Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Releases, Reviews, and Relief

If you're wondering what happened to Wednesday in Wyoming this month, I took a break while I was involved in heavy-duty promotion for A Stolen Heart. The month that a book releases is extra busy and this time it simply did not leave any time for my usual Wednesday posts.  But -- don't worry -- they're returning next week.

Like most authors, I wait anxiously for the first reviews of the book. So much hinges on them, and there's no way to predict which reviewers will like a book and which will pan it. Fortunately, A Stolen Heart has received some excellent reviews, which was a big relief to this Nervous Nelly author.

Publishers Weekly is one of the most influential reviewers, and they receive far more books than they actually review. That makes simply being reviewed an honor, and when the review is as positive as this one ... let's just say that celebrations are in order.

Librarians rely on a number of sources when making decisions about which books to purchase for their patrons. Booklist is one of those sources, so once again, it was a relief and a pleasure to see what they said.

Do you like books that arouse many emotions -- both laughter and tears? I do, which is why I was pleased by this review from Compass Book Ratings.

And if you want a book to sweep you away, which is certainly something I look for in a book, you'll understand why I smiled when I read this review from The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

I've saved this one for last, because it made me laugh. Do you like chocolate? I do, which is one of the reasons I created a heroine who becomes a candy maker. I had fun researching nineteenth century candy making, but I didn't expect my descriptions to make my editors and this reviewer hungry.

A word of warning: you might want to have a box of chocolates at your side while you read A Stolen Heart.

If you read the book, I hope you'll consider leaving a review of your own on the various online book sites. Those reviews are incredibly powerful, since they help other readers know whether or not to spend their time and money on a book.

And, of course, I hope you'll return next week when Wednesday in Wyoming resumes.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The 5 Ws of A Stolen Heart

Journalists are taught that every article needs to include the five Ws -- who, what, where, when, and why. We novelists follow the same advice, although it usually takes us longer to answer those questions. In my case it takes a lot longer.

Instead of simply counting the minutes until the official release of A Stolen Heart tomorrow, I thought I'd show you how those questions relate to the story. And, yes, there's another reason for this blog: Revell gave me some wonderful graphics to share with you.

Who? That's shorthand for "who's involved?" As you can see from the family tree, there are multiple generations of people living in Cimarron Creek. Not all of them are still alive when A Stolen Heart begins, and not all play major roles, but the family tree shows you who's related to whom.

I found the family tree invaluable when I was writing the book and hope it'll add to your enjoyment of the story.

What?  Again, this is shorthand, in this case for "what happened?" The answer to that is much more complex than the "who?" question, so let's start with the beginning.

Schoolteacher Lydia Crawford arrives in Cimarron Creek expecting to hear the sound of wedding bells, only to discover that her fiance has disappeared, leaving behind a wife. A pregnant wife.

Travis Whitfield has his hands full dealing with a missing man, a rash of thefts, and an ornery father. He doesn't have time to think about love and marriage. But sometimes love comes when it's least expected.

Where?  The answer to this one is simple: Cimarron Creek, a seemingly idyllic town in the Texas Hill Country. In case you wondered what it looks like, there's a map in the book itself and a fancier version here.

When? This is another question with a simple answer. The story takes place in 1880.

Why? And now we come to the heart of the story. Why did the people in Cimarron Creek do what they did? Why are some of them hiding deep secrets? I can't answer that without giving away the story, and you know I won't do that. Instead, I hope I've intrigued you enough that you'll read A Stolen Heart and uncover all the missing pieces to the puzzle for yourself.

Here's a link to more information as well as buying links.

If you do read the book, I'd love to hear what you think. You can find my email address on my web site. I'd also appreciate an honest review at the major online retailers.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Counting the Days

As the subject line says, I'm counting the days -- seven -- until A Stolen Heart releases. This is always an exciting time for me, knowing that soon my book will be in the hands of the most important people -- readers. It's also a bit of an anxious time as I wait for your reactions.

Believe it or not, there's a lot of waiting involved in writing. Once the manuscript has gone through the editing process, the next step is to send it to well-known authors for possible endorsement.

I was so fortunate that New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick enjoyed the story enough to say this:

And Margaret Brownley, another bestselling author, offered this praise:

The next step is to send the manuscript to major review sites.  One of the most influential is Publishers Weekly. Since they receive far more books than they can review, simply being reviewed is an honor. As you might imagine, receiving a favorable review like this one is cause for celebration.

Romance readers often turn to RT BookReviews for recommendations, so I always wait eagerly to see what their reviewers have to say about my books. I smiled when I read this, since both of my editors had said the same thing about A Stolen Heart, namely that it made them hungry.

Now I'm waiting for you, my readers, to tell me what you think. Will you love Lydia and Travis's story? Will you be intrigued by the secrets in Cimarron Creek?  I hope so.

If you'd like to read more about the book before it releases, here's a link to my web site. It includes a sneak peek at the first chapter as well as discussion group questions, in case your book club would like to feature it.

Happy reading!