Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Reasons you will Love the ACFW!

Last night I went to a meeting of my local American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Association. Angela Breidenbach, multi-published author, beauty queen, brain donor advocate, and cat lover, gave us powerful advice on how to maintain a professional, but real, image online and off. Angela was hilarious, warm, touching, and most of all, real. I loved how her actions and interactions with the group of authors matched her message to a T.

I had such a great time last night that I wanted to spend the morning singing the praises of getting involved with your genre association. So without further ado, here are the top ten reasons to participate in your local ACFW chapter (or other genre association.)

  1. Fellowship. That's the church word for getting together with people who understand what you are going through and who can offer their support and sympathy.
  2. Networking. That's the business word for meeting people you like who you would like to work with. At our genre association I have connected with editors, proofreaders, mentors, and designers who I can use or recommend to other writers.
  3.  Advice. The speakers who come to our meetings have experience and wisdom. They've learned the hard way, and they will share with you so you can learn something new the hard way.
  4. Snacks. (I like to eat. ) ;)
  5. The Secret Handshake. It's not a literal handshake at our local chapter, but there is a lingo, a jargon, to this business, as there is with anything. The best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it!
  6. The End of Loneliness. Lots of writers are introverts. I am not. I am an extrovert. When my batteries need to be charged I go to Wal-Mart because there are so many people there! Writing is such a quiet, alone kind of job. These association meetings bring people together and help end that loneliness. I got more hugs than I could count last night.
  7. Strength Training. Most people have more than one skill. When you participate in your local association you can use some of those talents that you don't tap into while writing. Every chapter needs a treasurer, someone to make snacks for Traci, someone who likes to organize a room, someone who likes to network with speakers. If you have a talent of any kind, your genre association could be blessed by it.
  8. New Things to Read. Speakers bring books to sell. Other authors bring books. I also left with an advanced reader copy I am excited about. What writer doesn't love shiny new books?
  9. Critique Groups. This is separate from Networking not just because I needed another item. Crit groups are that important in and of themselves. Anyone who has read Foreclosed and Good, Clean Murder (My first book and my most recent book) can see what a difference a good critique group makes.
  10. Opportunity. This probably encapsulates everything else I've listed. Your genre association represents a great opportunity to get involved with a community of writers. I can't predict all of the doors that will open for you when you get involved, but I know for sure you will not be sorry that you did!    


Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery Series, and one of the authors in the The Tangle Saga series of science fiction novellas. She was the Mystery/Suspense Category winner for the 2012 Christian Writers of the West Phoenix Rattler Contest, a finalist for Speculative Fiction in the same contest, and has a Drammy from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild. Traci serves as the Vice President of the Portland chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association.
Traci earned a degree in History from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, their two daughters, and their dog, Dr. Watson.

More of Traci's work can be found at http://www.tracihilton.com
 









 

Monday, April 29, 2013

FaceBook Banners: Your billboard to the World--By Linda Kozar


Most authors have author pages on FaceBook. But few utilize this page to the fullest extent--me included.

I've always been one to experiment with my pics and posts on my FB posts. Offering a variety of interesting images and posts is a fun and entertaining way to engage people.

Ask yourself this--why do people visit FB? To be entertained, informed--to speak their mind and be heard. Or perhaps because they're lonely. Or for all of the above.

This week, I decided to make a few changes in my approach to posts and pics. Hence the image above.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so why not incorporate some of your books in the shot? I've experimented with this in various ways--just book covers, head shot only, etc. but I believe it's best to tell people at first glance:


  • Who you are
  • What you do


Your posts will reveal more and more about you if they like your page, but the first thing you want them to do is like your page. Lots of authors beg people on FB to like them and they probably get some mercy likes that way. However, a mercy like does not a fan make.

Fans are people who like you and like what you do. They are friends, most of whom have never met you face-to-face. All they know about you is what you tell them and the words you post. And if they like you, chances are good they will give your books a try as well.







Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/Ebook, Creative Woman Mysteries) and her nonfiction title, Moving Tales, Adventures in Relocation, released in 2013 (Indie-Published). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency

Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX.

Linda Kozar is the author of six books. Her latest, titled “Moving Tales, Adventures in Relocation,” is a collection of stories from people who experienced the good, the bad and the ugly when they moved. www.lindakozar.com  http://bookishdesires.blogspot.com

Friday, April 26, 2013

Off the Wall Ideas to Save a Little "Moola"

By Nancy Jill Thames
Ever hate wasting products you've paid good money for? Like one of my pet peeves is the detergent cap preventing the last little amount from escaping. One thing to do is take a knife and stab the side (notice picture at left) which allows the remaining liquid to drain out. Voila! You now have soap for two more loads.




Another little trick I picked up from Rachel Ray (love that woman) is storing fresh fruit and vegetables in zip lock bags (Hefty brand is my favorite). By using a paper towel to soak up moisture I've saved a ton of $$ this way!
 
And finally, a tip from me 'ol mum who lived through the Great Depression as a little girl. "Why waste the tip of the banana?" she suggests. "By cutting off the end and giving it a little squeeze - out pops the final bite." The cozy part is thinking about my mother every time I do this.

To me, being frugal is a cozy kind of thing to do. What about you? Any "moola saving tips" you'd like to share?

See you in my books!
 ~Nancy Jill 
Mystery novelist Nancy Jill Thames began publishing Christian fiction in 2010. The author of six books in the Jillian Bradley series, she is an award winning blogger and is listed numerous times on the Author Watch Bestseller’s List, this in addition to winning first place for her Chocolate Cream Pie.

When she isn’t plotting her next book, she spends time with her six grandchildren in two states, tags along with her husband on business trips, and plays classical piano for her own personal enjoyment. She is an active member of the Leander Writers Guild and supports the Central Texas SPCA with a portion of her book sales.


Nancy Jill is busy working on book 7 "The Ruby of Siam" a mystery taking place in London, England. To learn more about the author and check out her books, please visit her blog at  

CONTACT INFORMATION
To view and purchase her books on this site, please visit the Cozy Book Store.









Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cover Reveal

Dah-Tah-Tah-Dah.

Here it is the cover for The Great Scarecrow Invasion.
Pretty Nifty Huh? Kudos to Traci Tyne Hilton yet again.
Okay, so what's the book about? Well here's the description:
"When their latest assignment is debunked before Irene’s Eerie Adventures can even get there, Irene Waters and Troy Stenson decide to help out an old friend from Hurtleberry House, Bob Cullens. Bob has been sidetracked from retirement and has taken a job to finish up an elaborate corn maze. Turns out Bob is a famous maze designer. Who knew? Well Bob, but he wasn't telling, until now.
The farmer Bob works for, Evan Franklin has trouble. Scarecrow trouble. So what could be the trouble with scarecrows in a corn maze? Well, they’re getting up and walking around which could have some dire consequences for the Franklin family. Seems a century or so ago a Franklin cast a spell to bring a scarecrow to life to run off their hated neighbors the Sullvans. Of course, as with all ill thought out deals with the supernatural, there were consequences, like coming back to take the souls of your ancestors in payment consequences. Needless to say the Franklins are a bit on edge to have animated scarecrows running about the place.
As always Irene is skeptical even after she spies one of the walking scarecrows basically daring her to follow it into the maze.
So who’s behind the mystery and what are they after? Is it Mike Sullivan, whose family was driven off their land, back for revenge? Or is it Shamus Franklin, Evan’s son, who can’t seem to let go of old grudges? Beatrice Carpenter a victim of unrequited love? Or is Valerie Hagen plotting some desperate plot to gain custody of her granddaughter Hilary Franklin? And what about Hilary? She is kind of an Irene Waters in training.
(What's that? Do I smell a spin-off? Well maybe, if she's not guilty that is, or even if she is. The girl's got mystery solving potential.)
Of course Irene will solve the mystery, once she gets herself and Troy out of the corn maze where they are currently on the run from scarecrows with attitude issues.
In other words, "just another day at the office."

Due to be released by the end of May 2013,




Mystery and adventure writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Cozy Mystery Series, and a superhero story called Chasing Lady Midnight. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. A big secret from her past, which is not so secret anymore, is that she used to a major comic book geek. Nowadays she loves to crochet, but she is still a big fan of the old Scooby Doo cartoons.
Cindy posts on her own blog called Short Mysteries and Tall Tales at http://shortmysteriesandtalltales.blogspot.com as well as The Cozy Mystery Magazine on http://cozymysterymagazine.blogspot.com
Her Facebook Authors Page is located at http://www.facebook.com/pages/CL-Ragsdale/219184744858421
 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Preparing for a New Release by Author S. Dionne Moore


IMG_1170Getting published is awesome. Having a new release is even awesomer--uh, more awesome. A Heartbeat Away releases next month and I just received my box of complimentary author copies over the weekend. But what prompted me to write this was not to talk about my new release (okay, so I just did!), but to help other writers and authors prepare for the new release by arming yourself with a few necessities.

Write four or five different articles on a subject that relates to writing. The articles are for the blogs that request an original piece that pulls from your expertise (hey, you're an author now, didn't you know you're an expert?).It would also behoove you to do a Q&A with yourself about your latest release using some very generic and commonly asked author questions (Google: Author Interviews). Some blogs request certain questions be answered, so if you have prepared these Q&As ahead of time, you more than likely can pull from this list to quickly answer the ones assigned to you. Often there are very tight turnaround times for these requested things. 

Also, brush up your bio. Have a long bio, a short bio, and a medium bio, all ready to go. A good head shot, a crisp jpg of your book cover and lots of patience, because you're going to get on a roller coaster as the publicity machine cranks into motion. . . Enjoy the ride!


S. Dionne Moore started writing in 2006. Her first book, Murder on the Ol’ Bunions, was contracted for publication by Barbour Publishing in 2008. In 2009 she moved on to writing historical romances as an outlet for her passion for history. In 2010 her second cozy mystery, Polly Dent Loses Grip, was a 2010 Carol Award finalist and she was also named a Barbour Publishing 2010 Favorite New Author. In 2011 her first historical romance, Promise of Tomorrow, was nominated a 2011 Carol Award finalist.
Born and raised in Manassas, Virginia, Moore moved to Greencastle, PA in 1993, then to Mercersburg in 2009. Moore enjoys life in the historically rich Cumberland Valley where traffic jams are a thing of the past and there are only two stoplights in the whole town.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Has Sprung in North Georgia

Well it is finally time to shed the coats and boots and bring out the spring clothes. I don't know about you but I'm so ready for Spring. I know there a some places in the country that haven't seen much of spring yet, but not to worry it will come. In the meantime I'm going to post some pictures I've taken over the years for a little peek of what will come. I hope you enjoy them.
 



 
 
Deborah has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historical magazine "Georgia Backroads." She has had many articles and photographs published during this time. Her writing is featured in "Tales of the Rails" edited by Olin Jackson. She has also had a showing of her photographs at Floyd Medical Center Art Gallery as well as winning several awards. Her debut cozy mystery "Death in Dahlonega", a winner in the ACFW Category Five Writer's Contest, is now available along with the second book in the series, "Murder in Marietta." She is a current member of Georgia Writer's Association, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writer's. Deborah has been nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year 2012. She has an established blog where she reviews Christian Fiction. 
 
 
 
 

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Sally Port--By Linda Kozar

From "Babes With A Beatitude--Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith" (Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) 

The Sally Port

"So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them”
--2 Kings 6:16

In medieval times, castles were built with a sometimes secret door or opening that was heavily guarded for time of siege. The purpose of such a door was to allow quick passage of troops to attack the enemy. But it was also a way of escape for the royal family if a siege wasn't going well. This way of escape was called a "sally port."

If your life is under siege, you need answers. When the enemy is at your gate, you need to know how to defeat him. Second Corinthians 10:4 tells us "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds." God's Word, the bible is our weapon. Though the bible looks like an ordinary book, it is the greatest weapon in mankind's arsenal--forged in the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.


~Beatitude Check~

Think of the bible as a believer's Boot Camp, where we are trained to do battle in the spirit. The way to defeat the enemy is to go on the offensive and send him running. Victorious believers in Christ do not turn tail and run. We do not need a Sally Port for escape. We need a Sally Port to lead the charge against the enemy in order to defeat him!

Buy on Amazon



Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/Ebook, Creative Woman Mysteries) and her nonfiction title, Moving Tales, Adventures in Relocation, released in 2013 (Indie-Published). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency

Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX.

Linda Kozar is the author of six books. Her latest, titled “Moving Tales, Adventures in Relocation,” is a collection of stories from people who experienced the good, the bad and the ugly when they moved. www.lindakozar.com  http://bookishdesires.blogspot.com