Author’s Compromising On Their Work

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Why do publishers ask for the first three chapters of a MS?

Have you ever read the first chapter of a book and found it really bland, but because you’ve spent money on this book, or an author has asked you for an honest review, you push yourself to read at least the next two chapters. And when those do nothing for you either, the book is cast aside.

How many reviews have you seen with the words ‘couldn’t finish because I couldn’t relate’ or ‘the first chapters were so boring i figured the rest of the book will be the same’.

When author’s send a query to the publisher, attached is a book synopsis. How the synopsis is written influences whether or not the author will receive a callback requesting the first three chapters of the MS. This is where the author either secures a contract or receives a rejection letter. These first chapters need to be engaging, drawing the reader in and keeping them hooked to the end of the book. I call these chapters bait because they determine the readership of that book.

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So can we blame publishers when they ask authors to either add or subtract to it? Can we truly blame publishers when at the end of the day, the book should be carrying the editor’s name not the author’s because it doesn’t resemble the original work?

Publishers never sign books that are not marketable despite how great the story may be. They would never place themselves in a position of facing huge losses because they believe in an author’s vision, in their creative ingenuity crossing their fingers hoping readers also see this. In circumstances where the publishers find the story interesting enough, they do ask authors to rework the book and re-submit.

Usually i ask myself, ‘why should i struggle to identify what i need to rework when i have no idea what they see as being wrong with it?’ This is because the publishers doesn’t want to spend more than what they deem necessary on editors. The less work the book needs the better/ cheaper for them. And once an author ‘reworked’ (and some authors just change one or two words and resubmit) and the publisher deems the changes satisfactory, the author receives a contract. The publishers gave the author a chance to perfect the MS and once the contract is signed, it’s their turn to do with it as they think best.

There is all this lingo that you need to read and understand before signing on the dotted line and most of the time, authors don’t take the necessary time to read and understand. Well, there are three sections that need undivided attention, the Royalties, rights and terms of agreement.

‘The author agrees to be open about changes the publishers believe the manuscript need and should not be obstinate. if so, the contract will be broken and author will pay for work already done up to the point of disagreement’

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Yeah, authors really need to watch out for this line in their contracts because holding onto your integrity will end up costing a bundle. So for those who have no other choice but to agree, they do find that the book has undergone so many changes it doesn’t resemble the story s/he penned down. Why? Because publishers only publish marketable manuscripts. For those who published vampire books during the Twilight craze, they did find their books resembling that series a lot, just not so much as to risk being sued for plagiarism, because Edward and Bella was what was marketable during that time.

Book covers aren’t immune either. The author describes what they like, what they believe best tells their story in a picture or the models pose. You’d think that would be simple enough. No way. If publishers don’t like the description given, the author receives an email containing a cover s/he either didn’t approve of the first time or didn’t ask for with the comment ‘the publisher has made the executive decision to chose the final book cover‘.

Clearly, the publishing industry is just like any other entertainment industry in the world. Author’s are forced to conform to what is in season at the time and unique becomes the ugly step-sister.  Well, unless there is just one or two things that make it standout from all the other zebras. It does explain why publishers have authors write books under one theme, or a plot line. See why there are so many self-published authors who do better than those represented. Because they are uniquely themselves, not a clone of Stephanie Meyer or the other big names in publishing.

So do you as an author fight for your vision or do you compromise? When does an author say I’d rather invest in my own work and be uniquely me or will they say as long as I’m getting paid they can do the hell they want with the book?

Books ought to be judged by their own merits, and what makes them unique and if the creative vision is compelling and engaging and not some business model. Personally, I don’t read books with the same plot line or story line unless there is something very unique about them. What’s the point of paying for three to five books that are the same nursery rhythm with the same melody and lyrics just sang by different people at a different tempo?

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Night Owl Review of Love Forever After

Hi All!

I’m back in South Africa from a two week vacation in Kenya. It was great going home for a while for some down time and to visit my family especially my two awesome grandmothers. But it’s back to work now and here is a review of Love Forever After by Night Owl Reviews.

