Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Share some love and vote! Is this novel likely to end up in your TBR pile?

Can I ask you to share a little love today? I have a book featured in this month's new Clash of the Titles contest -- Enticing July Releases. The Black Rose is romantic women's fiction set in an 1890s northern Wisconsin boomtown. (Catch the blurb below.)

There are other titles in the contest that look pretty enticing too. All of us featured authors would sure love it if you'd go cast your votes for the book most likely to end up in your TBR pile.Voting runs today through next Tuesday. Then come back on Thursday to see which title received the most votes. The winner gets a tour with the Clash of the Titles Blog Alliance.

Thank you!

Despite the panic of 1893, logging reaches its golden era in the growing state of Wisconsin, and twins Jesilyn and Corianne Beaumont enjoy a comfortable life with family in the bursting Great Lake city of Superior. But when jealousy incites Jesi to seduce Cori's fiance, a flight and fall from grace lands her in a boom town brothel, where a fresh start is denied her.

Camp preacher Paul Winter longs to offer hope in the logging and mining towns of northern Wisconsin, but not in the way he expects when he meets a redhead he calls Pie Girl. He's never had to battle his own longings quite this way before.

Meanwhile, stung by Jesilyn's betrayal, Corianne's bitterness might separate her from a second chance at happiness and peace. Only by Grace can both women begin new lives, and budding love can bloom in places neither of them expect.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Authors: Is Book Touring Limited by a Tight Budget? Try Meeting Virtually.

While there are those authors out there touring cities with their novels and doing book store book signings, the bulk of us are home on our computers, clickety-clacking away, trying to find ways to connect with our audiences on limited marketing budgets. Wait -- did I say limited? I meant with pretty much no marketing budgets.

Enter Skype. I grew up watching the Jetsons, how about you? Remember how phone calls were face to face on a live screen? Such science fiction! And here it is!

Okay, Skype isn't a new thing to many of you. Skype is fun.You use it to talk to your missionary friends in another country, or your cousins in another the state. You ogle your grandbabies in another town and share tea with a friend across town before going to bed. But Skype is a great tool for the home-bound or town-bound author.

Several weeks ago I tried it for the first time, meeting with a book group seven hours away to discuss my novel The Green Veil, the first in my 3-book Empire in Pine series. The event was set up by fellow author Lisa Lickel who is part of that group. Lisa and I met by Skype a day or two ahead of time to make sure things would operate correctly, and to go over the format of the meeting. If you try meeting with a book group by Skype, I highly recommend you meet ahead with the coordinator too. You can get an idea of what the group is like, their tastes and interests, and work out any bugs with the system which for me happened to be a sound issue I was able to resolve before the actual club meeting.


Nowadays more and more book clubs are found online in the virtual community. Facebook pages, Yahoo groups, and Goodreads groups are just the tip of the iceberg. If you have a way to tap into these communities and also can connect to those clubs who are physically meeting in churches, libraries, and town halls all across the country, then why not offer to meet with them by Skype?

Even if they aren't discussing your book, they might be delighted to pick the brain of an author. And who knows... maybe you'll end up making new friends and fans in the process.

Skype is easy to set up, and it's totally free for making video calls. That makes it a perfect meeting and promotional tool for the budget conscious author who longs to make new, book loving friends.

Write on!

Jetsons image credit:
Skype book club photos courtesy of Lisa Lickel & the Boltonville Book Club

What ways have you found to interact with book clubs or fans on the internet?    Was it effective?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Meet Kiera Devan, Heroine of "Perilous Shadows", by Crime Fictionista Nike Chillemi

Guest post by Nike Chillemi

It's been such a whirlwind since PERILOUS SHADOWS came out one-month ago. I've hardly had time to catch my breath. So, being the ever practical one, Kiera Devane, one of my twin protagonists and my heroine, suggested she take this one. Frankly I was a bit relieved. So, I'll let Kiera take it away.
But first, here's what PERIOUS SHADOWS is about:
(Historical Romantic Thriller, late-1940s ~ Sweet romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully)

Pioneer newspaperwoman Kiera Devane is on a mission to prove a woman can do a man's job as she hunts a young coed's killer. Ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye lost one love to a murderous fiend and his pulse races as he tries to protect Kiera from herself as much as from this killer.

Kiera was doted upon by loving parent, but they were killed when she was a girl and she was shipped off to live with a socialite aunt who had little time for her. In her aunt's house, she learned life could be cold and cruel. As a result, she grew up to be an independent and demanding professional woman.

Argus Nye, still bereft from the loss of his first love, can't understand why this female reporter is mesmerizing him. As she takes chances with her life trying to catch a killer, he's determined to protect her.

So, Who Is Kiera Devane?

Like some people, I try to keep the details of my life private…extremely so. So I was a bit disconcerted when Scottish born ace radio broadcaster, Argus Nye came hurtling into my life, invading every corner of it. At first I was put out, but then had to admit he was a decent guy, and having someone care for me felt good.
If you've read the first two novels in Nike Chillemi's series, you'll know Argus has been a compelling secondary character in both of them. You'll recall in book one, BURNING HEARTS, he was desperately in love with Ada Pinter, the murder victim, and was beside himself after she was killed. Let's fast forward, as you say in your time. When you get into PERILOUS SHADOWS, you'll realize I don't have a very good track record with men. I've encountered a few who had less than honorable intentions. So, when Argus careened into my life I thought, that's my luck. The guy is on the rebound, but it turned out to be the real thing.
I guess I've got a competitive nature. In the news business a girl's got to be twice as good as a male reporter just to keep her job. I'm a pretty good reporter. I manage to scoop a front page story right out from under the fellas quite often. Of course, that's made some of them real mad and they've said unkind things about me. For instance, that I'd stab my grandmother in the back to get a story.
In PERILOUS SHADOWS, I scooped the big story right out from under Argus and he gave me credit for it on his broadcast. That was a first. So, I agreed to meet him for a bite to eat at the Tastee Diner. That's in Sanctuary Point, a tiny village on the south shore of Long Island, New York that was first settled by missionaries. Of course in the roaring twenties its inlets and docks were used to ship illegal whisky to the robber barons vacationing in the Hamptons. But that was a while ago. At the time this story is set, in the late 1940s, Sanctuary Point had just come through the World War II and like the rest of America had lost a number of her sons in battle in Europe or the Pacific.
It was a time when women who had held jobs during the war…the Rosie the Riveter types…were getting pink slips so that returning veterans of war would have jobs. But some stayed on and became what was then called "career girls." I was one of them. Lots of young women started going to college. PERILOUS SHADOWS opens with a perky and quite ambitious young coed from the local women's college found dead at WSAN radio station, where Argus worked. The girl was working at the station in a summer internship. Needless to say, that started me on a hunt for the killer. Argus convinced me since we were both on the same story, we should team up. There were times he not only had to protect me from the killer, but from myself.
Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble/Nook:
Desert Breeze:

From Chapter Three

     Argus walked Kiera out of the diner and took her elbow as her heels tapped down the cement steps. Her suit was austere, yet somehow she made it sizzle. He shifted his eyes away so as not to be caught staring, but not before taking a second look. "I'll walk you to your car."
     "No,that's quite all right. I've been taking care of myself for a long time."
     "Still, lass, I don't feel quite right."
     "This is the Tastee Diner parking lot. It's well lit. What could happen?"
     Argus rubbed his chin. "Oh all right, if you insist. I'll say good night here." He’d tried to be the gentleman, but she was skittish as a young filly.
     "Trust me. I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself."
     Fighting against an uneasy feeling in his gut, Argus walked to his car on the other side of the lot. Since Ada's death, he'd become overprotective toward women. Fishing in his pocket for his keys, he heard raised voices. One of them, Kiera's.
     "Leave me alone. You cheated on me."
     Argus dashed for Kiera's car, thinking he recognized the male voice, yet he couldn't quite place it.
     "Give me another chance. You misunderstood. It meant nothing." Paul Gregorski, sportscaster at the station, had a hold of Kiera's arm.
     A jolt like an electrical charge shot through Argus. "Let go of her if you know what's good for you."
     Paul dropped the arm and turned to face Argus. "So, you bumped my show for your special report, and now you want my girl."
     "My relationship with Miss Devane is purely professional." He would not allow the slightest insinuation.
     Kiera squared her shoulders. "Look, Paul, I wish you well, but let's let bygones be bygones."
     The sportscaster slanted his head toward Argus. "I don't want to discuss this in front of him."
     "I'm not going anywhere unless Miss Devane asks me to leave."
     Kierapivoted away from them and pulled her car keys out of her purse. "I don't give a hoot what either of you do. I'm going home." She slid behind the wheel of the Pontiac, backed out of her spot, and gunned it out of the lot.
     Argus watched her signal light flash a right. She made the turn and her taillights disappeared into the twilight. He laughed aloud.
     Paul growled. "What's so funny?"
     Argus shook his head and walked to his DeSoto, got in, and put the key in the ignition, but didn't turn it on. She'd never be mistaken for a Carmelite nun. Not in a million years. Blunt, not soft and feminine like his Ada had been. And where'd Kiera get that short Betty Boop hair-do? Not his style at all. No Sir. Where Ada was a sensitive and godly woman, this one was so hard boiled he couldn't imagine her on her knees praying. So, why was she so captivating?

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. BURNING HEARTS is the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, published by Desert Breeze. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, the third in the series released in July, 2012. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Life's Messes & Historical Novel Giveaway

It's another beautiful day! And I'm spending it (and tomorrow) with my friends over on the Novel PASTimes blog where they talk about all the latest historical, inspirational fiction coming out. They interviewed me with some tough questions about my Empire in Pine series and about writing. So I'm there chatting about life messes (writing what I know) novel sagas, and a quirky (family) thing you'll find in my fiction. I'm posing a question about reader preferences, and everyone who answers it will be entered in a FREE BOOK drawing of THE BLACK ROSE. Join me at NovelPASTimes!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

With a Little Help From My Friends - Tips for Starting a Writers' Critique Group

Guest post by Joan Leotta
As a writer and a performer, I can say that a critique group has been central to modest success, earning a fair amount over the years from hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, and once in a while having the time to send out a poem or short story or even a book proposal--some of which have met success. Being in a writing group gives me a deadline and forces me to do what all writers know is really a great exercise, read my work aloud. The comments that dissect my work, whether I agree or disagree on the specifics, usually changes my work for the better. I hope this is true for my comments on the work of my fellow writers too. The group is also a source of information in the writing world beyond my own narrow interests.

In Northern Virginia, my first group started in a library with fifteen strangers and eventually reduced itself to four women. The group was eclectic---fiction, non-fiction, adult, children's and even poetry. We read to each other and commented on each other's work in progress, shared market tips, and celebrated successes and frustrations.

When I moved to North Carolina, one of the first things I did was find another critique group. My new group is also wonderful. We read, we share, and we write.

If there is not a group near you to join, here are some tips for forming one:
*        Decide what you want the group to be like--critique, exchange information, reading, all of the above?
*        Advertise your intent at the library or community center and among any friends you know who write.
*        It is generally easier to limit the type of work to be read and critiqued. My current group is adult fiction and non-fiction.
*        Define "critique" for the group at the first meeting. If the members do not know one another well, put the rules for critique in writing. A good critique begins with a positive comment, asks what the writer's intent is, and structures all other comments with the goal of making the writing better meet that intent
*        At that first meeting, stress that each person needs to be committed to making the other person's work more refined the otherperson's work and stronger.
*        Limit the amount of time each person has to share, read, and be critiqued -- bring a bell or timer to signal the time to change -- so that no one person dominates and each person has the same time.
*        Select a place and time that seems good for the person who will run the group and begin.
Everyone's work benefits when we polish the gems of others as well as our own.

Joan Leotta has been writing and performing since childhood. Her motto is "Encouraging words through pen and performance.” Her newest work, Giulia Goes to War is book one of a four part series, Legacy of Honor  that traces the women of a family and how they find love and independence from WWII era through the Desert Storm era.

Joan’s articles, short stories, and photography have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She performs folklore shows and one-woman shows on Civil War and Revolutionary war figures at venues up and down the east coast and teaches writing, creativity, and storytelling for children and adults. She lives in Calabash, NC with husband Joe. You can learn more about her at and can contact her to speak to your group at .


Giulia Goes to War, Legacy of Honor Volume One
Anna Maria DeBartolo shook her graying head as she marched up and down in the small space in front of the kitchen sink. "I am a loyal American. We have a Victory Garden. I send my cans to the surplus drive." With the wooden spoon she held in her hand, she gestured toward the front of the house and the dining room window facing Main Street and continued, "I have two blue stars in the window -- both of your brothers are serving or did you forget, Giulia?...No! E unadisgrazia!"

Giulia gains her independence while still remaining a loving daughter and makes a life for herself in Wilmington, contributing to the war effort while beginning a romance with a boy who is not Italian -American, and saving the Wilmington shipyard from a spy's planned terrorist act in this action packed adventure of a young girl on the Home Front in World War II.,

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lumberjacks, Ladies, Land Barons, and Love -- Empire in Pine, a Series of HOT Summer Reads

What will you read during these final weeks of summer?
I hope to make your decision easier by giving you the highlights of this romantic series of historical fiction and sharing why readers think Empire in Pine is a series of HOT Summer Reads.

Empire in Pine Series
Historic, romantic, women's fiction -- a multi-generational family saga of love and deception, hope and turmoil, and the rise of a wilderness empire.
Purchase Links:

-- The Green Veil --
Empire in Pine Book One

One is the man she missed. The other is the man she married.

Lumberman's daughter, Colette Palmer has understood the industry since her youth -- and she's always loved timber cruiser Manason Kade -- even though he only remembers her as a child. Leaving Michigan to settle with her family in the Wisconsin wilderness, and separated from him by miles and years, compassion compels her to marry another.

Manason longs to plant roots of his own in Wisconsin Territory. But when he stakes his claim and challenges the illegal log harvesting of a rival company, Colette's husband swears to ruin him. Then one day Manason and Colette meet again. Now, an empire in pine hangs in the balance, and she will have to choose between her first love and her commitment to a difficult marriage.

A "HOT" Summer Read? Here's what reviewers say:

"Lovely, soft, quiet in some ways. Gritty and painful in others."

"Think Gone With the Wind, only not so long."

"Just when you think you know what's going to happen next, Musch throws in a spin and twist that'll take your breath away."

--The Red Fury --
Empire in Pine Book Two

Spurned twice since the death of her first betrothed in a logging accident, Lainey Kade has become the object of talk."That Lainey, she's a shrew all right. Not ever going to marry, likely," the gossips say. Fleeing heartache and flaunting convention, Lainey seeks solace instead in seeking adventure and breaking the rules.

Embarking on a journey where she hopes to put the past behind, Lainey crosses paths with brothers Zane and Kelly Beaumont and pretends to be a married woman. But they find her out, and she soon forges an adventurous companionship with these men whose nightmares since the Civil War have never let them return home. Following the lead of the next thrill, the ties of their friendship tighten, and Lainey denies love's rekindled spark. However, as fires rage across the Wisconsin wilderness, the brothers’ attraction may tear them each apart, and Lainey may be consumed by the fury burning inside her.

A "HOT" Summer Read? Here's what reviewers say:

"This is a powerful novel that will rip your heart out, so be prepared. It's a great love story of self-denial, trust, selfishness, courage, loyalty, and true love so passionate the red fury has nothing on it."

"The Red Fury is already on my Top Ten of 2012! Naomi Musch is a master at planting nagging questions in the reader's mind--questions that must be answered. Now."

"This is a story about Lainey Kade, her failed attempts at love, and how friendship, and selflessness can make love possible. I highly recommend this book and this author."

-- The Black Rose --
Empire in Pine Book Three

Despite the panic of 1893, logging reaches its golden era in the growing state of Wisconsin, and twins Jesilyn and Corianne Beaumont enjoy a comfortable life with family in the bursting Great Lake city of Superior. But when jealousy incites Jesi to seduce Cori's fiance, a flight and fall from grace lands her in a boomtown brothel, where a fresh start is denied her.
Camp preacher Paul Winter longs to offer hope in the logging and mining towns of northern Wisconsin, but not in the way he expects when he meets a redhead he calls Pie Girl. He's never had to battle his own longings quite this way before.
Meanwhile, stung by Jesilyn's betrayal, Corianne's bitterness might separate her from a second chance at happiness and peace. Only by Grace can both women begin new lives, and budding love can bloom in places neither of them expect.

A "HOT" Summer Read and a BRAND NEW Release! A reader says:

"Don't miss this series. The first novel, The Green Veil was terrific. The second novel, The Red Fury, was even better if it could get any better, and I'm reading The Black rose now. You'll be hooked in Chapter 1."

Purchase Links: