyone, however each author will receive a list of all entries.  They will NOT sell the email list either.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Laurie Alice Eakes Interview {A Moonlight Promise}: Sincerely Yours Novella

(in case you missed the launch of this week's giveaway & Jane's post, you can start here)
Laurie is a graduate of Asbury University with a degree in English and French, and Seton Hill University, with a masters degree in Writing Popular Fiction, she also writes articles in writers publications, teaches writing workshops, and gives inspirational talks. To date, she has sixteen books in print with five more under contract for release over the next two years. Eight of her books have been published in large print editions, one as a Crossings Book club hardcover edition, and one book has been put into Braille.

She lives in Texas with her husband, dogs, and cats. She enjoys long walks, all too rare rainy days, and knitting—rather badly—while watching movies or listening to music.

My guest today is sister novella-writer Laurie Alice Eakes. Thanks for joining me today, Laurie!

Steamboats! Your novella "A Moonlight Promise" is a fascinating story with lots of steamship ephemera. Have you always had a passion for that mode of transportation of the 1820s?
I rode on a steamboat as a very young child and the paddle wheel fascinated me. And then I read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn more than once apiece, so that was an interest. So I don’t know if I’d say passion, but a definite interest in steamboats, steam engines in general. And the Hudson is such a magnificent river steeped in history, writing about it was great.

And you wrote of it so well! What would it have taken to procure a cabin on a steamship during the opening of the Erie Canal? I found your character's surprise about where the crew slept to be a surprise for me too!
I didn't find anything specific about that, though read enough that most boats were standing room only unless you could sit on your luggage. So getting one was likely difficult.
One could hope for a short trip sitting on luggage!

Was your protagonist Camilla unique in finding an empty cabin?
Most definitely, so I had to come up with a plausible reason why she would have found one, which led to the captain using the space for delicate cargo, which led to why he would want to make so much money so fast, which led to…the story.

Yes, we won't give any of that away. I found it fascinating. I always find how people made a living an intriguing part of historical pieces. Being the captain of a steamship had its privilege and its challenge. Where did you discover the details about what Nathanial's ship transported and the economics of passengers versus cargo?
Google Books was a wealth of information. I found state records and books written at the time, a few law suits and a quantity of writing about the pros and cons of steamboats, and, yes, many pages about cargo and passengers and fees. I also found some great on-line resources from people who are truly passionate about the history of steam, including one that had midi files you can click on and hear the whistle, bell, even someone speaking through the speaking tube to the engine room.

Like most of us, I bet you have way more material than you were able to use in your novella. But that means maybe we'll find more steamships within your writing. Where did the idea of a letter from a friend come from?
I started thinking about what would bring a lady from England to America and on to the Northwest Territory around the great Lakes. Well, maybe a desperate need to get away and an offer she didn’t think she could afford to lose.

Intriguing... What are you working on now? I am writing the second book in The Cliffs of Cornwall series for Zondervan/Harper Collins Christian Publishing. The first book comes out April 22.

Congratulations and thanks for sharing some of your time with me. It was great to share a novella collection with you!

Laurie enjoys hearing from her readers!  Connect with her here:
Twitter
Facebook
Website (read about her new release A Lady's Honor)

Revell has provided an excerpt of Sincerely Yours. A chapter from each author can be found here: Sincerely Yours Excerpt

A Blog Tour & other Giveaways happening!

If you would like to read some blogger reviews (and some are giving away the book as well) go here to see the list of bloggers posting over the next week or so.  Be sure to tell them you are dropping in from my blog

Jane's Giveaway!

Meet each of the authors and enter to win a pen & stationary gift set!  A copy of Sincerely Yours will also be included. There are entries that can be done each day, so be sure to do as much as you can to increase your chances to win.

Giveaway runs from April 1- April 8.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Winners must have a US shipping address.  Email addresses will NOT be sold to anyone, however each author will receive a list of all entries.  They will NOT sell the email list either.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Meet {Sincerely Yours} authors all week, Jane's {A Saving Grace} & A lovely Scribe's prize {Giveaway}

Over the next few days you will have the privilege of meeting each of the authors who have contributed a novella for the Sincerely Yours release from Revell. While many have already gotten their hands on it, today, April 1st is the official release date! Welcome to my little corner of the internet where I like to share stories, encouragement and my writing life. May this next week be one of discovery for you, of new authors, as well as the renewed discovery of the hand-written word.

I like writing with a pen or pencil now and then. I often make notes to myself with pen and paper and not just on the computer screen. There is something about permanent ink on white that makes me think carefully about each word I write down. Including the signature that is often, for me, Warmly...but it carries with it my sincerity. And it counts as having written. Isn't that what we writers are all about? And sometimes writing an encouraging note to a friend is the finest writing around. I think I'll go do that right now, hand-written, of course!
 

Who will you write a note to this week? Share with us below.

list of this week's postings as they release so you don't miss'em!
Wednesday: Laurie Alice Eakes
Thursday: Ann Shorey
Friday: Amanda Cabot 

Jane's {A Saving Grace}:

Sincerely Yours is a novella of four letters, each changing one woman's life leading her to discover things about herself and yes, maybe even finding love. My writing sisters for this novella are  Ann Shorey, Laurie Alice Eakes and Amanda Cabot. Our stories are set in different historical periods but we are linked together by the idea of a letter making a difference in someone's life. My story (they will all be released as separate ebooks after the initial trade paperback launch April 1, 2014) is titled "A Saving Grace."

Grace is a music teacher for the large Eastern Oregon ranches at the turn of the century. She travels from ranch to ranch staying a week at a time. Grace's life is excruciatingly predictable until she receives a letter from the daughter of a friend, a child of eight asking Grace to please bring her mother home. Grace's friend it seems has - in grief - taken herself to a remote hospital called Wilderness Heights near Olalla, Washington state, on Puget Sound. She is taking the fasting cure of Dr. Linda Hazzard. Both the child and the attorney who also wrote a letter to Grace, are worried and Grace decides to see what she can find out about this mysterious hospital and the strange ways of Linda Hazzard. There are lots of metaphors about food in this story and about what keeps us "fed" and "filled up." What happens next involves yet another letter sent for rescue and Grace's encounter with a doctor working for the hospital. Tension rises as Grace's friend becomes weaker and Grace decides to take the cure as well so she can be closer to her friend and find out what's really going on. I hope you'll find this story intriguing. It's really not too scary! But in fact, Dr. Linda Hazzard did exist and she did offer her fasting cure to sometimes disastrous results. I like stories with hopeful endings and you can count on this one being as hopeful as a letter received from a long lost friend.

You, my readers, are what keep me going.  Researching, writing, reading... connecting with you where possible is a gift.  If you have not already done so, please join me here:
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Pinterest
Subscribe to my monthly Story Sparks Newsletter

Revell has provided an excerpt of Sincerely Yours. A chapter from each author can be found here: Sincerely Yours Excerpt

A Blog Tour & other Giveaways happening!

If you would like to read some blogger reviews (and some are giving away the book as well) go here to see the list of bloggers posting over the next week or so.  Be sure to tell them you are dropping in from my blog

Jane's Giveaway!

Meet each of the authors and enter to win a pen & stationary gift set!  A copy of Sincerely Yours will also be included.  There are entries that can be done each day, so be sure to do as much as you can to increase your chances to win.

Giveaway runs from April 1- April 8.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Winners must have a US shipping address.  Email addresses will NOT be sold to anyone, however each author will receive a list of all entries.  They will NOT sell the email list either.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sincerely Yours Novella {A Saving Grace by Jane} & A little Gift for You!


Sincerely Yours is a novella of four letters (at the end of this post is a little gift for you!), each changing one woman's life leading her to discover things about herself and yes, maybe even finding love. My writing sisters for this novella are Ann Shorey, Laurie Alice Eakes and Amanda Cabot. Our stories are set in different historical periods but we are linked together by the idea of a letter making a difference in someone's life.



My story (they will all be released as separate ebooks after the initial trade paperback launch April 1, 2014) is titled "A Saving Grace." Grace is a music teacher for the large Eastern Oregon ranches at the turn of the century. She travels from ranch to ranch staying a week at a time. Grace's life is excruciatingly predictable until she receives a letter from the daughter of a friend, a child of eight asking Grace to please bring her mother home.

Grace's friend it seems has - in grief - taken herself to a remote hospital called Wilderness Heights near Olalla, Washington state, on Puget Sound. She is taking the fasting cure of Dr. Linda Hazzard. Both the child and the attorney who also wrote a letter to Grace, are worried and Grace decides to see what she can find out about this mysterious hospital and the strange ways of Linda Hazzard.

There are lots of metaphors about food in this story and about what keeps us "fed" and "filled up." What happens next involves yet another letter sent for rescue and Grace's encounter with a doctor working for the hospital. Tension rises as Grace's friend becomes weaker and Grace decides to take the cure as well so she can be closer to her friend and find out what's really going on.

I hope you'll find this story intriguing. It's really not too scary! But in fact, Dr. Linda Hazzard did exist and she did offer her fasting cure to sometimes disastrous results. I like stories with hopeful endings and you can count on this one being as hopeful as a letter received from a long lost friend.

Sincerly Yours releases April 1st and there will be another giveaway happening her during that time. Be sure to come back and enter to win!  If you are on GoodReads, there is currently a book giveaway happening over there till April 1.

Now, as promised above, is a little teaser for you.  4 chapter excerpts (one from each author).  Enjoy!
Sincerely Yours is currently available to pre-order for only $11.09 (26% off) on Amazon.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sincerely Yours {Giveaway}

The first give away for Sincerely Yours is underway! Visit Goodreads between now and April 1 to win a copy of this new novella collection featuring me, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes and Ann Shorey.  (and not to worry if you are not on Goodreads...there will be more giveaways to come!)

Sincerely Yours is about the power of words to touch another's life. Sometimes aspiring writers think they have to have a level of success to match the effort they put in to writing a story. And we writer's often diminish ourselves when that effort doesn't match up with big earnings, fame or fortune.

I wrote an entire book about how easily writers can misplace fame for fulfillment (Barcelona Calling ) so I won't attempt to show the pitfalls of a definition of success that carries dollar signs rather than the joy of accomplishment. Rather this is a story about the act of writing a letter to another and how important that act can be.

Carolyn See in her book Making a Literary Life has her students write letters that "make you sweat." These are letters carrying passion, words meant to convey emotions that have the risk of rejection. The task of such effort can put a writer in touch with the energy needed to make their stories - essays, novels, histories - come alive because the writer has tapped into a deeper passion.

Long before I had heard of letters meant to "make you sweat" I remembered a special great aunt with whom I often stayed near our dairy farm in Wisconsin. I was at her home when my brother was born. After school events, she'd turn down the sheets, put a hot water bottle at my feet, and wait up for me just to say good-night. Widowed, she often spoke of her great love attaching a kindly man to the small wheelbarrow he'd made for me when I was too young to remember him.

Some years later, I decided to write to her and tell her of how much she'd meant to me. I was well into my forties then and I carefully shared with her how much her life meant to me. I sent it off. Later that week while sitting with my mom, I told her: "I sent a letter to Aunt Hilda this week, just to let her know of some of the precious memories she's given to me through the years."

My mother choked on her coffee.

"You wrote to Hilda? She died, probably two months ago. Didn't I tell you?"

I had to leave the room. In the bathroom I cried for her life but I was crying for my embarrassment too. Her poor family! They'd receive my missive and wonder what was wrong with me. My mom felt terrible, too. She called my cousin and told them of the letter. She apologized for not having told me of Hilda's death.

But when the letter arrived, my cousin called me. "Your wonderful words came in the mail and I know my mom read over my shoulder. And how she must have grinned and nodded and felt your words form loving arms around her. If I live my life in such a way that I'd one day receive a letter like the one you wrote, I'll believe I have lived a worthy life. Thank you. I was blessed to read it."

The letter, signed "Sincerely yours," never reached its intended recipient. But someone else received it and the words brought comfort. My lesson? Don't wait too long to send that special letter of admiration, especially if it's a letter to make you sweat. But most of all, be sure to send it.

Sincerely Yours goes on sale April 1st.  However, it's currently available for Pre-order at a 26% discount on Amazon
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