Sunday, December 10, 2017

Giving Thanks and Remembering the Reason for Christmas and Looking to the New Year

Whew! What a year. Busy in all aspects of my life, I am reminded around the holidays to look at what matters most.

Thanksgiving rode through here fast enough to take my breath and threw me right into December where the real whirlwind usually begins. But I am ready... I have a gift list.

I have, however, figured a few things out about where I am most thankful. As always I am thankful for my family and a healthy year and for friends who are always there and for those who are no longer with us. These things may seem simple but I think they count the most. And, as Christmas approaches, and I enjoy Alabama's new Christmas CD, I have been reminding myself and my girls to think about the real reason for all the gifts and celebration...a Savior born for those who seek Him still. I also want my girls to learn a bit about giving back so I think we may bake some holiday treats for a local nursing home or something they decide on.

As media seems to be taking over all our lives in one way or the other, on Dec. 1,  I started limiting myself on media to recharge the batteries and spend time with family and think about the things I am hopeful for in the new year and the goals I have for my writing journey.

This year was busy with three conferences including Romantic Times, Romance Writers of America, and Moonlight & Magnolias with Georgia Romance Writers. All are fantastic events but I think too many for one year and too expensive leading me to a new strategy in the upcoming year. Events are great and author events are great for networking and learning the craft and business. Reader events can connect you with more readers but not so much if you are not well known. So...

I recently posed the question about what marketing strategies really help authors sell books. There were a lot of varied responses and some good ideas but the one that stood out and was mentioned more than once was:

WRITE THE NEXT BOOK! 

And so my strategy for the next few years is to do just that-- get back to the story. It takes a lot to plan for and attend events so I may only choose, from now on, to go to one a year and one that is close to home. When I first started writing and had no events I managed to write so much more and it is time to get back to that for now. And so here it all stands:

Sawyer's Rose has continued to sell each month in eBook and print formats and is now available on Audible for those who would enjoy a listen. 

Sawyer's Rose Audiobook on Audible

Wyatt's Bounty is doing well in eBook and print and I am currently working again with the awesome Dawson McBride on the narration of this story as well. So look for it soon!!

Wyatt's Bounty Audiobook on Audible - Coming Soon!

And I have something a little different coming up. I pulled out a contemporary novel I wrote in 2013 and have spent since May making this story better. This one goes something like this:

What happens when horse stuntman meets nurse consultant on the set of a western television series? Stay tuned!

And I continue getting lots of requests for the third story in the McCades of Cheyenne series. Never fear, I continue to work on Dawson's Haven but in order to give you guys the story you want and the story he deserves, it is going to take a little more time. Trust me though... Dawson is the quiet brother who will have a few surprises. 

I will leave it at that for now and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 



P.S. If you have read a good book or do in the future, go and leave a review. It really does matter!!!!

-- Kim

Sunday, November 12, 2017

When Did I Love Reading?

After 51 years on the planet and thinking about when stories and books first hit my life... it dawned on me that it was always there. My mama read to me and my sister from a young age, before we ever started school, each afternoon while we waited on my Dad to get home from work for supper. She would let us pick two storybooks each. Much to her dismay I am sure, we picked the same books a lot of the time. I was fond of DONKEY DONKEY, a story about a sad little Donkey finding his way home, and HOW FLETCHER WAS HATCHED, a story about a hound dog that gets neglected when his little girl owner falls for the newly hatched chickens so he and his friends on the farm plan an egg for him to hatch out of so his little mistress will love him again and it works.

When I started school, the weekly trips to the library opened a whole new world. I went through 3 to 5 storybooks a week most often about animals. And I believe around third grade Santa Claus brought me the whole set of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. The television series was new then and my family and I watched it every week. These books brought me the whole pioneer world that matched my love of camping and fishing as a child. I pretended to be Laura Ingalls Wilder when my friends and I played what we called "Old timey house."

Summer Mom carried me and my sister to the library and book stores, which was a perfect way to spend time for me. I brought home stacks of books every two weeks and was always sad when summer ended.

But I remember distinctly in 5th grade picking up my first novel type book. It was fairly thick according to me at that time and was called SCRUB DOG OF ALASKA. I had read lots of books but never one that I got so lost in the story I forgot I was sitting there reading it. That might have been the real beginning where I then always had a book in my hands.

Middle school brought bigger, better books and it was about that time I started sneaking the romance novels off my Granny's shelf every time we visited. Those books ,while educational in more ways than one, spun stories of adventure along with the romance. I fell in love with the historical novels especially the cowboy, pirates and highlanders. Sigh...

And high school became full of the stories we had to read in English. While the other kids moaned and groaned, I only pretended to and enjoyed many of those required stories though I always crept back to romance. Every woman needs a hero and I found them in those stories all the way through until college when nursing school put a halt on reading for fun. Nursing school was classes all week with two eight hour clinicals and more reading required in a week than possible in a month. Becoming a registered nurse is not for the meek!

