Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Christmas Message

     I usually write something about being an author and ways to sell the books we write.  Today I would like to send all who read this blog the full Christmas message from “Brimstone and Water.” 
     As we face the tragedy of the families that will not celebrate this year I hope on Christmas Day we remember the true reason we celebrate. 


      The final verse of the choral anthem ended after the reading of the Gospel and everyone prepared for Fr. Cragan to come to the lectern and give his Christmas homily.  A small gasp was heard when Adam rose, stepped away from the altar and came down the steps to be among the congregation before he spoke. 
      “Tonight is the Eve of our Lord,” he began, “the start of new hope, of new faith, of new beginnings.  We all know the story; we’ve known it since childhood.  But do we feel it; do we live it in our daily life?  It’s a hard question, and one I ask myself often.  Mary had a baby,” he whispered, “and heaven and earth rejoiced,” he cried out with increasing volume, raising his hands toward the sky. 
      “The Wise Men knew, the shepherds knew by the angel’s call and followed His star to Bethlehem.  They took the journey in faith, responding to the vision; the call from God to honor this little child, this Jesus born to a middle aged Jewish carpenter and his young wife.  How could they know that something spectacular had happened?  Yes, how could they know,” he slowly said stroking his chin in contemplation.  “Most of us would never believe an angel stood beside us and told us to take a journey on faith.  We’d probably think we were losing our minds and try to find a psychiatrist to put us on an anti-hallucinogenic to keep the vision at bay.” 
      “But these men, these Wise Men, the Magi of kingdoms in distant lands came together and shared the revelation each had heard that a King was to be born to Israel, a Savior was coming to the chosen people.  They followed the star in faith indicated by the angel that came to them long before the birth until it brought them to Bethlehem.  It was nothing like today’s journey unto Christ with the Holy Spirit to guide us along the way.  This journey was far different than the freedoms we take for granted to worship in peace.”
      “Think of the hazards they faced in those ancient days.  They traveled through many lands at a time when Romans ruled with an iron fist and travelers were ambushed for a single coin.  And they carried precious rare gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh, worth large sums of money.  Their families must have been very concerned, but still they made the journey.  They never doubted what the angel told them and trusted in God to give them safe haven along the way.”
      “What must Joseph and Mary thought when these three magnificent strangers arrived and offered their gifts.  They were men of importance kneeling beside poor sheep herders before a carpenter and a young mother with a newborn child held close to her breast among the smells of oxen and sheep.  Yet they knew something greater than anything on earth had happened, and it was embodied in this one helpless child.  So they gave the only gifts they knew how to give in gratitude for the gift of love that was given that night in a lowly stable where Jesus slept in a manger.”
      “And after they had paid homage to the child and his mother and father, they risked their lives again to defy Harrod, ruler of Judea.  They did not return to his palace and tell where Jesus lay as he had told them to do during their visit of respect to the ruler of this kingdom.  The angel appeared to them again and warned that Harrod had evil in his heart and would destroy the baby Jesus, the Messiah to all the nations.  They took another route and quietly left for their own countries with the knowledge that they had been allowed to honor the babe that was to save the tribes of Israel and bring hope to the Gentiles.”
     “When morning dawns later today we will exchange the gifts of Christmas with friends and loved ones.   Many will be forgotten before the first blossom announces the arrival of another spring and the gift of sacrifice the child we celebrate tonight gave for us all on that first Good Friday.  Others will be remembered for a lifetime because they are given in love with a deep meaning to the giver and receiver.  But when morning dawns on this special day, before the first gift is unwrapped, I ask you to stop and reflect for a moment about the Wise Men and why they gave their gifts, gifts to a newborn child, a child named Jesus.  Mary had a baby,” he softly said, “and heaven and earth rejoiced.”

I wish all a Merry Christmas and Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Return to Nineveh" - A Sneak Peak


      The fledgling rays of early morning sun shimmered across the still waters turning faded pewter into brilliant translucent shades of opal, silver and bronze.  The strengthening shafts of light stretched across the harbor to a battle scared ship waiting in silence for the sun to warm her decks and playfully dance along shimmering brass fittings.  She came to this anchorage to heal the wounds suffered during a desperate encounter with the elusive Japanese destroyer sent by a merciless conqueror to destroy the last British citizens to flee Singapore.  She waits now in silence to feel the pulse of oil pumping life into her array of pipes and tubing as her engines—her heart—come to life and beat in a steady rhythm.  Soon her human masters will breathe new life into her and she will experience the pleasurable taste of salty spray streaming across her sleek dazzle painted hull. 

