Monday, August 18, 2014

Booksignings and Me - from Gail Gaymer Martin



Booksigning have changed, and I'll tell you why. Happy Monday from Gail Gaymer Maritn @ www.gailgaymermartin.com

 When I first became published, I would jump hoops for opportunities to do book signings. Some were very successful and others were not, but meeting readers and getting to know the booksellers made it a worthwhile experience.
 
But times have changed, bookstores have closed, and they are no longer as eager to have local authors do signings in their stores. I decided not to jump hoops as I was willing to do years earlier, but I did decide that some opportunities would still be worth while. 
 

One in particular has become a yearly event that I will move the moon to be part of it. The event is Writers On The River, a book fair in Monroe, MI. Since it is close to Ohio too, I have a wonderful fan base in that area as well and have enjoyed the signings at the Monroe County Public Library. They invite thirty to forty novelists to participate.  Many of these writers are self-published local writers who have written books relating to the area, but some, like me, have publishers who distribute our novels all over the country and even internationally.

Recently I was invited to attend a four novelist signing at an independent book store called Blue Frog Books. I had to drive over an hour, but I accepted since I knew the other three Michigan authors and  I love to support independent booksellers. I enjoyed the event and was pleased to have 

Facebook friends show up as well as regular customers to buy our books. I will do this again, especially when independent book store owners invite me to participate. They do great promotion and appreciate the novelist participating in their event.  

The main book I promoted at the last signing is my recent release,
Treasures Of Her Heart, a romance mystery, available in both trade book and ebook.

What's It About?
Nikki Townley a fashion-buyer, looking for a life with deeper meaning, leaves her career and moves to a small, tourist town in northern Michigan to assist her ailing great-aunt Winnie in running her floundering antique business. There she finds herself caught in a mystery searching for her aunt’s missing fortune, facing an investment company in pursuit of her aunt’s property, and hoping to save long-distance romance with her faithful male friend Rob Moore, while struggling to escape her attraction to an exciting, smooth-talking womanizer.  Can she overcome temptation, locate the missing fortune and find the truth to the treasures of her heart? Will Rob wait for Nikki to make up her mind?
 


 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

And a chatting we will go.....

Jenna Mindel here on the heels of a couple interactive days with readers that were awesome.  
Saturday, I participated in an author chat with my buddy and fellow Love Inspired (Historical) author, Christine Johnson at the lovely Olivet Book & Gift store in Alpena MI..
 Olivet Book & Gift

Christine Johnson on the left and me.
And then on Tuesday, I joined 19 Northern Michigan authors for an author fair at the Charlevoix, MI public library.   

I love to talk writing, but even better is getting a chance to meet readers.  I'm always curious to know what lures a reader to pick up a book, and then maybe (gulp) put it back down.  

One of the topics discussed in Alpena was connected books belonging to a series or trilogy.  What is it that readers like or dislike about these novels?  The information gleaned was great and the discussion lively.

And so, I thought I'd bring that question here.  What are your likes and dislikes about books in a series?





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September Release from Love Inspired.

Just in time for the next book set in LeNaro, Michigan.
My September 2014  release "The Deputy's New Family" should hit the shelves by the end of August.

Beth Ryken finally gets her man, only he's exactly what she's never wanted.  A cop! 

Check out my website for more information at www.jennamindel.com

Thank you!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Christmas is Coming


Susan Sleeman here. Okay, no need to panic from the title of my blog post. You have eighteen weeks until Christmas, but I’m thinking Christmas this week. You see, I have two Christmas themed books releasing this year. Silent Night Standoff in November and a military themed novella in October. I just received my author copies of the novella and want to tell you about it because it's a new venture for me.

The book is titled Holiday Defenders with three military novellas. Mine is titled Special Ops Christmas, and I’m joined in the book by two wonderful Love Inspired Suspense authors, Jodie Bailey and Debby Giusti. I love, love, love the cover, but  . . . it reminds me that Christmas shopping is just around the corner.

And seeing the packages on the cover got me to thinking about presents I’ve received in the past and reminiscing about my favorite ones. I’d have to say my all time favorite present is an opal necklace, ring, and earring set I received from my husband on our first Christmas together. Maybe it's because I like  jewelry, but I think it's more likely that I love it because it was my first Christmas of many to come with my amazing husband.

So what about you? Have you given Christmas shopping a thought yet? Do you have a favorite gift?


SPECIAL OPS CHRISTMAS 
Operation Christmas
For Green Beret Travis Chapman, special operations and covert missions are the norm. When his country calls, he reports for duty without question. Until now. Until he’s tasked with protecting a woman he’d once loved then shattered his heart. He’d rather go AWOL than spend time with civilian researcher Claire Reed. Even when he learns that the research project she’s poured six years of her life into is stolen, he has to think twice about exposing his heart to her again.

But everything changes when he hears that the prototype and specs for the Army’s latest virtual training program are worthless without knowledge only Claire possesses, making her a target for abduction by the cunning thief. Despite his wounded heart, Travis won’t let anything happen to Claire so he puts aside his feelings and goes undercover to keep her safe. Now all he needs to do is convince strong, stubborn Claire that she must rely on him if they are to keep the training program out of the hands of subversive military groups.


SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense books. Awards include Thread of Suspicion-2013 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Best Book Award, No Way Out-2014 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence finalist, and The Christmas Witness-2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence finalist. In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website TheSuspenseZone.com. She currently lives in Oregon with her husband, but has lived in nine states. They have two daughters, a son-in-law, and an adorable grandson. To connect with Susan outside of her – Website visit any of these social media sites-

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New rules for our website contest

Our webmaster recently found out that some evil spambot person lifted your email addresses from the comments on our blog and then sent a bunch of emails to you with a virus. They even copied the graphic design from our website for the virus email.

We apologize if you were attacked. Please be assured we didn’t “sell” your email addresses to anyone. The evil spambot person took the email addresses from your public blog comments. We have gone through and deleted all comments with email addresses in them.

Because of this, we’re changing the way you enter our contests.

Instead, we’ll have you enter using a link to a contest form. That way your names and email addresses won’t be viewable publicly. The link will be available here on our contest page in a few days.

However, you can still get extra entries into the contest by commenting on our blog. JUST DON’T LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENTS.

**Instead, when you enter the contest using the contest form, please include your Blogger ID or the public name you use when you post on the blog. That way we can connect you with your comment on the blog. If you don’t list your ID or public name/username, then we can’t give you extra entries into the contest because we don’t know if a certain poster on the blog is you or not.**

The exception is for people whose Blogger ID has their email address attached to their profile, or those of you who post on our blog using your blog or website address (or somewhere else where we can contact you). Just keep doing that!

We’re sorry for the inconvenience. We had no idea someone would try to scam our readers.

Again, please remember to not leave your email address in your comments on our blog!

Walmart's Book Stockers

by Keli Gwyn (@KeliGwyn)

I'm a book stalker. I'm guessing you might be, too, based on the many comments our wonderful blog readers left on my post last week about Walmart's Book Department Shrinkage.

Like many of you, I eagerly anticipate the arrival of the latest Love Inspired titles at Walmart and get excited when they show up.

Have you ever wondered about the book stockers who make book stalkers' days? I did. I wanted to know who Walmart's book stockers are and when they fill the shelves.

I decided to find out. What I discovered might surprise you. It did me.

When I began my search several years ago, I assumed Walmart workers shelve the books. Not so. Walmart uses a book supplier: Anderson Merchandisers®.

Every Tuesday our local Anderson Merchandisers representative shows up at my local Walmart and replenishes the book department. She's pictured below.



Over the years I've made friends with this lovely young lady and have learned a lot from her.
  • What books are stocked is determined at a corporate level.
  • She can request a certain book be reordered if it's selling well, although her requests aren't always honored.
  • She has to remove and return unsold books when their shelf time is up in order to make room for the new titles.
  • She has to work quickly because she stocks the books at a number of area Walmarts.
If you happen to be in your local Walmart's book department when it's being stock, I suggest introducing yourself to the representative. You could learn a lot and make a new friend.

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The cover for my first Love Inspired Historical has yet to be designed, but I did get my official release date recently: June 2015. You can be sure that when June arrives, I'll be stalking Walmart's book department. :-)

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How often do you visit the book department at your local Walmart?

Have you ever been there when the book were being stocked?

Have you ever talked with the book stocker?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Christian Regency romance from Yours Truly

Camy here! And yes, you read that right! I have a Christian Regency romantic mystery novel releasing … tomorrow? I think? Called Prelude for a Lord, and I’m writing it under a pen name, Camille Elliot. Neat, huh? Here’s the back cover blurb:

An awkward young woman. A haunted young man. A forbidden instrument. Can the love of music bring them together . . . or will it tear them apart?

Bath, England—1810

At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician.

In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal.

But when a thief’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument . . . with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.

Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul.

Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .

"This very enjoyable book will appeal to fans of Jane Austen and Linore Rose Burkard." —CBA Retailers + Resources

Camy here: I’m so excited for this book! I wrote it originally on a dare. My editor at Zondervan, Sue Brower, loves Regency romances as much as I do and we’re always talking about Regencies we’re recently read and enjoyed. So on a trip to visit my publishing house in Michigan, she tells me, “I want you to write a Regency romance for your next book.”

I was apprehensive because even though I’ve been reading Regencies since I was thirteen years old and I even read Regency research books just for fun, I never seriously attempted to write one. So I listened to a bunch of Jane Austen novels on audiobook and then dove in to the writing.

My marketing team at Zondervan chose my pen name: Camille since it’s close to Camy and Elliot because my favorite Austen character is Anne Elliot from Persuasion. They wanted to use a pen name because Regency romance is SO different from my normal genres of contemporary romance and contemporary romantic suspense. We didn’t want any readers feeling confused or betrayed if they picked up a “Camy Tang” book but was surprised that it was historical romance, so we decided to print it under a different name entirely. It’s almost like reinventing myself!

Around mid-August, I’m planning a fantastic giveaway on my blog! I’ll be giving away not only copies of Prelude for a Lord, but also hand-knitted lace scarves made by Moi. :) The knitting patterns are late-Regency, early-Victorian patterns, so they’re almost authentic to my book’s time period. I’m also include Jane Austen tea ordered from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, and little violin Christmas ornaments, all in keeping with my book’s storyline and setting.

If you belong to my Camy Tang email newsletter, you’ll be sure to hear when the contest goes live! To sign up, go to http://www.camytang.com/ and look for the purple chair. My new CamilleElliot.com website should be up this week, too!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Allie Pleiter on high school memories

High School.  So many of us have strong memories of that time in our lives.  It’s such a dramatic, formative era in any life, isn’t it?  I think that’s why so many people work with youth groups and youth organizations—there’s such a powerful potential for a life-long impact.

Max Jones, the hero in A HEART TO HEAL, doesn’t think he’s that type at all.  Still, the problems facing young Simon Williams are so close to Max’s heart that he can’t resist.  I suppose pretty guidance counselor Heather Browning has a bit to do with his saying “yes,” to helping, too.  Max learns what many of us know:  when you offer to help someone, the benefits always run both ways—you often get as much as you give, if not more.

What I remember most about high school was theater.  I was one of those high school “theater geeks,” finding my place and my friends among the drama club.  I’ve kept in touch with many of those people, especially through social media.  I went to college as a theater major, eventually moving from performing to directing to producing, spending my first post-collegiate professional years in the “front of the house” in cultural arts administration.


I remember those times fondly.  If I hear a song from any of my high school musicals, I’ll always sing along (but not THE High School Musical, mind you…I’m a bit older than that…).  What about you?  What group or club was your "home" in high school? 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Walmart Book Department Shrinkage

by Keli Gwyn (@keligwyn)
Every time I visit my local Walmart, I head straight for the book department. I can't help myself. I love books.

When I reach the aisle, I start off at the Harlequin section. I never tire of seeing my fellow Love Inspired authors' books showing off their pretty covers.

This past week when I made my routine visit, I turned the corner, took one look and ground to a stop. Why? Because the department I know and love had undergone changes.

The first thing I noticed was that brand new signs directed readers to the various sections. That made my day because I figured Walmart wouldn't invest in new signage if they planned to remove the department.


After I'd oohed and aahed a bit, I noticed more changes. The first was that Harlequin's section was well stocked, with the Love Inspired books in their customary spots.


Moving along the aisle, I was met with an unpleasant surprise. Although the new signs indicated two sections of Inspirational titles, only one actually held them. The other was filled with mainstream novels. Well not completely filled. There were a number of empty spots.




Moving down the aisle, I noticed that Romance & Fiction had also been reduced to one section, again with noticeable gaps.


A quick glance across the aisle showed that magazine section wasn't exempt from the shrinkage taking place. Either that, or there had been an unprecedented run on magazines.



What do these changes tell us? That the inevitable is taking place: more and more people are opting to purchase their books online or in digital formats, meaning fewer print books are available for sale in brick and mortar stores.

Another thing it tells us is that Harlequin is weathering the downsizing better than most. Readers of their three Love Inspired lines will be able to find their books in select Walmart stores for some time to come, which makes this reader happy.

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Where do you usually make your Love Inspired purchases?

Have you noticed changes in your local Walmart's book department?