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!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Buried Secrets--Irene Hannon's Latest Romantic Suspense--Another Great Read by This Prolific Author

I just finished reading Irene Hannon's newest release, Buried Secrets, and as much as I couldn't put it down, I was sad when I read the last page and had to say goodbye to the hero and heroine I'd come to know and love so much.

Like always,  Hannon keeps the twists and turns coming in this suspense, while at the same time ramping up the very magnetic attraction between Mac McGregor  and Lisa Grant,  small town Carson Missouri's police chief.

Mac, a former Navy Seal and now a detective for the county, teams up with Lisa to solve a 20-year-old mystery. In the process of digging out the truth Lisa finds herself in dangerous territory when she gets too close to the truth.

Hannon's expert characterization skills go deep into whichever POV character she is writing in, including the killer, as layers of hurt and mistrust are peeled away like an onion. Like all her suspense stories Buried Secrets has more twists and turns than one of those switchback roads up a mountainside. I can't wait for the next book in this series to come out!

Hannon's books are always an autobuy for me, but I'm very grateful to Revell Publishing for providing a complimentary ebook to me for review purposes. All opinions are mine alone.

You can read more about Irene Hannon at her website. And while you are there, check out her other titles. She also writes contemporary romance, which I also enjoy.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ane Mulligan's Laugh Out Loud Debut Novel Is a Hit - Chapel Springs Revival Rocks!

To win a copy of Ane Mulligan's Chapel Hill Revival, be sure to leave a comment below for Ane with your contact information and if you prefer a print copy of the book or an ebook. NOTE: PRINT COPY FOR U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY.

Okay, since Ane Mulligan is one of my best friends you may think I am pushing her debut novel because I love her so much. But, even if I didn't know Ane at all, I would still say Chapel Springs Revival is a must read.

I'm tickled to have her as my guest on my blog today and be part of her blog tour. So let's get started!

Ane, did you always know you would be a writer?
No way did I ever think the stories I told as a kid (back then they called it lying) and played out for weeks with my dolls, would someday become books. I cut my authorial teeth as a playwright.
I was Creative Arts director for my church and wrote my first script in 1996. After we performed it, I was encouraged to send it to a publisher. I did and they bought that one and everything I sent them afterwards.

How did you start writing novels?
The hubs said I spent so much on books I ought to write one. I realized that was God's call, because as soon as Hubs said those words, an idea dropped into my otherwise empty mind.

Plays are a far cry from novels. How did you learn?
First, I found an online Christian critique group and a few mentors, who told me plainly I had a lot to learn. What an understatement. POV? Never heard the term. Omniscient? That's what God was. Show don't tell? How do I tell a story without telling?

Yikes! Yet, with each critique, I absorbed a new concept. I bought every writing craft book they recommended, read them, and absorbed more.

What’s one of the most important things you’ve learned about writing fiction?
Absolutely the top thing I’ve learned is motivation is the key to plotting and real characters. Make the motivation right and readers will relate to your characters and will follow them through anything.

Writing is a sedentary occupation. What do you do for exercise?
I have a walking route I like. It starts at the coffee pot, goes through the refrigerator and past the chocolate cupboard before ending up at my writing chair. What do you mean that doesn't count? Okay, I go to the gym three times a week with a good friend who feeds me story fodder.

So, tell my readers 3 fun things they might not know about you.
I sing in a community choir of 130 senior citizens. Hubs is the senior, I’m not. I’m still 35. Hey, I took that online Real Age test and I’m 35...perpetually.

I once wrote humorous advertising poems for a commercial roofer.

I sat in Maggie Thatcher's seat in the House of Commons dining room in London while the luncheon guest of Lord Graham.

Wow, I don't know about you, but I'm impressed. Not everyone gets to sit in Maggie Thatcher's seat!

Here's a blurb about the story to whet your appitite!

Chapel Springs Revival

With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages.

With their personal lives in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.

About Ane:

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Don't forget to leave a comment to win a copy of Chapel Hill Revival! See details at the beginning of this post.