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Cover Reveal!

So excited about my current series, Ladd Springs. Set in the eastern Tennessee mountains, this romantic mystery family saga has been so much FUN to write! A bit ambitious writing five books in a year, but a great experience. This current book (#4) centers on my a guy with a natural talent when it comes to the horses but an all too unfortunate lack of talent when it comes to making good, sensible decisions. But then again, he’s a man ruled by his passion.

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When Troy Parker returns home, a pregnant Casey Owens rejects him outright asserting he lost his right to honesty when he abandoned her to pursue his fortune in Kentucky. Jimmy Sweeney, friend and ally to Casey, never cared for Troy and is more than willing to take part in her deception.

Jack Foster has a few tricks of his own, beginning with reconciling his daughter Felicity Wilkins with the Foster family. Her mother, Delaney Wilkins, wants nothing to do with family reunions, knowing some relations are best left buried.

But as time passes, lies unravel. Casey can no longer deny her feelings for Troy and confronts him about the pregnancy. Felicity is doing some confronting of her own now that she’s learned a disturbing truth.  Yet it’s Delaney’s confession that causes families to collide as folks take sides, shattering both past and future generations, ensnaring Casey and Felicity in painful complications for which neither is prepared…

Family feuds run deep and wide, threatening even the most solid of unions. Find out who survives the perils in this chapter of Ladd Springs…

What do you think? Now back to the keyboard for the final details of the explosive finale!

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Branding

Branding is becoming an elusive concept for me. Originally, I thought I had it nailed. Romantic women’s fiction…women’s issues…women mature and develop in their own sweet time —

I got it! Cross-market with my garden blog using the tag line: “A woman will bloom in time; her own sweet time!”

Great. Marketing my novels with gardening items and themes, I was traveling down the right road–until I hit a road block. What happens when you decide to write something other than romantic women’s fiction? Say you want to write mystery/suspense? Sure, you have women and romance, but the themes and plots of the novels aren’t particularly issue-oriented. woman pulling hair out_XSmallRuh-roh.

Now what? Am I confusing readers? Should I have changed my name with each new genre? What happens when I want to dabble in YA? A new genre, a new name? Should I curtail my imagination and go with one genre and end the confusion?

That’s a tough one. I can’t turn off my imagination. I can’t curb my passion. Writing wouldn’t be any fun if I couldn’t write what strikes my fancy. But I’m at a loss for direction. I’m considering a new website, but have no idea where to begin. Any suggestions? Ideas?

Going crazy in a swirl of marketing mania… 

 

Ladd Fortune

The second installment of my 2013 Ladd Springs series is out! Ladd Fortune takes readers from the adventures of Nick and Delaney to the escapades of Malcolm and Lacy, all centered around one gorgeous piece of property ~ Ladd Springs.

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The forsaken children of Ladd Springs return home to seek their fortune, but no one is happy to see them. One is home for love, one is home for money.

Lacy Owens has come back to Tennessee for a return to the fold, only she’s done so on the heels of Jeremiah Ladd. He’s the prodigal son of Ladd Springs—a mecca of streams, springs and trails in the eastern Tennessee mountains—and he’s determined to reclaim the land as his rightful inheritance.

Lacy cares little about Jeremiah’s plan. She simply yearns for the comfort of family, but sister Annie Owens wants nothing to do with Lacy, though sees opportunity in Jeremiah’s return. With him in town she can finally prove paternity for her daughter Casey, and ultimately stake her own claim in Ladd Springs.

Trouble is, Jeremiah’s father has already willed the property to his granddaughter, Felicity Wilkins. She’s away at college, but fighting for her rights back home is Malcolm Ward, partner in Harris Hotels, and a man with a financial stake in Ladd Springs. It’s his job to see the land remains in Felicity’s possession.

But when Malcolm falls for Lacy without realizing her hidden agenda, his plans are put into jeopardy. In these parts, blood runs thicker than legalities and feuds aside, it’s a hard lesson for a city boy from California to comprehend.

