Let’s try this again. The 2008 West Coast Fantasy Fiction blog tour is currently underway. For a live and up close look at what’s going on check out the Motiv8 blog.
Author Archives: tsabahouseauthors
A wonderful new gift book, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts, is available in October for Christmas giving. Today, I’ve invited the six coauthors to share their unique story of how they came together to publish this exciting book full of stories, recipes, tips for simplifying the holidays and so much more (click on bookcover to see the trailer!).
First, let me introduce Cathy Messecar, Leslie Wilson, Brenda Nixon, Trish Berg, Terra Hangen and Karen Robbins. Thank you for being here today, ladies.
Karen: Thank you for the invitation.
You are from three different areas of the country—Texas, California, and Ohio. How did you all meet?
Terra: We all six joined The Writers View, an online group for professional Christian writers. Trish and Brenda met in person in 2004 for lunch, I understand, and on 9/18/04, after reading a post Brenda sent to TWV, I sent an email to Brenda, asking if she would like to join with me and walk alongside each other, as a Barnabas group. Brenda said yes that same day, and suggested Trish too. Very quickly Cathy, Leslie and Karen joined in and our stalwart band of six was formed. Living in California, I was so happy to find 5 Barnabas writers in other states so we could bring together a wealth of different viewpoints and expertise
Brenda: Actually, We haven’t met. We’re all great colleagues and friends via the internet. Four years ago Terra and I formed a dyad to support each other as Christians who write in the secular markets. Along came Trish, Cathy, Karen, and Leslie (not necessarily in that order) and we formed a close knit bond of support, creative energy, and professional accountability.
Karen: I met Trish through an online forum called The Writers View and she invited me to join the group.
Trish: Although we belong to the same Yahoo writing group, we met one by one online. Eventually, the six of us decided that since we all write as Christians for a secular market through magazine articles and newspaper columns, we could support and encourage one another.
Leslie: Though we met virtually through The Writers View, I have been blessed to give and get hugs from Trish (at a MOPS conference), Cathy (in the area on business) and Karen (in town for a writers’ conference). I can’t wait to meet Terra and Brenda face-to-face, though I feel as though I already know them!
How did you come up with the idea to do a book together?
Brenda: The book is Cathy’s brainchild. She mentioned the concept of telling stories of events that happened for the first time at Christmas and sharing holiday historical tidbits and recipes and each said, “If you need any help, let me know.” That offer morphed into each of us equally contributing and co-authoring A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts.
Trish: Yep, Cathy came up with the idea and the title, and asked us if we wanted to join her on this project. Of course, we said Yes!
Terra: Cathy mentioned the idea for a Christmas book to the group, and someone (I think it was Leslie) suggested that maybe our group could all write the book together. Cathy agreed to lead the way on the project. The earliest email I have on this is from 9/7/05, which shows that this has been a three year collaboration from idea to publication.
Karen: (Chuckling) Terra is a librarian and keeps our historical records by saving our e-mails.
Leslie: Actually, Terra, I wrote that comment (in a group e-mail) kind of tongue-in-cheek. Cathy, the ultra-sweet person she is, took my joking at face value and here we are. However, I believe God prompted the passion and ideas we all bring to the project and that He will do mighty things as a result of our collaboration!
Why did you decide on a Christmas theme?
Brenda: It was Cathy’s concept to write a book centering on Christmas.
Cathy: For several years, I’d been thinking about Christmas as a threshold to introduce Jesus to folks who aren’t familiar with him, and I love a simpler Christmas with the emphasis on family, friends and doing for others. I knew of some families who had experienced “firsts” at Christmas—reunions, losses, special surprises—and I wanted to collect those stories.
Terra: Cathy’s idea immediately resonated with me because Christmas books are “a way past watchful dragons,” as C. S. Lewis wrote. Many people won’t buy a book about being a Christian, but will buy a holiday and family fun book, thus the “past watchful dragons.” People who want to grow in their faith, and people who have no faith but celebrate Christmas will buy our book and hopefully be led to put the focus back on Christ for the holiday, and for their lives.
