Let’s Chat

One of my favorite things about summer is the chance to talk to catch up with friends. Because everyone is busy vacationing or rushing to ballgames, I love the moments you can sneak in where you get to sit and share what’s been going on with friends and family.

We decided the Inksper family needed to do a little catching up as well. So for the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing what’s been going on in our lives professionally, personally, or both. And we’d you, our reader friends and family, to share what’s going on in your lives as well.

My Turn

I just returned from a wonderful few days with Judy Miller. She and I had a day and a half brainstorming session, and we got so much done. It’s hard to explain how fun it is to create with someone. The energy seemed to spark between us.

Booksigning in Newton, KS this weekend.
Booksigning in Newton, KS this weekend.

Then on Saturday, Judy and I drove to a booksigning with Deb Raney and Melissa Jagears. We were hosted by Faith & Life Bookstore. Not only do they have a lovely store, they had a snack table set up with cookies, grapes, and cheeses for the guests. It’s always fun to visit with reader friends, both new and returning.

Afterwards, the four of us had lunch together at Prairie Harvest across from the bookstore. Whenever authors get together, there is always talk of the publishing world and of current trends. I think there’s comfort in knowing none of have the answers or can foresee the future of a changing book world.

Besides my little writing trip, my summer has been filled with camp and fair. My husband directs the SW Iowa Junior 4-H camp in early June, and of course, I’m the assistant. Then at the end of June, I taught the Bible class for juniors (3rd-6th) at church camp. My curriculum was called Kamp Kaboom and it was a lot of fun for me and the children.

Cousins at camp. My two girls with their cousin from Maine.
Cousins at camp. My two girls with their cousin from Maine.

My daughters have been working at camp, too. My 16-year-old was a counselor for the junior camp, then attended her own senior session. My twenty-one-year old was the “nurse” for the senior session. (Nurse is really more of a health associated like at school.) We’ve had the pleasure of having my niece from Maine stay with us this summer. It has been such a joy getting to really know her.

 

The end of July brought the county fair. I’m a 4-H leader with about 30 kids in my club. My kids did wonderfully, and it’s so fun to see them excel. And if you think 4-H is only for country kids, you’d better take a second look at the program. Music, child development, computers, welding, camping–you name it. If a young person is interested in an area and sets a goal, he or she can do a project on it. My daughter’s community service project write-up was chosen to go on to the Iowa State Fair.

Next up in my world is Kinney Kamp. That’s three days my side of the family gets together and plays. There are about 35 of us, but not every can make it. Then, my husband and I will join Dawn Ford and her husband on a cruise to Alaska. We can’t wait.

So what about you? How are things going for you? Have you been to any fairs? Camps? And do you have any cruise advice for Dawn and I? Don’t be shy. Let’s chat.

eBay

This summer I’ve slowed down on reading since I’m trying different things to help with my insomnia. Reading is too all encompassing for my mind. And night time was the only time I took to read unless it was the Bible.

Since my youngest son is going to turn fifteen this year, I am wanting to get a part time job (other than writing and working at Splickety Publishing Group.) So, instead of reading, I’m studying how to become an eBay vendor. I’ve tried it before a couple of times with no luck. I find when I am unsure about something, it never goes well. So, I am trying to overcome those issues by studying how the successful people did it. If anyone has any tips, I wouldn’t mind hearing them.

Otherwise, I’ve been busy helping with my husband’s business expansion. Since he has been putting in many hours I’ve been trying to keep up with some of the chores he normally does.  When that slows down I hope to get back to my TBR pile with Judith Miller’s The Potter’s Lady on top!!

Don’t forget about our giveaway of Judith Miller’s book (from above)! Leave a comment today and the rest of the week and your name will be entered (U.S. only). Drawing closes on July 31 at midnight, central time. A name will be picked by Random.org.

Lollipops and Book Lovers

Happy National Lollipop Day!

Now, you many be wondering what lollipops and book lovers have in common. They are both treats meant to be enjoyed slowly. However, if you’re like me, eventually you grow impatient and start to devour the lollipop or the book or both.

Anyone remember the Tootsie Pop owl who asked, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” The after a kid bit into his lollipop, the owl added, “The world may never know.”

I often feel that way when it comes to books. Who can read leisurely when you’re nearing the end? My heart is racing, my eyes fly over the words. I want to know how this turns out!

As fall approaches, my fellow book lovers, we are about to discover a whole new slew of books hot off the presses.  The Inkspers are going to share some of these upcoming releases.

Our patience will be tested as we wait for these releases. Then, when we finally get to hold these fresh titles in our hands, we will want to bite right into that center of the Tootsie Pop and devour the book.

How many days does it take to finish a wonderful book?

The world may never know.

Speaking of wonderful books, I have a title to put on your list and you won’t have to wait long. In fact, if you leave a comment here during the next two weeks, you can win a copy of  Judith Miller’s newest release The Potter’s Lady. Judy’s stories are filled with rich, historical details that reveal the in-depth research she does. I’ve already had the chance to read this story, so I know you won’t want to miss it.

Potter's LadyHere’s the back cover blurb:

Engaging History and Romance from Bestselling Author Judith Miller

When Rose McKay convinces her brother, Ewan, to invest in a pottery business, she’s determined to assist him in making the venture a success. Having just graduated from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, she believes she can design pieces that will sell well. In her efforts to help the pottery flourish, Rose reconnects with Joshua Harkness, who oversees his own family’s pottery works in a nearby town.

Rylan Campbell has never liked change, but the new owners of the pottery seem to be the decent sort. He just wishes Rose wouldn’t insist on cleaning and moving everything. But when McKay Pottery starts losing business to the Harkness company, Rylan realizes Joshua might be taking advantage of Rose.

Then Franklin Hotels announces a design contest. Winning the Franklin contract would be exactly the boost McKay Pottery needs, so Rose and Rylan work closely together to create something magnificent. With Joshua’s company as their main competition, can Rylan convince Rose her trust in Joshua may be misplaced?

Ready to curl up with The Potter’s Lady? You can order it here. Also, every time you leave a comment any time during the next two weeks, your name will be entered (U.S. only). Drawing closes on July 31 at midnight, central time. A name will be picked by Random.org.

By the way, tomorrow is National Junk Food Day. I think it’s our patriotic duty to eat ice cream and read books to celebrate. After all, it IS a national holiday. What do you think?

 

Black Friday Book Deals

If you’re like me and you abhor going Black Friday shopping anywhere but at home, here are some deals for you to look into. I’ve scanned the deals and found a few for you to take advantage of right from the safety and sanity of your computer.

 

Christianbook.com has over 2,100 deals on Christian books and gifts. Save up to 96% until December 1st for this amazing deal. Here are some wonderful examples:

Beth Moore’s Portrait of Devotion is marked down 40%, from $24.99 to $14.99

Beth Moore's Portrait of Devotion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melody Carlson’s The Christmas Cat is marked down 50%, from $15.99 to $7.99.

Melody Carlsons Christmas Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And our dear friend Judith Miller (along with other favorite authors) The Immigrant Brides Collection is marked down 83%, from $14.99 to $2.49. Now that’s a deal!

Immigrant Brides

Get on over to Christianbooks.com to check out their deals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian books is not the only one having sales. If you don’t know, Barnes & Noble are trying to lure customers in their stores by offering a hundred books for sale that are signed by the author. Go to B&N.com and enter your zip code to find the stores near you to take advantage of this offer!

Don’t forget our very own Brenda Anderson’s newest book, Pieces of Granite is now available for your Nook for only $3.99. Don’t wait to get this pieces of granitedeal.

 

Amazon has an extra 30% off any book on any book by using this promotional code, good from 11-26 thru 11-30-2014. Brenda’s book is ready for downloading on your Kindle there for $3.99 also.

 

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday, and much to be thankful for. Happy Shopping!!!!!

 

 

 

Indie Excellence

*** Last Day to Enter Book Giveaway ***
See rules below

With this new climate in publishing, I’m amazed at the proliferation of indie authors and hybrid authors doing well in the marketplace.

A couple of authors in particular have caught my eye, and their books are on my must-read list. In my opinion, these are two authors to watch.

Kept by Sally BradleyKEPT by Sally Bradley is a 2-time Genesis finalist. The gritty story line is exactly the type I salivate to read, and I can’t wait till my book arrives in the mail!

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her–all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago’s lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.

Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father’s sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can’t help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she’s longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.

When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes her anonymity was an illusion.Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her–a woman who’s gone too far and done too much.

Miranda WarningHeather Day Gilbert has released a couple of books, books that show her diversity. Her first release, God’s Daughter, is about Vikings (and no, not my Minnesota Vikings), and her second, MIRANDA WARNING is a combo women’s fiction / suspense.

Miranda Warning sounds like it’s right up my reading alley.

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her.

But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox—a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting—Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself.

Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

The Brickmaker's Bride*** Book Giveaway ***

Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing to receive one of the two copies of Judith Miller’s The Brickmaker’s Bride. Every time you leave a comment on the Inkspirational Messages posts dated September 29, 2014 to October 10, 2014, you will be entered.
Winner will be chosen by Random.org on
Fri., Oct. 10 at midnight, central time zone. 

