Saturday, July 19, 2014

Looking for Sponsors

Calling all authors, artisans, and persons who make/create/cause stuff to happen of all kinds ...

I'm looking for sponsors for online book launches.

What is an online book launch?

An online book launch is typically an event held on Facebook where people come on the event page for that launch and learn about the book being promoted. They are invited to win prizes donated by sponsors by doing things such as "liking" the sponsor's Facebook page, etc. These launches are gaining in popularity, as online seems to be the way everything's going. I or my assistant coordinate launches for my publishing company, Trifecta Books, and sometimes for friends as well.

Why would you want to sponsor?

When I hold an online book launch, I make sure to point the participants to the sponsors' websites or Facebook pages or to promote them in other ways. This gives you the opportunity to get your name out there in circles you might not have reached yet. Depending on the cost-to-you of what you donate, it's very inexpensive advertising. It's tax deductible as a business expense for marketing. It's fun, and plus, you get the added benefit of people thinking you're cool and awesome.

What does a sponsor do?

First, decide what you'd like to donate. It could be anything, really, that a person might want to win. E-books are hugely popular, as are print books and cute little trinkets - book bags, jewelry, etc. You can also donate a service - if you're an editor, you could donate a three-page review (or what have you). Be certain that whatever you donate is something that you don't mind shipping. Larger items will automatically be labeled as "U.S. participants only" - I won't ask you to pay overseas shipping.

Then fill out the form below. That's really all there is to it. I or my assistant will contact you when we have need of a prize, and then after the event, we will contact you with the name of the winner.

If you have any questions, pop me a note at, and thanks for your time!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Announcing ... the Main Street Merchants Series!

I'm really excited to announce a new book series that will launch this October. I've never tried my hand writing just romances - I've done romantic suspense and other combinations, but romance as the main genre is new to me. But you know what, I'm having a ton of fun! I hereby bring you the Main Street Merchants series, coming out through Trifecta Books as part of the Sweet and Clean Romance Collection.

Here's what's on the docket:

October: And Something Blue  Bridal consultant Laurie Fletcher spends her days helping others prepare for the most special day of their lives. Will true love ever come her way, or is she doomed to watch others get their happily ever after?

NovemberFor Love or Money  Cynical Sydney has just about decided that no one could possibly fall in love with her - all the good guys want perfect girls, and she's anything but perfect. But then along comes the guy who falls head-over-heels in love with her just as she is and helps her find the bright side of life again.

DecemberFive Golden Rings   Even though Cara has lost her childhood weight and is now composing her own music, she can't see her own beauty and she has no confidence in her talent. Only the right guy can help her see inside herself to the amazing person who has always been there.

January:  Just Desserts  Quinn has been working at D'Angelo's Bakery for a long time - so long, in fact, that she practically has no other life. But then along comes a new friend who shows her that life can be oh, so sweet.

February:  Between the Lines  Regan spends her days working in a bookstore and her nights reading. She goes on grand adventures in her head . . . but not in real life. That all changes when someone sweeps her off her feet and carries her up a mountain.

And much, much more ... this is just a taste.  :)  Stay tuned for future announcements!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Book Review: How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness by Leta Greene

Raise your hand if you feel insecure about any part of your physical appearance! We all do - every one of us. Whether we're supermodels or soccer moms or weigh 120 pounds or 350 pounds, every person alive on earth dislikes something about themselves. I'm right there with you - I'm downright awesome in so many ways, and yet when it comes to my weight, I can't seem to cut myself any slack. The way I feel about myself emotionally gets piled on top of the unhealthy way I feel physically, and it becomes a vicious cycle of self-criticism that's difficult to break.

Makeup artist and motivational speaker Leta Greene addresses these issues and more in her new release, How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness: An Inside-out Approach to a Lasting Makeover. This book was a fun read for me on several levels.

First, Leta is a real woman. She's not a stick-thin, airbrushed, media-hyped personality - she has scars (literally) and she's really down-to-earth. Second, the book starts out by affirming something we should all be telling ourselves everyday - that we are of value, regardless of our appearance, and that God only creates beautiful things. She then gives practical tips for working with the very best of our features by choosing colors and styles and shapes to make ourselves amazing instead of longing for the body we may never have. If we honor what we have and dress for who we are now, we can feel good about ourselves every day instead of waiting to lost that ten, fifty, or hundred pounds before we'll give ourselves some credit.

In my experience, most books that give tips for makeovers concentrate on hair, makeup, and fashion. Leta gives advice for how to change the way we perceive ourselves before she gets into choosing the right moisturizer. She really gets at the heart of beauty, which is that it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside if you don't love yourself on the inside. She shared an experience of doing a makeover on a perfectly lovely model who talked about how ugly she was and how flawed she felt - loving yourself must be a function of your inner self, not the products you put on your face or how much you weigh.