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“William and Kristy were deeply in love. They were a couple and true love was clearly in their lives. However, when tragedy strikes and Kristy passes away William is distraught. He is devastated…the love of his life is gone for good. And suddenly everything in the worlds seems horrible. Yet, when he walks into his house and sees Kristy there…it is odd…but perhaps she didn’t die after all. Or perhaps love has swallowed him whole and he is just as crazy as everyone thinks he is.

The writing was well done. There were some parts of the book I really enjoyed. However, I felt more like this was a drama that focused around William rather than a romance because there was no falling in love involved here. The story is about a man already in love and his wife who is a ghost. There are some surprises. There is this great connection that William speaks of and thinks about when Kristy is around, I simply did not feel this deep connection. On the whole, this book was an entertaining read.”

Reviewed By Beth Hardy

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A Heart Not Easily Broken on Sale this month!!!

Everyone is looking for romance, but what would you sacrifice if you held the key to the happiness of the ones you love?

 AHNEB Sale with seal pic

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

****ON SALE FOR .99 CENTS FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!!!****

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book,Jadedvisit this link! 

 

Author Pic 5.2012ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free.  Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.

No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and two pit bulls. MJ can often be found hanging out at the local library where she is director of a local writer’s group, or online connecting with readers and other authors. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.

MJ’s debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Book one of the Butterfly Memoirs, became an instant Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance and African-American Literature and Fiction within hours of publication. It has also spent time on the African-American Women’s Fiction and African-American Romance Bestsellers lists.

You can find MJ on social networking sites, sharing writing tips, talking about music, life, and family. She’s always excited to meet new people. Connect with her via the websites below.

The Butterfly Memoirs: Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links

Author M.J. Kane Blog and Website

5 Prince Publishing Author Site

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Pintrest

Google+

Linkedin

Email

 

Book Grow… the best promoting tool for Indie Authors?

verticalHi All!

I hope you are all having a fabulous month.

Wow! the year is really moving! It will be 2014 in no time. Hope you’ve all began ticking off your 2013 bucket list and resolutions 😛

Mine is to get my books noticed more by the reading public.

I just wanted to share this post about Book Grow. Most of the sites I’ve used have not really helped get my books exposure, but I keep pushing forward. As a requirement to get listed in Book Grow, I have to write something about them, all I know is that they offer a number of services to authors to help write, edit, review etc, but I have no personal experience and I am not one to vouch for something I’ve never tried. So I picked a few testimonies from authors who have used the services of this site and hopefully I’ll include my own very soon.

BookGrow has helped catapult four of my books into the top 100 free Kindle chart within 24 hours. My residual sales are huge now!

-Bill Dodd

The Free Book Submission Tool is a godsend. Book submissions used to take me nearly all day and now I can run them all in about 15 minutes. Awesome service. Thanks 🙂

-Samantha Crooms

Using the tools and exchanging likes, reviews and tags on the forum has increased my Kindle revenue by 600%! I recommend BookGrow to all indie authors.

-Lucy Armstong

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I hope these testimonies were enough to make you consider Book Grow for the promoting and writing services. I’ll let you know what I think once I get listed.

I f you have anything to share about Book Grow please share with us!

Praise for Love Forever After and Fatal Jealousy

Hi all!

I hope you are all having a wonderful start of the week.

Mine is going okay, I just hate waking up early on a Monday morning because that means the weekend is over and its time for school again.

Any who… I just want ed to share with you these awesome new reviews for Fatal Jealousy and Love forever After.

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Love Forever After:

‘Love Forever After is sure to touch the heart of any person who has ever loved, more so those who have loved deeply and lost that person too soon. I found myself on a roller coaster ride of emotions from the first page to the last. William and Kristy’s story is a testament to love, and the lengths one will go to to keep that love alive. It is enchanting and haunting, poignant and exhilarating. I am looking forward to the continuation of this series from Author Christina OW. I hope you’ll put this beautiful love story at the top of your to be read list today!’