Falling for Fall Books

How high is your TBR? For those unclear of what that means, TBR stands for To Be Read, and we readers always have a stack or two–or three–or ten.

With autumn releases as colorful as the leaves on the trees, that TBR pile is sure to grow. Don’t be afraid. This is good. Very good. Winter is right around the corner, and if you get snowed in for a month, you’re going to need those books to keep sane.

So, in an effort to help you keep that TBR pile high, the Inkspers are going to share what is on the top of their own piles, including some of the fall releases we are anxious to get our hands on. Join us each day this week to make sure you aren’t missing our on some great reads.

To celebrate TBR week, we’re giving away a two copies of Judith Miller’s The Brickmaker’s Bride, book 1 in the Refined by Love series (Bethany). This one isn’t on my TBR pile because I’ve already read it, but here’s a little about it.

 

Brickmaker's BrideIn the clay-rich hills of the newly founded state of West Virginia, two families tentatively come together to rebuild a war-torn brickmaking business.

Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it’s Ewan’s job to get the company up and running again.

Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner’s daughter, and he quickly feels a connection with her, but she’s being courted by another man–a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Resolving that he’ll make the brickworks enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Ireland, Ewan pours all his energy into the new job.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan’s hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks, and will Ewan finally get a shot at winning her heart?

Click to order it here on Amazon or here for Christianbook.com. By the way, don’t miss the gorgeous dress on this cover model. You can see the whole dress on the back cover. It’s the perfect fall dress!

My TBR Pile

As I said, my TBR pile is overflowing, but the one that has risen to the top, of course, is that of my dear friend Laura Frantz. Her book, Love’s Fortune (Revell), is a must read. I would have devoured it already if I hadn’t been in full wedding frenzy this last few weeks. (In case you missed it, Dawn’s son married my niece on Saturday.)

“Laura Frantz surely dances when she writes: the words sweep across the page with a gentle rhythm and a sure step. Her characters in Love’s Fortune are sympathetic, yet flawed, making them oh-so-easy to care for, ache for, cheer for. Her historical details are well chosen, and her sense of time and place rings true. Above all, it’s Wren’s journey that engages our hearts and makes the pages turn. Well done, lass!”–According to Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times best-selling author

Love's FortuneWant to dive in yet? Well, let me give you a bit more. RT Review writer Patsy Glans said, “In this final chapter in the heartwarming Ballantyne Legacy series, characters are well defined with a mix of sweet charmers and scoundrels. The storyline is believable and flows evenly throughout the book. Frantz does an outstanding job on the historical details without going over the top and distracting from the plot.”

Here’s the back cover blurb if you still need more.

 Pennsylvania seems so far away to Rowena Ballantyne. She has lived a sheltered life in Kentucky until her grandfather Silas summons her family to New Hope. The attention the extended family bestows on Wren makes her uncomfortable. James Sackett is a pilot for the Ballantyne shipping line. He has been given the task of being Wren’s escort while she is with them. Wren’s aunt decides to introduce her to the local high society, which means going to teas, afternoon gatherings and balls. Wren makes private plans to go back home and forget about all she has learned and to also forget about James. She believes this is the right course of action, so why is her heart breaking in two? Will Wren find her true happiness back home or will the lure of first love be the victor of her heart? 

You can purchase Laura’s Love’s Fortune on Amazon here or on Christianbook.com here.

So, how tall is your TBR pile? What’s on the top? Let us know.

Book Giveway:  Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing to receive one of the two copies of Judith Miller’s Brickmaker’s Bride. Every day you leave a comment in the next two weeks, you will be entered. Winner will be chosen by Random.org on Fri., Oct. 10 at midnight, central time zone. 

Along for the Ride

Pella meetingOn a rainy April day back in 2008 I sat beside Lorna Seilstad on our way out to Pella, Iowa. Lorna had learned of a meeting of Iowa writers and although excited about the prospect of meeting other writers, was a little intimidated to go by herself. I, being the great supporting character that I am, offered to go with her. It was just a fun trip to get out of town and have some girl time.

Little did I know that day would change Lorna and my paths forever. The meeting did start out a little rocky, we were waiting in the loft for the women to come—they were waiting below for us to get there—it ended up to be fortuitous since that is where we met Judith Miller.

It never fails to amaze me how God moved us at the right time and the right place to meet the right person for our future.

I was still along for the ride. Judy encouraged Lorna to join the ACFW. Not to be left out, I joined also, even though I really wasn’t seriously writing. But, I had recently been able to quit working which gave me time to work on my writing, even if it was just for fun.

In the meantime Lorna submitted her manuscript to the Genesis contest, received an offer to publish it, and off we went together to the First ACFW conferenceACFW conference that fall. I can honestly say both our minds exploded just a bit at that experience.