Leslie: Though Cathy birthed the idea, the rest of us quickly hopped on board. Not only is Christmas special to me—especially now that I have a family of my own—but also that particular holiday cries out to be simplified, to return to the meaningful aspects of celebration, and to lose some of the hype and commercialism.
Tell me a little about what is in A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts? What is your favorite part?
Cathy: I like that you can read one chapter in about 15 minutes and, with all the different suggestions, it feels like Christmas Eve. Makes you want to set up the nativity! Many of the suggestions for family activities can be adapted for any family get-together.
Karen: There are heartwarming stories about things that happened for the first time at Christmas. For instance, one of my stories is about the first Christmas with our adopted children. And the book is pretty. When I first saw the colorful pages and drawings, I fell in love with the illustrator’s work.
Brenda: I don’t have a favorite part – I love it all!
Terra: I like the way the parts are woven into a seamless whole, like a patchwork quilt, that is stronger and more beautiful than the parts.
Trish: It’s like everything you ever wanted to know about Christmas, all the best tips and recipes, and neat stories all wrapped up in this perfect little package.
Leslie: I love reading the special stories, hints, recipes—whatever—and imagining the precious family time that precipitated each moment. Plus, the book is gorgeous, beautifully printed, truly something to be proud of. And we are.
I’ve heard that the book is really a nice gift book; can you tell me a little about the format?
Cathy: Yes, it’s a hardbound book, full color interior. The layout makes it easy to read. It has a definite scrapbooky look on the interior. Different logos identify sections, such as an oilcloth-look Christmas stocking appears beside the “Stocking Stuffer Tradition” (help for connecting family members), and the “Cookie Canister” recipes are on a recipe card, and the back ground of “A Gift For You” is a gift box with bow. It’s a classy gift that they can be placed on a coffee table or in a guest bedroom during the holiday season.
Brenda: I like to describe it as a Starbuck’s sorta gift book. It’s high quality, crisp, and practical.
With six different personalities and areas of ministry, how did you manage to put this all together and still remain friends?
Karen: We pray a lot for each other and it helps that none of us have an over-inflated ego.
Cathy: There were no squabbles. Surely, we had differing opinions, but we knew that any of us could suggest an idea for this book and that each idea would get fair reviews from others. We actually voted on some aspects—everyone in favor say, “Aye.” If you’ve ever watched women at a Dutch treat luncheon when they divide up a meal ticket, it can be intense as they split the ticket down to the penny. As the project came together, I was in awe of my gracious coauthors, unselfish women who respect each other.
For some decisions, we did a round robin—things like book title and chapter titles and what categories to put into the book. Then, as compiler, I’d send out a list of needs to The Word Quilters, that’s what we call ourselves. For instance in a section we call “Peppermints for Little Ones” (hints for children’s activities), I’d put out a call, and the WQs sent in their hints, and then I put them into appropriate chapters.
Brenda: (Smiling) Are we still friends? Seriously, we each have our own platform, ministry, and family life, and those interests kept this project in perspective – it was important but not the only thing on our plates. No one was so enmeshed in this project that she campaigned for her own way. We never had a bitter disagreement or insistence to be “right.”
Terra: We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.We offer support and ideas for our separate writing projects and for personal prayer requests. I love these ladies, and I have only met one of them in person. So far, Karen is the only one who has met each of us, and one day we hope to meet in person, in a circle of friendship and love.
Trish: I think we are all very flexible and forgiving. We do have a variety of personalities here, but God has worked amazing things through our little group.
Leslie: Though I have seven non-fiction projects in various stages of completion, I could not be more thankful that this is the one to reach publication first. I am truly blessed to have worked with these women, learned from them, watched as they’ve poured heart and soul into crafting a product that will impact lives for the Lord.
Where can my readers get a copy of SOCF?
Cathy: The coauthors will all have a supply, plus our publisher, Leafwood Publishers, will have plenty of copies and discounts for buying five or more. Or they can be ordered at most online stores or by your local bookstore.
Karen: And anyone who leaves a comment here can be entered in a drawing for a free book and a gift basket worth $200! For a list of its contents, check our blog, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts. And while you’re there, leave another comment and increase your chances of winning!