And eventually college was behind me but it was probably a year or more before I would read a novel for fun. But once I discovered there was life after nursing school I picked up a few more books and, of course, went back to romance thinking...yep I remember how I loved this. And the rest is history.

It surprises me since I have started writing how many people are quick to say "oh, I don't read romance" like someone will think less of you because romance stories often get the "trash" or "not real writing" labels. My guess is most do or have and aren't willing to admit it. Walk down the beach and a lot of folks are reading...check out the titles...romance will be every other book. And for those who think romances aren't written well try to write one and get it passed an editor. People's reading preferences differ that is for sure but I kinda get tired of the instant reaction to the idea of defending oneself against the idea of a romance novel...just what is it you are afraid of? Me? Not a darn thing when I choose my reads.

And now my girls are reading novels and that is cool! I might suck a hard breath in when I see them with a romance in the future but unless it's off the chain filthy I will probably not say a word. Love is found in most of the romances I have read and I think that is a good thing! Read on!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Author Roundup: Jane Lewis

Introducing the newest author in the Author Roundup series: Jane Lewis




Bio: 
Jane Lewis dreamed of being a romance writer since she read her first romance novel. She wrote articles for her school newspaper, articles for a music magazine and composed and arranged music.
Writing a novel was put on hold because work as a Musician, Teacher and Analyst and Manager at a large railroad corporation consumed her time.  She graduated cum laude from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music.


When she isn’t writing her next romance, she enjoys cooking, tending her rose garden, playing music, weight training, yoga and bowling with her real-life hero, her husband. She and her husband live in a suburb outside of Atlanta. She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers. She was a 2016 finalist in the Hearts Through History, Post-Victorian/World War II category for her first romance novel, Love At Five Thousand Feet.

Connect with Jane via her website: www.janelewisauthor.com


Love At Five Thousand Feet Summary:
After her mother’s death, Dottie Lester moves to her parent’s hometown of Saplingville, Georgia with her alcoholic father. She wants to escape and go to live with her aunt in Macon, but first, she must get her father settled in his new job. When Dottie meets a handsome pilot and falls in love, her goal changes, but it is still no match for his desire to leave their small town behind and fly for a commercial airline.
Victor Douglas, United States Army Air Corps pilot, returns to Saplingville to help his ailing father. He has been flying his own JN-4 Jenny bi-plane for years. That and his army experience qualify him to apply for a job as a commercial airline pilot and win a coveted job offer, but how can he leave his father now, or a budding romance with the pretty new girl in town?

Except:
Her love of flying, and her love for Victor intensified as the bi-plane ascended. She rode high above the earth with him at the controls of her life and her heart. A disappointment crept over her when she spotted the runway and recognized the now familiar descent of the bi-plane.

The church steeple loomed at them.

The bi-plane banked to the left, the boarding house below them. As they flew over Main Street, the plane rose to a higher altitude.

She peered from side to side observing the earth from a perspective she’d never dreamed about. The thick green forests would open to a lake or pasture then another forest would come into view. The vibration of the bi-plane swept through her body, dulling her senses. She closed her eyes and relaxed against the seat. She had no idea how long they’d been in the air.

The humming of the wires changed to a higher pitch. The airplane picked up speed. She grabbed the sides of the seat as fear clutched her heart. She closed her eyes and prayed. The bi-plane hit the pasture with a bounce before coming to a stop close to the shed.

Victor turned off the engine. He stepped out, climbed on the plane beside the seat and reached for Dottie’s hand to help her out.

He jumped off the wing, grabbed her around the waist, and set her in front of him. Without saying a word, he took her face in his hands. He bent to kiss her. Her legs were weak from flying. She hadn’t gotten used to being on land. When he kissed her, it was as if she were in a whirlpool, the earth spinning around her.

She swayed, Victor steadied her. “Well, how do you like it?”

She tightened her hold on his arm as the earth turned beneath her. “What, the flying?”

He pulled the aviator cap off her head. “Yes the flying.”

“I was scared at first, but when we got in the air, I relaxed and enjoyed the ride.”

Check out the book trailer on Youtube.

