Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Marketing 101 -- Nikki Arana

Nikki Arana is an award-winning author of suspense, women’s fiction, essays, poetry, and magazine articles whose work has been published in the United States and Canada. She has won several national awards, including The Carol Award - twice, and the Beacon Award. Her book, The Winds of Sonoma was named One of the Top 20 Books of the Year by Christianbook.com. Nikki is also the recipient of the Excellence in Media Silver Angel Award. All of her books deal with social, political, and spiritual issues that confront society today. She is an experienced speaker and has presented numerous, highly successful workshops on the craft of writing. Nikki also serves persecuted Christians who are under the threat of death through her ministry, A Voice for the Persecuted. Her newest release, The Next Target, was inspired by her ministry. You can visit her website here: www.NikkiArana.com or connect with her on her blog: www.nikkiarana.com/blog  or as Nikki Arana, Author on Facebook.

My thanks to Nikki for taking the time to answer my questions on marketing.

TP -- Are you agented? Do you feel it important to have an agent?

NA -- My agent is Natasha Kern. I think it is extremely important to have an agent.  And I strongly recommend that when your book is polished you query for an agent rather than a publisher.  An agent will let you know if your book meets the standards that publishers are looking for.

TP -- What percentage of your marketing falls to your house and agent?

NA -- I’m not aware of agents who do marketing. Successful agents have enough to do taking care of their clients interests. The amount of marketing that I am required to do depends on the publisher. My current publisher, David C. Cook, has done a fabulous job with the marketing. They have several people working on it.  I am kept very busy fulfilling my obligations to the interviews, appearances, etc that they line up for me.

TP -- Do you have a brand? Why is it important to have a brand?

NA -- I’m not sure what you  mean by a brand. Do you mean a tagline? I don’t have one.  If you mean a brand as far as a term that describes the kind of fiction I write. Then, yes. I write transformational fiction. Transformational fiction is fiction that deals with tough issues. It seeks to show how God's Truth transforms characters on their journey. And it invites the reader to journey with them. Readers often find they are touched or changed in some way by the story.

TP -- Are you on any social networks? (Twitter, FB, Pinterest, Linked In. etc.)

NA -- I am on all of them.

TP -- Book clubs? (ACFW, Goodreads, Etc.)

NA -- I’m on Goodreads.

TP -- Writing Groups? (ACFW, yahoo groups, etc.)

NA -- I’m on the ACFW writers loop. And belong to the Idaho Writers League

TP -- Do you feel being in these groups are important? Do they help you with promotion? Give an example of how?

NA -- Yes, I feel the social networks are important. Readers and writers have found a niche there. You can promote your books there and get results. Particularly with promotions related to Kindle or free books.

I recently tried offering a book from my backlist for free on Kindle for 5 days. I spent a lot of time promoting it on all the groups that are connected to reading. I was able to drive the book to #1 in its category and #7 in all of the Kindle Free Books group. It had the effect of driving up sales on the rest of my backlist. It was very successful.

TP -- How much time do you spend on these site?

NA -- That is a huge problem. If you are not disciplined, a simple posting can turn into a hour of something else.  But if you are really going to do a promotion, you will be on the sites for hours. Posting and responding to others who post or repost or tweet or whatever.

TP -- Can you over promote yourself?

NA -- I don’t think you can over promote yourself if you are promoting across numerous venues. But if you are only on Facebook and you are posting about your latest release for days to the same groups, you run the risk of the members saying I would never buy a book from that annoying author who is intruding into my life every hour.

TP -- Do you have a blog? How often do you blog?

NA -- I love to blog. Not all authors do. It is an outlet for me. I blog about serious things like being discouraged, or unsure of my path. My blog is very much like a personal journal of my thoughts and the spiritual encouragement that I find in the Bible.

TP -- Do you use book trailers? Do you feel they are useful for promotion? Vlogs?

NA -- I haven’t yet. But am considering it. I don’t feel that they are persuasive if they don’t look professional.

TP -- What do you know about Author Videos?

NA -- Nothing yet.

TP -- Do you travel for book signings and other promotion? How often? What would you take to be prepared?