      Her name is Mariah.


Chapter 1 

      Katrin Lee Albright stood alone on the peak of the tall tree covered hill overlooking Surabaya Harbor.  Her 22 years on earth had not prepared her for the increasing fear she experienced as the Japanese Army pushed closer to her home.  She brushed the long golden-brown wind whipped hair away from her face while anxiously watching the remaining Allied ships from her hiding place high above the harbor.  The brilliant rays of sun light laughingly danced across the decks and momentarily reflected off guns and fittings as its hot breath seared the backs of sailors scurrying about the decks.   

      Katrin and her father, a missionary priest from the Church of England, went into hiding when the Japanese began their lightning-quick offensive through the small island state within days of their conquest of Malaya and Singapore.  She and her father, Joseph Albright, a missionary Anglican priest, saw the brutal flashes from dueling ships across the horizon during the vicious naval conflict in the distant Java Sea.  The few ships that returned gave witness to the lopsided battle that left only a few to retell the story of failure and defeat.   Now she feared the ships would abandon the war ruined harbor before they could reach them.

      Katrin hoped her dad would come back before darkness fell and relieve her anxiety.  She knew he believed God would protect them and prayed with her to place them in His hands.  He told Katrin to believe it was already so, and it would be done – just as Jesus promised so many centuries ago.  Katrin knew she needed to trust what her father knew to be true, but right now she was alone and felt afraid she would be discovered. 

      Katrin felt a shaft of fright penetrate her soul and quickly climbed a nearby tree when a sudden rustling in the undergrowth caught her attention.  At least she had remembered to make a barely perceptible path away from where she watched like their friend, Colonel Gherst from the Army Rangers, once showed her.  He said it was a way to fool the enemy during one of his many visits to their home.  She briefly wondered if Colonel Gherst was taking part in the battle to keep the Japanese from overtaking Java.

       The sound was coming closer and Katrin held her breath when she could see movement coming toward her hiding place.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Looking for the Right Ending: A “Cliff Hanger” or Finale

   I am working on the sequel to “They All Fall Down” and have discovered it isn’t easy to decide where to end the story.  Should it be at the end of the North African campaign when the Allies defeated Rommel’s army or should it end on the brink to the invasion of Italy?  The answer could affect how well the book will do in the market place. 

   Many authors will leave their audience with a “cliff hanger” when a second, third or even fourth book is to follow.  The history of World War II isn’t going to change; on the other hand, how characters in the story are affected will make a difference to where the third sequel to this saga will take up the reigns of history. 
   It is important the decision be made with follow through to finish this next novel I have decided to title “Return to Nineveh.”  I chose the title because just as Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh; the soldiers that faced the enemy did not want to see war engulf the world. 
    “Brimstone and Water” was released in May 2012.  It is time to have another novel in the pipeline with my publisher to keep my name at the forefront of recently released books.  It allows the opportunity to be a known face at signings, presentations, and book fairs which builds a following that grows with each new release.  Does it put pressure on the author to write while trying to market the latest book to hit the market?  The answer is yes; however, to become known it is essential to treat writing with the same discipline an executive uses to run a successful business.
   The decision is made and now I must follow through to complete the story.  My time at present is limited and it will require putting aside the desire to play a game on the computer instead of completing the last few chapters.  The research is in place, so that can’t be an excuse to put off how the story will end.  As authors, we are in a self-made business that hinges on what we are willing to put into that business. 
   The next story is already beginning to form in my thoughts and it will soon be time to begin the research necessary to bring the narrative to life.   Until then it is time to burn up the computer keyboard and present “Return to Nineveh” as the next work completed.

Happy Writing to All!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rolling With the Punches – Each Event Presents a New Challenge

   Saturday I had a signing at a nationwide chain bookstore where the author provides their books for the event.  This is the third time I have been a guest author with the chain and have found each store to be a different set-up.  I make a point of arriving ahead of the scheduled event time to prepare my presentation of the books (product) to the best advantage.  Each time I have found the staff to be friendly and helpful within the limitations the various stores presents.
Visibility is everything – the rest is up to me.
   Providing the books also involves paying the bookstore a percentage of each sale.  It’s a little like renting a booth, however, the cost is based on the number of sales made and that depends on how much advertising is done for the event.  The store is going to sell their products whether any of my books are sold or not.  The customers are coming because of the store’s variety of specialty books and other items related to their market niche.

