Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

I’m so happy to welcome back to the blog, my good friend, author/editor/ministry leader, Jennifer Slattery. She has helped and encouraged me so often!  So what’s she up to these days? Her sixth novel, Healing Love

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Jennifer:  Oh, my. This could take a while. Let’s see. When  I was three … Just kidding. I live in Papillion, a fun suburb of Omaha, but I’m originally from the west coast. I miss the mountains, ocean, and evergreen trees, but I’ve fallen in love with snowy winters and all the colors that come in fall. I’ve been married for … (I always have to stop and think. Terrible, right?) 22 years??? My husband and I had a bit of a rocky beginning, but God turned everything around and has been drawing us closer to one another (and to Him!) ever since. Love my man! Love my God!

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Jennifer:  My books fall in between two genres—women’s fiction and romance. I’ve been told they’re similar to Nicholas Sparks books. I’m not sure what draws me to this genre. I just write the stories I feel God has laid on my heart. Sometimes, those are pure fun and silly, other times they go deeper. Really, I just love writing and losing myself in a world of my own creating.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Jennifer:  I feel this is changing somewhat, and I’m not sure what I’ve landed on. Originally, I just wrote and let the story take me wherever. But then I got myself into a mess. My timeline was totally off, things unfolded too quickly, and others not quickly enough. I figured I’d save a lot of headache if I started writing by outline.

I wrote six novels that way, but recently, I decided I just wanted to have fun. I didn’t want to worry so much about where my story was going; I just wanted to enjoy the process. The result—a book that was a hybrid between plotting and pantsing. 🙂 We’ll see if it ever makes it to print.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Jennifer:    Hmm … I think sometimes the pressure; I worry that I’ll let people down. This is something I have to fight, and remind myself that I write for Christ and am enough in Him, regardless of what I produce. I’m also usually convinced whatever story I’m working on stinks, so then I have to push through the desire to toss it and my computer in the trash. Haha! So I guess I would answer, how it can trigger one’s insecurities and bring them to the surface.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Jennifer: I have no idea. I try not to presume on my future. So much of my life has not gone as I “planned” and in the unplanned, so much good has happened. I may shift to more nonfiction, I may write lighter, fun stories. I’m six classes away from a ministry degree, so I may seek employment in a church somewhere. Ultimately, I want to be in tune with whatever God desires and however He leads, because He knows best.

Thanks for dropping by, Jennifer!


Healing Love

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out-education-and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?


Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture.

Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.

3 Questions Wednesday with Michelle Griep

Author, Michelle Griep

Welcome back to 3 Questions Wednesday, Michelle!

According to Michelle Griep’s website, she’s an author, blogger, and occasional super-hero (when her cape is clean). She does own a sense of humor. 🙂

She goes on to say, “Dare I be so bold as to call myself an author? Being that I’m one of those freaks who attended poetry workshops instead of summer camp during my formative years, yes, I will. While other teens busied themselves throwing parties when their parents weren’t home, I was the nerd holed up in my room with pen and paper.”

So, let’s see how she answers our latest 3 Questions–

Question: What inspires you?

Michelle:  Music. I make a playlist for each new book that I write. While I’m writing, I play that music. I use Spotify for those playlists. Great ideas for inspiring music are movie soundtracks, ethnic music, and classical.

Great idea–especially the movie soundtracks.

Next question–You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Michelle:  If I were a crayon, I’d be Wisteria for two reasons . . . first off, purple is my favorite color, so it’s a no-brainer that I’d choose something in that palette family. Secondly, Wisteria is one of my favorite flowers. I’ve actually got one just about to bloom climbing up my back porch.

“Lavender” people are witty, charming, and creative, according to my “favorite colors” site. I’m a big fan of Wisteria. It’s very nostalgic, and calming to me.

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Michelle: I wanted to be an astronaut when I was young. That didn’t pan out so well, though. I found out you needed to be good at math and science. Yuck and yuck. So I gave that up and thought I might be a pirate instead. Yeah . . . that didn’t work out either. So, I found the best of both worlds by becoming a writer.

Funny! I think you’re our first wannabe astronaut. Yes, a writer can be all those things–no math or science required. Just a little research so you can fake your way through.

Thanks, Michelle, for visiting 3 Questions Wednesday.

Click to tweet: Michelle Griep,  author, blogger, and occasional super-hero. #romance #amreading


Readers, Michelle is offering Out of the Frying Pan, a book she wrote with Kelly Clepfer, to one of our commenters. [Winner’s choice! Paperback, or e-book] So let us know you want to be included by leaving a comment below.

Is there a question you’d like to ask Michelle?