NA -- I don’t like to travel because it destroys my schedules that keep me moving forward.  But I will always do it if it is an opportunity to give my book exposure. I don’t really believe in book signings unless there is a lot of advance promotion or it is tied to another group, like a church.

 TP -- Do you attend conferences? Other than learning and getting to talk with editors and agents do feel conferences are beneficial in marketing?

NA -- The reason to attend a conference depends on where you are on your writing journey. I attended as an emerging writer for the reasons you mention in the question. I attend now as an established writer to enjoy the fellowship and share what I have learned by giving classes.

TP -- Do you use libraries for promotion? How?

NA -- Not really.

TP -- Have you ever stopped doing a certain kind of promotion because you found it'd didn't work for you? Or was a waste of your time.

NA -- I would say book signings fall into that category.  A lot of work to book them and set them up. And if they’re not in a Christian bookstore, then most of the people coming in to buy books are looking for something else.

TP -- Do you do public speaking? Do you feel that is important for promotion? What other public venues do you use for marketing?

NA -- Yes, I do public speaking. I have presented at the RWA convention and other large venues. I love doing workshops with my peers. It is a great way to get to know them. I love speaking and teaching emerging writers most of all. We need more Christian authors. I teach story structure.

TP -- What have you found to be some of the best uses of your energies for marketing?

NA -- Inspiring others to forward and/or post the things I put out there. It is exponential and makes the reach broad. I post to my circle of friends, they all repost to their circle and on and on.

TP --  What marketing ideas or guideline might you give an author who is just starting out?

NA -- If someone is just starting out and hasn’t written a salable ms yet. I would encourage them to not think about marketing. But to focus on craft. If they just sold their first novel, then it is time to start making your marketing plan. Try to identify something in your novel that you can build a platform on. It really helps if you can connect to some kind of reader base. For example, my third book was about a boy who had Down Syndrome. I connected to Special Olympics and did a book signing when they came to my area for an event. I met people active in the organization and stayed in touch.

TP -- Do you hold contests? Do giveaways? Have they been helpful for promotion? Why or Why not?

NA -- I don’t personally hold contests, but the marketing team for the publisher does.  I think it is helpful. You have to get your books out there.

TP -- Thank you Nikki. Appreciate your insight. 

Take a look at Nikki's current release -- The Next Target.

Would You Share Your Faith If It Would Cost You Your Life?  

It only took one bullet. Austia's friend and student fell dead. And with a glimpse of a newspaper headline, the young and recently widowed Austia knows more about what happened than the police. From that fatal night, Austia’s secret outreach to the U.S. Muslim community—in the guise of English language classes—becomes a target. Local  Muslim extremists set their sights on ending her ministry and even her life. And the women she ministers to will be next.

A thick web of deceit closes in around Austia, and her circle of friends becomes smaller by the day, even as she finally opens herself to the idea of falling in love again. But who can she trust? Facing a spiritual battle that proves more treacherous than it at first seemed, Austia’s convictions are tested to their limits and her heart becomes primed for breaking. She must ask herself: how much she will risk to stay true to herself, her faith, and to the lives of the women she serves?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Marketing 101 -- Dan Walsh

Welcome Dan Walsh.

Dan Walsh is the award-winning and bestselling author of 7 novels, published by Revell and Guideposts, including The Unfinished Gift, Remembering Christmas and The Discovery. For those who haven’t read Dan’s books, reviewers often compare them to Nicholas Sparks and Richard Paul Evans. His latest project is partnering with Gary Smalley on a 4-book fiction series. The first of those books, The Dance, will release in April. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and CWG’s Word Weavers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years and now writes fulltime. He and his wife Cindi have been married 35 years and have 2 grown children and 2 grandchildren. They live in Port Orange. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter, or read his blog. There are buttons to connect to these, as well as preview all his books, on his website at www.danwalshbooks.com.

Are you agented? Do you feel it important to have an agent?

Yes I have an agent. Finding an agent was the first step I took after finishing and polishing my first book. Everything I read suggested an author needs an agent―a well connected and reputable agent―to help you get established  with a good publishing house, and to help you navigate all the legal and business matters involved. Four years and eight published novels later, I'm more convinced of the need for a good agent now than I was at the beginning.

What percentage of your marketing falls to your house and agent?

It's hard to say what percentage, but it's way more than half. My publisher, Revell, does an amazing amount of marketing and publicity for me. When you consider that the publisher stands to make a much greater percentage of every book sold than the author does, I think it's just smart business for them to make this kind of investment. But I know I'm very fortunate, because many publishing houses do very little of this for the authors they sign, leaving most of the marketing to them. My agent does some marketing, I'm sure, but that's not really what I look to her for.
Do you have a brand? Why is it important to have a brand?

I suppose I do have a brand. But my agent and publisher have probably done more to help me refine what it is than I have. My understanding is that a brand in fiction is what a reader thinks of when they see your name on a book. By staying true to your brand, a reader can develop a sense of confidence that when they buy your book they'll get something close to what they're expecting.

Because so many magazine and blog reviewers have likened my writing style to Nicholas Sparks, and because he's a mega-bestseller, we've encouraged this comparison. I'm not trying to write like him, but we do write in the same genre, and there are not a lot of men writing love stories and family life dramas with a strong emotional punch.

Are you on any social networks? (Twitter, FB, Pinterest, Linked In. etc.)

I am, and I spend some part of every working day on social networking. I've trimmed back how much time I spend lately, realizing that for fiction writers it can be something of a trap. My good friend, Jim Rubart (an amazing author himself and a marketing guru) has said that about 80% of a book’s sales come from word of mouth activity, not from traditional marketing or time spent social networking. It's people telling others, "You’ve got to read this book." So he advises fiction authors to spend 80% of their time on the craft (making sure you're writing that kind of book) and 20% on things like marketing and social networking. So, that's what I do now.

Book clubs? (ACFW, Goodreads, Etc.)

Book clubs are one of my favorite marketing activities. I prefer them so much more over book signings in a store. When I can, I visit them in person. But I've also visited them using a speakerphone. I also enjoy connecting with online book clubs. You just can't beat the experience of meeting with people who've already read your book and are eager to discuss it.

Writing Groups? (ACFW, yahoo groups, etc.)

I actively participate in two groups. I’m part of a local Word Weaver's chapter (they are connected to Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild). The other is ACFW. I read the online e-mail loop and attend a monthly meeting of the Central Florida chapter.

Do you feel being in these groups are important? Do they help you with promotion? Give an example of how?

I do think these groups are worthwhile. I still learn new things when I attend, but because of my success, I also see it as an opportunity to help other writers in their journey (giving back, etc.). I don't see my participation in these groups as a major marketing opportunity. But some of this happens indirectly. Most of the people in these groups I attend are now reading my books. Some have become major fans and spread the word to others. I've also made connections in these groups that have resulted in speaking opportunities and other marketing experiences.

How much time do you spend on these sites?

They are part of the 20% I spoke of earlier.

Can you over promote yourself?

I'm sure you can. Too much focus on this takes an author away from what matters most, which is writing a great book. And you can come off looking and sounding vain, as if you're only interested in people to the extent they can help promote your books.

Do you have a blog? How often do you blog?

I do, and I try to blog at least once a week. Half of the blog posts are updates about my writing life and things related to my books, the other half is a devotional journal called, "Perfect Peace – Hope for the Weary Soul." At the moment, I'm working with two other male authors, Jim Rubart and Harry Kraus, developing a blog that will do together.

Do you use book trailers? Do you feel they are useful for promotion? Vlogs?

I haven't yet, but I'm open to this. I've seen some really good ones and some lame ones. I think the jury is still out as to whether these increase book sales. My publisher is studying this right now. I've been told they will make this a part of our marketing strategy, if we can prove there's a good return on the investment.

What do you know about Author Videos?

Very little.

Do you travel for book signings and other promotion? How often? What would take to be prepared?

I'm willing to travel a few hours for things like this, but my publisher isn't asking me to put a lot of attention here. I do travel, however, when it involves a speaking opportunity. As a former pastor, I really enjoy doing this and, for some reason, people who are unfamiliar with me are much more interested in buying my books after they've heard me speak, so it's a win-win marketing thing.

