DOES FRIDAY THE 13th SCARE YOU?

Are you superstitious? Do you believe unusual ‘things’ will happen to you on Friday the 13th? Personally, I do. Only I don’t think bad things will happen. Nope, for me it’s just the opposite.

You see, I’ve chosen the 13th to announce that I’ve signed another contract with The Wild Rose Press. Woot! If anything will bring me luck and fantastic book sales, this will. Although, just for good measure, perhaps I should also go drive by a cemetery and see if a black cat will come out of it and run across my path. That has happened to me and I had very good luck afterwards. (Y’all did know that I’m kinda ‘weird,’ didn’t you? 🙂 )

The name of the story is LAST HOPE ALASKA and is set in Juneau. I absolutely love Alaska and I love this story! I hope I’ve done justice to the Juneau area and have depicted the region accurately. If not, I’m sure everyone that lives there will let me know. 😉

Emily Redfern is a cute but quiet librarian from Tulsa who opened her heart to the wrong man. Now she’s on the run and has to dig deep to find survival skills she hadn’t known she possessed. Broke and exhausted, she lands in Juneau – her last hope for a refuge.

When Sam Tarkington was wrongfully imprisoned, it cost him everything to prove his innocence and be exonerated. All he wants is to regain his reputation, his business, and basically his life as he’d once known it. But when he befriends a woman with a southern accent, all of his intentions get sidetracked in a major way.

Danger lurks in the wilderness. Will the challenges facing them bring them closer? Or prove to be their final demise?

Stay tuned for more details and I’ll provide them as they come available.

(Now I’m going to go dance in the street and celebrate. BIG TIME!)

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Writing Conferences – The Ups and Downs

I’ve been extremely quiet lately. There’s a reason. I attended the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc’s (OWFI) conference May 3-5 in Norman, OK. Wow. What a rush! Not only did I meet with my first line editor, but also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Wild Rose Press. I hung out with them on Friday night after the Famous Author’s Banquet during a Buzz Session.

Oh! Speaking of the banquet, I hit the ‘big screen’ by announcing the publication of my books last year, GRAVE SECRETS and ROMANCE-THE SPICE OF LIFE. DSCN0670_706

DSCN0673_709I wasn’t alone, by all means! Lots of OWFI members had books released last year. Our pictures were displayed along with the book cover and a short blurb about the story. Each author stood when their name was called by Alaska Yup’ik Storyteller Jack Dalton. Then we waved (enthusiastically, I might add) as the audience cheered us on. DSCN0674_710My good friend, Kathlyn Smith, did her best to get a good picture of me. Wasn’t meant to be, though. *s*

I also got to hang out with friends from the West Texas A&M Writers Academy as well as others from Amarillo, including: Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phyllis Miranda. Jodi was one of the speakers, and let me tell you, she told us in no uncertain terms what it takes to make it. Yet, here I sit. Writing a blog and not writing on my story. The good news is I came up with another storyline while there. Woot!

So all in all, I got my money’s worth out of this conference. Will I go back in the years to come? You betcha’! This year there were four other members of Smart Women Who… attending the conference. 931229_10151632008947456_1977057717_n[1] T.D. Hart, Jackie King, Kathlyn Smith, myself, and Susan Shay. I think everyone had a fantastic time.

What about you? Do you go to conferences? If not, why in the world not?! Even though you may come home exhausted—I know I did—it’s a great opportunity to connect with other writers, pitch your story to an editor or agent, reconnect with old friends and make a ton of new ones. How can you lose?

You can’t.

The Importance of Promotion

Everyone knows I’ve been promoting my new release, but I wonder if I should have been doing more. And a lot sooner. I didn’t seriously start promoting the book until its release day and from what I’ve seen on TWRP author loop, a lot of people start getting the word out much earlier. They do blog tours for up to 2 weeks before the release date, they send the book out to reviewers not on TWRP reviewer distribution list, they have A LOT of give-a-ways, do blog hops (where there are several other authors involved), and the list goes on.

I feel like I’ve been doing pretty well locally. After all, I’ve talked about my writing for years wherever I go. All my doctor’s offices, the dentist, chiropractor, etc. But once all of these folks have bought the book, then what? Who will I sell it to then?

I guess my question is, what should I have done differently? I think this question is pretty relevant as I think there are several others in our group that are on the cusp of selling. This info can prove helpful to them, too. Or they may already know how to promote their book much better than I’ve done.

