Sunday, April 24, 2016

All about Eve...

During a difficult dating phase in my youth (single and looking) I felt I'd set the bar for boy behavior about as low as it could go (on the ground).

But it kept being too high to clear in terms of what seemed like basic human decency. It was a bit depressing. At the time, I was thinking: WTF? (but without the acronym).

Indeed films of the era, like Unmarried Woman, confirmed that after dumping their wives of decades, guys mostly just traded in for a new model, whereas women were left holding the family together, coping with lost income, lost self-esteem, and taking a long and difficult journey to reconnect to their sense of self.

Guys remarried and started a fresh new replacement family, no remorse (though if the new wife turns out not to treat him quite as well as the earlier model, there may be some self-centered regret).

Males in general seemed to find a simpler way to negotiate the universe.  Direct, uncomplicated, without self-doubt, self-questioning, able to dismiss mistakes and move on....Clueless.  Happy.

Drove me crazy.

Then I thought about Genesis and how the Bible presents paradise as an innocent world.  An ignorant world. Clueless.  Happy.

Within that world view, the "Original Sin" that humankind is cursed with, is the sin of disobedience. Though I must note the particularly poignant fact is that when you look up "original sin," it is referenced as "Adam's sin" in eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  And as you knowper the BibleEve got there first and is vilified because of her actions.  But in terms of history, it is his actions that are referenced, because, really, he's the only one that counts.

So I was thinking about the "curse," and that it was not just the "sin" of disobedience, but the declared "sin" of desiring the knowledge of good and evil.  The desire to know more, to understand more, to open the door to informationwith all its responsibilities, challenges and demands.

To stop being ignorant and be aware, accountable.  To go beyond the self and not only appreciate your impact on others, but to acknowledge that you have choices.  And that you are accountable for making those choices, and  responsible for the consequences of your actions.

You have taken a bite, and the knowledge of good and evil is now inescapably part of who you are. It is a burden.  It is a gift.

So during these difficult dating times, I wondered why women, on balance, seem to suffer more, be more aware, and often got the short end of the stick.  It didn't seem fair.

But then I reflected on Genesis and was helped by the following insight: Eve took a bite of the apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil before Adam did.

And it seemed that that Eve's first mover statusin reaching greater awareness and thus greater responsibility, sometimes greater painwere metaphorically (and actually) carried forward though life.  Women are cursedor blessedwith the ability to tell the difference between good and evil just a little bit sooner, a little bit more than most men.

That was a helpful metaphor for me in explaining the fact that women are usually just  a bit ahead of the game in that area.

And even more helpful when I asked myself the big question:  would you rather be blissfully ignorant and happy, or accept the burden of knowledge, even if it might bring unhappiness?

My answer: If I had a choice, I would bite the apple.  Despite the cost, no question.

Romances have always inspired me in their acknowledgement of that emotional burden.  Reinforcing that we are not alone.  Giving the support and validation to keep carrying it forward, with all its challenges.

Isabel Swift

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Researching and Writing Historical Fiction – Opening Doors to the Past with Cindy Vallar

Researching and Writing Historical Fiction – Opening Doors to the Past with Cindy Vallar

  • This 4-week online course begins May 16, 2016 and uses email and Yahoo Groups. 
  • The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. 
  •  The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person 
For more information and to register go to
About the Class:

One of the first books I remember reading was Marie McSwigan’s Snow Treasure, the story of how Norwegian children ferried gold bars on their sleds under the noses of the Nazis to a ship waiting to take the gold to America for safekeeping. That book was a childhood favorite, and from then on, I loved reading books set in times past. When I first decided to write a story, it had to be a historical novel. Back then I had no idea what that entailed, but luckily I became a librarian and acquired the skills I needed to research the stories I now write.

The purpose of this workshop is to share some tricks librarians know and a variety of resources writers of historical fiction need to craft stories that transport readers back in time. We will:

  • examine what historical fiction is and why research is important
  • explore fact versus fiction and incorporating real life into a fictional tale
  • discuss different kinds of resources and what types of information a historical novelist needs to write a convincing snapshot of the past
  • create the time and place so the reader finds herself/himself somewhere in the past, rather than the present
  • learn what can destroy that sense of time and place.
Workshop participants will examine the pros and cons of various issues related to the writing of historical fiction and its subgenres; knowing whether there’s too much or not enough historical detail in the story; and how to evaluate whether a resource contains quality information or just a lot of quantity. A variety of activities reinforce what’s covered in the class. At the end of the workshop, I provide a free edit of a chapter from participants’ manuscripts.

About the Instructor:

A retired librarian, Cindy Vallar writes feature articles and book reviews for the Historical Novel Society’s Historical Novels Review. She also pens the biannual “The Red Pencil” column where she profiles authors and compares a selection from their published historical novels with an early draft of those works. She is a freelance editor, the Editor of Pirates and Privateers, and a workshop presenter. She belongs to the Historical Novel Society and served on the Board of Directors for the fifth North American HNS Conference in 2013. She is the author of The Scottish Thistle, her debut historical novel about Scotland’s Rising of 1745, and “Odin’s Stone,” a romantic short story of how the Lord of the Isles settled the medieval feud between the MacKinnons and MacLeans on the Isle of Skye; and “Rumble the Dragon,” a historical fantasy about dragons and Vikings, which appears in the anthology A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder. She invites you to visit her award-winning web site, Thistles & Pirates (, to learn more.

  • This 4-week online course begins May 16, 2016 and uses email and Yahoo Groups. 
  • The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. 
  •  The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person
For more information and to register go to

Permission to forward

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Research—Does Inaccuracy in a Novel Bother You? By Connie Vines

 I blog weekly on two sites (in addition to my own) and monthly on four  website, I thought I'd post a topic from my Round Robin Series.

Topic: All story genres take some research for establishing details in the setting. What type of research have you had to do? Does it bother you when you read something happening in a story that is inaccurate historically, socially, scientifically, etc?

Does it bother me?


 However, in my case, there are varying degrees of irritation.  If it is an easily found fact, or a fact that any functioning adult should be aware of then, yes—I am very irritated and will probably not finish the novel.  On the other hand if current verbiage is used or the description of an item of clothing is more modern, that could be the writer’s choice.  The writer may feel that her ‘readers’ wish to have the ‘flavor’ of a historical story without the genealogy charts or gritty reality of the era. Then I am okay.  But to pass the facts off as accurate/ or marketed to make the reader believe this is not a fictionalized story—as in “The Other Boleyn Sister” or Disney’s “Pocahontas” animated movie (with what I like to call the Vulcan-mind-meld when the Hero and Heroine suddenly speak and understand each other),  I do become angry.  Apparently, I clamp my teeth, and my husband will swear that I growl when these movies become a topic of conversation.

We all make mistakes, I remind myself.  Alternatively, the copy-editor adds/ deletes a needed fact.  Moreover, sometime we simply ‘thought’ we removed it from the final draft.  Still sloppy research makes for sloppy writing.  If you do not like research, build your own world/town/or, do not give the reader a date or place to hang her hat on.  You and add a statement:  liberties were taken; the mistakes are my own, etc.


Any professional writer knows there is a lot more to the job than simply writing. There is also revising, editing, promoting, and much more. Before I even consider typing: Chapter One.  Whether I am writing, historical, or fantasy, I conducted days—if not months or even years, gather my research material and scheduling interviews.

Research is vital to every writer.  Contemporary novels required daily research to keep up-to-date on the latest tech item, hairstyle or whatever relates to your storyline.
Every encounter with a new person or visiting a new place is an opportunity for better, more descriptive writing. Writers never truly take a vacation, or turn off the research part of her/his brain.

So how do I organized my research material?  (Tossing everything into a large bin is oh-so-not-the-way to be organized.)

#1: Keep a File Folder for Ideas

I have files where I stash clippings of articles on specific topics I feel will come up again, or will one day make great short stories/articles.  I have plain colored folders for “shared” topics (I write multiple genres), cute folders (for YA/Teen topics), action folders for supernatural stories, etc.

These clippings are often story generators or prompts to open a chapter/create a pivot point. How many times have you heard something on the radio or watched something on television and thought, “Wouldn’t that be so great in my next novel”?

Story prompts can be anything that you find interesting, anything that relates to your genre or area of writing interest. Because my books are character driven, I tend to be drawn to articles that talk about the human condition (i.e., why we do the things we do) or specific topics that I feel relate to my particular ‘character’.

 #2: Story Premise Research First

When you start a new project, you must make some decisions. What is the theme of your book? (We might also think of this step as “what is the premise of your book?”) The answer to this question will guide your starting research.

My third book, Whisper upon the Water, focused a lot on the living conditions and societal attitudes about Native American children. I already knew that Native American children were forced to attend government run boarding schools after the Indian Wars, but I did not know about the process, and how it affected the children or how they adapted. Therefore, I began with interviews, tours of the schools still in operation and trips to historical archives and reservations.

Before I wrote a single word, I looked into this, and the answers I found are what formulated my plot points. I needed this foundation of research to create a convincing plot, otherwise I would not tell the story correctly.  I wanted the truth, I wanted historical accuracy and I wanted my readers to have an emotional connection to my characters.

Poor research in the beginning often results in a manuscripts dying at the halfway point. Think of this step as the foundation of your novel.

#3: First-Hand Accounts

As a rule, I set my stories in placed I have lived or visited.  However, a writer does not have to go to a city/country to get a feeling for it.

Online Resources

Travel sites, local blogs, and YouTube all have a place in a writer’s arsenal. In particular:
Travel Sites often have detailed maps and downloadable audio walking tours that can give you context for notable buildings and directional substance for urban areas to include in your book.
YouTube is a major resource, often underutilized by writers. Those seemingly normal videos are great for providing local terminology, dialect, visual perspective and even minor details like the amount of traffic at a particular park or on a particular street.
 #4: Details

Using Google Maps and Streetview, for my upcoming release anthology at BWL: Gumbo Ya Ya—for women who like romance Cajun & men Hot & Spicy! I was able to get a street view of that area and I could ‘walk’ the streets as they appear in New Orleans. The Streetview feature setting on Google Maps plops you down right at street level and gives you a 360-degree view of everything including traffic, crowds, and architecture.  While I do have my personal photos and memories of the city, it is always good to make certain the details are ‘just right’.

#5: Remember to Write

You can always do a fact check on the smaller items as part of the final revision process.

When I am dictating or typing my story, unless an earth-shattering event is in the works, I do not stop the process.  I will type:** research time line of Spanish Flu or   ** insert the popular song year, and keep writing.  When I go back over the material, I will have time to add the particulars.

Research is fun.  Unlike may authors, research in my favorite part of writing.  Like a method actor, I immerse myself in the process.  Hobbies, Music, Books, and Food (well, not food when I wrote my Zombie novella, “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow”. right now, however, it is shrimp Creole, pecan pie and coffee with chicory).  Research need not be cumbersome. If you are interested in your subject matter, then it is not work. It is just another part of writing a book.

 I believe it is writing a book that is rich in research helps to separate the writers from the multi-published authors.

Readers, how do you feel about this topic?  How important is historical accuracy to you?

Happy Reading,

Connie Vines

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Titanic sails today...with a Pig on board by Jina Bacarr

Downton Abbey is but a memory...but it will be forever in our hearts. Do you remember that first scene six seasons ago when a messenger on a bicycle brought a telegram to the Crawley family that would forever change their lives?

And ours?

A telegram about two male relatives lost at sea.

On the Titanic.

Hard to believe it's 104 years ago today the grand ship Titanic left Ireland. We know what happened next.

