What’s Wrong with a Little Backstory?

A couple of years ago Pam Watts Harris told me about a book she wanted to write. It was a Historical Romance, Christian, and it was set in Strawberry, AZ. I read it and naturally cut the first chapter. It’s very rare that I don’t cut the first chapter. I’ve found newer writers, and some more experienced ones, put too much backstory in the first chapter. This happened with Aimee.

Pam was so gracious to listen to me and then make the changes. It has helped the book so much. Aimee will release the last of June. We’ve set a release date of June 27, 2017. Pam is our editor at Mantle Rock Publishing and a wonderful friend. I love this book, as I do all the books we publish. It will not be on preorder because of the time factor. It will be sold on Amazon.com on June 27. I’ll give you more information about it later. Enjoy the blurb and cover.


Aimee Winters has made the bravest decision of her life. Left alone and homeless, she has accepted her father’s offer to stay with him in the Arizona territory and teach at the local school. The problem is she has no memory of her father, having been raised by her mother and taught that her father died when she was a baby. Hungry to know the truth of her past, she leaves Memphis behind and journeys alone to the mountainous region where she faces challenges she never could have anticipated. The rugged living conditions and the isolation of the community are almost more than she can bear, but she is determined to prove she can do things “the Arizona way.” It doesn’t help that the handsome rancher, Levi Raines, seems to take a special delight in pointing out her weaknesses. It isn’t long, however, until her heart is woven into the lives of her students, their families, and especially Levi. As their relationship grows, the shadow of their very different backgrounds and goals is ever present. Can they find common ground?

 

WE’RE BUSTING AT OUR SEAMS

WE’RE BUSTING AT OUR SEAMS. It does feel that way. Summer is supposed to slow down, but not with publishing. We’ve released one book this month and have another to go at the end of the month. There are several proposals in my Inbox that I haven’t looked at yet.

Monday will begin our KenTen Writers Retreat at Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, Tennessee. Several great authors are scheduled to speak. I’m sure everyone will enjoy it. One thing we’ve always done is have an adlib play. The one we’re doing Tuesday night was done last year. It was so much fun that we decided to do it again. We have a few new players this year, plus an audience of investigators. The new players have no idea who the murder is. That makes it so much better, although I’ve been asked several times to divulge the murderer. I know, but I won’t tell.

June 6, 2017 was the release date of The Copper Box by Suzanne J. Bratcher. This is a cozy mystery set in the real Ghost Town of Jerome, AZ.

The Copper BoxJerome, Arizona: the largest ghost town in America

Antiques expert Marty Greenlaw comes to Jerome to face the horror that haunts her dreams: Did she kill her little sister twenty-two years ago?

Historian Paul Russell is in Jerome to face his own horror: Was the car crash that killed his wife his fault?

Their lives become intertwined when an old lady dies on a long staircase in a vintage Victorian house. As Marty and Paul search the house for a small copper box Marty believes will unlock the mystery, accidents begin to happen.

Someone else wants the copper box—someone willing to commit murder to get it. As Marty and Paul face the shadows in the house and in their lives, they must learn to put the past behind them and run the race God is calling them to.

I enjoyed this book so much and I’m sure you will also.


The next book to release on June 27, 2017 is Aimee by Pam Watts Harris. I’d like to save it for next week, but I’ll give you a sneak peek of the cover.

This book is also set in Arizona. Part of Pam’s growing up years were spent in Strawberry, AZ, and that is the setting of this book. It’s a Historical Romance and very well written.

JUNE IS HERE!

Tybee Island Savannah GeorgiaWhere did the other five months go? It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating New Year’s Day, and now it’s June. The remainder of the year will be pretty simple for us. We’ve already had our vacation, but maybe we can sneak in a few mini trips.

We had planned to take a trip out west, but hubs is having some knee problems, and I don’t have the stamina for a ten day bus trip. Instead we decided to take a short vacation to Tybee Island and Savannah, Ga. This is my favorite vacation in America, but my most favorite vacation is to Scotland. We have family there, so it makes it extra special.

Once upon a time I wanted to write a book about Scotland and the Tobacco Barons. The Tobacco Barons were a group of men who owned tobacco plantations in Southern America and the Caribbean Islands. They had become very rich and lived mostly in Glasgow. Streets were named after the states, Virginia, Georgia, etc. I found it very interesting, but an agent told me I couldn’t write Christian fiction and include that much about tobacco since it harmed people. That idea flew out the window. I still think it’d be an interesting story.

June is busy with our KenTen Writers Retreat. Our writers group, KenTen Writers, decided several years ago to have a retreat and learn more about each other and writing. For the past four years, it’s been a great success. It was so successful that we have outgrown all the cabins and houses we could rent. Last fall we decided to open our retreat to more people. Our limit was 30 and we will have 27 guests attending this year. We have our speakers lined up, the venue will be at Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, TN. Everyone will arrive June 12 with a barbecue at 5:30 p.m. We have the next two days filled with classes, mentoring, and brainstorming. Several of our MRP authors will be there including our full staff. There will be classes on writing a romantic suspense, writing a series, writing your way, marketing, cover design, and grammar. That’s a full agenda. It’s going to be such fun. Oh, I almost forgot. There will be a play. We’ve done this several times, and it’s so much fun. Everyone will be involved. Registration is now closed for the retreat, but we will have another one next year.

This is the beautiful cover for the next book to release the last of September, Aimee, by Pam Watts Harris. More about the book will come in the next blog.

WHAT’S HAPPENING AT MRP

Summer is usually a little slower at MRP. It seems we get really busy in the spring and the fall, and when summer gets here, we’re a little tired and busy for various reasons outside of MRP.

This year is no exception. Our cover designer also works a day job at a church serving as the office manager and different other capacities. Summer is always busy for her. She has VBS in June and church camp in July. She has to work late and doesn’t get much time to work for us. We try to schedule around her schedule.

At this time our editor is having some family problems. She teaches high school Spanish and French, and usually her summers are pretty easy. At this time her mother-in-law is nearing the end of her life. It’s sad when you have to go through something like this, but it happens to all of us.

I’m the only one who has a less stressful summer. It’s hard to keep work hours when you work at home, but I try. I’m writing my part of a novel that I’m writing with our editor, Pam Harris. We’ve been writing this novel for over a year and finally it will publish in October 2017. We’re both about half-way through, and I plan to write more today. I’ve never written a contemporary romance, so we’ll see how it comes out. At this point, I’m writing whatever comes into my head. Editing will come later next month.

The Copper BoxThe Copper Box by Suzanne J. Bratcher will release in print book on June 6.

The next book will be Aimee by Pam Harris on June 27, 2017.

We have July off with the next book releasing August 1, 2017. This book is by one of our previous authors, Jacqueline Wheelock. If you enjoyed A Most Precious Gift, then I think you will enjoy continuing the story with In Search of an Emerald.

In addition to the books publishing, I will be speaking at KenTen Writers Retreat July 12-15, 2017. This should be a wonderfully busy summer. Of course there will be the usual VBS and other things we do with family and friends. Where did the first part of the year go?

Marketing Strategies

If you read many books, you know each author has their own voice. It’s the same with marketing. Each writer has a different marketing strategy. I get several requests a week, and sometimes a day, asking about marketing. Let’s see if I can give you some hints about this dreaded subject.

Marketing can be fun, if it is done right. It can be a pain if it isn’t.

Most authors do several book signings when their book first comes out. To me that’s the easy part. If the event is advertised by the author and the place where the signing is taking place, it is usually successful. Even then, we need to add something to it. A couple of my authors have given me some hints of things they do.

It’s always busy at a book signing. It’s hard to remember the name of the person who is buying the book and how they want the inscription. One of our authors takes someone with her, usually her husband. He takes the money when they purchase the book, puts the customer’s name on a post it, and sticks it in the book. When the author opens the book, she has all the information with the correct spelling of the name. The reader is so happy to have their name spelled right. This also frees the author up to have more conversation time with the reader.