   Since the books are sold within the store they must pass through the store cash register sales for the day where state sales tax is calculated for the books sold and charged to the customer.  That said – it doesn’t affect the author’s percentage of the sales.  I paid 40% of retail cost to purchase the books from the publisher and pay 50% of sales to the store, giving me 50% back on the retail purchase price of the book; so my profit is 10% on each sale (40% to purchase, 10% profit, 50% t o the store = 100% of the retail purchase price).  This isn’t a large amount of profit (not quite free – but close), but I did rent the space in the store based on sales.  If there were no books sold, I would not be charged for the space.
   So why try to sell at a chain store niche market – it’s within the niche market that I target.  It is also exposure to the public outside of my 50 mile radius of home.  Each time I have store signings I learn something new in how to communicate with the public and what approach is the most fruitful when trying to promote interest in my writing.  While Christian based, my writing is historical/fiction/romance giving me a wider base to draw from and an opportunity to talk with people about writing, history, fiction and sometimes even current events.  A moment in time allows me to engage the person in conversation, present my book for that person to read the back matter, and present my card in a friendly manner that contains all the information needed for the customer to purchase at a later date when no sale is made.

   Remember I said sales and audience hinge on the amount of advertising done previous to the event.  A press release to the local newspapers and radio stations is free and effective.  I learned on Saturday my book was known to a customer visiting the area that purchased the book who heard about it on her local radio station from the other side of the state.  I have to thank my publisher for that advertising.  Also if a poster is available to send prior to the event for the store to put in their window with the event date and time customers will know that an author will be present to sign a short personal message on the first page just for them.
   We all want to have higher sales and become known to a customer base.  Each time an event is scheduled our names are introduced to new people.  Even though this is my second novel, it has regenerated interest in the first simply because people that read the second novel now want to read more of my work.  They show an interest in the first novel and the upcoming sequel to that work now in the final stages prior to submission to my marketer at Tate Publishing. 

   My husband and I travel throughout the winter and this offers an opportunity to seek out new markets and fairs to attend with the intention of selling – which involves letting my marketer know where I’m interested in being a guest author.  This builds from researching the available market, following through with my marketer and once interest is shown by a store, library, local clubs, etc, and following through once again by making personal contact with that local entity.
   It is now time for me to create the list and contact information, send it to my marketer, and follow through.  But how will I ever get it done?  I schedule small units of time to make the lists and within a few days have the places I’m interested in being a guest author and submit it to my marketer.  I then allow him to do what he does so well.  I know that many self-published authors rely upon themselves to make these contacts; however, I have found a professional marketer is able to open some doors that otherwise may not have swung in the right direction.

   It is up to me to make the personal contact once my marketer sends me a list of places interested in having me as their guest.  It is the same as engaging a potential customer, but this time it is a place where I will be the guest author/presenter.  About three weeks prior to the event is the right time to send out the press release and supply the poster that has a picture of the book and the event information to a store when supplying the books for the event. 
   Each event is unique and holds a certain thrill when a total stranger picks up that book I wrote and says, “This sounds interesting, I think I’d like a copy.  Will you sign it for me?”

Viva-la Sales!

Friday, September 21, 2012


It’s been a while since my last blog entry.  I have no excuses except to say “I have lacked the discipline of following through.”
Following through with anything requires a sense of discipline on a continual basis.  At the workplace we are required to follow through on a daily basis.  How do we handle it if we are no longer in the 9 to 5 workforce?  As authors we have to decide how to market our work and how often we market.  Should it be just a blitz when a new book is published?  Should it be daily, weekly, monthly? 

Retailers market every day through advertising, sales events and being a stone and brick presence in our shopping lives.  We as authors are also retailers with a quality product to sell.   Our publishers, if we are not self-published, will do some of the work for us; however, the major portion of publicizing is up to the author.   Once we have created the publicity it is essential that we follow through on a regular basis to keep those carefully thought out works in the forefront.  In other words, keep the excitement going and keep our name in front of the public. 
I know from experience that many of us will give up after a few months with few of our novels being sold.  It must be it isn’t such a great work after all and maybe I should just bit the bullet and realize my work isn’t the great work I thought it was. 