So in honor of the souls who perished that night and those who survived, here is a lesser known story about the Titanic.

And the pig.  

According to the New York Herald on April 19, 1912: “Five women saved their pet dogs …another woman saved a little pig, which she said was her mascot.”

The reporter goes on to say that she didn’t know how the woman cared for her pig aboard the Titanic, but she carried it up the “side of the ship [the Carpathia, rescue ship] in a big bag.”

How did the pig get into the lifeboat? Was the pig traveling first class?

In a word, yes.

More about this intrepid little piggy and the important part it played in the sinking of the Titanic later. First, it seems you can’t get away from pigs and the Titanic.

In the Julian Fellowes’ mini-series “Titanic,” a passenger in third class isn’t happy about traveling steerage to New York. She tells her husband that her daughter said their Irish Catholic family is like “…six little pigs packed into that cabin, all trussed and bound for market…”

They’re not the only Irish aboard the ship with pigs on their mind.

Katie O’Reilly, the heroine in my historical romance, TITANIC RHAPSODY, nearly doesn’t make it on board the ship because of a pig.

Katie runs away from the grand house where she is in service after she is wrongly accused of stealing a diamond bracelet. The law is after her, but she has one chance to escape.

The Titanic.
“Stop in the name of the law, Katie O’Reilly!” she heard the constable yell down from the open second story window.
She looked up at him, disbelieving. Stop? Was the man daft?
With her ticket clutched in her fist, Katie took off running, up one winding street and down the next. The smell of cooked onions and cabbages filled her nostrils as she sidestepped piles of horse manure in the middle of the road.
Then her hat flew off. When she stopped to pick it up, she nearly collided with a large pig being driven through the streets by a farmer.
Was she about to be done in by a pig?
She thought not.
Katie jumped out of the way, then bent down to retrieve her hat.
The pig’s hooves had ripped it to shreds.
She kept going, the morning dew on the air giving way to a fine salty mist, sweeping away her fear and clearing her mind as the offices of the White Star and American Lines came into view.
Will Katie make it on board the Titanic before she sails? Only by the skin of her teeth.

Does she see the pig during the crossing?

Few passengers did because the cute little pig with the curly tail was the lucky mascot of Miss Edith Russell.

She loved to wind up its tail and it would play a lively musical tune similar to a two-step called “Maxixe.”

You see, the pig was musical pig.

The reporter on the Carpathia didn’t know the real story behind Miss Russell’s pig. How it was given to her after she survived a horrific motorcar crash. She promised her mother it would never be out of her sight. When she realized the Titanic was sinking and she’d left her mascot in her cabin, she sent the steward to retrieve her lucky pig.

Still, Edith was hesitant to get into a lifeboat. When a seaman tossed her pig into a boat (believing it was a baby wrapped up in a bag), Edith insisted on getting into the boat, too. Its nose was gone and its legs broken, but Edith and her little pig escaped in lifeboat no. 11.

Overcrowded with sixty-eight passengers (nearly one-third were children), Edith realized her little pig could comfort others as it had her. She wound up its tail so it would play music for the children. Most of the little ones stopped crying as the pig’s sparkling musical notes calmed their fears.

Its furry, white-gray body wet with sea spray.

Its cute grin giving them hope they would be saved.

It was the little Titanic pig that could.

Thanks for stopping by!


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.


Check out my Kindle Scout Winner historical Civil War time travel:

Saturday, April 09, 2016

How Can We Write More? by Kitty Bucholtz

Most of the writers I know want to write faster. They want to get more words down on the page during every writing session. I've been one of those writers for as long as I can remember...and I probably always will be!

Over the years, I've gotten faster - and without learning how to type faster! Now, I've had friendly arguments with writers about why your typing speed does matter. You can think faster than you can talk. You can speak faster than you can type. So if your thoughts are in the writing flow, they are moving fast. So the faster you can physically type, the faster you can get those words down on the page.

So the fact that I learned to write faster over time was more about getting my thoughts deeper into the writing flow. If I also learned how to type faster, I would be able to get even more of the story down in each sitting.

Okay, so let's say you're not going to update your typing skills, and you're not ready to try dictation. How can you write faster?

There are several ebooks for writers that have focused on or touched on this one main idea: organize your thoughts before you sit down, then set a timer and write as fast as you can for a set length of time.

Let me break it down.

Why organize your thoughts first?
Even if you're a pantser, you probably have some idea of the very next scene you plan to write. Now, what if you spent 5-10 minutes and closed your eyes or doodled or whatever you do, and you really saw the scene fully in your mind? What if you didn't start typing until you could really see it?

You'd probably write faster.

Why set a timer?
If you have an hour and that's it, have you noticed that you tend to really get those words out on paper because you're hurrying to beat the clock? (Let's assume that you've organized your thoughts and know what you wanted to write at the beginning of the hour.) Or if you have 30 minutes, and you know what you want to say, and it comes rushing out - partially because you have to go do something else soon? That's why setting a timer works so well even when you have 4 or 5 hours to work.

You end up getting more words on the page.

Why pick an arbitrary time to stop?
For the same reason you set the timer in the first place - you're pushing to get your thoughts out on the page before something (the timer) tells you to stop. You don't dawdle. You don't take a bathroom break and then a snack break and then answer a text during that hour (or 20 or 30 or 40 minutes). You type. Then you can take a break, answer a text, check emails, and then come back to the next timed session ready to do it again.

And write even more than before.

I hesitated to try this until recently because I hadn't fully understood the answers to the three questions above. Once I realized how and why the whole thing worked, I haven't been able to stop using this method! I went from a record high of 5000 words in a day to 7157 words in a day - both at writer retreats where the only thing I had on my schedule for the day was to write.

On my previously record high day, I started my writing day at 7am, took a break a few hours later to exercise and shower, wrote some more, took an hour for lunch to watch TV and give my brain and eyes a rest, then worked again until dinner around 5 or 6, and sometimes put in another hour after dinner if I had the energy.

On my new record high day at a writing retreat with my friend Elena Dillon last month, I wrote in five 1-hour sessions between breakfast and dinner and wrote 43% more than when I worked more hours!

I hope my explanation here has helped you see why this is a method you could try. If you want more detailed explanations from other writers, try Chris Fox's book 5000 Words Per Hour (all of his books are really good) or Rachel Aaron's book 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. If you know of a book that could help people write faster, please mention it in the comments.  :)

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss LovesickA Very Merry Superhero Wedding, andUnexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon. The free short story "Superhero in Disguise" is available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

by Linda O. Johnston

Sorry to say that, once again, I'll be missing this month's OCC meeting. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is the same weekend, and I'm doing things there both days.

Of course they're predicting rain, maybe even thunderstorms, for both Saturday and Sunday. During almost any other time I'd be thrilled about that. Not next weekend, though.

I've been attending the LATFOB for many years, starting when it was held at the UCLA campus. Now it is at USC, which in some ways is more convenient for me since I can take the Metro there rather than drive.

There are a lot of interesting-sounding speakers and panels this year, although I probably won't hear any of them. I'll be busy signing at a couple of booths for mystery writers, helping to staff the booth promoting the Mystery Writers of America, and volunteering at the romance writers' booth. It's always fun to walk around and see what else is going on, too. And buy a few books? Why not!

I always think it's fun to attend any kind of book event, and the LATFOB is always huge and enjoyable. I'm sure it will be this year, too--depending on the amount and timing of any rain.

And as an author, I find it very helpful and productive to attend these kinds of events and meet potential readers and other authors. How about you?

I hope the OCC meeting goes great--and I hope to get there again soon. And in the meantime, even if you attend OCC this weekend, you can always head up to the USC campus on Sunday to check out the LATFOB.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

12 Titles in 12 Months [Part Two]

First of all, Happy Birthday to me.

