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Promoting Your Book: Getting Organized

Promoting Your Book: Getting Organized

To successfully plan a book release, you need an expert level of organization. As I wrap up the plans to promote my debut novel, I realize I had no idea it would be this time consuming. And there are so many details poised to slip through the cracks! That’s why I’m sharing what I’ve learned. This is a lengthy post, but I didn’t want to leave anything out.

Promoting Your Book: Getting Organized

1. Digital Files

Hopefully when you wrote your book, you created a digital folder for it. I highly recommend keeping all of your promotion materials here under a subfolder named Promo. Copy/paste a copy of your book cover and an author photo in this folder. Trust me, you will use them!

If you’re putting a blog tour together, create another subfolder in Promo and name it Blog Tour. Save any guest posts and interviews you write in this folder. I’ll share my tips on organizing guest posts and interviews later.

If you’re sending out a press release, save the file in your Promo folder.

If newspapers contact you with written interview questions or guidelines, save these in a new subfolder of Promo, named Newspapers.

Chances are, you’ll be sending out copies of your book for one reason or another. You might want to create an additional subfolder in Promo and title it Mailing. You can create mailing labels and save them here. Type a list of everyone you’re sending a copy of the book.

If you’re having any author events (book launch, book signing, speaking engagement, etc…) keep all written materials in a subfolder, Author Events.

Here’s what my file hierarchy looks like:

->Small-Town Bachelor

->>Promo

->>>Blog Tour

->>>Newspapers

->>>Mailing

->>>Author Events

 2. OneNote, Evernote or Word Documents

One of the most important keys to a book release is having information at your fingertips. I’ve been using OneNote for years. Many people love Evernote, or you could keep everything in Word documents. It’s really up to you. I have a folder in OneNote for Promotion. One of the tabs is titled the same. In that tab, I have a page called, “Promoting Small-Town Bachelor.” The following are sub-pages.

  • Back cover copy. Copy your book information here so you can easily find it at any time.
  • Purchase links. Copy/paste every link where your book is being sold. Typical retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, etc… You’ll be adding these links to your website/blog for people to purchase your book.
  • Blog tour (if applicable). A table/spreadsheet is your best option here. Make columns with the name of the blog, the title of the guest post/interview, the date you’re being hosted and the date you emailed the information back to the host.
  • Media contacts. List the publications/stations, the editors/producers and the email addresses or physical addresses if you’re mailing information.
  • Author copies. List of how you’re using author copies (giveaways, friends, etc…)
  • Author events. Keep track of any speaking engagements, book launch info, book signings and such here.
  • Giveaways. If you’re using an online tool such as Rafflecopter or Giveaway Tools to run your giveaways, copy/paste the code along with the basic giveaway information. It only takes a few seconds to copy the code, and it’s much less time consuming to resend the info to a blogger on your tour if you know exactly where to find it.
  • Review/Endorser/Influencer list (if applicable). Some publishers send books to review sites; others don’t. If you plan on sending your book out to reviewers, list them and their addresses here. If you need to get endorsements, list authors to contact and their reply. Many CBA publishers ask their authors to submit a list of people willing to “influence” the book. List names and addresses here.

3. Blog Tour

Not all authors schedule a blog tour, but if you do, you need a way to keep track of everything.

a. Scheduling.

Do you use a day planner? A calendar? Your smartphone? As soon as you have dates of your stops, write the dates down! I used my day planner to write the name of the blog on the monthly overview section. In OneNote, I also added the blog, the date and whatever type of post we agreed on to my spreadsheet (see above). If you use your smartphone, consider printing out the month(s) your blog tour is taking place and writing the dates down. It just helps to see the big picture.

b. Guest posts/interviews.

In addition to my OneNote spreadsheet, I kept track of my guest posts in a basic notebook. Yes, this is double the accounting, but, as I mentioned earlier, I worry about something slipping through the cracks.

I wrote the titles, the blog and the date of the stop on a sheet of paper. I numbered them. After I wrote each post, I highlighted it as a way to know the post had been drafted. Later, after I proofed each piece, I emailed the guest post/interview back to the host then jotted the date next to it. This let me know that I not only wrote the post, but sent it too.