Wait a minute – everyone that has read the book said it was a good story – so why isn’t it selling in all the bookstores and on Amazon.
In short the answer to that statement is – marketing.  How many of us have read best-selling author books and raved about the stories and writing styles?  How did they get on the best-seller lists to begin with?  First they wrote a compelling, well written story.  Second they worked at marketing until they reached that best-seller list and continue to publicize their work on a regular basis.  Speaking engagements, book signings, fairs, author conventions, talk shows (local and national) are all tools to getting our names out to the public.  It creates excitement about the book and the public starts talking about the book(s) and begins looking for the next book to explode onto the market. 

It occurred to me that in our family I have a brother-in-law that was a sales representative for many years.  He made a good living and as the family says, “…could sell refrigerators in the arctic.”  So why didn’t I think of this earlier.  I’ve tried getting information from publicists but the cost is beyond my means.  Then it occurred to me – why not ask my brother-in-law to help with marketing.  I’d be happy to share a commission within the family.   Yesterday, after he made one trip to two bookstores, I have a signing next month in Muskegon, Michigan at the Family Christian Book Store.  Another bookstore is considering my latest novel as well.
This happened because of follow through by my brother-in-law and my following through with making contact with the stores he contacted in person on my behalf.  A lesson learned here is to keep making those contacts as often as possible.  I keep a few copies of “Brimstone and Water” in our vehicle just in case someone should ask if I have a copy for sale.  Why yes I do, just let me go get it for you.  I sold two copies just by chance when my husband and I were at a campground and the subject of relaxing by the pool with a good book came up.  This started talk in the campground and now people I’ve never met know my novels are available at bookstores, through my publisher and on Amazon.  They also have my business card should they forget the name of the book or my name.

Marketing, it never stops no matter where we may be.  Follow through goes hand-in-hand with marketing.  We can put our name on Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging and every other virtual market out there, but if we do not follow through with our initial blitz it’s a flash in the pan and then forgotten.  Also if we do not work to be physically seen by our public and follow through with contacts made we will not be successful in marketing our work.

How important is follow-through – I would say the most important part of marketing.



Sunday, August 12, 2012


On August 4th I had a signing at Barnes & Noble in Mishawaka, Indiana.  The store provided a large poster next to the table and chair with my book and download sheets for their Nook Book electronic device across from the checkout lane.  A great setting – or is it.

I discovered while being close to the mall entrance to the large store it wasn’t where people entering the store would see me when they first walked in.  I also noted many people that were not interested with having interaction with an unknown author on site would look the opposite way when they did walk by.  Some would take a cursory glance at the poster and quickly hurry past in the hope of not making eye contact.   These are some of the challenges an author faces when participating in a book signing event.
When a person was idly walking around the book shelves and tables picking up books and laying them back down I asked if they were looking for anything special and then offered my book to “take a look.”  Some said maybe later and I would give them my business card that has a small thumbnail picture of the cover, the link to the book and my name and email address. 

But let’s talk about the ones that purchased the book or download sheet.   The customer and I engaged in conversation about the book and how I came to write it.  It might be a 2-minute conversation or it could be up to 10 minutes we talked.  The result of interaction with the customer was the sale of another copy of the book. 
Interaction with the customer – that is the key to marketing.  As authors we often forget that being visible is a part of writing.  People like to put a face with the books they are reading.  Unless one is a bestselling author with an easily recognized name it is essential to make contact with our audience regularly.  Sometimes it might be a bookstore where we bring our books and make arrangements with the manager/owner to sell our books sharing the profits with the store.  Other times we may be fortunate and be invited to a larger chain where the store provides the books and we simply make an effort to communicate with the public and assist the store in making that sale. 

We all know that book clubs and libraries along with rotaries and the Lion’s Clubs are good places to be a speaker and sell copies of our books after the talk.  I discovered at library talks a question and answer time at the end is helpful as well. 
Another good place to “get the word out” is at your church.  Church members participate in a signing event, especially when a tithe of the profits is donated to the church (which is a given anyway).  Another thing about a church signing event is that a talk can be incorporated into an event.  I participated in a church event that allowed me to talk about my novels.  Several members of the church purchased my book and were asking when the next one would be out.  Whatever clubs one belongs to offers a venue for making sales; and sales lead to word-of-mouth that leads to more sales and eventually recognition.

