Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tuesday Tidbits: FOUNDATION OF A NOVEL SERIES (& FREE BOOK)



How do I create thee? Let me count the ways.
The foundation of a series is that “something” that connects the stories. In general, these connections fall into three main categories: character/s, locations, and themes.

CHARACTERS

A single character (or small group) who has different experiences.
A family where each story focuses on a different member.
A group of friends or a club.

LOCATIONS
A community, a town, a state/region, a shop, a church, island, etc.

THEMES

A theme can be knitting, gold rush, cooking, Pony Express, Texas Rangers, mail-order brides, Amish, events, etc.
As well as various other aspects that can connect stories from book to book.
Sometimes, a publisher comes up with a series. These are often theme connected. The theme could be as simple as similar titles, and other times a common story element.
This last one is how my current THE QUILTING CIRCLE series came to be. A publishing house started a series of both contemporary and historical stories to be written by various authors where a quilt played prominently in the story. My agent asked me if I’d like to submit something.
Oh, boy, would I! I love quilts and have made several. This was a perfect fit for me.
Whenever I’m asked if I have any stories with a particular element—such as quilts—or if I’d like to submit to a series with a particular theme, my imagination goes WILD! BONKERS! The ideas tumble and roll around in my head, spilling out faster than I can write them down. I no sooner get one story idea partially scratched out when the next one urges me to jot it down so it’s not forgotten. Then the next one, and on and on.
I quickly came up with three historical, two contemporary, and one generational ideas. Sadly, none were contracted. But in the shell game of changing agents, my new agent said I had enough ideas I could create a quilting series of my own.
Ooo. I liked that idea.
Unfortunately, my collection of stories wouldn’t fit smoothly together into a single series. Oh, I could’ve forced them, but that would have been a disservice to both my stories as well as my readers. However, one of the ideas stood out as making a great backdrop for a series, The Quilting Circle. As the series title suggests, the quilting circle and the ladies who populate it connect the stories, with Aunt Henny, the matriarch of the group, at the helm.
Though it took a while, it did finally get contracted. It’s not my first series. I’ve created others that centered around families, places, friends, and themes.
I like series, both to write and to read, because once I get to know the people in the first story, I already have a jump start for the next one and the next. Sometimes, side characters demand to have their stories told. They can be such prima donnas, but fun.
Once the foundation is determined, the stories can vary greatly as long as they keep that connection.
=0)

NEW!
THE DAUGHTER'S PREDICAMENT (Book 2 in the Quilting Circle series )
Can a patient love win her heart?

As Isabelle Atwood’s romance prospects are turning in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams. While making a quilt for her own hope chest, Isabelle’s half-sister becomes pregnant out of wedlock and Isabelle--always the unfavored daughter--becomes the family sacrifice to save face. Despite gaining the attention of a handsome rancher, her parents are pressuring her to marry a man of their choosing to rescue her sister’s reputation. A third suitor waits silently in the wings, hoping for his own chance at love. Isabelle ends up with three marriage proposals, but this only further confuses her decision.


A handsome rancher, a stranger, and an unseen suitor are all waiting for an answer.  Isabelle loves her sister, but will she really allow herself to be manipulated into a marriage without love? Will Isabelle capitulate and marry the man her parents wish her to, or will she rebel and marry the man they don’t approve of? Or will the man leaving her secret love poems sweep her off her feet?

FREE!
If you missed book 1, THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT, in the Quilting Circle series, the Kindle version will be available for free for 5 days only, May 1-5, 2019.

RECENT!
Love Is One of Life’s Greatest Adventures 
Seven daring damsels don’t let the norms of their eras hold them back. Along the way these women attract the attention of men who admire their bravery and determination, but will they let love grow out of the adventures?

Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure, a 1904 road-trip
Zola Calkin sets out on an adventure to be the first woman to drive across the country. Will the journalist tasked to report her presumed failure sabotage her efforts? Or will he steal her heart?
COURTING HER PRODIGAL HEART
Mother-to-Be’s Amish Homecoming... Pregnant and alone, Dori Bontrager is sure her Amish kin won’t welcome her—or the child she’s carrying—into the community. And she’s determined that her return won’t be permanent. As soon as she finds work, she’ll leave again. But with her childhood friend Eli Hochstetler insisting she and her baby belong here, will Dori’s path lead back to the Englisher world…or into Eli’s arms?




THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT ~ A sweet historical romance that will tug at your heart. This is book 1 in the Quilting Circle series.
Washington State, 1893
     When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?
     Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in  town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother.
     Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?

THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT is now available in ebook and paperback.

#ChristianRomance #HistoricalRomance #Romance

MARY DAVIS s a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her 2018 titles include; "Holly and Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection (January), Courting Her Amish Heart (March), The Widow’s Plight (July), Courting Her Secret Heart (September), “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection (December), and Courting Her Prodigal Heart (January 2019). Coming in 2019, The Daughter's Predicament (May) and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads (July). She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-four years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tuesday Tidbit: SWEDISH CEMETERY 1893



For the past year and half, I’ve walked or driven by this simple sign tucked along the side of the road between the grocery store and residential houses. Behind this sign grows a thicket of trees.


Ever since I first saw this sign, I wanted to explore this cemetery. This may sound morbid, but I find historic graveyards fascinating. Reading the names of people who passed this way in a bygone era. People who lived lives just like me and you. This cemetery is on the national historical society registry.



I could imagine the history it must hold. I love to look at headstones and read what is carved there. My husband also expressed an interest in perusing this historical treasure. We finally stopped talking about it and went exploring.

We entered this hallowed ground and immediately went to the right, which was sort of straight ahead. I couldn’t wait to discover the first headstone or marker to see who had passed this way. I looked to the left and right of the path. Bushes, trees, vines, and grass. Where were all the headstones?

Much to my dismay, the cemetery wasn’t much bigger than a house lot camouflaged by trees. More disappointing was walking two-thirds of the way around the central clump of trees without spying nary one gravesite. How can a place be called a cemetery with no dead people? That is kind of the definition and purpose of a cemetery. It marks people who have lived before for future generations to appreciate.

Just when I thought this to be a grave-less cemetery, we happened upon two moss-covered cement markers.


How exciting. Who were these people? The markers were so weathered that the names could no longer be read. I could tell that the indentations on the top had once formed letters, but what letters, I couldn’t tell.


I could make out what could possibly be a T or E or B? But on the lower ledge “AT REST” could clearly be read. How sad that these people’s names had been weathered away. Almost as though they had never existed. Because of their position, I’d guess that they were a husband and wife.

A little farther on (and almost to the end of the loop) were four more markers.


All too worn to read anything except one that had a name engraved on the side where the weather hadn’t beaten it into unreadable depressions. The name, clear and easy to distinguish, JOHNSON.


We looked among the trees and bushes, as best as we could from the path, to see if we could spot any other gravestones without any luck.

I wondered if there weren’t many more graves there than the headstones that remained revealed. Perhaps many wooden crosses or board markers had decayed over time, taking the secret of who lay beneath with them. Possibly other markers are buried under a layer of dirt or grown over by underbrush.

So, when I got home, I did a little research to find out more about this little piece of history.

In 1893, Johannes (St. John’s) Swedish Lutheran Church was founded in Bothell, WA. Two years later, a church building went up. Charles Erickson, a charter church member, donated one acre of land from his homestead for a cemetery. Johannes Johnson was the first to be buried there in 1901. Alfred Pearson and Eric Jacobson, other charter members of St. John’s Church, granted permission for transients to be buried in the cemetery; their graves usually went unmarked. The Swedish Cemetery contains the graves of important pioneers who came to Bothell prior to 1885. In 1927, the Swedish Lutheran Church disbanded. Bethany Lutheran Church received the title to the cemetery and then the title passed to Augustana Lutheran Retirement Home, now called the Columbia Lutheran Home in Seattle. As of 1982, the city of Bothell holds the title to this cemetery.

I never really thought about cemetery ownership, especially for these really old, historic graveyards. I found this quite interesting.


Back to the cemetery’s occupants. Thirty-nine known graves reside there and are listed by name on the nomination form to make this a historical landmark. However, those might not include graves with lost records or any unmarked graves of transients buried there.

 

Of the thirty-nine listed people, nearly one-third (twelve) are children. These are unnamed children. The list has them as “Johnson child” or “Blumberg child”. So sad; not even a name. I wonder if they died in infancy.

 

Thirteen Johnsons occupy space somewhere in that cemetery. Half of the twelve children had the surname Johnson. The poor family.

I am so glad that people saw fit to preserve what is left of this historic sight. Even though most of the grave markers are gone or weathered away, at least a partial list of the people who passed this way is recorded for future generations.




NEW!

THE DAUGHTER'S PREDICAMENT (Book 2 in the Quilting Circle series )
Can a patient love win her heart?

As Isabelle Atwood’s romance prospects are turning in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams. While making a quilt for her own hope chest, Isabelle’s half-sister becomes pregnant out of wedlock and Isabelle--always the unfavored daughter--becomes the family sacrifice to save face. Despite gaining the attention of a handsome rancher, her parents are pressuring her to marry a man of their choosing to rescue her sister’s reputation. A third suitor waits silently in the wings, hoping for his own chance at love. Isabelle ends up with three marriage proposals, but this only further confuses her decision.

A handsome rancher, a stranger, and an unseen suitor are all waiting for an answer.  Isabelle loves her sister, but will she really allow herself to be manipulated into a marriage without love? Will Isabelle capitulate and marry the man her parents wish her to, or will she rebel and marry the man they don’t approve of? Or will the man leaving her secret love poems sweep her off her feet?


eBook available May 1, 2019. Paperback available now.

RECENT!
Love Is One of Life’s Greatest Adventures 
Seven daring damsels don’t let the norms of their eras hold them back. Along the way these women attract the attention of men who admire their bravery and determination, but will they let love grow out of the adventures?

Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure, a 1904 road-trip
Zola Calkin sets out on an adventure to be the first woman to drive across the country. Will the journalist tasked to report her presumed failure sabotage her efforts? Or will he steal her heart?
COURTING HER PRODIGAL HEART
Mother-to-Be’s Amish Homecoming... Pregnant and alone, Dori Bontrager is sure her Amish kin won’t welcome her—or the child she’s carrying—into the community. And she’s determined that her return won’t be permanent. As soon as she finds work, she’ll leave again. But with her childhood friend Eli Hochstetler insisting she and her baby belong here, will Dori’s path lead back to the Englisher world…or into Eli’s arms?




THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT ~ A sweet historical romance that will tug at your heart. This is book 1 in the Quilting Circle series.
Washington State, 1893
     When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?
     Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in  town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother.
     Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?

THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT is now available in ebook and paperback.

#ChristianRomance #HistoricalRomance #Romance

MARY DAVIS s a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her 2018 titles include; "Holly and Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection (January), Courting Her Amish Heart (March), The Widow’s Plight (July), Courting Her Secret Heart (September), “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection (December), and Courting Her Prodigal Heart (January 2019). Coming in 2019, The Daughter's Predicament (May) and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads (July). She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-four years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday Tidbits: KINDLE UNLIMITED?



I’m learning all sorts of interesting things about marketing and reviews and Kindle Unlimited. Back when I started writing and first got published, none of what an author needs to do today to get their book to sell existed. The whole landscape of publishing has changed. Little by little I’m learning to navigate some of these new avenues necessary to publishing, marketing, and selling. The time has come for me to learn about Kindle Unlimited.




I don’t know quite how Kindle Unlimited (KU) works, but evidently, an author can make more money with page reads for KU than an outright sale of the book. Especially if the book is on sale for a super good price.

I keep hearing about how you can read books for “free” on KU and authors get paid for pages read. It can’t really be free. Because how would authors get paid?

So I did a quick search. Here’s what I found. KU isn’t free, it’s a monthly subscription for around $10 a month. It works like Netflix. You pick from their over 1 million titles and can read as many books as you want or can each month. So if you’re a avid reader and your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase all the books you want to read and this would be a great deal. And unlike the library, you don’t have to wait or driver anywhere to pick up the book you want to read.

So this box set of historical novels and novellas I’m in—HEARTBEATS IN TIMEis available for a limited time, and FREE with your Kindle Unlimited subscription. 


Authors get paid by the page read. I don’t know how Amazon tracks all that, but better them than me. If you’d like to own these awesome books, you can for 99 cents, 4 novels and 4 novellas by bestselling, award-winning authors. That’s 8 stories! An awesome deal either way! 

Here’s the line up of the stories included in the set:

The Novels:
THE WIDOW’S PLIGHT (Book 1 in the Quilting Circle series) by Mary Davis
A single mother steps out of the shadows of abuse and into the sunshine. But will a secret clouding her past cost her the man she loves? (Book 2, The Daughter’s Predicament, releases next month.)