Do you attend conferences? Other than learning and getting to talk with editors and agents do feel conferences are beneficial in marketing?

I attend two or three a year, depending on things like time and money. I do think they can be beneficial for marketing. Getting to connect with people face-to-face is always a good thing and you never know what future opportunities may come from connections you make at a conference.

Do you use libraries for promotion? How?

I have some, but I don't pursue this. Usually when I've gone, it's because I've been invited.

Have you ever stopped doing a certain kind of promotion because you found it'd didn't work for you? Or was a waste of your time.

Yes I have. For example, I don't work hard anymore trying to line up book signings in local stores. I'll still do these if I'm invited, and this happens sometimes through my publisher. And I've been to some bookstores where the local management has really worked hard to promote this the week before I arrived. When that happens, it's been a worthwhile experience. But it just doesn't seem to be worth all the time and expense to do this if the store management is indifferent, considering the relatively few copies of books that are sold. I've done some where I signed over 30 books and others where I signed only three or four. From a marketing standpoint, I think booksignings make a big impact only when an author is something of a household name.

Do you do public speaking? Do you feel that is important for promotion? What other public venues do you use for marketing?

I do this fairly often, and it always seems to be a positive marketing opportunity too.

What have you found to be some of the best uses of your energies for marketing?

Probably book clubs and public speaking engagements.

What marketing ideas or guideline might you give an author who is just starting out?

Don't buy into the message that says, "It's totally up to you." Because that messages is being pounded out there now on a fairly regular basis. Don't underestimate the power of prayer and looking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your life as a writer. The simple truth is, for me, the best things that have happened, the things that have made the biggest difference in my career so far were not things that I did, or the results of my personal marketing efforts. They have come from me writing the kinds of books people want to tell others about and, as a result, God opening doors for me that I could never have opened myself.

Do you hold contests? Do giveaways? Have they been helpful for promotion? Why or Why not?

I do this sometimes, and my publisher has done many of these for me. I'm sure they have been helpful, but it's a little hard to track the actual benefits. I don't doubt it has resulted in new readers discovering my books, but I fear there are many out there who simply "shop the contests" looking for free books.

Thank you, Dan. Your answers already make me think about marketing changes. 

Read Dan's latest release, The Discovery. Which I've read and endorse happily.



When aspiring writer Michael Warner inherits his grandfather's venerable Charleston estate, he settles in to write his first novel. But within the confines of the stately home, he discovers an unpublished manuscript that his grandfather, a literary giant whose novels sold in the millions, had kept hidden from everyone--but which he clearly intended Michael to find. As he delves deep into the exciting tale about spies and sabotage, Michael discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

Dan incoming release, The Reunion, is available September 1st


There are people in this world we pass right by without giving a second thought. They are almost invisible. Yet some of them have amazing stories to tell, if we'd only take the time to listen . . .
Aaron Miller was an old, worn-out Vietnam vet, a handyman in a trailer park. Forty years prior, he saved the lives of three young men in the field only to come home from the war and lose everything. But God is a master at finding and redeeming the lost things of life. Aaron is about to be found. And the who one finds him just might find the love of his life as well.

Visit Dan's page for more information about him and his books.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Marketing 101

After some hard work and dedication, you've finished a novel and managed to get it published.

From here on out it's up to the readers and your publishing house to get your book the fame it deserves, to drive up the sales. You, the writer, have done your duty, now you get to sit back and work on another and watch your baby climb the bestseller's list. You diligently check back to make certain your prize masterpiece is moving up the ranks as it should. What good parent doesn't?

Within weeks of your release, every one the dreams and plans you had come true. Your book is a top seller, people are clamoring for your next release, publishing houses are lined up to...

Yeah. Right.

You have your book published and now it's time for promotion.

It took months, even years, of labor to finish this novel. Months, even years, to get it published. You want to give it a proper send off into the world. You want everyone to know what you've accomplished.

We all know, or should, that promotion starts months ahead of the book's release.

You've taken those first important steps. You have a blog, a vlog, and a website. You're in the RWA, CWA, ACFW, (even the VFW)... too many writer's groups and book clubs to mention. You've connected with other writer's, enlisted influencers and reviewers, set up interviews and blog hops and library stops and contests where you plan to give away everything but the kitchen sink.