Out of the Frying Pan

When the chef of Sunset Paradise Retirement Village ends up dead, life for sisters Fern and Zula Hopkins is whipped into a froth. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective Jared Flynn. Should he be concerned about their safety or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts–especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Before the snooping pair gain any headway with the case, it becomes crystal clear that the sisters share a mysterious secret that takes life from the frying pan and into the line of fire.

One Reviewer says…

“This novel couples over-the-top hilarity with Jessica Fletcher wannabes as murder occurs at a retirement community. I enjoyed the quirky older sisters-in-law and their niece, who all get involved with the detective assigned to the case. At times bizarre and also dangerous, this story keeps you flipping pages to see how it concludes—satisfactorily, of course. I don’t know if such people really populate the earth, but the authors make them believable and unique. The original plot is intriguing too.”

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Her latest release is OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, but historical romance is her usual haunt. THE CAPTIVE HEART releases in October. Follow her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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Declaring my Independence

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By Harriet Michael

I started writing in 2005 when God laid a burden on my heart and a desire to understand prayer better. By 2009, I had a 63,000-word manuscript written but no idea how to get it published. I attended a writers’ conference and came away having formed a few conclusions: 1) the only way I could get my book published at that time would have been to go the Indie route, which I was not comfortable with, and 2) even though my book was not going to be a reality any time in the near future, I could try my hand at freelance writing (articles and devotions). writers conference

In 2015, I picked up a traditional publisher for Prayer: It’s Not About You , my book on prayer, and it was released by Pix-N-Pens Publishing a year later. And the freelancing has worked out quite well for me too.

Why was I afraid of Indie publishing? I knew very little about it, and I have a weak area in my writing—I need help editorially.

But since 2009, I have learned a lot more about Indie publishing and have, in fact, published two books through the Indie route. One is no longer for sale, but will be back up on Amazon soon. The other is: The Whisper of the Palms.

My concern? I didn’t want to put a book out there for the public to read that was not a professional-looking piece. What have I discovered that made me change my mind? Two things: freelance editors, and freelance cover artists.

My opinion of Indie publishing now? There are some real advantages, but you need to be careful who you work with (if you choose a subsidy press to help you) and how your book is set up. One of my Indie books is set up under my name instead of the subsidy press name and I am extremely happy with that one! I can see the sales reports myself, and the payments come directly to my bank account … and of course, you earn a higher percentage of the royalties since you do not have to split it with a publisher. 

My advice to anyone considering Indie Publishing is, be willing to pay for a professional editor and a professional cover design.

Click to tweet: My advice to anyone considering Indie Publishing.


Writing Prompt: What do you want to do to declare your independence? Write about what you have longed to do but you were afraid. How do you plan to overcome the fear, and make your desire a reality?

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Is There Room For Indie Publishing?

By Tammy Trail

The traditional publishing road reminds me in many ways of a dark alley without street lamps. At the end of the block is a shining orb of illumination where an author’s dreams are fulfilled. On that road to publication are potholes of promises not kept. Deep ruts of relentless proposals, and query letters with rejection notices. Like weeds on each side of the road killing off blossoms of hope for a book with your name on it. With this kind of image in mind, it is no small wonder that many wordsmiths are looking at other avenues of success, namely Indie Publishing.

I first thought this was also referred to as Self-Publishing. The more I researched, I found that this is not the case. Self-Publishing is hiring a publisher or press to pay to see your book in print. This is a risky business at best. Some works of print may not be edited well, have unattractive typesetting, and cost way more than it ought to for the privilege. A promise of marketing your book may be just getting it on a list for availability for wholesale before it reaches your local bookstore.

And then there is Amazon. Now granted, I have found no evidence in my research of plagiarized books in the Christian fiction market, but it has happened in other genres. We know how much of a creative toll our works of art take on us. The hours spent developing characters, plotting, and eye strain from spending time in front of a  computer is an investment. Then some unscrupulous, lazy writer comes along and steals your work. Not only do they steal it, they make money from your idea. One author confronted her attacker in an email. The thief apologized. With this apology email, the original author took their evidence to Amazon to demand her earnings. Others have not been so lucky. In Amazon’s defense, they now have a team of folks who watch for plagiarized material.Writers' Resolutions for 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Traditionally published authors didn’t like the idea of self-publishing either. It mocked the literary social norm. To be honest, some of those who flocked to get published quickly just want a book out there with their name on it. These works were flawed and set a bad example for a fledgling writer. They cheapened the hard work of big name authors. It has improved. More writers who follow this path are taking the time to pay for a good editor, realizing a good product produces better results.