‘I read Love Forever today. Can you say WOW!!! I was blown away with this book. It was not your typical fairytail love story but took twist and turns that had me going ever which way. It keep you on an emotional rollercoster. Loved this book can’t wait for part 2.’

Fatal Jealousy:

‘This is truly an incredible story written by the amazing Christina OW! With twin sisters, caught up in the madness of love, jealousy and serial killers, Ms. OW has once again written a story that I couldn’t put down! As the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit travels through the minds of serial killers, the twins are caught in between love and madness, a sickness too deep to be imagined. While I was trapped in the story, it was difficult to follow at times as it lacked a smooth transition between scenes. I still have Christina OW as one of my favorite authors to read and review and recommend you read this incredible book!’

‘What an awesome way to plot a novel, sonrisa…Start with two ultimate beauties, twins no less…then add a dash of sexy, action, romance, murder and one FBI agent having to first choose between 3 women…then after choosing, having to save the love he’s chosen and his life and even his career….

Author Christina OW has truly brought out her A game when writing this extremely well put together novel…From the start she truly flows and take you through the pages with such dynamic intrigue…that it leaves you breathless anticipating what’s next….

I recommend this novel to anyone that loves sexy, romance, mystery, action and true detective work….to pick yourself up a copy of this libro/book, sit back buckle your seatbelts and enjoy this amazing ride…WaAr
An Awesomely Amazing Ride!!!!’

‘Let me just say OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am still trying to catch my breath from Fatal Jealousy. That book just literally keep me going like the energizer bunny. I mean I could not put it down. I had to force myself to stop reading and go to bed.

This book is your classic good vs evil but with some twist. Ellie and Ellsa are twins. Ellie the good girl, Ellsa the bad one. This story goes through all of the twist and turns of how one twin has everything and how the other wants it and will do anything and everything to get it. No matter the cost.

Th book blew me away. The twist and turns just keep you going as if you were riding an nonstop rollercoaster. This book was sooooooooo good. I’m generally not a fan of suspence drama but Christina has at least made me one of her books.

The book was awesome. It is well worth the price.’

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments. They go a long way in supporting authors. This kind of support encourages authors to keep writing for you readers and we aim to entertain! 🙂

Reading books is soooo much better than watching TV! 😉

 

Warlock's PawnMake sure to stop by on Thursday for Tara Quan’s guest post. This will be the kick off to her blog tour for her Captive Fate Series!

 

 

 

 

Side Note: HER VENICE AFFAIR is done!

I’ve finally finished writing the first installment of the Albury Affairs series. If there are any readers out there who would love to read and review it (3 weeks) before i query it for publishing, inbox FB page

Blurb:
Riana and Reno Albury came to America with their mother Cora Davis who ran away from her New Providence home after she was confronted by her lover’s wife.

After their mother’s death and Reno’s deportation, Riana is left alone in NYU. Life seems to only gets worse when she finds her roommate and her boyfriend having sex in her bed. Distraught and tired of always being the good girl, she takes a billionaire up on his offer to go to Venice with him.

What could possibly go wrong?

Tsunami Connection By Michael James Gallagher Review

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Tsunami Connection is the first novel of trilogy by Michael James Gallagher and it is worth the cost- well, I got it for free but it is still a great book and I can’t wait to read the other two books.

It is a fast paced thriller about terrorists, set in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. It shows that the author did extensive research because he gave knowledgeable details and made it quite easy for the reader to picture it, even the characters.

What I liked most about it, is that it wasn’t predictable and the story was something that actually happens in the contemporary world.

 

Here is a review from an Amazon Reader
Tsunami Connection is the first in the New World Trilogy of novels from Michael James Gallagher and it is excellant. The Tsunami Connection establishes a new and unique voice from Gallagher; a mixture of no-nonsense thriller writing combined with fascinating multi- cultural understanding and rich character development gives us a thoughtful and fast-paced international thriller. Kefira, Tsunami Connections’s amazing protagonist is clever, thoughtful, and a Superhero with human failings and energies.

Set in and around the Middle east, North Korea and Russia, the story inexorably draws us in and never lets go.
The terrorist thriller plot is tight. Yet there is interesting, well written and knowledgeable side bar storeies about Tango in Buenes Aires, for example, that are stunningly good.

Gallagher goes for short-ish chapters that closely track the story and offers no pauses. It is a “don’t put me down book” Sex and violence are included, but Gallagher doesn’t dwell too long on either, he is more likely to spend time on the intricacies and psychology of a suspect’s interrogation.

Christine Steendam…. Heart Like An Ocean

Press Release Launch Kit

For

Heart like An Ocean

Christine Steendam

 

Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Historical

Release Date: February 7, 2013

Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-939217-29-5 10: 1-939217-29-6

Print ISBN 13: 978-1-939217-32-5 10: 1-939217-32-6

Purchase link : www.5princebooks.com/buy.htm

 

Christine Steendam Bio:christine

Christine has been writing stories since she could put pen to paper and form words. Now, many years later, her debut novel is scheduled to be released and her second book is in the works.

Christine has spent the better half of her life owning and working with horses, and these four legged companions often find their way into her stories. After all, no work of women’s fiction would be complete without a horse or two (in Christine’s opinion at least).

She currently makes her home in the center of the world—no, really. Look at an atlas.

PUBLIC AUTHOR CONTACT INFO:

http://chrissteen.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/ChrisSteen1991

https://www.facebook.com/authorchristine.s

kcsteendam@gmail.com

 

Heart like An Ocean:

In a society where she doesn’t belong, Senona Montez, a strong-willed and free-spirited hlowoman refuses to follow the path expected of a Don’s only child.

On the eve of her marriage to a stranger, she saddles her horse and flees everything she knows, only to discover the petty concerns of society did not prepare her for the harsh life on the open sea. She finds an unlikely protector in a reckless privateer, Brant Foxton.

Straddling the worlds of independence and privilege in 1600’s Europe, this captivating man challenges her in ways she never thought possible, shows her what living to the fullest really means, and allows her to follow her heart wherever it leads.

 

Heart Like An Ocean Excerpt:

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Senona looked around the room full of swirling dresses of so many shapes and colors. It was like a dream and left her overwhelmed and unable to tear her eyes away. Tonight she was a princess in her new dress with her hair curled, cascading in loose waves down her back. Tonight she was perfect.

Browsing the room, this time in search of familiar faces, Senona spotted Caton Amador, and Isidro Amato. The boys, although older, were her friends and a welcome relief to the overwhelming nature of her surroundings. She made her way around the perimeter of the room in their general direction.

Isidro was never very serious about anything and enjoyed teasing Senona, which annoyed her to no end. Caton was much more subdued and quiet, at least around her. Although they were not as close as they once had been, the families remained good friends, and the three of them spent many hours riding around the countryside or playing games in the garden. When they were younger, Isidro and Caton had been her constant companions, helping her sneak out of tea with their Madres or rescuing her from lessons with her tutor. Now they never voluntarily saw each other, but due to their families’ relationship, they found themselves together often enough.

“Senona, my Chica! You are a picture of beauty, as always,” boomed Isidro’s obnoxious and teasing voice.

Caton turned to look at the young girl. “Leave her alone, Isidro.”

“Come on, Caton. She’s glad to see us.”

Caton frowned but said nothing, turning his attention back to the pretty girl standing next to him. Isidro seemed to accept that as permission to continue, and he smirked mockingly at Senona, beckoning her. The small flock of girls that surrounded the two boys giggled, causing her to blush and become hesitant and uncomfortable. She had never seen the boys in this environment, and she quickly questioned her decision that she belonged with them.

“It’s okay, Isidro. I just wanted to say hello.”

“Well then, run along. There must be some of your friends around.”

Senona forced a smile and turned to Caton. “Hello, Caton.”

He barely acknowledged her with a brief glance and nod in her direction, and then returned to ignoring her. Unsure of how to deal with Caton’s rejection, she walked away, her eyes burning with angry tears that threatened to spill over. Why was he being so rude? Not even so much as a hello, as if he were embarrassed to be associated with her.

As she pushed her way through the crowd, she heard one of the girls laugh. “Caton, I do believe you hurt her feelings.”

Caton’s deep, unmistakable chuckle cut through the din and his voice was all she heard. “She’s a silly, strange girl. I would rather not encourage her.”

Senona expected this behavior from Isidro, but from Caton? She had always thought he was honest and simple, but his actions tonight had shown her otherwise. She had been a fool to think that these older boys were her friends.

Escaping into the shadows, she hid from the sneering glances and mocking laughter that seemed to follow her wherever she went. She had thought that tonight would be different, but nothing had changed. She was just a strange little girl.

The night was a blur, a blur of swirling skirts and obnoxious voices. To nearly everyone she was invisible. Even her Madre and Padre, who had never been overly affectionate towards their daughter, seemed to have completely forgotten her existence. But that wasn’t so different from normal. They weren’t very affectionate people ever, even towards each other.

At the end of the night, Senona lay in bed, her new dress hanging in her wardrobe, mocking her. She had realised tonight how far she fell from society’s standards, her own parents’ standards. Any illusion she had of being a princess, of being perfect for one night had been shattered. But that didn’t really bother her. The truly odd thing was that she felt a weight lifted from her shoulders. Perhaps she didn’t have to be that way. Perhaps now she had the freedom to do as she wanted. It wasn’t as if anyone cared about her anyway. She was just a strange little girl.

THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP

Welcome to the NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP!!

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way for readers to discover authors new to them. I hope you’ll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy. On this stop on the blog hop, you’ll find a bit of information on me and one of my books and links to five other authors you can explore!

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         First Published Book                                                            Latest Release

My gratitude to fellow author, Christine Steendam, for inviting me to participate in this event. You can click the following links to learn more about Christine Steendam. and her books.

Christine’s blog: Caffeine & Contemplation- chrissteen.wordpress.com

Christine’s Facebook: facebook.com/authorchristine.s

Christine’s Twitter: @chrissteen1991

In this blog hop, my fellow authors and I, in our respective blogs, have answered ten questions about our current book or work-in-progress (giving you a sneak peek). We’ve also included some behind-the-scenes information about how and why we write what we write–the characters, inspirations, plotting and other choices we make. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?
The working title for Fatal Jealousy was Trust, Love & Death.
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was watching a crime shows and there was this man who killed his sister for money. Then I thought about applying that dynamic on twin sisters, but not for money but a man. Then throw in another woman, one who’d considered herself this man’s girlfriend. Throw in three women in a ring, set the prize as a sexy FBI agent and blood gets spilt.
3: What genre does your book come under?
Crime Romance

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Tia and Tamera as Ellsa and Ellie Jabari

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The role of the twins Ellie and Ellsa Jabari would be Tia and Tamera Mowry and FBI Agent Dale Carson would be Shemar Moore. For Gwen, the third woman I’m not sure yet but I’m open for suggestions. She’s a red head, very beautiful, a bad ass but very calculating and cynical and of course an all round bitch, like Ellsa.

 

 
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Both my released books are published by an independent publisher, 5 Prince Publishing
7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Around six months then editing took another three months before publishing
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Nicky Charles’s The Mating. They both have a jealous woman, Marla, who kills those she believed betrayed her. The man, Kane the cause of this jealous fit is hot with eyes for the other woman. And of course the unsuspecting sweet woman, Elise, gives the jealous woman a second chance only to be her last victim.
9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I just thought of sibling rivalry on a higher scale.
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The love story between Dale and Ellie and how they both ease in to family life, something they both had not planned on and finally how they deal with the aftermath of all the murders. Their lives have changed and there is no fairytale ending to their love story. Like all my books I try to keep the story especially the ending as realistic as possible.

 

Work In Progress and Contest.

I am running a contest for my next series The Albury Affairs.

Has anyone been to Italy? If you have, tell me about the best place you visited and what you loved most about it.

I’ve never been (seriously campaigning for my mom to send me) and I’d like to use your favorite places, why you loved them and if it was a romantic trip what you felt. I love reading stuff that inspire emotion.

The best description will be featured in my book HER VENICE AFFAIR and the writer will have a special mention with their picture (if they have any available) in the place they described in the book.

If you are new to my page, Like and comment on this post and inbox me. Spread the word and get as many entries as possible.

There will be another contest for the second and third books in the ALBURY AFFAIRS series HIS BAHAMAS AFFAIR and HIS PARIS AFFAIR.

*If you would like for your story to be featured on the site http://tmdangel.wix.com/chrisitnaow#!news-and-events/c1pz please express so in the email.

http://christinasbooksblog.wordpress.com/albury-affairs/

Below you will find authors who will be joining me virtually, via blog. Please be sure to bookmark their sites, and add them to your calendars for updates on their upcoming books! Happy Writing and Reading!

1. Chris Kridler: http://www.chriskridler.com

2. Christine Edwards – YA author

3. Denise Moncrief – Romantic suspense author

A Heart Broken By Sara Barnard

Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.combooks@5princebooks.com

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance

Release Date: January 11, 2013

Digital ISBN 13:978-1-939217-24-0

Print ISBN 13: 978-1-939217-25-7

Purchase link :www.5princebooks.com/buy.htm

A Heart Broken

How much grief can a heart bear before being tested to the ultimate limit?  The War is over, Charlotte and Sanderson are reunited, and life is good … until the Army comes knocking.  They have charged Sanderson with the murder of his former captor, the despicable Lieutenant Lantz who swore to kill him and Jackson. After a make-believe trial, Sanderson is sentenced to “hang by the neck until dead” – unless he can track down and kill the notorious outlaw William Quantrill with the help of SGT Jerry Thomas, who still may be in love with Charlotte.  While Sanderson is on his blood mission, Charlotte miscarries the baby he wasn’t even aware existed.  In addition to battling her grief over the loss of their unborn baby, Charlotte must also battle a rash of hydrophobia that threatens the countryside –Sanderson included.

Bio for Sara Barnard:

Sara Barnard, author of the historical fiction series, An Everlasting Heart, has been reading children’s books her whole life. First, she read then as a child then she read them to her four beautiful children! Sara has her Bachelor’s degree in history, has had her work included in numerous anthologies, and has written several other books to date. Sara and her family make their home in the historic hills of Oklahoma along with their three dogs, three cats, and eight chickens.

Author Contact Info:

www.sarabarnardbooks.com is Sara’s website

sarathreesuns.blogspot.com is where she occasionally blogs about life as a Mommy of four and wife to a Drill Sergeant.

@TheSaraBarnard on Twitter

www.facebook.com/sara.barnard6 on Facebook

sarathreesuns@gmail.com

Excerpt from A Heart Broken:

“Don’t die till we get to have some fun, girl.” Samuel’s whiskey-ruined voice was hot in Charlotte’s ear. Somewhere behind her, Dean’s maniacal laughter pulsated with cruelty. The Bowie knife grew closer to her face, but with her arms lashed behind her, Charlotte could only watch in helpless terror as the promise of death drew nearer.

“Sanderson!” she screamed, just before the icy blade met the skin of her neck.

“I’m here. I’m not going to let anything happen to you,” Sanderson murmured into her hair. His arm, muscled and tanned, tightened around her middle. His voice was thick with sleep. “Was it that dream again?”

She sat up and traced the knife scar at the base of her neck. The air was crisp in their loft and a rash of goose bumps immediately cropped up on her exposed skin. “It was one of them. The knife one. I always wake up before they kill me, but I swear,” Charlotte shook her head to clear the nightmare from her mind, “it gets scarier every time.”

“They’ll get worse before they get better.” Sanderson propped himself up on an elbow and ran his hand down her thigh before continuing, “Mine are pretty bad right now, too. But when I wake up and look at you, I know I’m home.”

She returned his mischievous smile.

“We’ve been through a lot these past few years. Figure it’ll take our brains a little while to catch up with our bodies. The bad dreams are just our way of getting there, as I see it.” He twined his fingers through hers. “You know how I know that I’m really home?” He tugged her down close.

“How’s that?”

“I can do this.” With his free hand, he cupped the side of her face. That familiar spark blazed to life within her chest before their lips met. She closed her eyes. Softly, his kiss found her cheek, then her lips. Trembling, she let herself be taken over by her husband’s sensual caress.

“Wait, what about Minerva? Won’t she hear us?” Charlotte’s eyes were still closed. For a fleeting moment, she wondered if they’d been right to offer Minerva and baby Jay Jay their extra room. Certainly, having an empty house in moments such as these would be optimal. She pushed the thought away as quickly as it had come. Minerva was her sister-in-law, and she couldn’t imagine everyday life without tiny Jay Jay. After all, she had brought him into the world and only Aunt Charlotte could calm him down deep in those colicky nights.

Sanderson’s breath was warm in her ear, “They went out early this morning.”

Satisfied that they were alone and talk time was over, Charlotte met Sanderson’s kiss with passionate ferocity. His skin, roughened by time spent in Alton Confederate Prison, glided against hers naturally, like water over smooth river pebbles.

Finally, my love is home. I’m complete as long as he is near.

The front door squeaked open, and Minerva’s voice wafted upstairs. “Jay Jay, such a fussy boy today. Come, I’ll feed you in our room.”

Quietly, Sanderson tucked the rose-patterned quilt up over their heads as Charlotte stifled a giggle. “We were alone,” she mouthed.

He kissed the tip of her nose.

Minerva’s door clunked shut, and baby Jay Jay’s threatening whimpers ceased a moment later.

Charlotte flung back the covers. “Maybe we can continue this tonight?”

“As you wish, Mrs. Redding.”

A pounding at the door tore their gazes from each other.

“Who in the world would come calling this early in the morning?” Charlotte wondered aloud.

“I’ll get it,” Sanderson called, pulling on his britches. His voice echoed in their quaint, stone cottage.

“I’m closer,” Minerva answered. “Jay Jay is too tired to sleep.” She clomped across the floor with the infant nestled in the crook of her arm.

Charlotte peered over the edge of the loft. “Good morning, Minerva. Is Jay Jay ready for his Aunt Charlotte?”

Si, he is.” Minerva smiled and rested her hand on the doorknob. “We picked some carrots this morning. Let’s make a stew tonight.” She hefted the door open.

An unfamiliar voice boomed, “Captain Sanderson Redding!”

Sanderson froze, his shirt only half buttoned. The cold fingers of fear squeezed Charlotte’s stomach until bile rose into her throat.

“Um, ah, um,” Minerva stammered. Jay Jay began to wail again.

Charlotte dashed to the window. “Soldiers! They’re everywhere Sanderson!” She whirled, eyes wide. “Can we make it to the cave underneath Sunshine Rock where I hid from the Yankees?”

He inched to the wall and peeked out the window. Reaching out to Charlotte, he pulled her close. “There’s no way. They’re even in the trees. Every rifle out there is trained on our house, just waiting for me to make a run for it.”

“We know he’s in there, so cough him up before we come in and search the place!”

Sanderson started toward the ladder.

“No! Please, we have to try!” Hysteria was threatening to overwhelm Charlotte to such an extent that she didn’t feel like herself at all. “Please!”

“I have to turn myself in, for all our sakes. We don’t know who pointed them our way, or even why they’re here.” He began to climb down, so Charlotte started after him. She grasped the rungs and rested her head against them. Her stomach lurched and her knees threatened to give way.

Sanderson plucked her from the ladder. She clasped his hand, and they stepped to the door together. Minerva moved behind them, the baby whimpering in her arms. Their eyes met for a moment.

“Captain Sanderson Redding?” An Army officer in blue stepped forward, a scroll in his hands.

“Good morning, gentlemen. How can I help you?” Sanderson’s voice was cool and ever polite, but his grip tightened on her hand. Charlotte tried to count the soldiers, but more kept appearing from the woods.

“Captain Redding, on behalf of the United States of America, I hereby charge you with the murder of Lieutenant Robbinson Lantz.” Sanderson’s eyes widened. “Also got a list of other lesser crimes, but they don’t really matter since you gonna hang for murder anyway.”

Also Writer of 5 Prince Publishing’s first children’s book Chunky Sugars

 

Tips for Writer’s Block

Okay guys, I’ve got something interesting for you (writers) if you are feelinf sick (from writer’s block). I hear it’s exactly what the doctor ordered and what I desperately need 😛

It’s an article on how to deal with writer’s block with all the appropriate links to easy breathing from Fiction Writing

Enjoy!!

1. implement a writing schedule

Carve out a time to write and then ignore the writer’s block. Show up to write, even if nothing comes right away. When your body shows up to the page at the same time and place every day, eventually your mind — and your muse — will do the same. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words, and only 500 words, every morning. Five hundred words is only about a page, but with those mere 500 words per day, Greene wrote and published over 30 books.

2. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself.

In fact, don’t be hard on yourself at all while writing. Anna Quindlin wrote, “People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.” Turn the critical brain off. There is a time and place for criticism: it’s called editing.

3. Think of Writing as a Regular Job, and Less as an Art.

Stephen King, a famously prolific author, uses the metaphor of a toolbox to talk about writing in On Writing, intentionally linking it to physical work. If we think of ourselves as laborers, as craftsmen, it’s easier to sit down and write. We’re just putting words on the page, after all, one beside another, as a bricklayer puts down bricks. At the end of the day, we’re just creating things — stories, poems, or plays — only we use vocabulary and grammar instead of bricks and mortar.

4. Take Time Off If You’ve Just Finished a Project.

Writer’s block could be a sign that your ideas need time to gestate. Idleness can be a key part of the creative process. Give yourself time to gather new experiences and new ideas, from life, reading, or other forms of art, before you start again.

5. Set Deadlines and Keep Them.

Many writers, understandably, have trouble doing this on their own. You might find a writing partner and agree to hold each other to deadlines in an encouraging, uncritical way. Knowing that someone else is expecting results helps many writers produce material. Writing groups or classes are another good way to jump-start a writing routine.

6. Examine Deep-Seated Issues Behind Your Writer’s Block.

Write about your anxieties regarding writing or creativity. Talk to a friend, preferably one who writes. A number of books, such as The Artist’s Way, are designed to help creative people explore the root causes of their blocks. (Studying the lives of other writers can also provide insight into why you’re blocked.) If your writer’s block continues, you might seek counseling. Many therapists specialize in helping artists and writers reconnect with their creativity.

7. Work on More Than One Project at a Time.

Some writers find it helpful to switch back and forth from one project to another. Whether this minimizes fear or boredom, or both, it seems to prevent writer’s block for many people.

8. Try Writing Exercises.

As much as it may remind you of your high school writing class, writing exercises can loosen up the mind and get you to write things you would never write otherwise. If nothing else, they get words on the page, and if you do enough of that, some of it is bound to be good.

9. re-consider your writing space

Are your desk and chair comfortable? Is your space well-lit? Would it help to try writing in a coffee shop for a change? Without being too precious about it — or turning it into another form of procrastination — think about how you can create or find a space you’ll look forward to being in.

10. Remember Why You Started to Write in the First Place.

Look at what you’re writing and why. Are you writing what you love, or what you think you should be writing? The writing that feels most like play will end up delighting you the most, and this is the writing your readers will instinctively connect with. At the end of the day, writing is too hard to do it for anything other than love. If you continue to touch base with the joy you first felt in writing, it will sustain you, not only through your current block, but through whatever the future holds.