As far as the actual documents, when I wrote them, I saved the file in a way to make them easy to find. In the title, I began with a number and included the name of the blog for easy reference. After I emailed the guest post or interview to the host, I renamed the file with an S after the number as a visual that I had sent the post.

Example of digital files for blog tour:

->Book Title

->>Promo

->>>Blog Tour

  1. Interview Jane Doe

2s. Writing Tips John Blank

At a glance, I could see that I’d written and sent the post to John Blank, but while the interview for Jane Doe was written, I hadn’t sent it.

4. Author Events

If you’re planning a launch party, speaking engagement, having a book signing or selling books at an event, you will have a number of nit-picky details to deal with. This is another area where OneNote, Evernote or Word files help a lot.

a. Basic information. List the date, address, time and if it’s an open or closed event. You’ll be accessing this information many times, and it’s helpful to have all the details right there.

b. Practical matters. 

  • Questions to address: Do you need to order books to sell? Or will the event purchase them for you? If you need to purchase them, how many will you need? How far in advance should you order them?
  • Invitations, Fliers, Notices: Who is advertising this event? Do you need to create and send invitations, a flier or other notice? If you’re holding a book launch, consider contacting the editor of the local newspaper about the event and attach a press release for your book.
  • Promotional items: Are your business cards current or should you order new? If the event provides a table, do you have a nice tablecloth? Will you need a professional sign? An easel to display it? Are you providing bookmarks, pens, magnets? Will your publisher help with any of these, or will you need to design and purchase them yourself? If you choose to give a raffle basket, what items will you include? Also, print tickets for the raffle.
  • Newsletter/Mailing List sign-up: Either purchase a guest book or create and print sign-up sheets to collect names and addresses.
  • Speaking:  Write an outline of the agreed topic and practice it.
  • Entertainment: If you plan on having entertainment, contact and book everyone involved.
  • Taxes: Keep ALL receipts for anything you purchase. Track your mileage to and from the event. Deductions, deductions!

c. Online Events

If you’re planning a digital launch party (Facebook, Google Hangout, etc…), you’ll have to plan the following.

  • Decide the date and time of party.
  • Create an infographic with your book cover, the party information, and any prizes you’re giving away.
  • Advertise the event on your social media sites.
  • Purchase items to giveaway.
  • Invite your contact list.
  • Moderate the event or have a friend help moderate it.

5. Website

If you’re a debut novelist, the one thing I recommend more than anything to promote your books is having a website (or free blog that functions as a website) in place well before your release date. Readers who enjoy your debut will want to learn more about you and find out when your next book comes out. Your website is your online home. Make it welcoming, fill it with information readers want (author bio, book info and purchase links, ways to contact you, and your social media links) and it will work for you for years to come.

You do NOT need to hire a designer, pay thousands of dollars, or become a design expert to have an online home. If you don’t currently have a website or blog, buy your domain name, create a free site using Blogger or WordPress and have it directed to your domain name. Make pages with your author bio, contact page and your book (with the cover, back copy and links to purchase it). You don’t have to blog! Just make sure you have a hub for readers to find you and buy your books.

6. Getting it all done.

In mid-February I was in the process of writing twenty-five guest posts and working out the details of three author events when I sold my third book, which needed immediate revisions. The next day, I received final edits for my second book. Yes, I was stressed out, but I was also thrilled. I’ve wanted to be published for years!

Working on three very different book tasks at once forced me to take my organizing efforts to the next level. For three weeks, I worked all day, nights and most of each weekend.

I made the decision to promote my debut as heavily as possible. Any blog tour I do in the future will most likely be pared down, and I’ll only have a launch party for my first book. However, promoting books is a part of the writer’s life. I expect I’ll be using this list for years to come even if I’m not doing everything on it.

7. Celebrate.

I take time often to celebrate where I’m at. When I wrote and sent my very first press release? Terrifying! I mentally high-fived myself all day. And author events? I’m blessed to have family and friends who are making it easy on me. Their support has been a big boost during a busy, emotional time.

I never want to get so caught up in promoting that I forget why I’m doing this. I’m not writing for good reviews (although I want them), family approval (although I want that too), or to be the most popular girl on the block (never have been, never will be).

I’m writing to enrich readers’ lives, the way my life has been enriched by the books I’ve read and continue to read. I consider my books a ministry, and if someone is touched by my writing, I’ve succeeded.

As Mark Batterson says in his wonderful book, The Circle Maker, “Work like it depends on you, pray like it depends on God.”

This post is full of information, some of it overwhelming. If you have specific questions on anything I listed, please don’t hesitate to ask!!

What would you add to this list?

Have a terrific day!!

The March Gift Basket Giveaway for Small-Town Bachelor is still going strong! Go to my HOME page and scroll down for the easy entry options!

Writer’s Life: Annette M. Irby

Writer’s Life: Annette M. Irby

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with inspirational romance authors. Today I have the pleasure of hosting Annette M. Irby. Annette and I met during a pitch session at the ACFW conference a few years ago. She and I hit it right off! She has a warm smile to match her big heart, and I LOVE the title of her new release. Her Nerdy Cowboy is available now, and readers can download a FREE copy through Lent!! Details below.

Let’s get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Creating. Weaving a story. The rush of flowing words. Have you ever watched Chariots of Fire? Eric Liddell was an Olympic runner. Here’s how he describes his passion and his calling at once: “I know God made me for a purpose—for China, yes. But He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.” That’s how I feel about writing, when it’s working. Now, when it’s not working I have to say that rush is far away. *wink

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

I’m in a rewrite stage and working on problem-solving. Sometimes the pieces come together quickly. Sometimes they don’t. Hoping they will soon. *grin

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

You know that question about whether a person prefers to live near (or have views of) mountains or water? I’m a water person, all the way, especially saltwater. So when I get a chance, I find a beach. There’s something healing, inspiring, restoring about the smell of the ocean, the roar of the waves, the give of the sand, and sight of all that blue under sunny skies. Love that! When I can’t get away, I garden. I’m a nature person, and color feeds my spirit.

4. What are you working on now?

I’m working on book one of a trilogy for my agent. It’s set on the water. (Surprise!) I enjoy how I can write inspirational fiction (my calling) set near water (my passion). What a gift! Meanwhile, doing the research I learn more about the sea, which is just fun. I’m nerdy like that. This trilogy will center on different saltwater locales. And I’m sticking with inspirational romance, like Her Nerdy Cowboy. I may publish in women’s fiction one day too.

***

Annette, I agree. The rush of pouring my best into a book is such an amazing feeling! But when it’s not working? The worst! I love nature, too, and I fantasize about the beach often. The white sands of Lake Michigan always call me. So peaceful! Thanks so much for being my guest!

***

Her Nerdy Cowboy by Annette M. Irby

HER NERDY COWBOY ~

Whoever heard of a bookish cowboy? When Logan McDaniel’s brother-in-law dies, he steps in to help his beloved sister run her ranch. But what does a city boy know of herding cattle?

Claire Langley loved her cousin. After he dies, she agrees to serve as a temporary nanny for two heartbroken children. Claire and Logan find they share a love of books, and Claire can’t resist the nerdy uncle who is great with children and who reads to her of pirate romance, but Claire’s ailing mother needs her in Seattle. Can she break away? And if she does, can there ever be a future for Logan and her?

BONUS: Readers can download Her Nerdy Cowboy for free through Lent at PELICAN GROUP (linked).

Her Nerdy Cowboy is also available for purchase at AMAZON (linked).

***

Annette M. Irby

About Annette ~

Annette M. Irby loves reading, and she has enjoyed weaving stories since childhood. If she’s not writing, she’s reading for review, or editing. She is a freelance editor at AMI Editing. Together with several fellow writers, she co-hosts the popular blog, Seriously Write, where the team provides daily encouragement and tips for writers. Married twenty-three years, she lives with her husband and three children. Learn more at her website www.AnnetteMIrby.com and follow Annette on Twitter (@annettemirby).

***

Are you a fan of cowboys? I am!

Don’t forget, all month I’m hosting a Gift Package Giveaway for Small-Town Bachelor! Go to my HOME page and scroll down for the easy entry options!!

I Sold Another Book!

I Sold Another Book!

You know when you fall in love with a setting and characters and just want to read more about them? Well, I’m so blessed! I sold the third book in the Lake Endwell series! The working title is CLAIMING HIS HEART, and it will release in early 2016 through Harlequin Love Inspired.

Writing about the Sheffields and Lake Endwell makes me happy. Sometimes I forget the town and family aren’t real! This book will follow Bryan Sheffield’s journey as he fights his feelings for the new girl in town.

In unrelated news, I was challenged by the fabulous Beth Vogt to take the 7 Day Bible Challenge. Here is the picture I posted on Facebook yesterday. You’ll have to pop over to Facebook to see today’s Bible passage! Maybe it will inspire YOU to take the 7 Day Bible Challenge too!

 

Day 1 Bible Challenge

 

 

It’s finally feeling like spring around here. My daughter is busy with track practices, and my son’s baseball will be in full swing soon. It will be a while before we see any spring flowers, but I’m glad to see the snow melting.

There is still time to enter my Gift Package Giveaway to celebrate the release of SMALL-TOWN BACHELOR. Go to my HOME page and scroll down for the easy entry options!

What’s new with you?

Have a wonderful weekend!!

 

Writer’s Life: Olivia Newport

Writer’s Life: Olivia Newport

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of Christian or sweet romance. Today I’m excited to host Olivia Newport! I first “met” Olivia online, so I was delighted to meet her in person at the ACFW conference two years ago. What a treat! She has a smile that makes you feel right at home, and her intelligence makes for a fun conversation. Her new book, Meek and Mild, is a historical romance set amid a real Amish community in 1918. More information is below.

Let’s get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

As long as we’re being metaphorical, I’d have to say writing makes my heart sing because each story has its own set of harmonies. I’m not always sure if the harmonies exist and I simply discover them, or if I actually create them. Maybe I need to ask a true musical composer how that works! Either way, I enjoy hearing how the moving parts become complex and invite me into their midst. Writing is like cranking up the stereo and standing in the middle of four speakers.

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Balance. I’ve been writing fairly intensely since my first book came out in 2012, and I sometimes get too ambitious about what I can accomplish in what period of time and still have a life. As much as I enjoy writing, I don’t want to wake up in 10 years and feel like I missed my own life. Happily, I’m getting better at keeping real life in balance with my writing life.

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

That’s one of those many, many questions to which “Netflix” is an appropriate answer. (We’re being honest here, right?) A good field trip really helps—visiting a place that sparks a story or takes me into a time or place that tickles my imagination. Generally, when I’m out of creative gas on a particular project, it helps to just do something completely different—exercise, laughter, a favorite meal, worship. These things bring me back to balance, and that restores creativity.

4. What are you working on now?

I’m delighted that the late summer will bring the third book in the Amish Turns of Time series, Brightest and Best. Set in Ohio, this story will look at another turning point in Amish history—what were the circumstances that led to the Amish having their own private schools? It wasn’t always that way. I think readers will see something we take for granted from a fresh angle.

***

I love this, “writing is like cranking up the stereo and standing in the middle of four speakers.” I’ve never thought of it that way, but it’s true! Balance is not easy. I have too many days where I forget to take a break. Hello, glazed eyes! Yikes.

And, yes, Netflix counts! I borrowed several movies from our library last month. Just what I needed. Thank you so much for being my guest today, Olivia!

***

Olivia-Newport

About Olivia ~

Olivia Newport writes historical (Avenue of Dreams series), contemporary (Hidden Falls, a 13-episode series available in digital formats), and Amish (Valley of Choice series and the new Amish Turns of Time series). Meek and Mild is her latest book. Married with two adult children, she chases joy in Colorado where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Find out more at www.olivianewport.com.

***

Meek and Mild ~

Suddenly shun has become a serious word for Clara Kuhn. As 1917 approaches, her Amish church’s aging bishop is coming down hard on members who dally in untraditional practices—like offering Sunday school for children—and Clara’s gift for telling Bible stories to little ones collides with new mandates. The young Pennsylvania Amish woman had always moved freely over the state line to visit family in the more progressive Maryland district, but now those visits are coming under scrutiny by some members of Clara’s church.

On the verge of accepting Andrew Raber’s marriage proposal, Clara is unsure what to make of his new hobby to rehabilitate an abandoned Model T. Just how ward can they push against the bishop’s wishes?

As the chasm widens between Old Order Amish and the Marylanders, and tensions rise between longtime friends and close-knit family, Clara and Andrew must look inward to examine their own hearts and consciences and, above all, seek Gottes wille—God’s will.

***

I love novels that blend true historical events. What book are you reading?

Have a wonderful day!!

Remember, all month I’m hosting a giveaway of a Small-Town Bachelor Gift Package! Go to my HOME page and scroll down for the easy entry options!!

4 Promotion Tool Improvements For Writers

4 Promotion Tool Improvements For Writers

I’m always looking for a better, faster and cheaper way to do things. The last four years have seen huge improvements in tools authors use to promote their books.

4 Promotion Tool Improvements for Writers

 1. Templates for business cards

Three years ago I ordered my first business cards. First, I browsed Vistaprint’s site. None of their templates could be customized the way I wanted, so I designed my own using free software, and then uploaded it to the print site. Let’s just say it took a while!

The other night I decided to order new business cards, and I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the customizable templates Vistaprint now offers.

What took me hours in the past took minutes this time around.

2. Graphic design software

When I designed my first website seven years ago, I wanted a pretty header that reflected my brand. I quickly learned it would be time consuming and difficult to do it myself. I didn’t own Photoshop, and the free software I found had a steep learning curve.

Now just about anyone can create free or inexpensive graphics for their blogs and websites with graphic design software such as PicMonkey or Canva. With the popularity of Instagram and Pinterest, it’s vital to have visually appealing graphics.

 

3. Giveaway Tools/Generators

Sites such as Rafflecopter, Giveaway Tools and PromoSimple make hosting a giveaway easy, AND they do the hard work for the author. In less than ten minutes, you can create a giveaway and set the guidelines for entries. If you’re trying to get more Facebook likes on your page, make it an entry option. Same for Twitter, Pinterest, subscribing to your blog, and more. These sites will collect your entries and randomly pick a winner when the contest ends. Perfect!

**Go to my Home page to see an example of Giveaway Tools, scroll down and enter my giveaway for a gift package!**

 4. Visual Social Media Widgets

Social media sharing has been around for a long time, but many of the top sites offer improved visual widgets to include on your site. I love that!

Goodreads allows authors to share a variety of widgets, from giveaways (see mine in the sidebar–I’m giving away four copies of Small-Town Bachelor this month!) to your available books.

Pinterest has widgets to show a collage of one of your boards. Examples are on my For Readers page.

Twitter has widgets to show your latest tweets. Facebook shows your fans. All of these things make it that much easier for readers to follow you.

Bottom line?

I’m VERY grateful for all the free, simple software out there. It saves me time and money, and I don’t have a nagging worry that my online presence isn’t professional.

 

What online tools are you loving right now?

 

Gift Package Giveaway

**Don’t forget to enter my March giveaway! Go to my HOME page and scroll down for the easy entry options!!**

 

Good Enough: Guest Sharyn Kopf

Good Enough: Guest Sharyn Kopf

by Sharyn Kopf

“Am I good enough?” How often do you ask yourself that question? We wonder if our husbands are happy, if our children are satisfied, if our employer will hang onto us through yet another round of budget cuts.

Over the last few years, I’ve been feeling oh so inadequate. In 2010 I lost a job to cutbacks — for the second time in less than a decade. My desire to be a novelist has been full of near-constant self-doubt and disappointment. Last, but certainly not least, as a still-single woman over 50, how could I not feel rejected by men?

And every time I’m hit by another failure, I hear the voices. No one wants you. You can’t do it. You’re not good enough. I know these words are from the enemy, yet they ring so true and hurt so much. As Vivian said in Pretty Woman: “The bad stuff is easier to believe.”

So, for our peace of mind—and sheer sanity, for heaven’s sake—we need to reject the negative and not only find our way back to good enough, but to who we truly are in Christ.

You Are Chosen

I love that moment in the best romantic movies when the man lets the woman know she’s the one, the only one for him. Still better, when he risks all, even his life, to rescue her from her mortal enemy. Like Kevin Costner’s Robin in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves—beating down doors, smashing through windows, and going sword to sword to save Maid Marion from the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

“You came for me. You’re alive,” she cries, rushing into his arms after the final battle.

He replies, “I would die for you.”

Remind you of anyone in particular? Someone who died for you but is alive and will always come for you, no matter what? No wonder women love scenes like this in movies. They speak to the soul of our relationship with God. “You are the one,” He says. “I choose you.”

More specifically, Scripture tells us, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9–10).

So we are chosen, but for a purpose: to proclaim the Good News to those who are still in darkness. In our despair He came to us, held out a hand and said, “I have so much more for you.” And, being the cynical, flawed creatures we are, we ask, “Why me?”

You Are Delightful

Of course, before he risks life and limb, the Hero falls for the girl. Do you think Robin would have gone to such extremes for just anyone? His friend asks, “Is she worth it?” and Robin nods.

“Worth dying for.”

How we long to be that girl. But so many things in this world crush our spirits, making us feel inadequate, unwanted and stupid. And how do we react? We let ourselves fall into the role of supportive friend or trusted servant, instead of stepping forward as the leading lady. The world tells us we’re not special and, sadly, we start to believe it.

That is not how God sees us. In fact, He considers each of us worth dying for. I think King David said it best in Psalm 18:19 – “He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.” God broke down the walls, slew the enemy, and offered up His life to set you free. Take that, Robin of the Hood!

Still, I know how hard it is to see our own delightfulness when our issues take up so much room. They do seem to be compelling proof we’re not that great. But isn’t that the point? Doesn’t God have a knack for accomplishing great things despite—sometimes even through—our inadequacies and failures?

As a matter of fact, yes . . .

You Are Flawed

Lest we get too carried away, let’s also remember just how much we don’t deserve the grace and beauty He bestows on us. You are not perfect. No, that’s a good thing. Sit back, leave the dishes in the sink, and take that in. Relax into it. You are not perfect . . . but He adores you and chose you anyway.

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things that are mighty” (1 Cor. 1:26–27).

Not wise, not mighty, not noble, but foolish and weak. Not very flattering but that’s all right too. This reminds us it’s not about you or me. It’s about Him. Our failures and imperfections flash a neon marquee announcing God’s greatness. You know how a mother sees the beauty of her child even when others cannot? And how she’s the only one allowed to say anything about her child’s shortcomings? I think it’s like that. God as our Creator can see and acknowledge our imperfections, but heaven help those who dare impugn His beloved. Weak, ugly and fragile, we find shelter under His wings.

You Are Not Trusting

I know your doubts because you, like me, are sitting there mumbling, “Well, sure that all sounds nice and sweet and very Disney-like . . . for everyone else. But things haven’t been that way for me.” We can all fall into pity party mode. Still, haven’t years of canceled dreams and disappointed hopes made our negative attitude not only reasonable but logical?

Absolutely. Everything that seemed so possible twenty, thirty, forty years ago while gazing ideologically through the sunshine-colored glasses of a youthful heart looks a bit murky and gray and kind of pathetic now. Why? Because we’ve moved from trusting in dreams of a bright future to not trusting in anything. Including God. It’s all a tactic of the enemy, castrating us at the very essence of who we are in Christ and moving us back into that mindset of believing the worst.

And that’s when we go back to our King, our Prince, crashing through stained glass to rescue us against all odds, defeating our doubts and fears and insecurities, and pulling us into His perfect freedom. Which brings us full-circle back to being chosen and loved.

The world will continue to tell you you’re not good enough, pointing out your flaws and ignoring all the wonderful attributes that make you unique. God sees all those things and, despite your faults and shortcomings, says you are more than good enough.

You are His.

***

Click on picture below to purchase Spinstered from Amazon!

 

Spinstered-Good Enough

Spinstered ~

Three friends. Three stories. Three women trying to figure out how they ended up over 40 and still single.

Committed to her job and pushing fifty, Catie Delaney has almost given up on her dream of love and marriage. Maybe, she tells herself, she’d be happier just embracing her singleness. Maybe that’s been God’s will all along.

For social worker Jolene Woods, on the other hand, being on her own gives her time to pursue her passion—running a halfway house for women just out of prison. The only problem is her best friend, Trevor, who has silly ideas about them being more than friends.

Then there’s Uli Odell, a graphic designer who’s about to turn 40. If only she can convince her boyfriend, Cole, to commit already. Desperate not to be a spinster, she guilt-steps her way from one dumb choice to another.

Into this mix of feminine angst walks Brian Kemper—the latest GWP (Guy With Potential) to join their church’s singles group. But just as something seems about to happen between him and Catie, her world falls apart.

While Catie deals with her unexpected pain, Jolene and Uli face their own struggles.

Three friends. Three stories. Three women looking for hope.

 

***

 Sharyn Kopf

About Sharyn ~

 

Sharyn Kopf always knew she wanted to be an author but it wasn’t until she noticed boys that she felt the nudge to write romances. And it only took her fifty years to finish one! Just don’t ask her how that boy thing turned out.

Cold Read, however, isn’t her first book. Sharyn published her debut novel, Spinstered, in September 2014. Her other work has included co-authoring a book about traumatic brain injury, penning scripts for stage, and writing for Focus on the Family radio.

Every Friday, Sharyn ponders the over-40 single life at www.girlsnightin40.com, the blog she shares with two other authors. For her day job—because most writers need to have at least one!—she works as a high school English teacher and is training to be a literary publicist.

She lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, just five minutes from her favorite people in the world — her family.

 

***

Thank you so much for this beautiful post, Sharyn! I think we can all relate to not feeling good enough. What a precious reminder that we are MORE than enough in Christ!

What helps when you struggle with self-doubt?

Remember, I’m giving away a Small-Town Bachelor Gift Package! Go to my HOME page and scroll down for the easy entry options! Thank you!!

Have a terrific day!

7 Minute Workout Mayhem!

My wonderful neighbor is helping me get in shape (thanks, Debbie!!). I’m truly blessed to have her friendship. We work out together Mondays and Wednesdays, then exercise on our own the rest of the week.

She is more devoted to the whole exercise-on-our-own portion, but I’m trying to be more consistent. My son also motivates me to workout. The other night he and I didn’t have time for a full-blown session, so we tried an app for a seven minute workout.

Let me just lay this out for you. 30 seconds of high intensity repetitions followed by 10 seconds of rest. We did push-ups, lunges, crunches, wall sits, jogging with high knees, triceps dips–you name it, we did it!!

It was MAYHEM!!

I could barely keep up. My lunges were sloppy. I landed on my ankle weird and whined. My son actually fell over during the knee kick thing. We were both laughing so hard, we could barely get through. Then we found out my daughter videotaped us! My word!! Like we needed that!

I actually liked the workout and will do it again. Trust me, my muscles were sore the next day. My favorite exercise is power walking outdoors. However, the weather has been terrible. No way, I’m walking in negative temperatures and high winds!

Some other workouts I’ve done this year: Wii Just Dance (30 minutes worked up a good sweat!), a weight-lifting for weight-loss DVD, Latin dance, walking on the treadmill, yoga, and boot camp. It’s been fun to switch it up, and I’m best when I have someone keeping me accountable.

What are you doing to stay active? Have you ever done an intense, short workout and laughed at how bad you were at it? Or is that just me?

Have a wonderful day!!

This Is Love: Guest Kariss Lynch and a Giveaway!

This Is Love: Guest Kariss Lynch And A Giveaway!

Today we have a special guest blogger, Kariss Lynch, and she’s sharing her thoughts on love. Please join me in welcoming Kariss!

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We are closing out the month of love, but for me I think it has been a month of recognition and discovery. Recently I was asked to read and review several mainstream romance novels, so this month I’ve spent my nights giving them due diligence to provide an honest opinion.

I could tell you how well the authors painted scenes and used strong verbiage. I could tell you the characters were intriguing and attractive (every guy had washboard abs because that’s realistic). Or I could tell you how I felt when I closed the final page.

In one word: broken.

While everything about these novels met a good standard of writing technique, the romances fell short. Why? Because each author made romance about physicality rather than about relationship.

Somewhere along the way, our culture twisted romance into something superficial. So this month, I have been searching the scriptures to counter what I saw portrayed about culture in these novels. As we wrap up a month of hearts and flowers and an explosion of pink, I want to take it back to the basics.

This is love…

It protects rather than demands.

It seeks to meet a need rather than an expectation.

It is more concerned with the person than their performance.

It is lasting rather than passing.

It expands past feelings.

It trusts rather than responds defensively.

It fights rather than flees in difficulty.

It celebrates wins rather than responding in jealousy.

It asks what I can do for someone else rather than what they can do for me.

It begins and end with Christ.

I remember distinctly the moment last month when I wrote about Kaylan Richards and her boyfriend, Navy SEAL Nick Carmichael as I finished up my third novel, Surrendered, and prepared for the release of Shadowed on March 3. Kaylan realizes that she loves a warrior called to something greater than himself, and he is asking her to join him on that journey. She wrestles with fear that he won’t come home, fear of being alone, lack of trust in his ability and training, and lack of trust in the men around him as he leaves her to fight for his country.

But then she pauses for a moment and begins to think of all the times when Nick pursued her when she was unlovable, when she was struggling, when she was trapped in fear. She realizes that even when she can’t trust circumstances, she can trust him because he has faithfully loved her in spite of herself. It hit me. This is love. It pursues. It sacrifices. It seeks to be like Christ.

I don’t know how Valentine’s went for you, but I can tell you that there is a love deeper than you have ever experienced and the One offering it desires a relationship with you. It is a love that will transform all your other relationships. And like Nick, this One willingly sacrificed for you. Not because He had to, but because He wanted to know you.

This is love. This is the gospel.

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Thank you, Kariss, for this beautiful message. I started out writing sweet, mainstream romances, but I felt something was missing–my faith. Your post really strikes home with me.

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Shadowed by Kariss Lynch

 

Click HERE to purchase Shadowed!

About Shadowed ~

Nick Carmichael faces the demons of his past on a Navy SEAL mission to catch arms dealer Janus. Meanwhile his girlfriend, Kaylan Richards, must come to terms with loving a man who is often gone and in harm’s way. She is adjusting to life in a new city with new friends, new neighbors, and an internship. But she still wonders if she will ever find her place and wrestles to develop the strength for the future she wants to have with Nick.

As Nick and the SEAL team chase Janus, she turns the tables, attacking their families, which places Kaylan in harm’s way. When Kaylan begins receiving threatening notes and items begin to disappear from her home, Nick must learn to trust God with her life as he and his team fight for justice and answers to his past. Will light shine in the darkness, or will Kaylan and Nick’s love forever be stalked by shadows?

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Want to win a copy of Shadowed?

Visit karisslynch.com/contact and sign up for my newsletter. I will choose one person to receive a free, signed copy of my new release, Shadowed, coming March 3!

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Kariss Lynch

About Kariss ~

Kariss Lynch writes contemporary fiction about characters with big dreams, hearts for adventure, and enduring hope. Shaken, her first book in the Heart of a Warrior series, released in 2014. Her second book, Shadowed, releases March 3, 2015. A former freelance writer, she now works as the writer for a communications ministry in Dallas.

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How do you describe love?

Have a wonderful day!

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