Now Indie Publishing has once again rocked the boat. They have cut out the middle man, and all the bumps in the road by doing it all for themselves. From written word, to editing, typesetting, cover design and marketing. Is there a downside to this? I would imagine it takes a lot of time from blank page to whole book. Some would argue that if you honed your skills a bit and studied the craft more, a traditional publisher would eventually buy your book. On the other hand, there are writing styles and genre that the traditional publishers won’t even look at, and that is frustrating. Controlling your own piece of work without worry of what percentage of the profits will line your pockets is an incentive too.

As an Indie Published author, you are the product. You are the company that invests, markets, and gains the profit from your own written works. I don’t really see a downside to that, except that maybe all the middle man stuff could take away from the creative aspect of your work. Perhaps there is someone out there that has managed to do this well enough to teach the rest?

Time will tell.

Click to tweet: Indie publishing has once again rocked the boat. #IndiePub #amwriting

Writing prompt: Sally received another rejection letter. Crumpling it into a ball she vowed to…………

3 Questions Wednesday with Elle E. Kay

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Elle E. Kay.

Elle E. Kay lives on a farmette in the Back Mountain region of Pennsylvania. She is a born-again Bible-believing Christian.

Stella was her debut novel. Claudia, the next book in the Endless Mountain Series, is expected to be released later this year, with Sofie following shortly after. Elle writes children’s books under the pen name, Ellie Mae Kay.

Her website is updated with the latest information about her upcoming books. http://www.elleekay.com/. She also has a blog, where she writes mostly devotional posts based on traditional hymns http://www.elleekay.com/blog/.


First question: What inspires you?

Elle: Many things inspire me. My biggest inspiration is my faith. I love to write about Jesus and tell others about Him through my blog and my books. My husband is a big inspiration. Without his input, I probably wouldn’t have published my first children’s book. Even my illness inspires me. It inspired me to write a non-fiction book about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The woods around me inspire me. I love living out here in the Pennsylvania Endless Mountains and writing about the area.

 I love it that you are inspired by both the good and not so good in life. 

Next question is a bit of fun–You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Elle: I’m an evergreen color that blends into the woods where I live. Green is my favorite color and I get sad when it fades in the winter, so I want to be evergreen, so I can keep my lovely shade of green like the white pine and spruce trees do.

That kind of green sounds like an eternal color. 🙂 

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Elle: A Cadillac or a tree. Seriously, that’s what I’ve been told by mother. At some point my dream changed to ballerina. I never became a famous ballerina. However, writing was a dream too and I’m happy that after several detours, I started writing books. I think I finally found my niche.

 I love this answer. And I’m sure your readers are glad you found that niche…

Thank you, Elle, for visiting 3 Questions Wednesday.

To learn more about Elle, visit her blog at http://www.elleekay.com/blog/  or connect with her on TwitterPinterestFacebook, Google +, GoodReads, or Instagram.

Click to tweet: Another fun interview with Elle E. Kay. #interview #amreading


Readers, Elle is graciously giving away Stella (print or Kindle version) to one among our commenters. Here are the details–

Stella

After an encounter that leaves her petrified, Stella faces her stark reality. Can she find the faith she needs to persevere? Jason is a complication she’d rather not deal with. Can she trust him? Something is awry in Stella’s world. When she is abducted will anyone hear her cries?

A Christian romantic suspense about a young woman battling to find her faith in the midst of struggle. It deals with the heavy subjects of rape, pregnancy, and kidnapping through a lens of faith and hope.

 

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How to Obtain An Amazon Best-Selling Ranking

By Susan Neal

My previous blog post here on Writing Prompts, Make Your Dream Come True and Self Publish Your Book, described how to self-publish a book on Kindle, CreateSpace, and IngramSpark (Barnes & Noble). Today’s post will walk you through the steps to obtain an Amazon best-selling ranking. You may need to read the previous post to understand Kindle categories, KDP Select, and some other terms.

In 2016, I self-published two books, Scripture Yoga which was a #1 Amazon best-selling yoga book and Yoga for Beginners which ranked #3 in the yoga book category.

How?

First, publish your e-book on KDP.Amazon.com, otherwise, known as Kindle. Choose KDP Select because it allows you to lower your price during your book launch. Your subscription lasts for three months, and during that time you cannot publish your e-book on any other platform. However, you can publish a print book on another site. I unsubscribed from KDP after three months.

Be sure to include a request for a book review, along with a link to your Amazon book page, at the end of your Kindle e-book. The link becomes available after you have published your book. So remember to go back and add this link into your formatted book and reload it into KDP.

When choosing your Kindle categories, select a broad and a narrow category. The narrow one is key to obtaining the high ranking because you do not have as many books to compete against. For example, the broad category for Scripture Yoga was Christian Living which included a large number of other books. However, the narrow category, Yoga, contained fewer books to compete against for the Amazon ranking.

Next, choose two dates to have a $0.99 sale within KDP Select. This sale will show up in the Kindle store on Amazon. The first period should be at the beginning of the three-month subscription to KDP; this is the date you ask your book review team to purchase your book and submit a review. The second date will be your official book launch with the goal of increasing your Amazon ranking and it should be toward the end of the three-month period after you have several book reviews.

Book reviews are an important component of your marketing plan. Create a book review team by asking several individuals if they would like an advanced review copy of your book in exchange for a book review or they could purchase your reduced price book for $0.99. It is best to have at least 7–10 reviews before your book launch. Also, ask your team to share your book’s promotional materials you have created on their social media sites during its launch.

Your book launch goal is to obtain a ranking within the top 100 Amazon books in your category. If this occurs, you can publicize your book as an Amazon best seller. To accomplish this goal, lower your Kindle book price to $0.99 (usually for 3-7 days) after you have at least five reviews. You want to try to get as many purchases as possible within a short period of time for the Amazon ranking to rise. During your launch, monitor your book’s ranking which is listed at the bottom of your book’s Amazon page and take a screenshot as it increases.

There are many of things you can do to plan for this date. However, the most important thing is to pray and ask that your book glorifies God. Next, notify all of your family, friends, social media contacts, and email subscriber list that your book is on-sale. You could raffle a prize, and each person who verified that they purchased your book would be entered into the contest.

At the same time as your book launch, advertise your KDP Select promotion dates on BargainBooksy.com, ReadersInTheKnow.com, and FreeBooksy.com. These websites have access to large numbers of readers who want to purchase books at a discounted price. These promotions will drive up your book sales. At Bargain Booksy, it costs around $25 to run a one-day ad which would be well worth it to attain the best seller status. Whereas FreeBooksy charges a higher price to promote your book, and Readers In the Know allows you to promote your book for free while it is at the discounted price.

There are numerous websites available to market your book including CrossRoads.com, ChristianKindleNews.com, GospelBooks.net, FaithfulReads.com, GoodEbooks.net, and EbookChristian.com. It would be prudent to choose a few of these sites to promote your book during its launch.

Also, advertise your book on KDP.Amazon.com by clicking the “Promote and Advertise” button next to your published book in your account. Select “Create an ad campaign” and click “Sponsored Products.” Sponsored ads show up at the top of a similar themed book’s search results and the very bottom of a competitor’s book product detail page. It is the only ad that is displayed twice. Choose automatic targeting which allows Amazon to choose the keywords.

For my Scripture Yoga ad, I set a bid amount of $.25 and an average daily budget of $2.00. You can increase from there. You only pay if someone clicks your ad. If you monitor this a couple of times a week, it is easy to determine if an ad is working or not. If an ad is spending more than it is making, you can simply pause or terminate the ad.

The morning of my book launch I was at my 88-year-old mother’s home. I woke up early, and for about three hours I sent out many emails and posted to my social media sites. Then I saw a peer’s Facebook post for her book launch and how she was praying for its success.

I realized I had not prayed, so I got on my knees and asked God to forgive my oversight and bless this book’s launch. I felt reassured that it was in his hands. So I drove my mother and three daughters to Homosassa Springs for the day. When I got back to my mom’s home, my book was #1. Praise God!

It takes time and some work, but it pays off when your book is an Amazon best-seller.

Click to tweet: Let me walk you through the steps to obtain an Amazon best-selling ranking. #IndiePub #Amazon


Susan Neal-RN, MBA, and MHS has a passion for inspiring others to be healthy and grow in their faith. Her article, Eatin’ in Eden was published in Clubhouse magazine. She published two books, Scripture Yoga and Yoga for BeginnersHer hospice C.D., Bedside Encouragement: When You Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye, two Christian Yoga DVDs, God’s Mighty Angels and What the Bible Says About Prayer, and two Christian Yoga Card Decks, “Fruit of the Spirit” and “How to Receive God’s Peace” are available on Amazon.com and ChristianYoga.com.

Susan’s two digital products, Eat to Live with a Low-Carbohydrate, Low-Glycemic, Anti-Inflammatory Diet and How to Prevent, Improve, and Reverse Alzheimer’s and Dementia are available at ChristianYoga.com and Gumroad.com. Susan is a member of Word Weavers International and has been interviewed on Moody Radio, Blog Talk Radio, and Premier Christian Radio of the UK.

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