Tell me more about your blog.
Karen: We started our blog in July and it is accumulating a wealth of information about Christmas. Each of us posts one day a week following the theme for that week. Watch for new recipes, tips, ways to simplify, stories, etc., similar to what is in our book.
Leslie: Ooh, ooh, let me answer this one. I’m probably the newest to blogging among the group, but I LOVE it. I’ve enjoyed posting and receiving comments back from readers. What an amazing adventure having an online voice can be! This blog will focus on a different theme each week—anything from tips to avoid overeating during the holidays to how to give a guest room special touches—and expand on the material in the book. I think readers will get to know the authors’ individual personalities and connect on a more personal level. Plus, they get that many more ideas, information, inspiration (!) at no additional cost.
WQs: As an added bonus for inviting us to your blog, we’d like to pass along this Christmas tidbit to you and your readers:
Enjoy a blessed Christmas this year! And thanks for inviting us to share our book, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts, with you.
SANCTUARY, the latest book by Molly Noble Bull, bestselling author of The Rogue’s Daughter and The Winter Pearl, was awarded the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the Inspirational category at an awards dinner on April 12th in Florida. The contest was sponsored by the Southern Magic chapter of Romance Writers of America in Burmingham, Alabama.
Along with the winners in the other categories, the cover of SANCTUARY will appear in a full page ad in the August issue of the RWR, the national magazine of Romance Writers of America.
SANCTUARY was published in September 2007 in trade paperback by Tsaba House. Sanctuary is a fast-paced Christian novel and the first in the Faith of Our Fathers series about the Huguenots. With danger and persecution lurking at every turn, the characters in Sanctuary leave France and finally settle in Scotland. In Book Two, the family leaves Scotland and travels to the state of South Carolina amidst more troubles and hardships every step of the way. Readers who liked The Winter Pearl, Molly’s Steeple Hill trade paperback, will also enjoy Sanctuary–and learn a little history besides.
Click here to read an excerpt from SANCTUARY
Congratulations, Molly. You deserve this award.
Dash over to Michelle Gregory’s blog, Life in the Midst of Writing, to read my interview about marketing and book promotion. Before a writer is published, they believer finding a publisher is the hardest part of this business. Unfortunately it’s only the beginning. After the contract is signed, the real work begins. Hopefully you’ll find a tip or two that will help get you started.
All the best,
October marks my holiday season kick-off for craft fairs and speaking events. I have done this with much success every Fall since my first book, Streams of Mercy was published in 2004. I don’t know why more authors don’t take advantage of this venue. I always set up at craft fairs with my sister who quilts and makes aprons. The first time I did a craft fair, she told a friend of ours she didn’t think I would sell a book. She was afraid I’d have a rotten time. I wasn’t sure myself.
I was busy all day. Most people have never met a published author. Nor have most events hosted one. So my books and I am a novelty. Now I have readers come back year after year to buy the next book. I’ve said it so many times, I’m going to have it put on my headstone. “An autographed book makes a great gift.”
dsc01661.JPGConsider it, dear author. Try a small one-day local event. People will love meeting you. You will get to spend all day talking about your books. And someone may even ask to have their picture taken with you. See pic taken at the Buffalo Trace Balloon Race in Maysville, KY this summer.
Here’s my schedule.
Booksignings and Events:
October 8th–Seaman Public Library 6:00 p.m.
October 13-14–Lewis Mtn. Herb Fest: Manchester, OH Booksigning 1:00 but I will be there all weekend signing and selling books. This is a wonderful event. Lots of work, but totally worth it. So many readers from all over Ohio and Kentucky.
October 15th–Manchester Public Library 6:00 p.m.
October 25th–West Union Public Library 6:00 p.m.
October 27th–RWA chapter meeting Ashland, KY Boyd Co. library
October 29th–Peebles Public Library 6:00 p.m.
