Thursday, July 14, 2016

Interview with Talon Carlson from the Circle Bar Ranch novels, Give the Lady a Ride and The Final Ride ... And a Giveaway!!!!

Final Ride Cover
Today I am very excited to have visiting my blog author Linda Yezek’s male lead from her new novel The Final Ride. I have nothing against Linda—she’s a very good friend—but if I can interview a bull rider, even a fictional one, I’ll take the bull rider. Hey, I’ve got my own bull rider story coming out in January.

I first met Talon and Patricia in Linda's first book of the Circle Bar Ranch series, Give the Lady a RideIn fact, I hear the clink of his spurs as he approaches my door right now. Be right back with my guest!

Talon Carlson is one busy man. He’s the foreman of the Circle Bar Ranch, the preacher at the local cowboy church, and a regionally famous bull rider. 

I’ve always been curious, Talon, why just regionally? Did you ever want to pay your dues and go professional, like the PBR (Professional Bull Riders)?

Talon: No, not really. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sport, but I love ranching more. Whatever arena is closest to home is the one I want to ride in.

Pam: Well, the PBR does mean a lot of travel on weekends. I imagine Patricia Talbert has something to do with that decision.

Talon: Let’s just say she reinforced it. I’ve always preferred staying closer to the ranch, she’s just the newest and best reason why.

Pam: So you’re okay with her wish that you stop riding entirely?

Talon: You had to bring that up, didn’t you? Making the promise to stop riding was a whole lot easier when my arm was broken and always itching in its cast. But now that it’s good again, I’m suffering from a different kind of itch.

Pam: The itch to ride?

Talon: ’Fraid so. You’ve got to understand, I’ve been riding since I was a kid. Giving it up cold turkey isn’t easy–especially since my last ride ended with me in the hospital.

Pam: How do you think Patricia is going to respond to this itch?

Talon: I don’t know. I just don’t know. Let’s move on to another question, okay?

Pam: Sorry, didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Let’s switch to a happier topic. Have you and Patricia set a wedding date?

Talon: Not yet. She wants to take it slow–much slower than Chance and Marie did. Those two fell in love when they first laid eyes on each other and weren’t so hesitant to do something about it. Pat’s not willing to move that fast.

Pam: I remember those two from the first book, Give the Lady a Ride. But you and Patricia have been together for a while now, haven’t you?

Talon: Yes, ma’am, almost a year now. But you know her background, how her late husband had been cheating on her the entire time they were married. She’s hesitant to take that step again.

Pam: And you’re willing to wait for her?

Talon: For as long as it takes. She’s worth it.

Pam: You know if you ride again, you risk losing her.

Talon (squirms in his seat): . . . Let’s move on.

Pam: Okay, then. Moving on. I hear you got to meet Patricia’s aunt Adele. How is that going?

Talon: Adele is . . . a challenge. She has ideas in her head about what’s right for Pat that don’t fit my ideas of what’s right for her. And she’s not too subtle about letting me and the rest of the hands on the ranch know how she feels about us.

Pam: Such as?

Talon: Well, her first night there, she came between us and our dinner. Now, you have to understand, we put in a hard day’s work, and the noon meal doesn’t always survive the afternoon heat and exertion. So when we can finally quit for supper, we’re just short of starved. But Adele made us shower and change into our fancy duds before we could come in for supper. Frank didn’t mind too much–I think he’s a little sweet on her–but Buster was fit to be tied. Somehow, between the time she refused to let us into the house to eat and the time we came back dressed in our Sunday bests, she managed to get Consuela, our ranch cook, mad. Her very first day on the Circle Bar, Adele managed to turn everything top-side down.

Pam: All that on her first day?

Talon: Yes, ma’am. All that and more. It was mighty eventful.

Pam: Well, I’m looking forward to reading about it in Linda’s newest Circle Bar Ranch release, The Final Ride. Thanks for stopping by, Talon. 

He tips his Stetson then ambles out and back to the Circle Bar and his chores.

P.S. Talon didn’t know it, but I already had a sneak peek at The Final Ride and it’s a wonderful story. So good I couldn't put it down. HERE'S THE BIG NEWS!!! 

I’m doing a giveaway of The Final Ride and you can have your name thrown into the Stetson by making a comment on this blog and tell us about a time you made a promise you wished you hadn’t and what did you do about it. 