You've sent out press releases to your local paper, emailed your friends and family enough they cringe when they see an email from you. 

You've talked with book clubs about visiting with them. 

You've joined the Social Network on places like Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Goodreads, and Pinterest to name a few. You have a brand, a trailer, a mailer.

You have done most everything you can think of to promote your book. And nothing is happening. There was a touch of a marketing whirlwind, a slight little tremor on the listings through the first month after your book's release, but that didn't translate into sales.

All your efforts seem as useful as a shiny new dime tossed in an invisible wishing well.

You barely made a dent in the market, but your energy and funds are waning, while your frustration mounts. Marketing and promotion are quickly becoming dirty words in your vocabulary.

You are matched up, Linked in and tapped out.

How do you get your book to the masses and keep your sanity in the process?

Over the next few days I will hosting the following authors and editors and publicists:

Dan Walsh
Nikki Arana
Tricia Goyer
Gail Delaney
Julie Lessman
Kristen Billerbeck
Jeff Gerke
Jennifer Hudson Taylor

To see how they market their books, what techniques they've found useful and what they've scrapped. Looking for new ideas and perhaps ways to streamline my own efforts. 

Would love for you to stop in and see what they have to say.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Taking Flight with Bonnie Leon

Please welcome author Bonnie Leon who is visiting to share about her new release, Joy Takes Flight, Book 3 in her Alaska Sky Series and tell us a bit about 

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Joy Takes Flight

Why do you write the kind of books you do?
Often, stories find me. While I’m reading a book (usually historical) or watching a documentary a piece of true life history will get a hold of me. I love history. True life stories, the people and how they lived inspire me. Sometimes a theme will bring a story to life in my mind. These often come from personal experiences or the day to day lives of people that I know. A portion of scripture will send a zinger straight into my heart and out of that a story will grow.

The bottom line is that I want to write stories that touch the hearts and minds of readers and always honor God.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I’ve had so many exceptional days. God has blessed my life. However, if I must choose one day it would have to be the day my first child was born. It was more than personal joy. My eyes were opened to the depth of God’s love. The moment my son was laid in my arms a love like none I’d ever known captured me. It was so amazingly powerful. I knew that nothing would ever break the tie between me and that little fellow. I knew, that if need be, that I’d die for him. It was then that I caught a glimpse of what God’s love for us is like.

How has being published changed your life?
Life is more complicated. I love to write and create stories, but after signing my first contract writing became a job, which included deadlines, expectations and lots and lots of work.

It was also the fulfillment of a dream. An opportunity to share my stories with others, a chance to make a difference in the world, and a gateway into a new and interesting world filled with exceptional people.

A writer’s life is not demanding, but I’m grateful to be living it.

What are you reading right now?
Same Kind of Different as Me. It’s a true story, and I’m loving it.

What is your current work in progress?
I’m working on two books simultaneously. Both are books of my heart—the must write kind.
One is a contemporary story about five mismatched friends who set out on a cross country trip hoping to rediscover what most take for granted, a “normal” life. They find much more—friendship and dreams long forsaken.
The other is a true story that I’m writing as a memoir. A Cherokee woman who grew up in an Athabaskan village during the 40’s and 50’s asked if I would write her story. At first I didn’t think it was for me . . . that is until she started telling me about her life. Soon I was crying and thinking that maybe I was meant to write it.
This gal has lived an incredible life—some of it is magical and some is so tragic that I’m in awe when I see how God restored the spirit of a battered girl who grew up to love him and understand how great his love is for her. I can’t wait to share this story!

What would be your dream vacation?
My physical limitations make a dream vacation impossible to achieve so I’m going to take my physical condition out of the picture and imagine what if . . .

I’d spend a week or two packing into the mountains on horseback, camping in a tent and fishing the high mountain lakes. I can’t think of anything I’d love to do more. I used to ride with my sister when I was young and I’ve always had a love of horses. Just thinking about such a trip makes me smile. Thanks for asking the question. J

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Each book is different. My first book, The Journey of Eleven Moons, was inspired by an experience my grandmother had when she was young. She grew up on the Aleutian Islands and that is where she witnessed a tsunami hit the shore, so naturally that is where the story took place. Another series emerged while I was doing some historical reading on Russia and Stalin’s reign of terror. Therefore, the background was Russia. Two of my series were placed in Australia. That happened simply because my publisher asked if I could write a story that took place in that exotic land. And my roots are in Alaska so many of my stories are set in the northern frontier.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Condoleeza Rice. She has an amazing history, and there is something so solid and steady about her that raises my curiosity. I’d love to chat with her and get to know more about the person who lives behind that quiet smile and serious dark eyes.

What three things about you would surprise readers?
I’ve been asked this question before. I’d like to share something readers haven’t heard before. Here goes.
·       I’m insecure about my writing. Most people assume that because I’ve written so many books that I would have gotten over that. Not so. When a book releases I am on pins and needles as I wait to see how it is received.  I’m not unique. I know a lot of writers who feel the same way.
·       I’m a slow reader. I love to read, but I wish I could step up my pace. It takes me too long to complete a book. If I could read faster I’d get to read more books.
·       I never wanted to be a writer. I’ve always loved to read, but it wasn’t until 1989 that I got the itch to write. And after an accident left me unable to work, God handed writing to me as a gift.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Writing and the business of writing takes so much of my time I have little left for hobbies. I do love to fish in streams and lakes and I enjoy boating. One day, when I retire, I’d like to learn to quilt. I love quilts of all kinds. They are one of my favorite things.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it. 
Too much to do and too little time.  Several family members, including my mother and grandchildren, live close by. I’m involved in their lives, and although I love to spend time with them, the fun eats into my working time. 

The job of being a writer includes as many hours involved in social media work as it does in actual writing, which makes for long days and lots of working weekends. I try to choose wisely where to spend my time. Family is the highest priority. I also keep an eye out for the best choices for promotional opportunities. The market is in a constant state of flux. I try to be involved only in those market sites that can be of real help to my career.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Accept the slow pace of the writing journey with gratitude. Most writers work at their craft for years before they actually find an agent and a publishing house. It feels like it’s too hard and takes too long, but all those hours working and growing are a benefit to writers. It means their first book on the shelf will be one of quality and they won’t have to feel embarrassed about it in years to come. It will be a positive introduction of their writing. It’s painful to have books “out there” that you’d like to snatch off the shelf.

Tell us about the book.
I love this description by reviewer, Ann Shorey. I hope she doesn’t mind my borrowing it.
Kate believes she’s living her dream when she and Dr. Paul Anderson marry. After all of the hurdles their relationship faced, now life promises smooth sailing.
But some promises can be misleading. Kate visualizes her life as an Alaskan bush pilot continuing without a hitch. Unfortunately, Paul has other ideas, especially after they learn they are expecting a child. Demons from his past haunt him, and Kate is unable to break through the barriers he’s erected around himself. She wants one thing, Paul wants another. As their life unravels, Kate comes to believe she’s lost Paul for good.

Joy Takes Flight is an engrossing story, filled with authentic details of Alaska in the 1930’s. Reading Leon’s skilled descriptions of flight in a bush plane will have you clinging to the edge of your seat.
Joy Takes Flight is the thrilling conclusion to Leon’s Alaskan Skies series. If you haven’t read the first two books, hurry out and buy all three! You’re in for a treat.

What do you want readers to take away from the book?
There is more than one themes in the series, but the one that speaks most loudly to me says, that we each have a path to walk, and our path doesn’t look like anyone else’s. God has an individual plan for each of us and He has a purpose in that. If we want to live within His will we need to begin with Him. If we surrender our lives to Him there is nothing we can’t do and even though life may throw darts it can still be filled with joy and adventure.

What one question would you like us to ask your readers?  
Joy Takes Flight begins with a wedding and it’s not what I would call typical. If you are married what one thing stands out about your own wedding day most? If you’re single, what do you hope your wedding will look like? Or maybe you never plan to marry—that’s okay, it’s not for everyone.

Tell us about the giveaway you’re offering.
I’ll be giving away a copy of Joy Takes  Flight, book three in the Alaskan Skies Series.

Enjoy the following excerpt:

 Kate sat on a chair, her bouquet in her lap. How could Paul do this to her? Tears slid down her cheeks. They’d talked and talked about their future and dreamed of what could be. She sniffled into a handkerchief. Now none of it mattered. He just couldn’t do it.  Kate’s heart squeezed painfully. She doubted it would ever mend.
Helen and Sassa had gone to speak to the guests. Kate couldn’t bear to do it. Muriel knelt beside her and rested a hand on her arm. “Don’t give up hope.”
“If he wants to be here and can’t make it, then something terrible has happened. Maybe someone should call the hospital.”
Muriel looked stricken, but she smiled and managed to speak calmly. “I’m sure there’s an explanation. One day, when you look back on your wedding, you two will laugh about this.”
Kate compressed her lips. “What explanation can there be?” She knew. Love was just too great a risk. Whatever secret he’d left behind in San Francisco still had ahold of him. If only he would tell her, maybe she could help.
Sassa’s laughter echoed from the church entrance. Kate stood, hope stirring. Was it Paul? Was he here? She headed for the door, but before she could grasp the knob, the door swung open.

Buy Links:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

ECFL Summer Blog Tour

When Shadows Fall -- Christian Historical Romance
Blurb:  As the Civil War rages, Rebekah fights to keep her world intact. But loss and sorrow has seeped into her heart and mind. She sets her sights on Oregon, praying this new Eden will allow her a place of peace and a place to put her life, and that of her son's, back together again. She travels to Independence, Missouri ready to take the train west, but is denied the opportunity to join the train because she is woman alone. Matthew battles his way through one fight after another, all the while thinking of Rebekah. The woman who holds his heart. He longs to help her west, but fears his biggest battle lies ahead of him. Will Rebekah open up her heart to him and allow him to be the one to hold her When the Shadows Fall?

Lose yourself in time long past. In a world gone crazy with war. Where North is fighting South and brother is pitted against brother. Rebekah and Matthew have found each other again. The division separating the nation separates them as well since she is in the South and he is Union Soldier. Will their love bridge the gap of time and war? Will their story be one of love lost or love found?

In the Manor of the Ghost -- Gothic Christian Romance

Blurb: It's the 1870's. The Civil War has long since been fought, settlers are still joining wagons trains and heading west to the New Eden. The land is changing. But those who dwell in Clayborne Manor seem trapped in time. 

Trapped amid the whispers of failure and sorrow, whispers of longing and defeat. Whispers that Kaitlin hears clearly at night. But who haunts Clayborne Manor? The ghost that restlessly walks the halls in the night? Or the ones that plague the minds and spirits of those residing there? Though not inclined to believe the dead can walk the night laden corridors, Kaitlin can see them clearly in the eyes of her husband Devlin, and hear them in the deafening silence of her son, Derrick. 

Does she have the courage to search the past and face the ghosts? Does she have the faith to stay and direct all those who dwell In the Manor of the Ghost to the one who sets the captive free?

Summer heat got you down? Take a trip to Minnesota in winter, and feel the coolness of ghost chills on your skin. Follow Kaitlin as she tried to uncover the secret of Clayborne Manor and the secrets that her husband, Devlin, tries to keep.

Touched By Mercy -- Christian Historical Romance

Blurb:  Angelina!   She wasn’t Samantha’s daughter, but she should have been. Sam mothered her with love like she was her own. The child became heaven in her world. 

Now the child was gone. Samantha felt her world slipping away. She had to find Angelina. She prayed. But doubted God would hear her. How could he when she was so dirty? And how could she trust a God who she believed abandoned her? Hopefully this God wouldn’t abandon Angelina. 

God uses the gentle hands of another carpenter to strip back the layers of abuse that have tarnished her faith and worth to teach Sam there is mercy instead of shame, and love. And though it seems out of reach, she always had freedom in Christ. 