So don’t be shy about answering, “I’m an author,” when someone asks what you do.  It most likely will be the first step to being invited to speak or to come and sell that next bestseller at an event. 
Happy Selling!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Inspiration – How the Story Begins

I have often been asked where the idea comes from to write a novel.  Imagination is part of the answer; but, the things I read and see start the juices flowing.  I enjoy reading about history before I was born, a very long time ago, and start thinking how would I have lived in that time.  Would I have realized that history is being made, just like history is being made in our world today?  After all it’s the history that affects today’s current events as it has throughout time. 

We all react differently to events whether of world importance or life events that affect our nearest and dearest.  Sometimes though events can spin out of control, and that’s when anything could happen.  That’s when the what if comes into play.   That’s when a story starts to form and the characters begin to emerge from behind the curtain of the yet to be written story line. 
Mount Thera erupted in ancient time causing catastrophic destruction throughout the Mediterranean.  Earthquakes shook the earth as the volcano spewed molten lava across Thera Island and into the sea.  Tsunamis rolled onto the Island of Crete causing devastating losses to the Minoan Culture that marked the beginning of the end for a civilization that had survived over two thousand years.  The volcano’s ash carried by the trade winds blotted out the sun and fell like snow smothering plant life.  Soon the Minoans succumbed to illness and death leaving them vulnerable to invasion and the eventual demise of a millennia long civilization.

But, what if, someone important survived.  What if, that person’s blood line flowed into present time?  What if, the current day person heard the ancient one calling to her descendant?  That’s where a story formed and two women of very different times are drawn to each other as their journey together begins. Brimstone and Water began to emerge until the characters were unveiled and their story completed. 
A few years previous the journey took a different route when my interest in the British part of World War II was peaked.  What if, a young American nurse was present when the Japanese invaded the Malayan Peninsula? How would she see the outbreak of war in Europe when in the East all was calm—at least on the surface?  Why is she in Malaya?   What is the reaction of her British colleagues as news out of England reveals an endless stream of destruction by the enemy and diplomacy in the East continues its downward spiral? 

These are the questions I asked myself when writing They All Fall Down.  Each day saw something different happen and the characters began to emerge as each event became public.  Life continues even when world changing events occur.  Those on the world stage are making history, but the rest of the world is living life.  We go to work, we meet with friends, we have romances; we live our lives.   Then one day something happens that cannot be pushed to the back of our minds and we have to react to the situation where we find ourselves and try to survive. 
Though very different stories they both work the characters’ story around history.  I wonder what future author will look back at present day history and become inspired?

They All Fall Down:    then click on book, and type in
Sharon House in the search engine
Brimstone and Water:

Monday, July 2, 2012

Brimstone and Water Excerpt and Author's Note

Caralynn saw the familiar figure walking in a garden where butterflies flew on gentle breezes and landed on the leafy branches of flowering trees and shrubs.  It was a woman, her subconscious decided, walking along the narrow pathway.  She turned and smiled before saying, “I’m Mynah,” causing Caralynn to wake with a start.  “Mynah,” she repeated.  “Who is-or was-she?  Or is she even real?”  I must talk to Auntie today.  What did Father think was so important to keep it in a bank vault in Bern? ……
…… Marie took her time reading the letter and laid it on her lap when she finished and thought a moment before saying anything.

“Have you dreamed, my dear?”
“How did you know?” Caralynn gasped.

“Your mother did as well.  It is what drew her into the field she chose to study.  Your father read the legacy and told Peter it must be preserved.  That is why it’s in a vault in Bern.  I know you have many questions, and I’ll do my best to help you, but only you can release this troubled soul.  She has made her choice.”
“What makes you believe I’m the only one who can release her earthy ties?”

“Your studies have taught you how to unravel the past to find this poor woman’s remains and return them to a place of peaceful rest.  I remember when you were deciding what university to attend; Peter asked what you would study.  You answered you wanted to earn a doctorate in archeology, as your parents had, to follow in their footsteps.  Alex and Rosa were working to bring peace to this troubled soul when tragedy struck.  They were on their way to Crete to find out more about the Minoan civilization, but I don’t think the answer lies there.”
“Will you go to Bern with me?  Will you help me look at my parents’ work?  Maybe together we can unravel the threads of time and bring peace to our family.  I don’t want to leave this to another generation.”

An author’s note:

I’m using an excerpt from Brimstone and Water with the idea it is a teaser to intrigue people to purchase and read the novel while not giving away the life journey of two women of very different times that share a blood line.  Will the strategy work?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime I continue to seek out bookstores, libraries, book clubs, fairs, and events to be a speaker and sell books. 