Leta gives a to-do list for finding those qualities and traits in ourselves that we can admire and encourages us to remind ourselves daily that we are truly beautiful, shifting the focus to the positive. Then, after a time, we'll find that the things we don't like about ourselves are somehow less offensive in our eyes.

Because we all struggle with self-esteem, I think we should all read this book. Once again, here is the purchase link.

In addition, here is a link to Leta's beauty consulting business, and another to the TED talk she gave on this topic.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Year I Quit Writing

You might not believe this, but once, I didn't write for a whole year.

I shall tell you the story.

I grew up in a family environment that was very supportive of my writing. Both my parents thought everything I wrote was just awesome, my grandparents were so proud ... my sisters tolerated it with a minimum of eye rolling ... basically, I was never really corrected. I took some correspondence courses in journalism and creative writing from BYU Independent Study, and while my grades sometimes fell to a B-, for the most part, I was consistently praised.

I got a contract with my first publisher and when my edits came back, very few things had been marked, and they were minor. Again, no one told me anything significant was wrong. It was all hunky-dory.

When the book came out, people loved it. I got rave reviews, I was asked to speak in various places, and I thought I had it totally made.

Then I wrote my second book and sent it off to a friend and fellow author. And she trashed it. I mean, totally trashed it.

And I didn't know how to take it.

You see, when you've never been corrected, you don't know how to grow and improve. And when you are corrected, because it will happen someday, it comes as a total shock because it has never occurred to you that you might not be doing it right.

I'm not saying this to be all, "I'm perfect." I'm saying, I was raised to think I was perfect, and to learn that I wasn't was really hard for me.

I'm not at all proud of what I did after I got that critique. I'm sharing it, though, because I'm making a point here.

I took the manila envelope and I threw it into the back of my closet as hard as I could. It went back and behind a small dresser I had in there, and I decided that I wasn't going to write anymore.

Was it a tantrum? Yes. But it was an amazing learning experience.

A year went by. I thanked my friend for her critique, even though it still stung. I kept myself busy with other things, but in the back of my mind, I never stopped wanting to write.

And one day, I dug in the back of my closet and pulled out that envelope. I took a deep breath, pulled out the pages, and read over the notes with the perspective of a year's distance.

And guess what . . . my friend was absolutely right. About everything.

I had written that manuscript totally sure that I could do no wrong, and I hadn't taken the time to create a good plot or compelling characters or to polish my writing. I'd just dashed off this book, believing myself to be the golden child, and my friend called me out on it. That story was dreadful. I mean, it really was. And because she was my friend, she wasn't going to let me humiliate myself by putting something out there that wasn't up to the standard she knew I could reach.

I threw that story away and I started writing other stories. I studied, I asked questions, I read books in my genre, and I learned and I grew and I published better books.

And I learned so much about myself and about life in the process.

I learned that it's not good for a person to go through their whole life without ever being corrected. I know my parents were just trying to create a supportive environment for me, but I honestly had no idea that I wasn't doing things right, and when it was shown me, I had no coping mechanism. We must be corrected if we're to grow up to be successful adults. I dislike the parenting techniques that say we should never correct our children because it might damage their self-esteem. If we aren't lovingly, gently guiding them to want to do better, we're raising people who will someday throw entire books into the backs of their closets because someone told them they weren't perfect.

I learned how crucial it is to get feedback from others. We can't see our own mistakes. We're either too hard on ourselves or we're too lax, thinking there's nothing wrong when there really is. We must ask others to help us see our weaknesses. At the same time, they'll also help us see our strengths. (I could talk about unhelpful feedback, but I'll save that one for another day.)

I learned that giving up on something you love to do is just silly. I was going to let my pride keep me from writing, which had been a life-long dream. If there's something you want to do, do it, but understand that there's a price to be paid. There's hard work, there's dedication, and yes, there are uncomfortable critiques. But if you want it badly enough, you push through it. That's what makes champions.

Looking back on the experience, I feel utterly foolish. Who just throws an entire book behind a dresser like that? (I mean, besides me.) I wish I hadn't acted so immaturely, but I have to say, it was one of those defining moments we all have in life. Going through that time of doubt and discouragement and then all the realizations that came after it really shaped who I became later. By the end of this year, I will have published over thirty books, both self-published and traditional, in a wide array of lengths and topics. I run a very successful editing company, and I started my own publishing company last fall. Would any of this happened without my year-long pity party? I seriously doubt it. I had to come face-to-face with myself and determine who I was and what I really wanted.

And in case you're wondering who that friend was who helped me in my metamorphosis, you probably know her best for her wildly popular Sadie Hoffmiller series. Thanks, Josi Kilpack. You are amazing.
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