Love and money are powerful forces but only one can prevail in Ladd Springs. Which will it be? Find out in the second installment of Ladd Springs

RT Extravaganza

Just returned from the RT Booklovers Convention in Kansas City and what fun. Plus, it snowed! Yep, in May, we had a snowstorm. Took pictures for my kids which they thoroughly enjoyed. As Floridians, snow is thrilling. Unfortunately, my assistant Tiffany had to drive home through it. 😦

RT Convention

Isn’t she great? She drove two hours to help me with the Thursday book signing and I couldn’t have done it without her. Much to everyone’s delight, she passed out cornbread recipe cards and steered them straight to my table. WTG, Tiffany!

We sold some books, made some new friends and look forward to attending again next year ~ in New Orleans! I also had the pleasure of meeting my fellow Central Florida Romance Writers Lori Sjoberg and Roxanne St. Claire. Always nice to see friendly faces. Ran into Brenda Novak as well and if you’re not familiar with her annual online auction for juvenile diabetes, it’s a must see, with a ton of great items for readers, writers — everyone!

Reader conventions are so much fun, they’re definitely my new focus. Do you know of any great ones? 

Until then, must get back to writing. After hearing the amazing success stories from my fellow indie authors – my juices are energized!

The Creative Side of Life

Creative people are a different breed.  And I should know.  I “is” one. 🙂  We don’t think like regular people.  Our brains don’t operate in linear fashion.  Well, I take that back.  Creative engineer types make think in linear paths, but I’m no engineer.  I’m a writer.  An artist.

From creative stories to pencil drawings, I’ve always had a penchant to craft, create, make up stories…  Over the years, I’ve won awards, earned recognition for my efforts.  I won the fourth grade writing contest.  The high school drawing contest.  It’s a natural gift that has come in handy–one I’m especially reminded of after a few hours spent reminiscing with my brothers.

“Remember the time we told mom…”

Yes, well, it’s been fun, nurturing this creative streak of mine.  And I love nurturing it full-time as an author.  While not always grammatically correct, my voice is my own.  It’s unique.  Like a finger print, you can read my work and hear me tell you a story, one I hope you’ll enjoy.  But as a self-pubbed author, I find my talents can be “stretched” at times.  Currently at work on creating the covers for my 2013 Ladd Springs series, I find honing the vision can be difficult to translate into words.

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And when I say I’m creating the covers, mind you, I speak loosely.  Very loosely.  I have one of the most fabulous artists designing the covers for me–namely one Jax Cassidy–and she’s simply amazing.  She has a great eye for covers, for color.  She sees things I don’t, comes up with ideas I’d never even think of, yet she allows me input into the process.

Therein lies the problem–or thrill!  Depending on which side of the conversation you’re operating from.  Like anything else, cover design is a process.  It’s small changes that make a big difference.  It’s an overall vision that must run consistent with your story, your characters, your fictional world.  Your readers must be able to relate.

For me, it’s a fun process.  Until my perfectionist brain cells kick in and my real life brain cells have to shut them down, that is.  Then, like the tiny weeds in my garden, I have to ignore the impulse to say, “One more 1/16th of an inch and by George, I think we’ve got it!”

Sort of like when friends visit my 400 ft. X 100 ft. garden.  They don’t notice the teeny-weeny weeds.  They’re taking in the entire effect, the overall beauty and grandeur.  Aesthetically pleasing, the leaves and fruits and vegetables appeal to a part of their brain that doesn’t even know what a weed is–can’t even compute the image.

There are days in writing and cover design when it behooves me to remember this little fact of life.  Give readers the “pop” of imagery, the overall emotions of your story–and then trust them.  They’ll open the book, move past the cover and lose themselves between the pages.

Anyone else know what I mean?  For a preview of my upcoming Ladd Springs series, go here.

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