Sunday, April 30, 2017

Giveaway on Goodreads for The Power of Forgiveness, A Collection of Short Stories!

The anthology about the power of forgiveness with stories by fourteen writers is now being offered on Amazon and is included in a Goodreads giveaway. This is for one copy of the paperback to be given away on May 14, 2017.

Take this opportunity to win a copy.  With stories that provide a look into the upheaval in life and the results of the act of forgiveness, this is a powerful book.

The Power of Forgiveness Goodreads giveaway entry.

You can pick up a copy on Amazon if you do not want to wait for the physical copy winner announcement.

You can read more about the anthology on The Page Turner.

Read more about this book;

Have you ever been faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to forgive someone? Did you decide to do it? Or was what that person did to you just so unforgivable that you held on to your grudge, even years later? 
These are some of the questions that the writers in this anthology explored in this fine selection of short stories. Through a short story, poem, or reflective essay, writers from the Writers750 Group were asked to consider what forgiveness means, either from the perspective of the one being forgiven, or from the perspective of the one doing the forgiving.
This collection of stories covers a range of topics for your reading pleasure; from stories of forgiveness for property theft, to renditions of familiar biblical stories, to tales of survival from past hurts, and even a few non-traditional gems as well! 
These stories were written by; C. Baely, Stephanie Baskerville, Cora Bhatia, Christene Britton-Jones, F.F. Burwick, Rejoice Denhere, Lynne Farley, Patricia Fuqua Lovett, Sojourner McConnell, Lena Pate, Glenda Reynolds, David Russell, Heather Schuldt and Joanne Van Leerdam.
Embark on a journey with these fourteen authors, who take you inside their own view of the power of forgiveness.

Good luck on the giveaway and keep a look out for more. They will be cropping up on Goodreads along the way. This is one uplifting book, I hope you take a moment to read it.  None of the authors' sugar coated the difficulty in forgiveness.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sharing my schedule for releasing an Indie book and marketing for any author

I have another blog where I write reviews and personal stories. Today I delved into the scheduling of a book launch. I feel it is good sound logical advice, so I will give a bit of a recap here. I only do this to help any writers like me that want to Indie publish and are afraid of all the steps. I hope this breaks it into simple to understand structure to take some of that fear away.  

You are still writing the book and you are getting close to the much anticipated moment when you can type The End! But you might not be there yet. This is the time to find your editor, choose your cover designer and wrangle up some beta readers.  
Many editors want you to have been at least beta read before they take a look at it so that there are less errors and problems for them to deal with. Three Beta Readers to me, are enough. Some writers use more some while use only a selected few. 

But lets plan for starting your process, three to four months before releasing your book. Take a look around at the different websites that are available for authors to set up, many basic ones are free, Blogger, Wordpress, WIX, Author's Den, just to name a few. 

  • Create your author website or author's blog.
  • Create an Author Facebook account or spruce up an existing author page.
  • Tweet out your new or revamped author page.
  • Share on your personal Facebook pages and in groups.
  • Share your character's journey on Twitter, Facebook, blog, and Website.
  • Set up Mailchimp or other sign up forms for newsletters.
  • Create a relationship with reviewers, bloggers, and readers.
  • Arrange for beta readers, editors, illustrators and cover artist.
  • Polish your book blurb and your elevator blurb.
Now we can work on these for the next few months and polish each step so that they become the piece of art you know they can be. At two months before the anticipated launch you need to be finished with the second draft and ready for eyes on the book. Contact your beta readers, get their input and start fixing those plot holes and confusing bits. Don't forget the semi colons. 

  • Final line, copy and editorial editing,
  • Final proofreading once all the changes have been made.
  • Begin to introduce characters in blog posts, Facebook posts, and tweets.
  • Create an email address for character reader interaction, if wanted.
  • Begin to network with parent/genre specific groups on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.
  • Upload to Amazon as a pre-order. Pre-orders will also secure your title and author page on Goodreads.
    • You can upload an unedited version without a cover up to three months in advance as long as you make sure to upload the final version 3 days before launch.
  • Reach out to other bloggers about potential guest posts and character interviews.

This is where you have to wait on other people and have a moment to focus on the non-creative side of publishing. allow your editor to do their magic, while you focus on the author side of the business. 
You are one month out from your launch date and you have pretty much decided you will be ready to launch on a certain date. Claim it. Focus on completing all your tasks by that date. 

  • Increase name branding in all platforms.
  • Confirm blog interaction with the correct genre bloggers and reviewers. Arrange interviews, launch day events and guest posts leading up to the launch.
  • Create author group on Facebook inviting reviewers, supportive friends and network members such as illustrators, editors, bloggers, and known readers.
  • Confirm launch date and start sharing definite launch date.
  • Send out welcome newsletter introducing your characters, interesting information, and launch date.
  • Remind the newsletter readers of the Goodreads giveaway and invite them to read and review to make your launch a success.

Now you are gearing up, you are feeling the pressure, but you have a game plan. Stick with the plan. You are about three weeks from your launch date and it is all marketing while you make the last edits on your book. Sending it to the proofreader and once again waiting for responses.  Use this time to take it to the next step. 

  • Send out Newsletter announcing the launch date, request for ARC reviews, and guest blog opportunities. Never hurts to have new bloggers interested in hosting a post.
  • Host a cover reveal. Invite all your readers, friends, blogger friends, twitter followers and Facebook audience.
  • Advertise Cover reveal in Goodreads on groups for writers, readers, genre specific groups.
  • Make a Facebook page for your book. Invite people that enjoy your work to visit the page.
  • Make the page a merchant page with the buy now button.  Learn how here!
  • Like similar genre pages as your author page and book page.
    • Right, click on the down arrow next to the share button and you can like the page as your author and book pages.
  • Create a presence in Goodreads leading up to your launch.
  • Post on Goodreads in both groups and review areas.
  • Reach out to reviewers as soon as you have an advance copy available.

You are two weeks from Launch date and there are still more things you can do to prepare. If your edits are complete then upload the finalized version to your Amazon account so that when the book is sent to the pre-order buyers, it is the correct one. You can wait up until 3 days before it goes live, but I usggest yuou do it as soon as the finalized version is ready. 

  • Provide the links for your book to ARC readers on both amazon and Goodreads.
  • Send out newsletter thanking the ones that have joined your group, ARC launch team, and provided support by spreading the word.
  • Invite readers to pick up your book on launch day or using the pre-order button on Amazon and don't forget to provide the links.

One week from launch and you are beside yourself with anticipation and excitement. Relax, you are almost there. Let's go over some last minute steps to bring this to a successful conclusion. 

  • Post blog posts reminding followers of your launch. Invite them to the giveaway on Goodreads. Invite them to read and review your new book. Thank them for being a huge part of this process.
  • Blog about your release on your Goodreads author blog.
  • Bring your author page on Goodreads and Amazon up to date. Make sure you have a professional look and have connected your blog to your amazon Author page.
  • Create a launch party on your group page and send out invitations to those on your regular friends' list and author page followers. This is your moment to shine.

You have done it! It is Launch day and you are ready, calm, cool and collected. You know you have done everything in your power to make today a success. 

  • Celebrate!
  • Read your reviews.
  • Contact any reviewers that posted and thank them for being a part of your exciting day.
  • Enjoy your launch day party.
  • Blog about your exciting journey and share any early reviews. Remember to attach links to your books and author page.
  • Enjoy the fact that your much-loved project is now safely in the hands of the public.

I hope you enjoyed this check list of sorts to help you prepare for one of the most exciting days of your life as a writer.  Congratulations for your success.  

I hope these ideas help you along the path to your book launch. If you would like to be a part of my launch team, let me know. You can also find Sojourner McConnell on Facebook, Brand new  Facebook Group,  Twitter,  Goodreads, The Path of the Writer, and  Amazon.

