Thursday, December 4, 2014

Top 10 Reasons I've Been Missing

(Not in chronological order)
    Yep, that's right! Little Person #3 is due July 4th (unless that date ends up adjusted later) and we couldn't be more excited! It's going to be so fun to see if I'm on a roll with boys or if I'll get to have a little me. Either way, it's going to be awesome because babies are just--awesome!
    Sounds weird, I know. What sounds even weirder is that I'm going to say it's halfway arrived. I released the Kindle version of my 5th book (second in the Kitten Files series) on Black Friday. The print version is following shortly on its heels. Meet "The Case of the Missing Hero":

    The book cover design requests (and lots of promo design work, too) have been coming in steadily. It's great fun! See some of my latest...

    'Tis the season! Plus, my family of origin is moving out of state, so I'm trying to soak them up while I've still got 'em!
    'Nuff said. ;) He's a good, super fun kid, but very busy...
    You know who you are, yes I still remember you, no I haven't forgotten about you, no your writing doesn't stink. Yes, I've been busy, busy, busy. (See this post.)
    I'm serious. This could technically go under the pregnancy headline, but it's such a significant part of my day, I've given it its own section! I'm also nursing my 9-month-old, so it takes a lot of food to keep me going!
    I try not to "work" when he's home. Cuz he's my bestest friend.
    I know, this one's a real shocker for anyone who knows me well. If this were a socio-economic-political ranting blog, I can safely say there'd always be something for me to say. But it's not. And sometimes I just have writer's blog writer's block.
    I have read so many Kindle books lately. At a disgustingly fast pace. It's just something I do when my brain feels like a limp noodle and the rest of my body feels the same. I guess I could be blogging. Of course, there's no guarantee anything I said would make much sense...

Monday, October 6, 2014

This Book Was Already on My Birthday List...

...but now that I've seen the cover, I know I really have to have it!

Huzzah for Jennifer Freitag's upcoming release, Plenilune! I'm a big fan of her debut novel The Shadow Things (great for later high-school, adult readers), and I'm anticipating great things from this new release coming October 20th!

Please tell me you've heard of her! If not, here's a bit about the talented gal...
JENNIFER FREITAG lives with her husband in a house they call Clickitting, with their two cats Minnow and Aquila, and their own fox kit due to be born in early December. Jennifer writes in no particular genre because she never learned how, she is made of sparks like Boys of Blur, and if she could grasp the elements, she would bend them like lightning. Until then, she sets words on fire.
Living with her must be excruciating.

But what's this book with its unusual name all about? Well, my friends, I'm as much in the dark as you are since I haven't read the thing yet. Except for the fact that I've read the synopsis. I guess I will enlighten you, too...
The fate of Plenilune hangs on the election of the Overlord, for which Rupert de la Mare and his brother are the only contenders, but when Rupert’s unwilling bride-to-be uncovers his plot to murder his brother, the conflict explodes into civil war. 

To assure the minds of the lord-electors of Plenilune that he has some capacity for humanity, Rupert de la Mare has been asked to woo and win a lady before he can become the Overlord, and he will do it—even if he has to kidnap her. 

En route to Naples to catch a suitor, Margaret Coventry was not expecting a suitor to catch her.
 It's a planetary fantasy. "A what?" you say. Well, Jennifer is so kind as to 'splain >here<.

I've already added Plenilune to my Want-to-Read shelf on Goodreads, but >you might want to do so<, too. To remind yourself and your friends to check it out on the 20th.

I'm going to have to decide whether to buy an ebook version of it right off or wait for a paperback (cuz it's soooo beautiful!!!) for my birthday in December. Or do both. Or just splurge and buy the paperback right on the 20th.

I don't know.

Help me out here, will ya? Let me know what you think I should do!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I am William Landor

Greetings, my name is William Landor. I am the son of a wealthy Boston merchant, but if you want to know something about the business, ask my older brother, Edmond. Edmond is my father’s favorite, and I have never been able to measure up. 

After the tragic death of my mother and sister-in-law, I fled to England where I remained for four years. When I returned in May of 1774, I found that Boston’s political tensions had grown worse. The king had even ordered that the port be sealed; no ships going in or out. What did the people of Boston expect after dumping the tea into the harbor?

I was shocked to discover that my good friend and our family physician, Dr. Joseph Warren, not only supported the rebels, but also was one of their leaders. He tried to make me understand why he and his followers did what they did, but struggled to accept it. They just did not understand what was due their king and country.

I had hoped that my father and I would get along better after I returned, but nothing seemed to be going right. He was angry with me for the time I spent with Warren. He also fears the future. With the Boston port closed, what is a merchant to do?

As if things alone do not make my life complicated enough, I have many secrets I must keep, including that the young African I brought home with me is not truly a slave, and the cloak buried deep within my trunk.

Which side will I choose? Will I ever get rid of that annoying girl, Selah, who is always speaking up about her beliefs? What about my secerets? Will I have have the courage to allow some of them time come to light?

Read all of my story in the book by author Sarah Holman, A Different Kind of Courage.

About the Author: 
Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of five published books and counting. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.

Connect with Her:

And now, because I read this book and loved it, I'm encouraging you to either go buy a copy on Amazon or enter this giveaway (or both!)...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Giveaway! "The Treasure Hunt" by Kate Willis

That I get to write this post is amazingly cool to me!

One of my sisters wrote a book as a gift for one of our younger sisters (whose birthday happens to be today!), and she wants to give a signed paperback copy to one of you. And being the super-cool person and great older sister that she is, she wanted to have an unusual sort of giveaway. Before we get to that, though, here's a little bit about her recently released book:

From the back cover:
When they reached the gnarled, old apple tree something white lying in the compost pile caught David's eye. He came to a sudden stop and jumped off his bike. Picking up the small package, he dusted off the grass mulch and carefully unwrapped a wooden block with strange carvings on one side. The paper, however, was more than just wrapping. "Your father's favorite pastime and your favorite foods are the keys to this mystery. Signed, Das Alte und Langweilig," read David as he studied the paper. They were silent a moment each thinking of the strange clue and even stranger signature.
Anna was first to speak. "It seems like some sort of treasure hunt."
This is a short and sweet tale that would make a fantastic family read-aloud! It's also completely clean and perfect to hand to any young reader. I love the fact that a large amount of the setting and characters are based off real family life.

Obviously, the author is my sister, but even if she wasn't I would be thrilled to recommend this book to anyone who loves delightful and wholesome reading material.

Enter for a chance to win! (Open to U.S. residents, only, because of shipping costs.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't think you can wait to see if you've won? Know someone who needs this book as a gift? Buy a signed copy directly from me at a discount (only $5+shipping). I take cash, check, PayPal, or credit--whatever is easiest for you!

A Parents' Guide Review of "The Treasure Hunt":
(Since I don't know your family's reading standards, nor am I responsible for raising your children, I provide you with the info you need to make your own decision. As always, I recommend parents pre-read their children's books.)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction (Homeschoolers)
Rating: G
Recommended for: All ages, family read aloud
The story of homeschooled children on summer break following clues to their very own treasure hunt.
Concerns: none!

Specific questions? Just ask!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Giveaway! "The Sparrow Found a House" by Jason McIntire

I asked the good folks on my Facebook Fan Page to raise their hands if they like free books. A whole bunch of them did, so here we go...

Jason McIntire, a homeschool graduate and author at Elisha Press, offered a paperback copy of his family-friendly homeschool fiction, "The Sparrow Found a House" as a giveaway. I just know you're gonna love it.
Here's why...

In which I praise "The Sparrow Found a House":
It's not often that you can find a good fiction book about being a homeschooler. And, to be honest, I've never read one with as interesting a premise as this: 
What if your new stepdad was a Bible-toting Army Sergeant?
Fifteen-year-old Jessie Rivera is living every teenager’s nightmare. Her widowed mom has married a man who wears his heavy Christian values like his sergeant’s stripes – on both sleeves. Glenn Sparrow is persistent, immovable, and not afraid to be firm. Worse than that, he’s loving, kind – even fun – and he has Chris, Moe, and Katie completely won over. But Jessie is determined that she won’t be won over, or give up her “freedom” without a fight. She knows what she wants, and it isn’t what they’ve got. Or is it?
This book is truly a story of family transformation. It is an enjoyable read with realistic characters (can I just say Sergeant Sparrow is awesome?), an interesting plot, and meaningful lessons and depictions of personal growth throughout.

This book would be a great family read-aloud and might prompt some interesting dinner-table discussions. I could also see this being a very encouraging story for families just starting on the homeschooling journey.

I fully intend to read this book to my children when they're older. (they really wouldn't get it at 21 months and 5 months!) In the meantime, I'm going to encourage all my homeschooling friends to check it out. 

I highly recommend "The Sparrow Found a House." (And I wasn't required to say that. It's my own opinion. Just sayin'...)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't think you can wait to see if you've won? Know someone who needs this book as a gift? Buy a copy directly from me at a discount (only $10+shipping). I take cash, check, PayPal, or credit--whatever is easiest for you!

In which I share my Parents' Guide Review of "The Sparrow Found a House":
(Since I don't know your family's reading standards, nor am I responsible for raising your children, I provide you with the info you need to make your own decision. As always, I recommend parents pre-read their children's books.)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction (Homeschoolers)
Rating: G
Recommended for: All ages, family read aloud

The story of children trying to adjust to their new stepfather (married their widowed mother) and his ideas about godly parenting and homeschooling.

Concerns: some of the children (especially the eldest) have bad attitudes to begin with, run-ins with school bullies, some lying (but it’s dealt with properly), skeptical relatives, and a non-stressful run-in with a social worker.