November 3rd–Rambler Center Craft Fair and Bazaar, Russellville, OH All Day
November 10th–Goshen Friends of the Library Annual Craft Fair. Milford, OH
November 17th–Jingle Bell Craft Fair and Parade. Waverly, OH This was my first show; has always a wonderful event for me. I feel like I know everyone in town. Thanks to the lovely people of Waverly, OH
November 24th–Amelia High School Athletic Boosters Annual Craft Fair. Amelia, OH Like most of the other craft fairs listed, this is my first year for trying this one. I look forward to it. Can’t wait to meet new readers.
December 8th–3rd Annual Maysville Festival of Books and Authors Night
Check with your local Chamber of Commerce and find a craft fair or Bazaar near you. If nothing else, you’ll have the opportunity to meet people who don’t visit their local library or bookstore and may never had heard of you. But believe me, they will be thrilled to learn a “famous” author lives in their midst.
Oh, and did I mention the possibility of press coverage?
Step out of your comfort zone and sell some books.
Congratulations to fellow Tsaba House author, Molly Noble Bull whose new book SANCTUARY will be released on September 15th. In honor of the big day a SHOUTLIFE treasure hunt will commence on September 15, 2007 at Roseanna M. White’s blog site .
If you are not yet a member of SHOUTLIFE, I gotta ask what’s holding you up? It’s a wonderful, encouraging online community. Imagine MySpace without all the garbage. Go to http://www.shoutlife.com and set up a profile. It’s so easy, even I did it. Then join in the treasure hunt.
The first twelve winners will receive autographed copies of Sanctuary, a long historical novel about the Huguenots by Molly Noble Bull. Sanctuary will be published in trade paperback on September 15, 2007.
It’s easy to win. Here are the rules.
Visit all twelve blog sites listed below, beginning with Roseanna M. White’s site. At each site, you will find a question and an answer. Read both carefully. You will also see a star by the sentence in each answer where the main clue can be found. Copy or cut and paste the sentence with the main clue in it to your answer sheet. When you have collected all the answers found at the 12 blog sites, send your answers to the Christian Review of Books’ ShoutMail.
The Treasure Hunt begins on September 15, 2007 – the day Sanctuary will be published. From Rosanna White’s blog, you will be told where to go for the next clue. However all twelve blog sites will post all the blog addresses; so don’t worry about getting lost.
1. Roseanna M. White
2. Trish Perry
3. Betsy Ann St. Amant
4. Katy King
5. MaryLu Tyndall
6. Jill Elizabeth Nelson
7. Miralee Ferrell
8. Michelle Sutton
9. Elizabeth Goddard
10. Tricia Goyer
11. Teresa Slack
12. Molly Noble Bull
I read an article the other day that said a small business–of which writing is one–should complete 3-5 tasks a day to bring visibility to the business. Some of the tasks can be big things like writing a newsletter that might take the whole day. Other tasks, like updating an address book, can be completed along with more than the suggested five tasks a day.
One of the tasks suggested was something I’ve been considering for a while. A business needs a simple tagline to identify the product the business sells. Several years ago Karen Kingsbury trademarked her tagline of LIFE CHANGING FICTION. Simple yet brilliant. That got me thinking.
Before creating a tagline, I need to decide what I write. Karen writes fiction that has the power to change lives. Okay, what does my writing do that sets it apart from every other writer who claims to do the same?
If I were a butterfly perched on a shopper’s shoulder when she entered a bookstore and picked up one of my books, what would I whisper in said shopper’s ear? “Buy this book. It’s awesome,” sounds a little too obvious. Not to mention pushy and vague. I need to give it a little more thought.
What do I want a reader to know about me????????? Not just about the book; she can read the back to find that out. What do I want her, or him, to know about me?
“First off, dear reader, I’m not Karen Kingsbury. You might not have ever heard of me. But people are saying great things. The books are getting glowing reviews and I receive flattering email all the time. If you’ll take the chance on the book in your hands, it’s my belief and earnest hope, you’ll come back for more.”
You’re right, you’re right. Not a very catchy tagline. Let’s try again.
What I really want you to know is that I strive to incorporate a little mystery, a little romance, and a little humor into each of my books. My desire is to touch your heart through fiction by putting you into a situation you can relate to.
There. That’s better. Now you know a little more about the books Teresa Slack writes. But still not catchy as taglines go. Certainly not simple or easy to remember.
I have a few ideas. I’ve been jotting notes and studying other writers’ taglines all weekend. I have a pretty good one in mind that I’ll run past my publisher before the grand unveiling. It isn’t as short as Ms. Kingsbury, but it says who I am. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? I can’t sit on the shoulders of every shopper who enters every bookstore or library in the country. But I can try to let those shoppers know ahead of time who I am and what I believe my mission is for writing what I write.
Happy reading. Oh, and if you happen to find yourself in a bookstore or library in the near future and you pick up one of my books…Oh that’s right, you already know what I’m going to say.
I asked my friend and co-collaborator of a romance anthology, Molly Noble Bull, if she would like to critique my short romance. She said she would be delighted, but warned me that she takes her editing role very seriously and can come across rather tough if the situation warrants. I assured her I didn’t expect anything less.
As a writer, I am my own worst critic. While I am working on a book, I hate it and am sure my editor and publisher will too. Only after I finish the book and the last of the last rewrites, can I step back and say, “Wow! I don’t even remember writing this. It’s actually pretty good.”
Sadly, this carries over into my personal reading. Even when reading for entertainment, I have a hard time removing my editor’s cap. I find myself thinking, “I wouldn’t have used that phrase.” “That character would never react that way.” “Why does the writer have to tell me what the heroine is wearing in every scene? I don’t care.” “I saw that plot twist coming a mile away.” And on and on and on.
I have a friend who tells me I took all the romance out of writing for her. Before she met me, she used to dream of writing a novel. She pictured herself sequestered in a mountain retreat, plucking away at an old manual typewriter while birds twittered in the trees above a babbling brook. She thought writing was the most magical, romantic career in the world. HA!!!!!! Boy, has she changed her tune. After listening to me vent and whine for the last ten years, she realizes life is no Murder She Wrote and most of us aren’t Jessica Fletcher.
She doesn’t even read the way she used to. Because of me, she is always picking apart the books she reads, ever the critic. I took one of her favorite pasttimes and sapped all the joy out of it.
Oh, to be a writer. Or the friend of a writer. It’s not nearly as alluring as it appears on TV.
With gas prices sitting at well over three dollars a gallon nationwide and no relief in sight since summer’s coming and the oil companies have us by the throat, we writers have to do whatever we can to promote our books. What better way than a blog tour from the comfort of our homes.
June 1st will see the release of my new book, Evidence of Grace, the third installment of my Jenna’s Creek Series. Monday, May 14th marks the beginning of a month long blog tour. I highly recommend blog tours for any writer wanting to attract attention for an upcoming release or event. I know, you may argue that no one really reads blogs and how lucrative can a blog tour be? Well, if you’ve ever embarked on a book tour into actual brick and mortar bookstores, you probably know these don’t have much of an impact on book sales either.
The last one I had in Cincinnati, Ohio was as dismal an affair as you can imagine. People are not impressed with meeting an author in a bookstore anymore. Unless you are a celebrity. After I got home from my signing where no one came into the store to see me and I didn’t sell a single book, I read in the newspaper that James Belushi was doing a book signing in a nearby store and Tom Brokaw was in another. I totally agree with you that neither Jim Belushi or Tom Brokaw are authors and probably didn’t write a word in their books, but they are celebrities and I’m not. I was also heartened to learn that even higher list authors from the big New York City publishing houses have little more luck than me at book signings.
I’m not saying I’m through wasting my time with bookstore signings; it’s a necessary evil in this business. But why not try something much easier, cheaper, and easier on my ego? I notified a few writer friends, posted a plea for participants on a few writing sites I belong to and organized a blog tour. It may not garner a flood of sales. But my name might end up in a few places where it had been before.
According to my publisher, my lackluster attention to my blogs has already had a positive affect on sales. A blog tour can only improve that. The best part is, I don’t have to put gas in my car. I don’t even have to get dressed if I don’t want to. Don’t worry, I will.
Look for me next Monday at the kick-off of my tour when I will be the guest of Molly Noble Bull on her blog. I am looking forward to the whole process. I can’t wait to meet you there.
Have a blessed and prosperous Monday.