Using the internet is a given. You can set up Events on Facebook and invite everyone that you think can make it there. Like signings. Why invite someone who lives hundreds of miles away when you know they won’t drive all that distance? But then again, you never know. One gentleman and his wife drove 225 miles to come to my first signing and I didn’t even know him. We were both from the same small town, but that’s it. I was SO amazed that he’d do that.

I really don’t want all of these posts to be self-serving, but like I said earlier, others can benefit.

My question is: if you’re close to publishing, do you have a ‘Battle Plan’ in place to promote/sell your book? Where did you get your advice or idea, and are you willing to share?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Speaking of promotion, here’s the bottom line from The Romance Studio review, which gave me a 5 Heart rating.

“Overall, this author has done an exceptional job of penning this novel, of which I want to read again and again because it showed that no mother should give up hope of finding their child alive after they’ve been abducted.”

Is that cool or what? {big stupid grin}

If you want to check out my book, here’s a link: The Wild Rose Press

Do You Need Permission?

As most of you know, I’ve been on a blog tour the last couple of weeks. The last blog stop will be on the 31st btw. But something was said on one of the comments the other day that I’d like to expand on. And that’s giving yourself permission.

Huh? What do I mean by giving yourself permission? Just that. Give yourself permission to not be the perfect mom, the world’s best housekeeper or any number of things that keep you from doing what you want the most. I’m going to assume it’s writing (since this is a blog about writing).

Years ago, I thought I could never write an entire book. Then this story started bugging me…big time. I finally listened but still wasn’t sure if I could do it. Yes, I was afraid. (Aren’t we all afraid of something?) I thought about it long and hard and finally gave myself permission to try. Whatever the outcome, at least I would have stepped outside my comfort zone and given it a shot.

It wasn’t easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. I took classes at the community college, then joined a romance writers group, went to conferences and workshops, networked, took online classes. i.e. I worked at learning the craft. I admit I’m slow, but I kept plugging along. Now all these years later, I’ve published my first book and I’m looking forward to cranking out more. I’m receiving good feedback and reviews on the book, which validates my efforts.

All because I gave myself permission.

So I’m telling you, whatever you’re passionate about, whether it’s writing, quilting, crafts, photography, scuba diving, go for it. I don’t care what your age is, that’s just a number, anyway. Take classes, find a support group, and pursue that dream, that passion. What have you got to lose? (Um, not a thing.)

Give yourself permission! You’ll be glad you did.

Linda Trout

Grave Secrets

The Wild Rose Press

Conferences

I had a great weekend at the OWFI Writers Conference in Oklahoma City this last weekend. Made some new friends, reconnected with some older friends and attended some awesome workshops. It was great!

One of the best things was getting to spend time with my fantastic editor from The Wild Rose Press, Ally Robertson, and getting to know her better. She took pitch appointments on Friday and Saturday, but didn’t seem to be in demand on Saturday. My little ole’ brain kicked into gear and next thing she knew, I was there asking for her help in plotting a sequel to my upcoming release, GRAVE SECRETS.

My instincts must have been spot on because she told me she loved to plot. Yah! Ally helped with some problems in the plot and pointed me in the right direction. Don’t you just love it when that happens?

Saturday night everyone gets dressed up for the Awards Banquet. I’d entered but my name wasn’t called. 😦  However, my roommate did come in the money. I was THRILLED for her!

I’m still trying to recoup from the hectic two day conference so it’s a good thing I didn’t have to get up and go to a day job today. Even though I come home pumped and wiped out at the same time, I guarantee you I’ll be back there again next year. Don’t want to miss out on anything, you know. 😉

Relay Race

Have you ever thought of life as being like a relay race? And how that analogy relates to writing? It’s basically passing on the information you’ve learned, like passing a baton in a race, to the person that comes behind you. You have to stay focused during this race or you’ll drop the baton. If you do that, the entire team loses.

As writers, we have to stay focused on our goal…telling a good story (the race around the track) to finally publishing (crossing the finish line). It isn’t easy. That’s why it takes an entire team. For me, that’s critique partners, critical family and friends as well as the whole RWI Chapter to keep me on track. If anyone dropped the baton during the past years, it was me. Others can only do so much. It’s up to you to set your sights on the ultimate prize, crossing the finish line and signing that contract.

I’m pleased as punch to state that I’ve finally done just that. I signed my first contract! But I couldn’t have done it without the entire team behind me. [That’s y’all!]

The baton was passed to me and I (finally) managed to win the race. Now it’s my turn to pass the baton on to others. Time for me to pass on my knowledge then fall back and watch others as they, too, cross the finish line.

Thanks for being there for me, fellow SLUTS!

Linda Trout

Grave Secrets – The Wild Rose Press

(release date to be announced)