It’s time for an update into my fun challenge, 12 TITLES IN 12 MONTHS. I think now that I am entering the second quarter of this challenge, people don’t think I’m insane or nuts after all.

I have to admit, I’ve had a few moments when I thought I had bitten off more than I could handle. Those thoughts were really looming a couple of weeks ago when I hit a little road block. Seems my mind went blank. I couldn’t come up with a good idea. I pulled out a few first chapters I had for some possible stories and even old drafts from completed books. I figured I had a few thousand words lying around that didn’t make the cut for the book.

[Writer Tip: Never discard good chapters that don’t work. Just because they don’t work with that book, doesn’t mean they are good. (Thanks Kitty Bucholtz for the ides.) Keep them and use them, re-work them and use as a short story, novelette or novella. Make them perma free. This way you’ll always have a freebie you can use to gain readers. That’s what I did with the discarded chapters from “What My Friends Don’t Know.” Those six chapters became a free prequel.]

I went to work on those drafts, but nothing worked. I thought if I re-read them, they would get my juices flowing. Nothing. Then I got a revelation. I had rewritten book two in The Alex series and remembered there was this great part I omitted because it was too long. I went digging through my old drafts and found it, but it didn’t work as a stand alone story, not like the chapters from book one. However, when I read them, they gave birth to an idea. Around the same time, I had this great two lines replaying in my mind, but when I tried to turn them into a story, nothing clicked. Let me take that back. I wrote about eight hundred words and trashed them. It was too difficult and felt forced. But when I took those two lines and mixed them with my other idea, it clicked. YES! I had my story.

When I started this challenge, I had it in my mind to do three full-length novels, one poetry book, about six novellas, a boxset and one short story. I had been asked to contribute a short story to a boxset, but I had to back out. If things had worked out, that would have been my one short story. Now I was short a title.

I revisited my production schedule and without thinking added another novella. I think at that moment my writer conscious went into shock. I did little research on story lengths. Let me clarify something. I like seeing my work in print. I knew from having done a few things with Createspace, there’s a page minimum for a print project. So I discovered that if I got creative with my formatting, I could have a nice little print book. Voila! I went back to my production schedule and changed some of those novellas to short stories. But a really cool thing happened, as I started writing, they words flowed and my cute little short stories turned into novelettes. YEAH! So now, my production schedule doesn’t look as daunting. It’s a nice mix of novelettes, novellas and full-length novels. So far, I haven’t written a short story per se, but I still have three titles that have yet to be born.

A cool thing about this challenge is that I get to experiment with genres. I have always wanted to try writing a RomCom [Romantic Comedy] or something with a little snarky humor. I got a little nervous about my RomCom, when I had my mother read it and a few pages in she said, “I don’t get it.” I was offended, because I thought it was funny. I immediately took it as criticism instead of what it really was, the truth. So I went back to the drawing board and rewrote the beginning. I have to admit I like it better. Is it funny? I think it is, but only time and readers with verify that fact. Hey, worse case scenario, it’s not funny and I learn from my mistake. Best case scenario, it turns out to be funny and possibly the beginning of a new series. I hope it’s well received because I have an idea about what happened next.
Here’s a sneak at the second quarter releases:

Length: Novella
Status: Completed
Release Date: April or May
I haven’t decided if I’m going to release this one in April or May. This novella is in response to requests from readers wanting know what happened to Kyla’s lover Eric. Instead of telling the story of what happened to him, I thought it would be more interesting to tell you how he met his wife and his mistress.
Sales Outlets: eBook - KDP Select *
Print - Amazon, Createspace, B&N and my website
Marketing Campaign: Posting on my blog and social media outlets [Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest], blast to my mailing list, GoodReads Giveaway and a possibly a Cover Release Blast tour. And miscellaneous blogs.

Length: Novelette
Status: Completed
Release Date: April or May
I haven’t decided if I’m going to release this one in April or May. This little story happened during my writing block. It’s also my first attempt at a RomCom [Romantic Comedy]. I like the characters and hope this does well, because I see a second and possibly third tome with this group…especially the Nana character.
Sales Outlets: eBook - KDP Select *
Print - Amazon, Createspace, B&N and my website
Marketing Campaign: Posting on my blog and social media outlets [Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest], blast to my mailing list, GoodReads Giveaway and a possibly a Cover Release Blast tour. And miscellaneous blogs.

Length: Novelette
Status: Almost Complete
Release Date: June or July I haven’t decided if I’m going to release this one in June or July. Because the second book in The Alex Series has a wedding and June is a big wedding season. It might be best to market based around that season. This story is the result of two ideas. The deleted pages from The Alex Chronicles Book Two and those two lines I mentioned earlier. I really should have titled it “The Rollercoaster.” This story is started out one way and then made a dip and then did a wrap around. Because I’m a Pantser, I not quite sure where it’s going to end. I hope it ends where I want it to. If it doesn’t, then I’ll take that ending and use it for another story. However, I’m not sure about the title.
Sales Outlets: eBook - KDP Select *
Print - Amazon, Createspace, B&N and my website
Marketing Campaign: Posting on my blog and social media outlets [Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest], blast to my mailing list, GoodReads Giveaway and a possibly a Cover Release Blast tour. And miscellaneous blogs.

On a side note, I love my covers. I’ve been taking a marketing course for my other business and keeping the word “Branding” at the forefront of my creative mind. Which can be both a blessing and a challenge. Because I want to be known as a writer of Steamy Christian Fiction, it means I have to always be cognizant of my brand or style. I want to push the envelope while not crossing the line. For me, that means every project I do has to fall in line with the look I’ve established.

I’m sure you noticed the asterisk [*] next to Sales Outlets. Let me explain. This is a huge undertaking. With that said, I didn't plan the marketing, in detail. I planned the concept, but forgot to plan the marketing. Originally, I was going to make all of the titles available in every outlet. Problem with that is also what led me to do this, no one knew me and I have a small readership. When I started this, I had about 114 people on my reader list. So there really wasn’t a need to do a pre-order. Although I did offer pre-order with my January release. I got less than 10. Hey, it’s better than nothing. From that I learned, it was best to wait until I had a better readership before offering another pre-order.

But I did test out something I had been hearing. It’s sort of like that line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they’ll come.” [Writer Tip: If you write it, they’ll buy it…hopefully.] I had been reading on a lot blogs and podcasts that even if you do minimal marketing, and have a nice sized inventory, not only is it possible for you to make some sales, it could also produce sales with your other books. [The other reason or main reason I’m doing this challenge, I wanted to build up my inventory. More inventory equals more sales.]

Last week, I released The Good Girl Part Deux. I was in a hurry to get the book up by the end of the month and forgot to book an ad. However, I had just participated in the Romance Readers SPRING FLING Massive Ebook Giveaway. This event generated a lot of free downloads of my perma free book, The Alex Chronicles: Girlfriends & Secrets sending me to the #2 spot in one of my categories. It also produced a huge boost to my mailing list. So once The Good Girl Part Deux, was live, I sent an email to everyone on my mailing list thanking them for taking this writing journey with me. [Thanks for the email idea DeAnna Cameron]. Then I sent another email to my email list as well as a post to my blog list, offering them first dibs at The Good Girl Part Deux. Not only did those two things produced decent first day sales for GGPart Deux, it also produced sales for my other ebooks.

So for the duration of this project, I’ve elected to put all the titles in KDP Select. Towards the end of the year, I’ll figure out a more detailed marketing strategy for the following year. Unless of course, this one proves to be the best route for me.

As for how the writing is going? I am three titles away from having every month covered. Praise God!!! Every morning in my prayer time, I thank God for the words, because I really haven’t got a clue what those last three stories are going to be.

I’ll check in with you next month with my progress.

Tracy Reed

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys