I WROTE 40 BOOKS WITHOUT GETTING RICH

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My Writing Path

As a lot of writers, I’ve been in love with the written word since I was a child. As many people know I wrote my first book when I was eight years old. It was a re-write of Beauty and the Beast. Of course, it’s lost in the past, but it wasn’t the only book I’ve written that never saw the light of day. There were several as well as the beginnings of many more.

My first published writings were short subjects and short stories, mainly for Sunday School take home papers and small magazines. I did have a recipe published in Southern Living and a hint found its way into Family Circle. I wrote and sold around seven hundred of these. The rejections I got amounted to over a thousand. Most paid me from .00 to 10.00, though there were four or five that paid 50.00 to 100.00.  I lost money because in all these ‘manuscripts’ I had to enclosed self-addressed- stamped-envelopes and/or return postage. (It was before the PC was a household necessity.)

Eventually I put together a book of games and puzzles based on the Bible called, Fun with the Bible and it was published by the Lutheran Synod. They also published two children’s activity books: Who am I, Old Testament and Who am I, New Testament. This happened in the 80’s.

After this, I hit an almost 20 year dry spell. It seemed nothing I wrote would sell. I received rejection after rejection, but I didn’t let this stop me. I wrote a couple of books and one actually caught the eye of a NY agent, who eventually rejected it. I was crushed, but I kept writing. No publisher would even look at it. After a good cry, I kept writing.

In 2000 I sold my first full-length fiction manuscript. Jilted by Death was published in 2003. The publisher then went out of business. I couldn’t attract a publisher for the next two books, Echoes of Mercy and Duo of Opposites, so I self-published them in 2006.  I owned the rights on Jilted and Echoes so in 2007 I sent them to Harlequin’s Worldwide Mysteries. I didn’t hear anything for 18 months, then out of the blue they sent me a contract for both. One was published in 2010 the other in 2011.

In 2008 I found a small publisher and they accepted the manuscript, Stetson Mold. It came out in 2009. The second book they published was Duo of Opposites since I owned the rights to it. They went on to publish The Calendar Clan, June & Wallace, The Ferrington Men: Gabe, The Ferrington Men: Josh and Emerywood Park.  They also published two western romances: Opal’s Faith and Valissa’s Home.

Another small firm published Your Place or Mine, Lady Slippers for my Lady, Wildflowers for the Senator and A Rose for my Forever Love.

My state murder series was first published by an e-book publisher: A South Carolina Murder, A Georgia Murder and A North Carolina Murder. I left this publisher.

For a new publisher. I began writing western romance under the name, Agnes Alexander. My publisher requested I only write under this name because it sold better than my birth name. I now answer to that name as often as I do my real name. My first book with them, Fiona’s Journey came out in 2012. They have also published in the western romance genre Rena’s Cowboy, Quinn’s Promise, Edwina’s Husband, Camilla’s Daughters, Amelia’s Marriage and Grace’s Dream. In the romance field they’ve published, The Island and Bought Bride. They re-named and re-published the mystries, Murder in North Carolina, Murder in South Carolina and Murder in Georgia.

I then found a publisher who only publishes western romance. They have published 2 books: Drina’s Choice and Hannah’s Wishes. I’m currently working on the 3rd and last in the series. At this time they have under contract, Belinda’s Yankee, a stand-alone that will be out in early 2016. In an anthology called, A Cowboy’s Celebration, they published my short-story: Second Chance at Love. In a boxed-set of books called, Love’s First Touch they re-published Drina’s Choice.

What did I learn from all this that might be of benefit to the new writer?:  (1) I didn’t let anything publishers or editors say discourage me. (2) No matter how my sales dropped, I kept writing. (3) I never refused to change or re-write when the editors requested it if it didn’t change the focus of the story. (4) I changed my genre when I felt I needed or wanted to. I started out writing non-fiction. I moved to Cozy Mystery, then Romantic Suspense, then Romance then Western Romance. Though I write a mystery or a present day romance occasionally, I’ve found I truly love writing the western romances and plan to continue – at least until I finish the alphabet with a woman’s name. (5) I still make very little money from my books, but I love writing them and know I will continue to write as long as the Good Lord lets me.

Leave a comment under this writing and be in a drawing for one of my print books. I’ll even autograph it for you.

 

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BOOK RELEASED TODAY

When I first started writing I thought the release date of my books would be some great day in the history of my writing. When it actually happened the first time, the date came and went without anything special happening. Now that I’ve been at it a while, I have learned a lot. I now know that unless the writer announces the date it is nothing more than a date on the calendar for everyone else, including the publisher.

I’m not saying the date isn’t important to the writer. It most definitely is. It means the public can now go to Amazon or their favorite bookstore and buy the book and in the end that is the important thing. But it’s not the earth shaking event I had thought in the beginning. The publisher didn’t call, or send flowers, or send me on a book signing tour across the country. If I’m lucky, they put a bit about the book on Twitter. Any other promotion is up to me.

That’s the reason you get bombarded on FaceBook and other media outlets with announcements of my book making it to market. Now you know why a writer tells you they have a new book on the market. Thanks for reading and if you’ll  leave a comment you’ll have a chance to win a free autographed copy of Grace’s Dream.

Grace’s Dream

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New Boxed Set

My Novel DRINA’S CHOICE is included in the boxed set entitled LOVE’S FIRST TOUCH. Loves First Touch Box 3The set sells for .99 on Amazon and is a must for anyone who like a good love story.

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Finished Editing!

It rained all weekend so I spent the time finishing the edits on Grace’s Dream. Now to move on to something new.

Grace’s Dream

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Editing GRACE’S DREAM

It rained all weekend so I spent the time finishing the edits on Grace’s Dreams. Now to start a new project.

Grace

Just received the galleys for the first editing of Grace’s Dream. Hope to get it finished this week. Of course this is not going to be easy. I’m closing on my new condo on Friday and I have a lot of packing to do.
Grace’s Dream is slated to come out in December.

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A Cowboy Celebration

Cowboy Celebration

Seven heartwarming stories by seasoned Western Historical writers.

Here are samples to give you an idea of the content.

LORRIE FARRELLY—THE LONGEST WAY HOME

Lily Harmon’s heart was captured when she adopted little Maddie Cullinan, an orphan whose father was presumed killed in battle. But former Union Army Major Luke Cullinan is very much alive, and he’s determined to reclaim his cherished daughter in Lorrie Farrelly’s  “The Longest Way Home.”

 

LINDA CARROLL-BRADD—FORGED BY FIRE

Ivey Treadwell, cook at her family’s boarding house, wants to accomplish something big. For now, she satisfies herself with improving on the traditional recipes for the boarders by adding herbs and spices she gathers. An incident with a broken pan causes her to see Berg Spengler, the town’s blacksmith, in a new light. Stigmatized for his huge size and blamed for his brother’s injury, Berg has discovered being alone is safer for his heart. But when he sees interest spark in Ivey’s eyes, he decides to take a chance and approach her. The pair discovers an attraction that heats up each time they are alone together. Will Ivey convince Berg his wandering days are over and home is here with her in Comfort?

 

AGNES ALEXANDER—SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE

Dr. Miles Kerry and his nurse, Cora Hilliard, have both given up on finding love again. But when Cora is asked to move out of the boarding house where she and her ten-year-old son Koby live, they have nowhere to go. Miles insists they move into the spare rooms in his house—an arrangement with no complications. But when Cora falls ill with a raging fever, she must rely on Miles as she never has before. Will Koby get the father he wants so badly? Will Miles and Cora get their Second Chance at Love?

 

BEVERLY WELLS—BRIGHTER TOMORROWS

Five years ago, Callie Lynch fell in love, only to have her dreams shattered when she realized she’d been played the fool and used like a puppet. Bitter and shamed, trusting no man and determined to stand alone, she leaves Virginia to find new roots in Wyoming. Three years ago, Marshal Chase Matlock lost the love of his life during a bank robbery and was left riddled with guilt for failing to protect her. For three years, he’s tracked the scum of the earth—and this time, by God, he’ll get his man.

 

ANGELA RAINES—NEVER HAD A CHANCE

Thomas Heath’s sister, Clara, abandoned him to the cruelties of the people who were raising them. As a young man, he finally finds her—but she is on her way to getting married. Tom leaves in search of something to give him the stability he yearns for…but what?

Maria Berñal, pampered and coddled by her wealthy father, is on the verge of becoming a woman as her eighteenth birthday approaches. When a stranger shows up at their door and is wounded as he tries to protect her, she finds him more than a passing attraction—she’s falling in love.

But Tom is the victim of a deadly trick, and can’t remember who he is or why he’s at the Berñal home. Will he regain his memory in time to prevent a second attack?

 

JULIA DANIELS—FOR THE LOVE OF GRACE

Poppy Stanton tracks down her mentally handicapped sister, Gracie, who has run off to become a mail-order bride. In the family way, Grace refuses to leave the dusty Wyoming town of Hope Springs, though she is married to an abusive husband. Bachelor Reed Ridgeley and his mother live nearby, and invite Poppy to stay at their spacious ranch while she sorts out what to do about Gracie. Can Poppy convince her sister to come back home to Chicago with her before Reed can show her what a new future could look like for them in Hope Springs?

 

MEG MIMS—WINNER TAKES ALL

Cora Peterson is dead set on winning the Fourth of July Barrel Auction with her Mile High Apple Pie. She expects her rival might best her once again, but what she doesn’t expect is a bid for love from the handsome newcomer to Cady Corners…

 Get your copy today and enjoy the celebration

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Meet an Award Winning Author

Lynn Chandler Willis

Today I welcome my friend and award winning author, Lynn Chandler Willis to my blog. Ms. Chandler Willis has worked in the corporate world, the television news industry and the newspaper business. She is the author of WINK OF AN EYE (Minotaur, 2014), winner of the St. Martin’s Press/PWA Best 1st P.I. Novel competition. Another of her novels, THE RISING (Pelican Book Group, 2013) was the Grace Award winner for Excellence in Faith-based fiction. She’s also the author of the best-selling true crime book, UNHOLY COVENANT which was based on a murder that took place in North Carolina (Addicus Books, 2000).

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Thank you for joining us today, Lynn. Now let me ask you a few questions that I’m sure readers will be interested in.

Tell us about yourself. Did you have another career before becoming a writer? If so, how and why did you come to writing? I knew after reading Treasure Island in the 7th grade that I wanted to be a writer. The idea of having the ability to transport a reader to an entirely different world was mesmerizing to me. Although the longing to write was always there, I played it safe and did the “real job” thing while my kids were young and needed a roof over their head and food to eat. I worked in the television industry and the corporate world, then ended up owning and publishing a small town newspaper. Although the newspaper gave me the opportunity to “write” it wasn’t the kind of writing I longed to do, which was fiction. People frown on newspapers making stuff up! After 13 years, I closed the newspaper and finally started actually submitting some of my work and found there was an interest in it. Today, I’m the “granny nanny” to eight of my nine grandchildren and writing full time between diaper changes and wiping noses.

What does your family think of your writing? The grandkids are super excited and are constantly asking what I’m working on, when will I finish it, can they see the cover…they’ve very encouraging. I have to grin sometimes when one of them will take one of my books to school because they’re teacher wanted to see it.

Tell us about Wink of an Eye. It is somewhat different from your other books. How did you come up with  the setting, the characters and the idea? Was it based on real incidents? Short blurb: Twelve-year old Tatum McCallen hires reluctant PI Gypsy Moran to prove his father didn’t kill himself. Gypsy, on the run from his own set of problems, soon finds himself in the middle of a case involving eight missing girls, a cowardly sheriff, and undocumented workers. Aided by a sexy reporter, Gypsy begins unraveling secrets buried deep in his tiny hometown of Wink, Texas. Secrets so deep, exposing them threatens the only woman he’s ever loved, and the very life of Tatum.

I had the character of “Gypsy Moran” in my mind for several years in various locals, professions, and plots but it wasn’t until I saw the movie “No Country for Old Men” that it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I absolutely fell in love with the setting—the dirt, the cactus, the blistering heat—that dominates west Texas. I knew I wanted the story set in a small town so I started researching small towns in west Texas and discovered Wink, population 981, give or take.

What is your next writing project? NoBody’s Baby, a mystery/suspense, is being shopped by my agent. It’s about a small town newspaper owner who becomes the caregiver to her friend’s toddler when she discovers the child’s mother brutally murdered. The novel explores the thin line between suspect, witness, and reporter. With that one finished and being submitted, I’m currently working on Wink and a Nod, book two in the Gypsy Moran mystery series. He’s such a fun character to write and he’s developed quite a fan club!

What is your writing day like? Hectic! I’m the full-time (7:30am until 6:00pm, Monday through Friday) babysitter for eight of my nine grandchildren. Their ages are: 11, 9, 8, 6, two 4 year-olds, and twin three year-olds. I keep my WIP (work in progress) open at all times on my laptop and grab a paragraph when I can. I used to be a pantster, but now work off of an outline. It’s much easier to grab that paragraph if you know where you’re going with the story.

What advice would you give others who want to write a novel? Just write it. Write it from the heart. Write it because there’s a compulsive need to get it down on paper or in the computer. Worry later about point of view, setting the scene, description, pace, transitions, word count—all that stuff that you’ll obsess over later when you have some experience under your belt. Once you’ve got something on paper, start studying the craft. Next time you sit down to write, all those elements you never gave a second thought to before—point of view, description, pace, etc…—will suddenly make sense.

Other Books by Lynn Chandler Willis

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Where are your books available? From the publishers, most major bookstores, Walmart, Amazon and other on-line retailers.

How can the readers get in touch with you?

My email address is: lynn@lynnchandlerwillis.com

website: http://lynnchandlerwillis.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lynn.chandlerwillis

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnCWillis

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001K7W7DU

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Guest Blogger Joel Jurrens

Today I welcome my friend and fellow Wings and Whiskey Creek author, Joel Jurrens. Though most of his work is of the serious nature, his blog shows a different side of him. The side that will make the most serious person smile if not laugh out loud.  Thank you for letting me repost your Blog, Joel.

                           Joel Jurrens

Joel Jurrens was a deputy sheriff for twenty-six years until his retirement in 2013. He has had short stories published in several magazines and has published three novels. Joel uses his background in law enforcement to bring a sense of authenticity to his stories. He has been writing since high school when he wrote a Christmas play for his church and hand published short story collections for his friends. Although his books deal with serious subjects, he seldom can resist seeing the humor even in the direst situations, and it often shows in his writing. He has been blogging since 2012.

His latest book   J jurrens 4   In the Lake is the sequel to In the Sticks

 

 WRITING A REVIEW

Recently there has been a scandal in the writing world. An author was exposed for paying a company to post almost five thousand glowing reviews of his book on Amazon. The reason he did it is because it works. He sold over a million copies of his book. Since then it has been revealed that numerous authors have paid companies to post fake reviews for them. I would never do that. I have ethics, integrity, pride and about a buck sixty-three in my pocket—I’m not sure that much would get me even a one-star review.

I don’t think readers are aware how much good a review can do or even a mediocre review. People don’t want to be the first one to dip their toe in the water when it comes to a new author. They don’t mind being duped into doing something stupid, like buying a bad book, as long as they know there are a lot of other people who were also duped—it’s how they are able to sell so much bottled water.

When I have a book come out, I have a few friends who automatically read it and post reviews on Amazon.  I get a few people who write reviews who I don’t know at all. I appreciate all of them. Occasionally I’ll meet someone at a book signing or on the street who will say, “I read your book.” Then there’s that pause that lasts at least three hours when I wait for them to throw up or say, “I really liked it.”  If they liked it, I’ll ask them if they could write a review to put on Amazon. Normally they look at me like I just asked them to give themselves an appendectomy, without anesthetic, blindfolded while wearing leather mittens without thumbs.

I know writing a review is tough for the average person. Writing a few sentences and then posting it where everyone can see it, takes some courage. (Now try writing seventy thousand or so words, putting them in book form and making people pay to read it, and you can began to see what it’s like being a writer.) But if you like a book—anyone’s book, not just mine (but especially mine)—write a review. You will be doing the author a HUGE favor. If you think a book stinks, write a review. You will be doing some reader a HUGE favor.

I have a book, In The Lake, coming out next month. I would like anyone who reads it and likes it to write a review. Even if you don’t like it, a review would be nice. (The guy who bought the reviews mixed a sprinkling of bad reviews in so they would seem more realistic.) For those of you who don’t know what to write, I am putting a sample review below. You don’t need to copy it word for word, but I think you’ll get the idea.

SAMPLE REVIEW

In The Lake is absolutely the best book ever written since the beginning of time. I believe it should win the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, the Daytona 500 and the Kentucky Derby. Not only is it a great murder mystery with dead AND live people, but it has fishing in it—how can you not like a book that has fishing in it? I also believe the book has magical powers. I was hardly through the first chapter when the hair started to grow back on my head, and I’ve been bald since I was eleven. By midway through the book, I had lost eighty-three pounds and that persistent boil problem had gone away. So now, because of the book, I’m thin, good-looking and there’s flowing blond hair growing on my head, back and little Chihuahua Poopsy.  I also heard—don’t quote me, because it’s not official—that they are going to stick a check for seventy-three bazillion dollars between the pages of one of the paperback books. (Let’s just keep that our little secret.) So read the book because it’s yummy good.

Other Books by Joel Jurrens

 J Jurrens          j jurrens 2          j jurrens 3

Get in touch with Joel Jurrens or purchase any of his books here:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Joel-Jurrens/e/B00FIT3578/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1430347797&sr=1-1

  Blog:         https://thewritingdeputy.wordpress.com/

 

 

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10 Things You May Not Know About Me

  1. What is the name you prefer to go by (real name, pen name, nickname; please specify)?  Agnes Alexander 
  2. How long have you been writing? Since I was a kid. When I first decided to send my work to market I wrote articles, short stories, etc. Of course, I wrote a few books along the way, but they stayed hidden in my desk drawer.  I turned to serious novel writing in the late in 1999.
  3. What genres do you write? Western Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense, Mystery and Contemporary Romance
  4. What inspired you to write? When I was a kid, the teacher often would read to the class. One day my 3rd. grade school teacher read a book to the class during rest period. It was Cowgirl Kate, by Enid Johnson. I loved the book so much I vowed that someday I’d write a book. (A few years ago I ordered Cowgirl Kate from a used book store and gave 30 dollars for a 2.98 book, but was worth it. I still liked the book.
  5. Are you published or close?  I’ve had over 500 articles, etc. published and 30  books. I also have 2 under contract to come out later this year or early next year.
  6. What is one thing unique about yourself or that others don’t know about you. I don’t just hate housework – I loth it. As soon as I can I plan to hire a housekeeper if I have to give up meat with meals.
  7. If you had the opportunity to meet any famous writer, dead or alive, who would it be? It would be Dorothea Brande. (See Question 9)
  8.  Have you given your hero or heroine any skills or superpowers you wish you had? If so, who and what? Only the smarts to do whatever needs doing in any situation they find themselves in.
  9. My favorite writing craft book is _On Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande  (It was published in 1934, but is still in print)  because it taught me that no matter how bad the many rejection letters I got made me feel, I’d be even more miserable if I gave up writing.
  10. What bit of advice or wisdom do you have to share with the chapter?Regardless of what some people think, writing is hard work and it isn’t a career the faint of heart should tackle. It’s something that most writers are compelled to do in spite of themselves. When you’re discouraged, (and you’ll be exception if this never happens to you) talk to other writers. It won’t take you long to learn that most of them were rejected many times before they were published. Join writer’s groups and find a critique group who will be honest about your work, but who will encourage you to keep going. And realize the old cliché is true, anything worth having is worth working for.
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A Taste of Hannah’s Wishes

CONGRATULATIONS

Lois Roberson

Winner of the signed copy!

Hannah's Wishes

BLURB When Hannah Hamilton is born with a shriveled foot, her sick mother knows she’ll never live to raise the child. Upon her mother’s death two years later, Hannah’s two older sisters care for her until their father finally admits that the child will never walk. Hannah is sent to live a lonely life with her widowed Aunt Verbena Wedington in Savannah. Though Hannah’s sisters attempt to visit her, they are thwarted by their Aunt Verbena, who manages to take control of every aspect of Hannah’s life.

Jarrett MacMichael, an Arizona detective, is hired to go to Savannah and check on Hannah’s welfare. Jarrett is surprised to find the object of his mission is a beautiful young woman who is being controlled by her devious aunt. During his investigation, not only does he discover Hannah’s evil Aunt Verbena has a sinister plan for her charge, but Jarrett realizes he’s the only one who can stop her before it’s too late.

By the time Jarrett frees Hannah, she has fallen head-over-heels in love with him–but she understands she can’t hope for a life with the handsome detective.

Practical man that he is, Jarrett  knows life would be hard if he tied himself to a woman who can’t walk…but how can he live without her? There’s only one thing to do. Will he be able to grant HANNAH’S WISHES?

 EXCERPT

  “How about your brother?”

“Everett is happily married to a woman he met when he went to England on business. Her daddy is a lord, or a count…or some type of royalty. They live in England and have a little princess of their own.” He wondered how Everett would feel if he knew he’d graduated him from the detective business, married him off, and elevated him to royalty in England

Verbena’s eyes lit up. “Really? Royalty?” He nodded, and she went on. “Have you visited them?”

Hannah looked interested, but there was something in her eyes that made him wonder if she knew he was telling a tall tale. He gathered that this young lady was no fool. He answered Verbena’s question with, “I’m so busy with my own enterprises that I’ve only had time to visit them once. They have promised to come visit me in the next couple of years. Everett wants to show his wife and daughter his country.”

“I think that’s wonderful.”

There was a knock on the parlor door, and Minerva poked her head in. “Supper is ready, Miz Wedington.”

“Send Tobias to get Hannah.”

“Yes, ma’am.” She scurried away.

Jarrett couldn’t help wondering why the man was to come get Hannah. The fact was, he’d been looking forward to offering her his arm so he could escort her to supper. Jarrett’s question was answered in a matter of a moment. Tobias returned pushing a wheelchair. Jarrett was stunned as the butler pushed it up to the settee and reached down to lift Hannah into it.

So that was her problem. She couldn’t walk. He never would have guessed.

Verbena stood. “Shall we go into supper, Mr. MacMichael?”

“Of course.” He stood, and since he had no alternative, he offered her his arm. They went out of the parlor leaving Tobias to push Hannah’s chair behind them.

♥♥♥

Hannah wondered about Mr. Jarrett MacMichael. Yes, he was as handsome as she thought he’d be now that she’d seen his face. In fact, he was the kind of man she often dreamed about and wished she could meet. Yes, he told a good story about his life, but something didn’t ring true to her. Was he trying to impress Aunt Verbena? If so, why? What could her aunt do for him? And why hadn’t he mentioned her sister? She’d kept quiet just like her Aunt Verbena had told her to, but she didn’t intend to let him get through the meal and leave this house without answering a question or two about Drina.

Leave a comment and have a chance of winning an autographed print copy of Hannah’s Wishes.

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