Books I’ve enjoyed this year.

I have read so many fantastic books this year, some by authors I hadn’t heard of before. So I’ve decided to do a post to share some of them with you. I really enjoy finding books by new authors and I have come across many in book groups, forums and on Twitter. Here are the ones that I couldn’t put down. I’ll share a few every couple of weeks.

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This whole series by Heidi Catherine was so good. I bought the first book, then had to download the others as soon as they were available. If you like books that will lift your spirits and weave a story of love and loss through the ages, then give these books a try.

The Soulweaver series. Book blurb from Amazon.

Love in La La Land and The Secret were two very different books. One lighthearted and glamorous, one intense and full of secrets and drama. Both beautifully written and enough to make me stay up reading them into the night.

Love in La La Land. Book Blurb from Amazon.

The Secret. Book blurb from Amazon.

 

The Secret by Katharine Johnson.

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Author Katharine Johnson.

About the author

Katharine Johnson likes writing about ordinary people in extraordinary situations. She’s passionate about old houses and the stories they have to tell. She grew up in Bristol and has lived in Italy. She currently lives in Berkshire but spends as much time as she can in the Lucca area of Tuscany. When not writing you’ll find her exploring cities, drinking coffee, playing netball badly and walking her madcap spaniel

This is the second book set at Villa Leonida, the house at the centre of The Silence which was published last year but it’s a standalone story.

In The Silence some bodies were discovered at Villa Leonida, an idyllic holiday home, during a children’s game of hide-and-seek on a family holiday. They  were found to relate back to the summer of 1992.

A year on, in The Secret, the villa has been put up for sale. Which for elderly resident Sonia can only mean one thing – that the renewed interest and gossip will lead to the discovery of her own secret which relates to that same evening at the villa in 1992.

But while she’s desperate to keep the past hidden another resident, Carlo, can’t leave it alone. He’s determined to discover the truth about a wartime atrocity in which Sonia’s mother and his own played a part.

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Here’s the blurb:

Love, lies and betrayal in wartime Italy. Two girls growing up in Mussolini’s Italy share a secret that has devastating consequences. Against a backdrop of fear, poverty and confusion during the Second World War friendship is tested and loyalties divided. But a chance encounter changes everything. The girls’ lives diverge when beautiful, daring Martina marries and moves into Villa Leonida, the most prestigious house I their Tuscan village while plain, studious Irena trains to be a teacher.

But neither marriage, nor life at Villa Leonida are as Martina imagined. And as other people’s lives take on a new purpose, Irena finds herself left behind.

Decades later a tragedy at the villa coincides with the discovery of an abandoned baby whose identity threatens to re-open old wounds. While Irena’s son is determined to get to the truth, Martina’s daughter is desperate to keep the past hidden.

The Secret is published by Crooked Cat Books and is available in paperback £6.99 and kindle £1.99 here: http://thesecretjohnson

Find out more at the Online launch on 1-2  June  https://www.facebook.com/events/111942169663863/

Social Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Katharinejohnsonauthor/

Twitter https://twitter.com/@kjohnsonwrites

Website/blog https://katyjohnsonblog.wordpress.com

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A journey into the unknown.

E3.jpegTHE NOVICE AUTHOR

A Journey into the Unknown by author Karen Ingalls.

My close friend exclaimed, “You must get this published. Every woman needs to read this.” I had reluctantly agreed to let her read my journal that I had kept since my cancer diagnosis. It was just one part of many journals I had kept starting around the age of ten. I had written poetry, short stories, and in my late teens I began my first novel. My times of writing were therapeutic and private. I found answers to the chaos in my dysfunctional family even though I never even told anyone that I did any writing. Though I dreamed of being a famous author, I did not believe that I had the talent. My family was not one to give out compliments regarding my grades, art projects, or how I looked.

 Fifty years later, I was encouraged to publish my journal as a memoir, but I at the same time I felt overwhelmed and frightened. Yet, I had a sense of determination that carried me through. It was 2010, just two years since my diagnosis and little did I know that at 69, my life would forever be changed, renewed, and rewarded.

I went to the local bookstore and purchased a large book with instructions on how to write a query letter and lists of thousands of publishers and agents. One literary agent taught at Columbine High School at the same as a friend of mine. I used his name in introducing myself and sent an overview of and an excerpt from my manuscript. That rejection letter was one of approximately thirty. Such letters made me feel rejected and childhood memories tried to raise their ugly heads, but once again I turned to my mantra, “I can do this”.

I Googled for publishing houses in my area, the Twin Cities of Minnesota. One company asked for an overview of the manuscript to send to their email address. I not only sent my memoir, but I included my then finished novel which I had begun to write as a teenager. A half hour later I received a phone call from Beaver’s Pond Press. “Are you free tomorrow, I would love to meet with you?” Dara Beevas asked.

We concentrated on the memoir first since the market is narrower and be easier to sell. Over the next year I learned about editing, book design, marketing, selling, blogs, and social media. A whole new world opened up to me. My book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir was published in March 2012. I set up accounts with CreateSpace and Amazon, ordered books, and had my first launch.

Novy's Son: The Selfish Genius by [Ingalls, Karen]  Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir by [Ingalls, Karen]  

Here are the main points I learned and continue to learn on this journey:

 1. Believe in yourself.

 2. Be willing to accept criticism and suggestions from those in the publishing world. Be open to learning.

 3. Search the Internet for information on how to write a query letter, addresses of publishers and agents, independent author organizations.

 4. Become familiar with social media.

 5. Find an excellent editor. Your editor will bring your story to life and help you see errors that you have read over many times.

 6. Know that marketing your book is the hardest task you will have, but do not be discouraged. This is where other authors, book or author organizations on the Internet can be of great help.

 7. Join book clubs. The one I have found most helpful, supportive and enjoyable is Rave Reviews Book Club.

I have two published novels and a memoir. Now I am working on my third novel and second memoir. I have many published articles and am a speaker for a variety of different groups. I have two blogs. One is more for my memoir emphasizing health/wellness, spirituality and relationships at www.outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com. My second blog is Mind, Pen, & Spirit for authors and avid readers at www.kareningalls.blogspot.com. I welcome you to follow my blogs and do a guest blog.

I am no longer a novice author, but a published author who continues to follow her dream. My journey as an author has been a wonderful learning experience, an opportunity to challenge myself, and a way to meet incredible authors and those who enjoy books. So, I encourage you to pick up the pen, write, and publish your book. Follow your dream.

Author Bio:

Karen Ingalls is an author of two novels, a memoir, and several publications. She has a blog for authors and avid readers Mind, Pen & Spirit at www.kareningalls.blogspot.com and welcomes guest posts. She is a member of Rave Reviews Book Club, Rave Writers International Society of Authors, Independent Authors Network, and Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club.

Links:

http://www.kareningallsbooks.com

http://www.kareningalls.blogspot.com

http://twitter.com/KIngallsAuthor

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Ingalls/1473379352893458

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-ingalls

http://www.amazon.com/Davida-Model-Mistress-Augustus-Saint-Gaudens

http://www.amazon.com/Novys-Son-Selfish-Genius

http://www.amazon.com/Outshine-An-Ovarian-Cancer-Memoir

http://plus.google.com/+KarenIngalls1941

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Creation of a New Series by guest author Staci Trolio.

Hi, everybody. I’m glad to be here today. Thanks for spending a few minutes with me.

The second installment of my Nightforce Security Series, Gamble, just released. I have a few standalone pieces, but I mostly write series. Over the course of my fiction career, I’ve been asked about my decision to write series rather than single titles. So, I thought I’d share my process with you.

Quite often, when a storyline forms in my mind, it develops in discrete chunks. When I link them altogether, the true story forms. Each installment is the “short game” or, in other words, what the villain hopes to accomplish at that particular time. But the series on the whole is the “long game” or the resolution of the overarching problem—the villain’s ultimate goal and whether it is achieved. In the case of my Cathedral Lake Series, the stories followed the Keller family. The first novel started with a family tragedy, and the last novel ended with all the mysteries solved. The process was similar with my Medici Protectorate Series. The first book began with a family in peril and ended with the danger revealed and dealt with.

But I started the Nightforce Security Series with a different goal in mind. There was a secondary character in my Medici Protectorate Series who really spoke to me. He had a story of his own, and not just as support for other main characters. This guy, Danny Caruso, was a lead character stuck in the background, and he really needed to be put in the spotlight. That’s how Password came to be. Funny thing was, Danny had supporting characters in his story who also had lives worth examining. And that’s how my new series was born.

Instead of shorter installments as the overarching problem was resolved, these are standalone stories all linked together through character association. All of my heroes are employees at Nightforce Security, and every one of them is a magnet for strong women and dangerous situations.

If you’re a novelist with a list of standalone titles and you’re considering writing a series, you’ve got a few options.

  1. Make the same character your hero in each standalone work. (Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
  2. Follow a different character in each story, starting with a problem in book one and solving it in the end of the last novel. (Sign of Seven Series by Nora Roberts)
  3. Or, and this might be easiest for you, mine your existing novels for secondary characters that seem to have more to say, then write their stories. In other words, a spinoff. (Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spinoff of the Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling)

I usually follow the second option, but with my newest series, I’m following the third, and I have to say it’s been a lot of fun taking supporting characters and making them stars. Even better, I get to revisit beloved characters whose stories are over. My readers and I miss them, so their cameo appearances are enjoyable for all of us.

If you’re thinking of making the move from standalone novels to series writing, maybe this method will make for an easy transition for you.

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Blurb for Gamble:

Sometimes stakes are too high to gamble. Other times they’re too high not to.

Noah Crawford is a consummate bachelor—until a one-night stand piques his interest in something more. The only problem is, she wouldn’t give him her name, and he has no way to find her.

A week later, resigned to forgetting her, he accompanies his friends to a casino. Floor traffic promises to be light while everyone clusters at the sportsbook for the college basketball championship game. But Noah isn’t in the mood for frivolity and sets off on his own. No one is more surprised than he is when he bumps into his mystery woman.

He’s playing a far different game than cards when armed criminals take over the poker room. Noah is separated from his friends, and somehow the room has been cut off from security. Help isn’t coming. It’s up to him to keep everyone safe while he tries to thwart the gunmen.

Noah quickly realizes he’s trying to prevent more than a simple heist. And he doesn’t know who he can trust. The stakes have never been higher, and he’s all in. But one of the thieves might have an ace up his sleeve, and that could cost Noah everything.

More Information | Universal Purchase Link

About Staci:

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Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

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