And to show you I follow my own schedule I just tonight uploaded my book as a pre-order and it is now sitting on Amazon while I go through the other steps preparing for my June 2, 2017, launch.  Here is my new book, Who's That in the Cat Pajamas? 

On a personal note, I hope if you have children, you will pick it up. I am quite proud of it and excited to see it on Amazon. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Unexpected Opportunity comes to Nancy Lynn Jarvis in this Friday's Fun and Family Friendly Guest Post

I was nearing the end of The Widow’s Walk League, my fourth Regan McHenry Real Estate Mystery, when it felt like someone tapped me on the shoulder. I looked, but no one was there. The next day the same thing happened again. When the sensation returned on the third day, I spun toward the empty space above my right shoulder and yelled, “Leave me alone. I’m trying to finish my book.”

A disembodied voice replied, “Write fast. I’m eighty-three years old so who knows how much time I have left. I have a story to tell and I want you to write it down.”

For me, writing mysteries is a disciplined affair. I need a timeline so I can remember who knew-what-when. Even though I know the storyline, an outline to help me give the reader clues without giving away the identity of the murderer is helpful. And I don’t have my protagonist do all the talking; I write in third person. But it was clear, if I was going to let the voice in my head speak, all that was going to change.

When I finished The Widow’s Walk League, I stared at a blank computer screen. I had no outline and no idea what I was going to write. It was my turn to speak. “OK, I’m listening. Who are you and what do you have to say?”

Writing Mags and the AARP Gang” was an adventure. I’d get up every day not knowing where the story was going and anxious to find out what would happen next. I’ll let Mags tell you a bit of her story starting with the first words she said to me: “My name is Margaret Sybil Broadly Benson, nÊe Spencer, but you can call me Mags.

“You took so long getting back to me, I thought you forgot about me. I’m not complaining, though. In my eighty-three years I’ve learned there are advantages to being overlooked. Sometimes people make assumptions about the elderly; imagine they know how we think, what we’re capable of, and more importantly what we aren’t capable of. Take me and the AARP Gang, for example. Our mobile home park was about to be foreclosed and we were about to be kicked out of our homes, all political und underhanded what was going on…oh, don’t get me started. Bottom line is it was assumed that at our ages we wouldn’t have any fight left; that we’d just be nice little old ladies and gents and go off quietly to live with family.

“What people didn’t realize is we were already a family and that after a lifetime of living and reaching our eighties, none of us were quitters. No wonder we decided to rob the bank that held our note and pay off our mortgage with the proceeds. We liked the irony of that, besides, the bank was within walking distance, which was handy because most of us don’t drive any longer.

“We devised a masterful plan that made the most of our assets. My cohorts disguised themselves as old people (yes, I know we are all already old people, but they still needed disguises) making the most of the unobtrusiveness of age, while I used my rather formidable-if-never-used-on-stage acting talents to become our distraction, keeping people’s eyes busy so they wouldn’t see what was going on behind their backs.

“I was doing my award-worthy impression of a dear old lady who had lost her wallet and pleading with the people in the bank to help me find it when Melvin, who managed to bring along a rifle that none of us knew he had, got upset with a teller, brandished it, lost his balance, and fired the weapon, accidently shooting one of the overhead fire sprinklers. That happenstance caused all the other sprinklers to spurt in sympathy and automatically call the fire department. Oh my! So much for our carefully rehearsed plan.

“Did we get away with it you ask? Well, I am writing from home instead of from a jail cell, but it took quite a bit of complicated maneuvering, a whole novel’s worth in fact, to get from being soggy in the bank to where I am today. Melvin—oh, he’s a hard man to control—in drag didn’t help my case much, not to mention all the trouble Batty Betty with her early onset Alzheimer’s caused what with remembering exactly what she should have forgotten.”

You can read the whole story about Mags and her colorful friends in Mags and the AARP Gang.

Find Megs on Amazon

Learn more about Nancy Lynn Jarvis from her Amazon author page.

Thank you to Nancy Lynn Jarvis for participating in Friday's Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Posts. Nancy, you are welcome to participate any time. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Returning from an Alabama Family Funeral: Time to get Writing!

I enjoy providing updates, they allow me to see what I have been doing all these days of no sleep. 

I have contracted with Ms. Ellie Barrett for the illustrations in the soon to be released book, Who's That in the Cat Pajamas? She has perfected Dolcey's face. 🎆🎇🎉 It is so exactly what I imagined. I might have caused Ellie to pull out some hair over colors but I was on a learning curve. đŸ˜Ŗ You know me and my learning curves. I tend to hang from them like I am at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Here is a special sign just for you Ellie! 😸 The cover art is being designed and the editing has been completed. 

I am about to launch my first newsletter with some valuable and fun information. If you have not signed up for the newsletter, send me a note at
There are some fun opportunities coming up for everyone that chooses to participate. If you like free books, free swag, links to other authors special offers, sneak peeks at book covers, fun, Facebook groups, and more, you will want to sign up soon. I do not send Newsletters out until there is a reason. Have no fear I am spam free!

After 27 days of off and on writing, I was awarded my certificate from Camp NaNoWriMo today. 💃🎆🎇🎆🎇🎈🎉🎊

I wrote sixteen chapters in the next novel Blip during Camp NaNoWriMo this year. If you want to know more about Hiram, visit The Page Turner, where he is making a guest appearance in an excerpt. (yes, it is a lengthy and unedited excerpt.) What can I say, I want you to feel as much love for Hiram and his bad self, as I do. The cover art is being designed and I am in talks with some editors. I have 2 beta readers for this book when it is ready. Openings are available for that as well. 

I started this off with a mention of the funeral I went to in Alabama, I will end this post here:
Rest in Peace, Nanny. 💟 You showed my children and my grandchildren love, and they all loved you in return. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Scat Cat!

Scat Cat!
    When we left the urban lifestyle of Washington, D.C., for a more tranquil existence in the rural mountains of Montana, one of our adjustments was learning to live with the new neighbors.  Our home was in a different kind of neighborhood.  Instead of being surrounded by men, women, and children, we had cougars, wolves, and bears.  These predators rarely comprehend the idea of boundaries, or the notion that good fences make good neighbors, so we find them roaming about our property, often very close to the house.  

cougar Nancy Quinn Friday's Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Blog-The Path of the write Sojourner McConnell

    Our most frequent nocturnal visitors are cougars that seem particular interested in our daughters playhouse swing set.  Perhaps it is just the curiosity of all felines, but I often wonder what they would do if I left out a ball of string.  It’s doubtful they would play with it because it isn’t food.  As stunningly gorgeous as they are, we don’t want to encourage their visits.  For the safety of my family, dogs, and horses, our goal has always been to discourage predators.  As an example, one particular night stands out in my memory.
    On the second floor of our home we have a large bedroom window that provides a grand view of the back of our property.  While admiring the stars one dark evening the motion detectors suddenly activated the perimeter lights, nearly blinding us.  Once our eyes adjusted, we saw standing in the middle of the yard a very large cougar.  He paused only long enough to realize the brightness was nothing to fear before walking over to the swing set.  This had me wondering how many times he had visited us before, unnoticed.  He sat regally in the play area, surveying all about him, like a king overlooking his kingdom.  Being a wildlife artist, I was enamored with his beauty and grace, temporarily forgetting what a potential threat he was to our family.  It would be dangerous to allow him to believe this was part of his territory.
    I was about to comment on this fact to my husband, but when I turned to speak, he was not there, having immediately retreated to the closet.  He ransacked it, searching for his rifle and ammunition.  As he fumbled to load it, I continued to admire the feline in his pose.  My husband opened the window, but was blocked by the mesh screen.  As he tugged fruitlessly to remove it, the cat rose from his perch and began to walk toward the woods.  On my last look at him, the cougar, who seemed completely unaware of the flurry he had created only a short distance above, slowly and confidently sauntered into the tree line, still secure in the knowledge that this world was his.
    We tried to follow his movements through the darkness with a flashlight, but the battery soon died.  My increasingly frustrated husband, incensed by the attitude of the beast, rushed downstairs and out onto the patio where he fired a single shot into the air, then shouted, “And stay out!” as a warning for the puma not to return.
    I have no wish to harm this mountain lion or capture him, except in spirit on canvas and paper.  I have handled many cougars in captivity, but seeing them in the wild is a thrill I will never tire of.
For more stories in our western adventure read “Go West, Young Woman!”  

Thank you to Nancy Quinn for participating in Friday's Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Posts. Nancy, you are welcome to participate any time. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Road to the Past is one keystroke away!

For the last few days, I have been tracing back my genealogy and it has been quite a different method to grow my word count. It has been such an interesting adventure, 

My grandfather A.B. Dunning was very interested in tracking his genealogy and I can remember watching and consider myself assisting him in his searches. This was before the Internet and was done with letters, photos, and thin onionskin papers that had been typed with blue ink.  I can remember sitting at his desk crouched over each document reading about land titles, family letters, and old wills. It was lovely to spend time with him and learn about history, one member of the family at a time.  

Arthur Benjamin Dunning, I always thought that name spoke highly of his intelligence and curiosity.  There was no collection that he was unwilling to grow, bottles, rocks, antiques, coins, stamps, and all things Civil and Revolutionary war. As a side note, I wish he had lived long enough to see the freedom and volume of information available with the touch of a key. He would have been the biggest information addict on the planet. Oh, the times we would have had together.

My grandfather's family can be traced back generation by generation all through New England. From Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and back across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. There were relatives with the surname of Dunning, Wedge, Nicholson, Heermans and last but not least is the 35th great-grandfather, Charlemagne. 

Yes, yes, all you naysayers, I know most people from Europe heritage are connected to Charlemagne, but is pretty exciting to come along and find he is actually on there.  With grandmothers and grandfathers galore, I can at least say I found him.  đŸ˜ƒ

I must admit, the King of the Franken world, and the Emporer of the Holy Roman Empire as an ancestor is a nice little cherry on top. 

Who knew?

So I encourage you to get out and find your ancestors. On it is free and it is a great way to spend the evening. You might find a Viking,  a servant, a farmer, or a school teacher, but you for sure will find something that you did not expect. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday's Fun and Family Friendly Guest Posts Presents Deborah Baldwin and Conversation Hacks

A few holidays are coming up soon--Easter and Passover.  If you are lucky (or maybe you think not) you'll spend time with your family and friends. Families are still families even if social moires have changed (I think for the better.)
2017 family
My husband recently retired from his instrumental music teaching position and I from teaching drama.  Our daughters were both theatre majors and heavily involved in music as well.  One daughter is still involved in the arts.  Her sister became a nurse (which she should have done all along, but everyone has a journey.)
We always have plenty to talk about when we get together and surprisingly it isn't Broadway.  We can dish like the best of them, however.  Whenever this occurs, I'm sure our sons-in-law don't know quite what to do with us.  We try to keep it to a minimum around them.
I thought about this challenge for other members of my family. They need conversational hacks--easy ways to converse with others. 
My personal hack is F.O.R.M. ( questions about family, occupation, recreation, money) to create conversation and usually I have little problem talking with others if I initiate the conversation.
It doesn't go very well the other way around.
I bet other arts people have the same problem I do.  In fact, I know they do.  It's one of the reasons arts people are such good friends with one another--we understand each other, because we are creative people. We try out best to talk sports or politics and sometimes we are successful. Remember, we are chameleons.  If there is someone who can change themselves in order to blend with others, it's an actor.
However, if someone would take the time to sincerely converse with us, I think they'd find what we do to be fascinating.
As you read the questions, just stick in art, music, dance or theatre as the project.
Here are some questions you can ask your "artsy" relative.
  1.  What are you working on now?
  2. How is it progressing?
  3. Is it ever frustrating? How so?
  4. What's the best part of the project?
  5. Do other people help or work with you on it?  Who?
  6. What is their involvement in it?
  7. Do you work with a budget on the project?  If you don't mind my asking, how much money is it?
  8. Is that the usual budget for a project like this?
  9. Is this the first project of this kind you've done?
  10. How is it different from others?
  11. Do you have a deadline for completion?
  12. Are you confident you'll make the deadline?
  13. Are you ever worried about it?  What are the worries?
  14. Does thinking about the project keep you awake at night?
  15. Is the worry well founded or unrealistic?
  16. When you visualize the outcome of the project, what does it look like?
  17. Is there a message you want to convey through it?  What is it?
  18. Have you patterned your project after someone else's?  Whose and why?
  19. Who do you admire who has done this same project or a similar one?
  20. Why do you admire them?
  21. Will there be a public exhibition of your project?  When is it?
  22. Will admission be charged to see it?  How much does it cost for admission?
  23. Do you set the price of the admission or someone else does? Who and why?
  24. What is your most proud moment concerning the project thus far?
  25. Do you think you'll attempt the project again? Why or why not?
Now you have twenty-five questions (or hacks) to ask your relative or friend while sitting around the table.
Trust me, they are dying to share their work with you.
Just ask them.
Contact me at or my website

I'd love to chat with you!

Thank you to Deborah Baldwin for participating in Friday's Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Posts. Debroah, you are welcome to participate any time. 

In the Zone by Saralyn Richard as Friday's Fun and Family Freindly Guest Post

In the Zone
Guest Blog by Saralyn Richard

Anyone who has dedicated himself to writing a book knows that it takes large portions of inspiration, perseverance, and focus to bring a story to life. The act of writing a book requires many hours of concentrated effort. Sometimes an author is able to concentrate so fully on the setting, characters, and plot of a story that he is transported to “the zone.”
What is this mystical “zone” authors talk about? It can be likened to a runner’s high, a surgeon’s precise focus, an actor’s immersion in a role. It happens quite fluidly, without intent. It has happened to me several times when I become completely engrossed in the story I am telling, so engrossed that I could not tell you whether it is night or day outside, where I live, or even who I am. Instead, I am inside of a scene. I am not just one of the characters—I am all of the characters. I am the pictures on the wall, the rugs on the floor, looking in all directions and observing, no, participating in all of it.
Naughty Nana by Saralyn Richard guest post on The Path of the Writer with Sojourner McConnell

When I wrote Naughty Nana, a children’s picture book about my wild and crazy Old English sheepdog, who “just wants to have fun,” I went into the zone so deeply that I became Nana. Since she is the narrator of the book, I had to know what she was thinking in that goofy canine brain of hers. I had to walk on all fours and communicate with nudges and rollovers, digging with my paws and jumping with exuberance. I didn’t actually crawl on the ground, but mentally, I was in her body and mind, envisioning the world from her point of view. When I was able to do that, I did my best writing.
Writing an adult mystery novel, Murder in the One Percent, required a different form of empathy, but again, I had to get into the heads of several diverse characters. One night I was so deeply into the zone that the plot ran away with me, taking me to an unplanned event involving a horseback riding accident. This event turned out to be pivotal in the overall plot of the book, and I owe it all to being in the zone.
How does one go about reaching the zone? There is no surefire route. We hear of writers who are transported by alcohol or drugs, but I wouldn’t recommend relying on those. I have had some zone-like experiences when dreaming or exercising, times when my mind empties itself of distracting thoughts and allows me to focus on my story. I tell my creative writing students to write as if they were the actors in the screenplays of their stories, fixed in their settings, driving the action of the plot. Then, if they are lucky, the zone will take over to transform the writing from good to great.
Does writing from the zone make a difference in the quality of the book? I’ll let my readers answer that question. Naughty Nana is available at, and Murder in the One Percent, published by Black Opal Books, will be available later this year. For more information check my author website: or contact me at
Author Saralyn Richard's guest post on The Path of the Writer with Sojourner McConnell

Thank you to Saralyn Richard for participating in Friday's Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Posts. Saralyn, you are welcome to participate any time.