Another of our authors has something on the table to draw people’s attention. Her sons are in the military and she puts play soldiers on her tables along with Army hats. This opens the door to conversation.

If you have a beach book, you could put shells, or something related to the beach on your table. Even a lighthouse, which I have a good collection. Anything to draw people to your table, especially if there are several authors in the room.

How do you get the word out about a new book, a book signing, or a sale on your book? Use an email newsletter or blog. It’s proven that more people will read an email than a Facebook or Twitter post. Ask people on Facebook or Twitter to sign up for your newsletter or blog. I have a different newsletter from this blog. Mostly because I have more readers than authors on my newsletter. It’s so easy to do. For my newsletters, I use MailChimp. My blog is on my website. It also goes to Twitter and Facebook.

These are a few things I have learned along the way about marketing. It can be what you make it. It takes time and no one does enough.

So what is your favorite marketing strategy?

A SUMMER READ

Summer is almost here. It’s beginning to feel like summer here in Western Kentucky. I love this time of the year with lawns being mowed, fresh strawberries in the garden, and roses blooming. We’re also busy at Mantle Rock Publishing releasing books.


At the present, The Copper Box, Suzanne J. Bratcher is on preorder at Amazon.com. When this cozy mystery came to my computer, I knew I wanted to publish it if possible. It is a very entertaining novel of the Ghost Town of Jerome, AZ.

The print book will release June 6, 2017. You can preorder this ebook today for $3.99!

 

The Copper Box

Jerome, Arizona: the largest ghost town in America

Antiques expert Marty Greenlaw comes to Jerome to face the horror that haunts her dreams: Did she kill her little sister twenty-two years ago?

Historian Paul Russell is in Jerome to face his own horror: Was the car crash that killed his wife his fault?

Their lives become intertwined when an old lady dies on a long staircase in a vintage Victorian house. As Marty and Paul search the house for a small copper box Marty believes will unlock the mystery, accidents begin to happen.

Someone else wants the copper box—someone willing to commit murder to get it. As Marty and Paul face the shadows in the house and in their lives, they must learn to put the past behind them and run the race God is calling them to.

You can find out more about Suzanne at her website!


What is next? The last of May, we will have a preorder of Aimee, a historical romance by Pam Harris. I’ll have more on it next week.

 

 

APRIL IS BEHIND US. . .

Yes, April is behind us, and May has begun. April was an overwhelming month for me. It was much too busy, and I was much too sick. You know the flu everyone talked about. the one the flu shot didn’t touch? Well, I had it, and I still can’t shake the cough. Then we’d planned a vacation to Tybee Island and Savannah, GA since last September. We were supposed to go in October, but Hurricane Matthew cancelled that out. Finally, we made it in May.


May also brought the release of a print book and the pre order of an ebook. We’ve been very busy at Mantle Rock Publishing, but the vacation was wonderful.

Under this Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer released in print and ebook the least of April. It’s a historical romance set in around 1850.Under This Same Sky

~ She thought she’d lost everything ~ Instead she found what she needed most. ~
Illinois ~ 1854
Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.
Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky struggles to make sense of the path the Lord has placed her on and finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future.


The Copper Box by Suzanne J. Bratcher is on pre order now. This is a cozy mystery with a romance in it.

Antiques expert Marty Greenlaw comes to Jerome to face the horror that haunts her dreams: Did she kill her little sister twenty-two The Copper Boxyears ago?

Historian Paul Russell is in Jerome to face his own horror: Was the car crash that killed his wife his fault?

Their lives become intertwined when an old lady dies on a long staircase in a vintage Victorian house. As Marty and Paul search the house for a small copper box Marty believes will unlock the mystery, accidents begin to happen.

Someone else wants the copper box—someone willing to commit murder to get it. As Marty and Paul face the shadows in the house and in their lives, they must learn to put the past behind them and run the race God is calling them to.

This book will be released June 6.

Summer will be upon us before we know it. Have a good week.

Kathy Cretsinger

mantlerockpublishing.com