Find this exciting new novel at these major retailers:

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Happy Halloween! 5 Things That Scare Me

It's Halloween Time and as I plan to go out pumpkin shopping with my girls this weekend, I was thinking on the five things that have scared me most in my lifetime:



1) Spider spiders spiders....(shivers)... I have a long history with not squaring off well with spiders. I was maybe 5 when my back was itching and I had my sister age 3 take a look. She screamed "a fider, a fider." That set off a series of screams from me crying to my mom and while it was a tick and not a spider, I never did recover. The other most terrifying moment relates to these creepies was living alone and not having my Dad to take care of them. Lets just say Aussie spritzer goes a long way and freezing them where they are. Worked for me for years. But then there was that moment as I watched my two year old daughter, at the time, climb on her tricycle and a massive spider was hanging on the handle. In those brief 3 seconds I had to face my fears with 2 choices....leave my child at the mercy of hoping the creature would drop a web and fall away or become Mommie Spiderslayer. I jerked my daughter from the tricycle kicking it across the room, making my daughter cry and the spider scamper away to hide. I couldn't make my voice work to warn her and afterwards I had to sit because the adrenaline in my body had surged. I DON'T DO SPIDERS AND THE QUICKEST WAY TO YOUR OWN DEATH IS TO BRING ONE NEAR ME.

2) Scary Movies. I loved the scariest of movies as a teen though at the time I wasn't allowed to watch R rates movies. Since when do teenagers always follow the rules? So one night when my parents were gone for the evening and my sister was at a friends for the night, I turned on THE SHINING. That was not a wise decision and I had never been so happy to see my parents come home though I couldn't tell them why I had every light in the house on and every bolt locked down tight. I believe on of the scariest movies I ever saw was TERROR TRAIN with Jaime Lee Curtis. My sister and I watched this one too...when we weren't suppose to and it scared us out of our minds for weeks. So I continued my trend of scary movies until I lived alone in my own home. Then it got real. No more scary movies for me.

3) Interestingly enough another thing that scares me to death is public speaking. I taught nursing classes for over 28 years but teaching what I know is not like speaking to a crowd. I have always avoided obligations where I am asked to speak unless it was very important to me or I was given no choice. Those moments I can stress over for weeks and I have been told I am silly over and over by people who do not understand the true terror for me. I am a total INTROVERT. My cup is not filled by being around people. I have had to work at that for years. Those who have no true understanding of being Introverted have often told me " to just get over it"...it doesn't work that way. My first experience of true terror was at 4 years old when my parents had me a birthday party for the first time with neighborhood kids. I cried when they sang Happy Birthday and I think tried to crawl under the table. I am 51 and I have never had another birthday party like that again. My mom would ask me about a birthday party and I would say no. My husband and kids know I want Mexican food for my birthday supper but they had best not have the waitress bring cake and slap a sombrero on my head. They know I will walk right out the door if it is too intense. For real.

4) FLYING. I will fly because sometimes it is the only way to get to places I need to go. Before I board a plane there is always a sheer moment of terror that can halt me from functioning  normally or thinking right. After spending a small non-refundable fortune to get to an event I must attend it would be difficult to back out. Each time I get to my seat and I do make sure I have an isle seat near an exit I feel claustrophobic enough to think of bolting no questions asked. I have once given up my seat to take a later flight but the terror was still the same. I am not a drinker but there have been times when I was waiting to board that I have thought about a couple of shots of tequila though that might truly worsen the effects. Lets just say when I must fly, my relationship with God grows stronger to say the least.

5) Finishing the next book. Yes, this is a real fear and I have even heard seasoned authors speak to this. I have completed through publication two books and as I spend time now working on book three of the series I sometimes go through moments of panic that maybe I won't finish the story and if I do will it be good enough for my readers. I glance at the print books I have completed and remember when writing them I went through the same thoughts of not thinking I could complete them. Sometimes as I read back through them I panic even more...DID I REALLY WRITE THIS? Because it always seems my current story will never get there or until it is finished the moments of panic can be crippling. I suppose this can be self defeating but maybe for me that edge of fear pushes me to write a story better or give it more than I knew I had. Not sure but this is a true fear.

So there you have it. 5 things that frighten me. Have a great Halloween!!





Monday, October 23, 2017

From the Chuck Wagon

The South is finally getting some cooler weather for fall.  This Pinterest inspired Olive Cheese dip is the perfect indulgence to welcome in the fall colors and cooler temps.  Hope you enjoy it if you give this recipe a try.


Ingredients:

  • One (1) can of sliced green olives
  • 16 oz. of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese
  • Crushed red pepper

Directions:

  1. Drain the can of green olives
  2. Mix the olives with the cream cheese, mayo, and cheddar cheese
  3. Sprinkle with a taste of crushed, red pepper
  4. Bake at 350 degrees until golden bubbly (approx. 25-35 minutes)
  5. Serve toasty warm with chips or crackers

Monday, October 16, 2017

Author Roundup: Introducing Sheila Hollinghead

Allow me to introduce Sheila Hollinghead.



Sheila was born in Nuremberg, Germany, the daughter of a career soldier. When she was ten, her father was stationed in Toul, France where she discovered a treasure trove of books hiding in the furnace room. The house was rumored to be the former headquarters of the Nazi Party with bullet holes decorating the foyer as evidence. The books she found, sci-fi, mysteries, fantasy, and the classics, opened her mind to the power of story.