FINDING LOVE IN LAST CHANCE, CALIFORNIA by Miralee Ferrell
A young woman on her own after the death of her father, tries to run the family ranch while solving the mystery of sabotage--can a wandering cowboy with a young son help solve her problems and possibly bring love into her life?

DREAMS OF MY HEART by Barbara Scott
Can A reluctant bride and her new husband fall in love despite their wounded hearts? 

HILLS OF NEVERMORE by Janalyn Voigt
Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish preacher bent on helping her survive? Based on actual historical events during a time of unrest, Hills of Nevermore explores faith, love, and courage in the Wild West. 

The Novellas:
HEART OF A COWBOY Novella Collection--four historical romances by Christian authors, set in the Old West
“Hearts in Pursuit” by Susan Page Davis
~Can Abby and Sam fight their way through danger and violence and live long enough to find love? 
“Hearts Reunited” by Miralee Ferrell
~Taylor is determined to save her ranch after her father’s death, but she won’t let anyone help—especially not her old friend Jesse Townsend.
“Have Dress, Will Marry” by Yvonne Lehman
~Julie Hayes must escape from Wildcat Mountain. Her only hope is to approach the cowboy, saddleback preacher Timothy Sullivan, and ask him to marry her.
“The Hand-Me-Down Husband” by Vickie McDonough
~Ellen didn’t want a hand-me-down husband, but could their marriage be God’s will for them both?

HEARTBEATS IN TIME get it today.

HAPPY READING!
=0)


NEW!
THE DAUGHTER'S PREDICAMENT  (Book 2 in the Quilting Circle series )
Can a patient love win her heart?

As Isabelle Atwood’s romance prospects are turning in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams. While making a quilt for her own hope chest, Isabelle’s half-sister becomes pregnant out of wedlock and Isabelle--always the unfavored daughter--becomes the family sacrifice to save face. Despite gaining the attention of a handsome rancher, her parents are pressuring her to marry a man of their choosing to rescue her sister’s reputation. A third suitor waits silently in the wings, hoping for his own chance at love. Isabelle ends up with three marriage proposals, but this only further confuses her decision.


A handsome rancher, a stranger, and an unseen suitor are all waiting for an answer.  Isabelle loves her sister, but will she really allow herself to be manipulated into a marriage without love? Will Isabelle capitulate and marry the man her parents wish her to, or will she rebel and marry the man they don’t approve of? Or will the man leaving her secret love poems sweep her off her feet?

eBook available May 1, 2019. Paperback available now.

RECENT!
Love Is One of Life’s Greatest Adventures 
Seven daring damsels don’t let the norms of their eras hold them back. Along the way these women attract the attention of men who admire their bravery and determination, but will they let love grow out of the adventures?

Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure, a 1904 road-trip
Zola Calkin sets out on an adventure to be the first woman to drive across the country. Will the journalist tasked to report her presumed failure sabotage her efforts? Or will he steal her heart?


COURTING HER PRODIGAL HEART
Mother-to-Be’s Amish Homecoming... Pregnant and alone, Dori Bontrager is sure her Amish kin won’t welcome her—or the child she’s carrying—into the community. And she’s determined that her return won’t be permanent. As soon as she finds work, she’ll leave again. But with her childhood friend Eli Hochstetler insisting she and her baby belong here, will Dori’s path lead back to the Englisher world…or into Eli’s arms?




THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT ~ A sweet historical romance that will tug at your heart. This is book 1 in the Quilting Circle series.
Washington State, 1893
     When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?
     Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in  town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother.
     Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?


#ChristianRomance #HistoricalRomance #Romance

MARY DAVIS s a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her 2018 titles include; "Holly and Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection (January), Courting Her Amish Heart (March), The Widow’s Plight (July), Courting Her Secret Heart (September), “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection (December), and Courting Her Prodigal Heart (January 2019). Coming in 2019, The Daughter's Predicament (May) and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads (July). She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-four years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:

Tuesday Tidbits: COUSIN CONUNDRUM

1st cousin? 2nd cousin? 3rd cousin? Once, twice, thrice removed? Isn’t a cousin a cousin? A lot of people find the whole 1st, 2nd,...