Brimstone and Water available at your favorite bookstore,, and by using the link below:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blogging and Promoting

    Several times I have wondered what the next step should be for promoting my novels.  Writing a story is something that spills across a page and a natural progression to the story emerges.  Successful promoting of that story to the reader to purchase and enjoy that story does not flow with natural progression.  A million copies best seller is less than the population of Detroit, Michigan, yet few attain that magic number which puts the author’s name on the lips of book reviewers and talk show hosts across the country. 

     A publisher’s marketing department is overwhelmed with new releases on a daily basis that  precludes individual attention to each new book entering a highly competitive market.  Authors are encouraged to create a short one or two sentence description of the story and possibly use an interview coach to help promote their novels.  Currently the internet is becoming one of the biggest promotion tools available.  But, what is the most cost effective use of this tool?
    I have found followings on Twitter and Facebook, two of the most popular internet social networks in the world.  These two networks allow the member to interact with peers and set up pages that attract others to read and comment on postings.  These networks also allow members to post links to their web pages, blogs and directly to their novel as well as upload pictures of the cover within the post. The catch to each of these networks is to post fresh information at least two or three times a week to remain current and interesting to followers.  Once posted the comment is open for the world to read and critique. 

    Another network is where several members are involved in groups commenting on subjects of interest to a broad spectrum of professionals. I belong to four writers groups at this time and have found interesting comments and advice from several members that are helpful along with encouragement and suggestions to strive for excellence in my work.  As with Twitter and Facebook, it is essential to remain current with the groups to remain a recognized voice about the subject being discussed.

    A blog is a way to express thoughts beyond the novels in publication.  A Google blog spot gives the blogger the ability to be “googled” and have information appear under my name as an author along with what books are included in my repertoire.  A blog also brings the responsibility to update regularly to keep fresh ideas flowing.  More people see the blog as time progresses and some become members because the subject matter interests them and in time may become interested in reading my novels.

     Each day brings a fresh challenge to continue writing new stories while working to promote those works that are completed and in the market place.  Book clubs need to be contacted, another rotary or lion’s club approached, and a list of places where I would like to be seen and heard needs to be emailed to my marketer weekly.  New speeches need to be created so speaking engagements don’t become stale.  All of these things are out of my comfort zone, but I have to push myself to make them happen if people are going to purchase and read my stories. 

    The above are all integrated tools to bring a novel to fruition in the market of reader’s choice.  A well written novel will be deemed a page turner, but the reader will be the final judge of a story.  First and foremost he/she needs to know the story is in the market place and to have their interest peaked by the publicity generated using all the marketing tools available.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Blank Page - What Shall I Write

The blinking cursor on the monitor is waiting for my fingers to dictate what will appear on the screen. I stare at the blank page and wonder, what should I write about? There's research that comes before creating the story. Sometimes the reference books and nonfiction books about a historical event, or small events that lead to the big event are a story in themselves. Wouldn't it be fun to put my characters there and see where it leads?

Choosing where to start the tale is the beginning of defining how the story will unfold. So many of what appear to be unrelated incidents lead to occurrences that create consequences and trigger a major event. Weaving the characters through what to them are not significant news reports brings the story a sense of realism. What will the characters' reaction be when the big event occurs?

The outcome, how will it be told? So much depends on what historical documents tell us about the mores' of the time frame involved. In ancient times events that changed lives were usually attributed to whether the gods were pleased or displeased with a culture. In more recent times world conflict is attributed to the failure of diplomacy. In either situation the characters bring life to the history and make it memorable by what they do in the face of a changing world.

The characters' personalities reflect a combination of people that have influenced my own life from a short term acquaintance to the closest of loved ones. One character may be calm and able to rationalize while another is caught up in fear. Other characters will not acknowledge change is coming and continue the same as before the event took place. But each character's response leads the story to its conclusion.

By now the blank page has turned into a chapter and the chapter into several chapters. Characters interact with each other discussing news items, expressing opinions, and living life throughout the story. As time passes several chapters turn into a volume of chapters that become a novel to present to a reading audience.

And now? It's time to move on to the next blank page and start the process anew.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Page From Brimstone and Wather


The sea crossed onto the land in a thunderous wave that reached far above the coastal towns and villages without warning. Ships that had weathered ocean storms and battles at sea were tossed and broken into splinters within minutes, as the fifty-foot wave heaved them against their moorings. Battle-hardened sailors were drowned in seconds from the wave’s fierce strength. The few that survived tried to help those who were injured only to become victims themselves when the next towering tsunami washed across the land and dragged them into the depths.