Take a trip on the rail with Samantha Northam. Laugh when she learns the house she bought was an old brothel. Shed tears when she finds Angelina only to lose her again. Share romance when she meets Allan the dream of her heart. Share regret in her belief she is unworthy of his love. Will she give her heart to Allan and let him love her? Will she allow herself to be Touched By Mercy?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Perilous Shadows -- Nike Chillemi

Nike's bio...
Like so many other writers, I started writing at a very young age. I still have a Crayola-illustrated storybook I penned (penciled might be more accurate) as a little girl about my then off-the-chart love of horses.
Today, you might call me a crime fictionista. My passion is crime fiction. I like my bad guys really, really bad and my good guys smarter and better.
I write book and movie reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine and Ezine articles. Mostly I review serious crime fiction novels or other types of edgy Christian fiction. In movies, I prefer to review thrillers and action/adventure films. I'm a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) where I lead a small critique group. I'm also a member of Edgy Christian Fiction Writers where I coordinated and facilitated the 2010 Summer ECFL Blog Tour and I lead the recent ECFL Proposal Workshop.
I'm a wife and homeschooling mom, animal lover, and an urban dweller, living in coastal metro New York city, and short distance from the Atlantic Ocean. I'm crazy about walks on the beach, watching the waves come in.

Pioneer newspaperwoman Kiera Devane is on a mission to prove a woman can do a man's job, as she hunts a young coed's killer? Ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye lost one love to a murderous fiend and his pulse races as he tries to protect Kiera from herself as much as from this killer. 

Kiera was doted upon by loving parent, but they were killed when she was a girl and she was shipped off to live with a socialite aunt who had little time for her. In her aunt's house, she learned life could be cold and cruel. As a result, she grew up to be an independent and demanding professional woman. 

Argus Nye, still bereft from the loss of his first love, can't understand why this female reporter is mesmerizing him. As she takes chances with her life trying to catch a killer, he's determined to protect her.


Argus walked Kiera out of the diner and took her elbow as her heels tapped down the cement steps. Her suit was austere, yet somehow she made it sizzle. He shifted his eyes away so as not to be caught staring, but not before taking a second look. "I'll walk you to your car."

"No, that's quite all right. I've been taking care of myself for a long time."

"Still, lass, I don't feel quite right."

"This is the Tastee Diner parking lot. It's well lit. What could happen?"

Argus rubbed his chin. "Oh all right, if you insist. I'll say good night here." He’d tried to be the gentleman, but she was skittish as a young filly.

"Trust me. I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself."

Fighting against an uneasy feeling in his gut, Argus walked to his car on the other side of the lot. Since Ada's death, he'd become overprotective toward women. Fishing in his pocket for his keys, he heard raised voices. One of them, Kiera's.

"Leave me alone. You cheated on me."

Argus dashed for Kiera's car, thinking he recognized the male voice, yet he couldn't quite place it.

"Give me another chance. You misunderstood. It meant nothing." Paul Gregorski, sportscaster at the station, had a hold of Kiera's arm.

A jolt like an electrical charge shot through Argus. "Let go of her if you know what's good for you." Paul dropped the arm and turned to face Argus. "So, you bumped my show for your special report, and now you want my girl."

"My relationship with Miss Devane is purely professional." He would not allow the slightest insinuation.

Kiera squared her shoulders. "Look, Paul, I wish you well, but let's let bygones be bygones."

The sportscaster slanted his head toward Argus. "I don't want to discuss this in front of him."

"I'm not going anywhere unless Miss Devane asks me to leave."

Kiera pivoted away from them and pulled her car keys out of her purse. "I don't give a hoot what either of you do. I'm going home." She slid behind the wheel of the Pontiac, backed out of her spot, and gunned it out of the lot.

Argus watched her signal light flash a right. She made the turn and her taillights disappeared into the twilight. He laughed aloud.

Paul growled. "What's so funny?"

Argus shook his head and walked to his DeSoto, got in, and put the key in the ignition, but didn't turn it on. She'd never be mistaken for a Carmelite nun. Not in a million years. Blunt, not soft and feminine like his Ada had been. And where'd Kiera get that short Betty Boop hair-do? Not his style at all. No Sir. Where Ada was a sensitive and godly woman, this one was so hardboiled he couldn't imagine her on her knees praying. So, why was she so captivating?