Specific questions? Just ask!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Homeschooled Authors at OCEANetwork Conference Recap

So it's come and gone and here's how it went...

Back at the beginning of May, I put out a call to see if any of my fellow homeschooled authors were interested in going in together on a booth at my local homeschool conference. I told them I would handle setting up the table, running it, selling and promoting their books, and sending them their earnings and any leftovers. I divided the table cost per title so authors, like myself, with more titles (thus using more table space) would be paying more and those with only one title wouldn't find it too cost-prohibitive. I had a good response, ending up with 23 titles by 18 authors.

The day finally came and we had a blast talking to people, answering questions about writing and self-publishing, and promoting the different books according to each customer's reading tastes and those of their children. Friday's sales were a little slow--you could tell a lot of people were taking time to look at everything and would make decisions and do their purchasing the next day. (This is how we recall shopping at conventions, too.) Sure enough, Saturday saw sales pick up.

After a long weekend, we packed up, came home, deposited the mess in the living room and slowly began taking stock of the experience. All told, the booth sold 80 books. The most copies any one title sold was 10 and the least was 1. In addition to this, we distributed a good amount of promotional materials (business cards, bookmarks, flyers, sample chapters). People were so interested, and many aspiring writers and their parents said they were encouraged and inspired. One person said it was a very visionary thing we were all doing--working together to redeem literature. Even those who couldn't purchase right then took business cards and said they'd be looking things up online and purchasing later.
One of the most encouraging customers was a grandmother with 15 grandchildren. She literally wanted to buy one of everything on the table. As I was giving her the tour of all the books, she said, "You're doing a good job at this, you know. I want to buy everything now!" When she realized she didn't have enough cash on hand for it, she purchased what she could and had me give her a list of the titles so she could buy the rest online when she got home.

It was an amazingly fun experience and was successful in more ways than one. While some of the sales numbers aren't that impressive, the amount of interest generated and the huge way we were able to get the word out was entirely successful. Lots of people now know that there are homeschoolers writing real books, publishing them, and doing their part to redeem literature.

As a matter of fact, one person was so encouraged and inspired he has offered to cover the booth fees for any of this year's participating authors who decide to participate if we do this again next year.

Ever since the conference ended and we started looking at the numbers, I've been asking myself the question: "What factors effected the sales numbers?"

My husband and I have been analyzing everything. Here are four key areas we've identified:
  1. Convention size. Oregon's convention had about 2,100 adults in attendance last year (I haven't heard how this year's numbers compare). This is about half the size of--say--the Arizona convention. If only a small percentage of the people attending actually purchase from your booth, the varying sizes of convention will make a big difference in sales numbers. With the amount of interest and success we saw at this convention, can you imagine what we could do at the bigger ones?
  2. Demographics. Quite a few of the participating titles were written for a Young Adult audience. Unlike the Arizona convention, which Tyler and I both remember to be teeming with teens, Oregon's demographic is significantly younger. I remember us watching the people in the vendor hall and wondering to one another, "Where are all the teens?" And the overwhelming majority of parents we talked to were purchasing for children between the ages of about 6 and 13.
  3. Appearance. I'm more convinced than ever that people do judge books by their covers. I just watched several hundred people interact with 23 books, and it's true. Books with beautiful, appealing front covers and well-summarized, intriguing back covers sold well.
  4. Pricing. We noticed books that were priced a bit on the lower end for their perceived size tended to sell better. We had a few short books and a booklet priced under $8. These naturally saw a higher sales count because people don't mind as much plunking down $5 on an impulse buy.
In short, I think homeschooled authors banding together is a great idea. I think working together to promote excellent material in an excellent way is a smart move. I think the market needs a hub for finding homeschooler-authored books. I just think it will take more than one, more than two, more than three tries for the market to think of us all as the leading suppliers of good books. But once it does, we'll be set. We'll have worked together to form this hub, and our customer base will know us and know right where to look whenever the need for decent reading material strikes.

Questions? I just might have answers!
Another time I'll detail how I put this whole thing together and thoughts I've had on what I would do differently and ways it could be improved.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Release! "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler" Available Now!

A cat who can write? That's right! Readers of all ages are loving Mia Thompson's first mystery. As a matter of fact, you should go watch this enthusiastic video review by author, blogger, and reviewer, Sarah Holman!)

Run on over to Amazon to get your copy for only $6.99 (paperback) or $2.99 (Kindle).*

And by way of celebration, if you purchase a copy of "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler" before July 17th (paperback or ebook) and let me know, I'll send you a free ebook copy of one of my other books--your choice! (If you feel like it, leave an Amazon and/or Goodreads review on any of my books--it really helps me out!)

We also have giveaway WINNERS!!!
Congratulations to Hannah B., winner of a signed paperback copy of "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler" and the opportunity to help me name a character in the next Kitten Files book.

Congratulations to Sian G., winner of an ebook copy of "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler"!

Coming soon: an update about the next Kitten Files book and a special request from Mia (the cat)!