If that hasn’t happened to you, no worries, just leave your name and I’ll toss it in with the rest. I'll draw the winner's name on Thursday, July 21, 2016.


Twenty-five years ago, after a decade of life as a "single-again," author Linda W. Yezak rediscovered God's love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God's gift of second chances in the books she writes. Linda's novels are heart-warming hallmarks of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

You can find Linda at these places:

Facebook Fan Page:  
Twitter: @LindaYezak
777 Peppermint Place:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Finding the Sweet Spot - Pointers on Closing the Deal at Summer Festivals and Craft Fairs

This past weekend I participated in Authorfest in my hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. This is the second year for this festival and my second time participating. I have also sold my books at craft fairs and over time, I have learned one thing. If you want to sell your books, you have to find the sweet spot of emotion in each potential buyer.

I hate pushy sales people as much as the next person and when I first started selling at craft fairs and festivals, I waited for the customers to flock to my table. If I were a well-known author with a famous name that probably would have happened, but in my case not likely. After a so-so experience at a couple craft fairs I decided I needed to step it up.

You would think that my book Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin would be an auto-buy for anyone attending a book sale set next to the beach where the town's iconic Riviera Building is featured on my book cover. But not so much. I still had to sell the book to people and find that emotional connection for them to want to take my book home to read.

One of the perks of Authorfest is the wonderful view! The Riviera Bldg. is left of center
My table was situated along a sidewalk that sees a lot of walkers over the course of a sunny summer Saturday and it was also one of several first seller tables the walkers encountered if they approached from the west. 

I'm not a shy person, but the first few times I made my pitch it was a little nerve-wracking. However, each time it got easier and I tweaked it on the fly when I saw what worked. Of course you have to make this applicable to your own situation, but I've broken the pitch down into increments to give you a head start:

1. Know your target audience and begin to search the people approaching your location for those people. My main target group are women from approximately 20 years old and up. And out of that group, women from middle age and up narrows it down even more. 

2.  When I spotted a woman that fit my target audience, I watched for her to look over at my table and slow her pace as she took in the large sign with a picture of my book. 

3. At this point I asked if she would be interested in stories set in historical Lake Geneva. By now, she had usually stopped walking and answered one of three ways: "Yes" or "Maybe" or "Not really." 

4. I gave the not-really people my book mark that features my current books and they went on their way, but with those who answered "Yes" or "Maybe," I begin my sales pitch by telling them I'm the author of the book, which they were sometimes surprised to learn. Then I continued on with the following facts:

  • I grew up in Lake Geneva (which gives authentication to the story).
  • My story is a love story that also involves historical information woven in about what the town was like in the 1930s and how the community project of building the new recreation building on the lakeshore brought the people together.
  • That the Riviera Building is on the cover of my book, and how I learned a lot about life in the town during the Great Depression and prohibition that I never knew.
  • I mentioned  how hard I worked at research to make sure that the only stores and places named were ones that were there at that time  
About this point in the conversation I could tell if I had made an emotional connection with the person. And if I had, I'd found the sweet spot. At any point after this, they were usually reaching for their wallets. Note usually, because some still walked away.

Of course, if I were doing this in a different location or even selling a different book at that time, my pitch would different. But the key point I’ve learned is searching for that “sweet spot” where you make an emotional connection. It's something I see in their face or their eyes or in something they say in response to what I've said. 

At my book table at Authorfest
One man loved the history of the area but he was hesitant to buy a book that was a love story (Calling the book a love story, as opposed to a romance, works better with men). With him I stressed the town's history that is shown throughout the story and assured him the love story wasn’t the only element in the book. I even warned him what part of the story had the first kiss so he could skim when he got to that part. He laughed and bought the book.

I also learned I did right by setting the price point at a level that a majority of people considered reasonable to pay for a trade paperback book. I was told that other authors at the sale were selling their books as much as five dollars more then I was. This was not a strategical move on my part, but I do know that there is an invisible line that most book customers don't usually cross when considering an impulse purchase of a book. I try to stay below that line.

All in all, Saturday at the Authorfest was a successful day. I have no idea how it will be for me next year when I’ll have a new rodeo story to sell that is set in southern Illinois, but I'll still be looking for that sweet spot.

If you’re interested in Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin it is still available online at Amazon and other online stores. You can also purchase my other book, Thyme for Love, which I was also selling at Authorfest by clicking on the title of the book.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Cynthia Ruchti -- Award Winning Novelist Pens Another Great Story You Won't Want to Miss!

You know I am jazzed about a new book when I bring my blog out of the woodwork to rave about the novel. That's exactly what has happened.

I've never read a book I didn't like from author Cynthia Ruchti and her latest release, Song of Silence, keeps that record standing strong.

Lucy Tuttle, a career music teacher at a small K-8 school, is riffed at the end of the school year due to budget cuts. Often teachers are riffed at the end of a school year to help the district make budget, but they are hired back in the fall when attendance dictates it's necessary. This is not the case for Lucy. The entire music department has been cut. Not only is it an assault on her income but on her heart. Her late father had started the music department at the school and she feels responsible for it's demise. 

Lucy goes through denial, followed by depression, and finally acceptance. And with acceptance comes discovery in a most unexpected way.

I highly recommend this book or any others that Ruchti has written. One of my favorites, As Waters Gone By, is one of my favorites. But all of the ones on her backlist promise hours of savoring the wonder of her prose. 

I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of review and all opinions expressed here are my own. You can read more about her at

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in Hope through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction, and through speaking for women’s events/retreats and writers’ conferences/workshops. She draws from 33 years of experience writing and producing the 15-minute daily radio broadcast, “The Heartbeat of the Home.” Her books have received recognition from RT Reviewers’ Choice, PW Starred Review, Selah Awards, Christian Retailing’s BEST Awards, CLASSeminars Award of Excellence, Golden Scroll Awards, and more. She serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, is a board member of the Deliver Hope ministry, and is part of the worship team at her church. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Going Indie -- A New Frontier For Me -- Thyme for Love Has Been Reborn!


Until July 29, 2015, I was a traditionally published author only, but things have changed. On that July day, my first independently published novel went on sale, making me a hybrid author.

About six months ago, I received my rights back from the publisher for Thyme for Love (TFL} and its sequel, Love Will Find a Way. The only choice I had to keep the book in the market place was to step my toe into the waters of independent publishing, bettern known as "going indie."

When going indie and publishing your book yourself, you become not only the author, but also the publisher, editor, cover designer, and publicist. Here is a rough breakdown of the steps I had to take:

1.  A professional edit is normally required, but since TFL was already edited by a professional editor when it was first published, I did not hire an editor. I tweaked the writing in some places and updated the technology, but the content remained the same.

2.  I don't have the ability to produce a professional looking cover (at least not yet).  The average cost of a good cover design runs around $400, but I was fortunate to win a cover design through an online auction and paid substantially less than the norm.

3. The systems for Kindle, print, and other ebook sellers do not accept a Word document. I considered formatting my manuscript myself with the help of written instruction, but in the end, decided to pay a professional formatter. I've never regretted it. When I uploaded the formatted manuscripts, they both passed on the first try. Well worth the nominal expense.

One of my memes.
4.  Within days of submitting my manuscript to Amazon's Create Space for print copies, I was able to order author copies at a very reasonable price. Within a week, they arrived at my door, every bit the quality printing I have received from traditional publishing houses. 

5. There are a few different packages you can use to upload to Kindle. I chose Kindle Direct for the first 90 days Thyme for Love is on the market. This program gives Amazon an exclusive, and the agreement can be renewed every 90 days. Several benefits come with this program, including promo packages and advertising. 

You can check out the Amazon page by clicking here!

6. Marketing is the last, and probably the most important, step. Unless you can afford to hire a publicist, you are the publicist. Word of mouth is always the best way to get results, but to get the buzz going you need to get your book title out there. I've become quite adept at designing memes and posting them in various places like Twitter and reading groups on FaceBook. There's a fine line between posting enough to make your book known, but not so much people stop following you. But once you hit a good balance you should see steady growth in sales. 

One of the best benefits of indie publishing is there's no waiting for a royalty statement from my publisher. The Amazon site not only tells me how many books have sold, but also the total amount of royalties I have coming. For a while I became obsessive in checking my sales, and anxious! More about that in my next post.

Does this mean I'm not planning to have my stories published by traditional publishers in the future. Absolutely not. I'm working on pitches right now for my editor appointments at the ACFW conference next month. The  landscape of publishing has changed and is continuing to change at a rapid rate.  At first the thought scared me quite a bit, but now that I've gone indie on TFL and will soon do the same for its sequel, I'm embracing the changes and finding the process quite enjoyable.

Have you published indie yet? Are you planning to? Please share your own experiences in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!