Raised on army bases, she has lived many places, none home until she returned to south Alabama. She lives with her husband, three dogs, and two cats near the farms where her ancestors lived and loved.

Sheila is active in her community, heading up her local food bank with the help of her husband and also participates in meals-on-wheels, the Trail Masters, a local group who promote the local state park, and other organizations.

Connect with her!
Twitter
Facebook
Blog
Amazon Author Page

Be sure to check out Sheila's novella, Robbie and Taron.



The path down to the river may sweep her away ... to love or disaster, perhaps both.

When Robeta Rutherford leads the horses to a nearby river, a mysterious cowboy appears. Is he there to help her family or to derail her plans forever?

Robbie studies all of her life to become a doctor. To establish a medical practice, she travels west with her parents until illness and inclement weather force them to a stop.

Robbie must survive the challenges or her plans for the future will be dashed forever. When she walks down to the river, the mysterious cowboy changes her life ... in ways she never could have guessed.

Excerpt:

Robbie emptied out the pot, donned her clean dress, and headed for the river with her brush, to enjoy the sunshine on the splashing water. She sat down on a large boulder that jutted out over the river and began untangling the knots in her hair with dexterous fingers.

“Good day, miss.” The deep voice echoed from across the river.

It startled her so badly she cried out and the brush slipped from her fingers. Immediately, a cowboy on horseback was splashing into the river and had scooped up the brush almost before she realized its loss.

“Here you go.” He held out the brush, and she retrieved it from him.
She glanced down and mumbled, “Thank you.” She tried desperately to regain her composure.

“My pleasure. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

She dared a glance at him, and he flashed a set of even white teeth while bringing up a hand to tip his hat.

Raking back her wet hair from her face, she tilted her chin up, to get a better look at the good-looking stranger. “You didn’t scare me,” she lied. “I was only startled.”

“Are you alone?” he asked.

Her heartbeat tapped at the base of her throat. “Of course not. We have been traveling west and stopped to camp for the night.” She tried to make it sound as if she traveled with a wagon train instead of only her parents. But surely this friendly faced man on a pinto meant no harm.

“Oh?” His eyes twinkled.

Had he been watching her? Did he know she was lying? She scooted off the rock, smoothing down her dress. “I’d best be getting back to camp.”

“Maybe we’ll meet again?” He wore a lopsided grin on his face.

She hesitated a moment. Did he want to be invited to the campsite? She didn’t want him to think her rude. “We have some sickness and can’t entertain visitors.”

He nodded. “I understand. ’Bye, miss.” He pulled the horse’s reins and rode away, beyond the trees that lined the shore.

Roberta realized she’d not brushed her hair. It was still a tangled mess! Heat rose to her cheeks, and then she shrugged. It didn’t matter. She’d probably never see him again. She finished her hair and hurried back to the camp.

Her parents were no better. They slept but were feverish and restless.

She sat down on a log by the fire to think. What if the man came across the river again? That might be agood thing. Her heartbeat quickened at the thought.

But what if he was a gunslinger? She’d noticed the holster strapped around his waist with the pearl handle of a pistol visible.

He had probably been watching her this whole time! Planning to rob them — or worse. Heat rose to her cheeks. But she remembered his face, so friendly and open. Surely he meant no harm.

Still, it was better to be safe than sorry. She ran to the wagon and rummaged until she found her father’s pistol and bullets. Her hands shook as she loaded the chamber. She’d be ready next time.

The problem was that she couldn’t decide if she feared or desired a next time.



From the Blog...

Hi everyone,

It has been a couple of weeks since we have had a new post so wanted to provide some quick updates on things going on with Kim's writing.  Be sure to leave a comment if you have any questions or just want to say Hi.

eBook Sale
Kim's eBooks of Sawyer's Rose and Wyatt's Bounty will be on sale for $0.99 now through October 20th.  If you haven't had a chance to check out one or both of these books, this sale would be the perfect opportunity to get your next great read.

Blog Follower Give Away
Kim had a great time at the recent Moonlight and Magnolias RWA conference in Atlanta (blogs and photos coming over the next few weeks).  She was able to come home with quite a bit of swag so she will be doing a give-away each weekend from now through the end of the year to lucky blog followers.  If you have not done so already, be sure to sign-up as a blog follower before Sunday and you will be eligible to win.  The prizes that will be given away each week will be announced after the first winner is randomly selected on Sunday from all blog followers.  Until then, you have to sign up for the blog for your chance to win.

Upcoming Blogs
Kim will be sharing with us some about what she has been working on recently and she will tell us all about the Moonlight and Magnolias event.

Kim and her husband love to try new dishes in the kitchen when they find recipes that sound interesting.  We will get a Chuck Wagon entry on a recent family favorite of Olive Cheese Dip.  Stay tuned.

If there is something you would like to hear about, please leave a comment below.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

Christie
KTW Staff