I went to one agent meeting that year, and looking back I had no clue what I was doing. And it didn’t go so well, but I did get bitten by the bug. After that conference, I knew what I wanted to do.

I don’t know that Lorna ever saw any real promise in my writing. Looking back, as most of us do, I realize how much I had to learn. But it was only because Lorna had the courage first, to take that initial step out of her comfort zone, that I got to go along for the ride. It was, after all, in God’s plan all along. I know that now.

So, the author that influenced me the most is none other than our very own Lorna Seilstad. Because she never once laughed at my efforts (although she did chuckle—and still does—at some of my crazy ideas) and she continues to encourage me every time we talk. She’s relentless in her support, always willing to listen, and read, and every once in a while chastise me when I need it.

I’m blessed to have a best friend who has cut the path ahead of me because God knew if I had to do it myself, I never would. He sent me along for the ride, first.

Cover Love

According to the age old saying,  you can’t judge a book by its cover. Even if that is true, we still judge them on that basis all the time.

Most of us will pick up a book based on a cover that grabs our attention or intrigues us in some way. Then, we flip it over and read the back cover blurb. If we like that, we might read the first page, and if we like the package, we purchase the book. Once we’re home, we devour its contents.

So, yes, the book cover is vital in the whole purchase process. Perhaps a different saying is actually more appropriate here–“a picture’s worth a 1000 words.” Yes, that sums up the importance of a cover nicely.

For the next two weeks the Inkspers will be sharing some of the covers they think are winners this year. They may also share some that will be hitting the shelves soon and what they think makes an eye-catching, outstanding covers.

In order for a cover to make my list, it needs to

  • draw me in
  • tell me what I can expect from the book (era, attitude, etc.)
  • be attractive (fonts, colors, models used, dress)

Besides my own cover for When Love Calls (which I love), the following are some of my favorites this year so far.

Sweet OliveThis cover just screams fun. The font used for the title is whimsical and the house behind echoes of a romantic, modern day getaway. I haven’t read Judy Christie’s Sweet Olive yet, but it’s on my list.

You can read about Sweet Olive here.

 

 

 

 

 

simple changeThis is one of my favorite of Judy’s covers for the Amana books. It fits the story so well (yes, I’ve read this one and highly recommend it). With one look, you know the Amana dress is not like the Amish. The suitcase gives a clue to the time period, too.

You can check out A Simple Change here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once upon a princeRachel Hauk’s Once Upon a Prince is by far one of my favorite covers this year. It draws me in and makes me want to pick it up. With the bride’s smile and bare feet, you know this is clearly a fun romance, and the heart around the title seals the deal. Even the font echoes a fairy tale.

You can learn more about Once Upon a Prince here.

 

 

 

 

caughtRegina Jennings’ book, Caught in the Middle, doesn’t release until next year, but I can’t wait to check it out. The colors are great, and the expression on the girl is priceless. But my favorite part? The cowboy boots with the her toe turned slightly in which make this a hard to resist cover.

You can pre-order Caught in the Middle here.

 

What do you think makes a great cover? Which of these strike your fancy? I’d love to hear about it.

And the Winners Are …

Thank you very much to all the authors–Judith Miller, Christine Lynxwiler, Shannon Vannatter, Rose Ross Zediker, and Kathy Sattem Rygg–who shared a bit of themselves with us this past week. We loved hearing your personal stories!

Thank you also for generously providing your books as giveaways.

And a special thanks to all our readers who took time to chat with us. Our door is always open, so you’re welcome to stop by anytime!

Now, here’s the announcement you’ve been waiting for: Giveaway Winners!

A HIDDEN TRUTH by Judith Miller: Bethany! Please contact Lorna Seilstad at LornaSeilstadATyahooDOTcom.

THE RULUCTANT COWGIRL by Christine Lynxwiler:  Mary Holmon! Please contact Shannon Vannatter here: http://shannonvannatter.com/contact/

COWGIRL AT HEART by Christine Lynxwiler: Marianne Barkman! Please contact Shannon Vannatter here: http://shannonvannatter.com/contact/

WHITE DOVES by Shannon Vannatter: KarenPlease contact Shannon Vannatter here: http://shannonvannatter.com/contact/

RODEO HERO by Shannon Vannatter:  MariannePlease contact Shannon Vannatter here: http://shannonvannatter.com/contact/

JOB’S TEARS by Rose Ross Zediker: Karen K! Please contact Shari Barr at ShariBarrATShariBarrDOTcom.

ROSE OF SHARON by Rose Ross Zediker: Deb Hauser! Please contact Shari Barr at ShariBarrATShariBarrDOTcom.