Mynah cried out in horror at the sight as she watched in stunned disbelief from high up the side of Mount Ida. How could the gods forsake us? her mind screamed.

The Minoan Akrotiri settlement on the island of Thera sent word about the terrifying catastrophic volcanic eruption of Mount Thera. The earthquake it caused shook the very foundations of the earth and was felt in kingdoms far removed beyond the hills and valleys of the north. The few traveling survivors said the eruption that released the suffocating clouds of ash among them had spread with the god of the winds farther than the eye could see.

Could this be what brought about our own troubles? Mynah wondered. But why would the gods destroy that place and bring such devastation toward our people? Only the under gods bring brimstone from the center of the earth to torture and destroy those who do not obey and make sacrifice. Is what the Jewish traveler said true, that there is a living god and he brought this disaster to us? Our people must have food, or we will be no more. I fear the future. She trembled. I fear for my people.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When Romance Tiptoes Across The Page

History indicates a dire situation where young men are called to war. The story becomes more intense as diplomacy fails or fate destroys leaving a nation vulnerable to invasion. Yet in the turmoil of pending disaster romance tiptoes across the page.

Historical fiction/romance is exciting to imagine and even more exciting to bring to life. I have read a plethora of historical fiction and nonfiction over the years and find romance finds a way to enter the story. As a character's personality is built his/her soul begins to show on the page. Human nature is to reach out to others and sometimes a special someone enters our lives. The same holds true with the characters of a historical fiction/romance novel.

The characters' lives revolve around the historical events and as in life continue in the normal vein until something shatters their world. Their reaction can take two paths:

  1. Lash out at the fate which brought this unwanted intrusion on them; or
  2. Turn to each other and trust in God's Grace to bring them through the trial
I choose number two - Trust in God's Grace. As my characters live through the dilemma facing them I strive to show how they support each other the way we would want to be supported in the same situation. The characters don't know what the outcome of the days events will bring just as we don't know about tomorrow. And out of this a love story grows and builds with the uncertainty of what new dilemma the next chapter will bring.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Marketing - Who will buy my book?

The time has come to market and I am at a loss.  Where do I turn to find marketing tools that are user friendly for a novice in the field? 

A plathora of advice exists on the web, but how much of it is practical for an author to use.  Finding venues to market my books is a full time job even with the help of a dedicated publisher's marketing department, and what about the niche market.  What niche does the story fall into, historical fiction, romance, adventure?  They all have a place in the story, but which genre should be the target for marketing purposes. 

I found marketing to be a world of mystery since entering the realm of published authors where one follows a maze of intersecting paths that lead to several dead ends.  Book stores are a wonderful experience and being a featured author at Barnes & Noble feels like you have arrived.  But, the few books sold on that Saturday afternoon are soon forgotten when the book is not on the shelves the following Saturday as another aspiring author is featured. 

The list continues with book fairs, library appearances, speaking events, a web page, and yes, creating a blog.  All of these are areas to advertise and promote the work of the imagination that demanded rewriting, editing, review, professional critique and meeting deadlines. 

I have learned the final product is not the published book; the marketing of that book is the end product.  A story is not complete until another person reads it and finds enjoyment in the tale.  So I say keep searching for markets to sell the tale that emerged from a computer file to a book for the world to enjoy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Historical Fiction Writing -

Only God
can bring a soul to rest
Thank you for stopping by my blog. 

I am happy to say that my second novel is ready for pre-release sale at  I hope you will find the story interesting and entertaining as two women connected by a tenuous blood line take their life's journey in very different times on earth.  Not much is known about the lost Minoan culture that ended nearly a milenia and a half before Christ walked the earth which allows a more poetic license. 

I have always enjoyed history and discovered writing fiction around it is even more enjoyable. They All Fall Down, my first novel, is also historical fiction but demanded history be followed closely since it takes place in the early years of WWII when diplomacy failed and war erupted across the globe.

Keeping in mind that history is a window to the future allows characters to participate in the current events striving to bring about the outcomes of current time.  Natural disasters, wars, life changes and death can bring out the best or the worst in people.  Using these events help to build the characters' personalities when the stories unfold and their lives take on meaning as they thread their way through the pages of a novel.