Cover Reveal & Book Sale

Seeing a cover for the first time is a nerve-wracking mix of excitement and terror. As much as we say we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we all do. The cover is one of the biggest marketing tools an author has. This single picture needs to speak 1000 words to the prospective reader. It needs to convey time period and setting. It should hint at key story elements as well as project emotion. Most of all, it should please or intrigue the reader enough to prod them to learn more. To pick it up and read the back cover or make that click that takes them inside for a sample.

Covers for novella collections are especially tricky since they must convey details from more than one story. Different characters. Different settings. Even different time periods. Because of that, novella covers usually focus on creating a more general mood than honing in on specific details, thereby creating an image that would apply to any of the stories contained within.

My latest cover is just such a project. Three novellas whose common ground consists of four things: Historical time periods, Texas settings, Christmas themes, and romance. So while the scene depicted does not relate directly to any of the three stories, it conveys those four commonalities to perfection.

The long skirt and beautifully knotted updo on the model combined with the wrap-around porch commonly found in 19th century homes immediately places us in the historical time frame. The serif fonts and swirled design around the subtitle and name also give it a Victorian feel. The rugged landscape combined with the cowboy riding home in the distance hints strongly at Texas. Then there are the beautiful Christmas touches of garlands wrapped around the porch railings and the bold red pop of color in the heroine’s dress combined with the green subtitle bar. Finally, the romance. What says romance more than mistletoe? And having it dangling right above the heroine’s head as she leans forward, eager for the hero’s return makes it clear that love is in the air.

Under the Texas Mistletoe will release this fall.

What element of this cover is most inviting to you?

Book Sale

Grab some Valentine’s chocolate and treat yourself to some classic romance, Archer style. The book that started it all – Short Straw Bride – is on sale for only $1.99 until February 17.

If you already own a copy of Travis and Meredith’s story, consider sharing a little romance with your favorite “gal”entine by surprising her with a gift copy. All you need is an email address to share the love.

Grab a copy from your favorite e-book retailer.

Amazon | Christianbook | Barnes & Noble

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Where I live in West Texas, we don’t get a lot of snow. Sometimes we get ice or an occasional dusting of snow, but it’s only every so often that enjoy a true snow fall.

We were blessed with just such a snowfall, not once, but twice. The first time was on New Years Day and the second was this past weekend. It started snowing early Sunday morning and didn’t stop until late that night. The official measurement was 5.3 inches which just missed the record by a nose. The top mark remains 5.5 inches from 1973. Even my daughter down south in College Station got snow!

Now, I know that those of you you live in most northern climes measure your snowfall in feet, not inches, but we were delighted by the big fluffy flakes and couldn’t resist the lure. OK – my son and his fiance couldn’t resist the lure. I simply jumped out for a few minutes then back in while they had the true adventure.

Having just gotten engaged on Christmas Eve, the intrepid couple set out to create his and her snowmen in our backyard. I chronicled the event.

It began with the rolling of the snow. McKenna had to instruct Wyatt on the proper roll technique since Wyatt’s mama had failed in teaching him the proper way to roll snow during his childhood. Shame on me. (But then, I did grow up in Central California, a place that gets even less snow than West Texas.)

Next came the construction phase . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the decorating. My hubby and I volunteered for the warm job of digging through closets and the fridge for appropriate items.

If you look really closely, you’ll see that the male snowman is giving the classic Wyatt “thumbs up” with one hand while chivalrously wrapping his other arm around the lovely snow lady.

Unfortunately, chivalry must have died, for the snowman began to lean and eventually did a full face-plant, taking his lady love down with him.

Oh, well. At least the real-life couple suffered no ill effects.

Do you get much snow where you live?
    If so, what is your favorite snow activity?
    If not, what kind of of snow activity would you most like to try?

Christmas Crispies

Don’t you just love all the decadent goodies at Christmas time? I do. Probably more than I should. But, hey, that’s what New Year’s is for, right? No counting calories until January 1. It’s a Christmas law. Or should be.

My hubby always buys Christmas M&Ms to fill my candy bowl and, of course, I have to have the Christmas-wrapped Dove dark chocolates on hand.

Some of my favorite things to bake at Christmas include snickerdoodles, butter toffee, and shortbread. But the one goody that gets made every year without fail are my Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispies. Super easy to make and scrumptious to eat.

I hope that you and your family had a marvelous Christmas holiday whether together in person or in spirit. Keep enjoying those leftover goodies, and go ahead and make a few more. Don’t forget . . . calories don’t count until January 1!

Christmas Cowboys on Sale

I don’t know about you, but I love a good Christmas novella. The holiday season is so busy, that quick reads are about all I have time to squeeze in around all the cooking, wrapping, and decorating.

I’m excited to share two collections of mine that are currently on sale.

The first is a collection of four novellas that follow a family heirloom that is handed down at Christmas time from mother to daughter across the years. It starts in 1820’s England then moves to 1890’s Texas then 1950’s Appalachia then finally to modern day Washington.

If you love sweet Christmas romance with a variety of settings and time periods, this is a great collection.

And even better, the e-book version is on sale for only $1.99!

In my story, “Gift of the Heart,” a widow and her young daughter move to Hope Springs, TX for a fresh start, but with no money to secure a home, Ruth must convince a wealthy resort owner to accept her heirloom brooch as collateral. Will the pin that brought love to three generations soften the heart of a wounded recluse and give Ruth a second chance at love?

This story is a western Christmas re-imagining of the Ruth and Boaz story from the Bible.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook

(Sale runs through December 31, 2020.)

 

The second collection is western through and through. This is a two-in-one novella collection that contains my story from The Christmas Heirloom, “Gift of the Heart” along with a separate novella that carries on the legacy of my all-time best-selling Archer Brother series – “An Archer Family Christmas”.

It’s Christmas Eve, 1893, and the entire Archer family has gathered to celebrate the holiday. While the men are off chopping down the perfect Christmas tree, an unexpected request for help leaves Cassandra Archer directly in the path of a dangerous outlaw. Desperate to protect the woman he loves, Jim Archer races to the rescue, only to find that Cassie’s life is not the only one in peril. It will take a Christmas miracle—and the entire Archer clan— to keep a second Archer Christmas from ending in disaster.

This 2-in-1 collection is on sale for only $0.99!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook

(Sale runs through December 31, 2020.)

 

Do you prefer Christmas novella or full-length Christmas stories?

Do you read Christmas stories only during the holiday season, or year round?

Washington on the Brazos

This past weekend, my daughter and I had a girls’ getaway weekend in Brenham, TX. Bethany is working on her PhD at Texas A&M, and since I don’t get to see her very often these days, I decided it would be fun for the two of us to have a getaway weekend once a semester. We did a lot of relaxing, reading, movie watching, and cross-stitching during our time together, but we also spend the afternoon on Saturday at Washington on the Brazos.

The town of Washington is considered the birthplace of Texas. It got its name from a group of settlers who traveled from Washington, GA into Texas and named it for their hometown. It was established along the Brazos River and became a significant trade center with its river access.

Under Mexican rule at the time, citizens had to swear their allegiance to Mexico to live there, but since Mexico was a Republic at that time, under the constitution of 1824, the immigrants complied. However, at the next election, Santa Ana was elected president and quickly turned this republic into a dictatorship. This is not go over well with those who had immigrated from the United States. War broke out.

On March 1, 1836, Texas delegates met in an unfinished building in Washington on the Brazos to formally announce Texas’ intention to separate from Mexico and to draft a constitution for a new Republic of Texas. While congregated, they received word from William Travis about the Alamo being attacked. Many wanted to rush to their aid, but Sam Houston insisted they stay and charter their new government. Without that, they would have nothing. In the course of 17 days, they drafted a declaration of independence, adopted a new constitution, and organized an interim government to serve until a government could be elected and inaugurated. This ended up being the right choice, for by the time they received word of the Alamo’s attack, had they left to join the fight, they would have been slaughtered. The Alamo fell on March 6.

The delegates declared independence on March 2, 1836. They adopted their constitution on March 16. The delegates worked until March 17, when they had to flee with the residents of Washington, to escape the advancing Mexican Army. The townspeople returned after the Mexican Army was defeated at San Jacinto on April 21. Town leaders lobbied for Washington’s designation as the permanent capital of the Republic of Texas, but leaders of the Republic favored Waterloo, which later was renamed Austin.

The town of Washington no longer exists today. Like other river towns of this era, they made the mistake of shirking the railroad in favor of steamboats. The brick buildings that once stood tall in one of the largest towns of the area, were carted off brick-by-brick to build new buildings in places where the railroad flourished.

In 1899, a group of school children realized the threat of losing the history of what happened at this location and did a penny drive fundraiser in order to erect a monument to stand at the location where they believed Independence Hall stood. Later, archeologists found the foundation in that very location and Independence Hall was rebuilt and restored to its original specifications.

During our tour, Bethany and I got to sit around the table and listen to the story of all that had transpired in this place. Here is where the nation of Texas was born.

Do you enjoy visiting historical sites?
What was the last place you visited?

Book Release & Giveaway

My latest novella collection hit the shelves yesterday, and I can’t wait to share Barnabas and Phoebe’s story with you!

The Kissing Tree is a multi-generational collection of stories that center around a giant oak in Texas where couples carve their initials through the years.

The tree that inspired our giant oak was The Century Tree on the Texas A&M campus. In fact, my daughter (who is now at A&M working on a PhD) was kind enough to ask the tour guide to take them by the tree so she could get her nerdy mom a photo during her college visit last spring.

They don’t allow initial carving in this glorious tree, but there is a tradition for proposals happening beneath these branches.

In my story – Inn for a Surprise – Phoebe Woodward and Barnabas Ackerly are forced to work together to design a romantic retreat for couples. The Kissing Tree Inn is Phoebe’s brainchild, and she has definite ideas about how to make the place romantic.

For example, she starts off by having it painted the color of love – a shockingly vivid shade of pink. Barnabas does his best to hide his shock when he sees the inn for the first time, but his professional life flashes before his eyes – and not in a rose-colored glasses type of way.

The two definitely don’t see eye-to-eye on inn design, but as they work together to make the inn a success, they come to see that practicality and sentimentality can coexist and can even lead to love.

Phoebe
Barnabas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of The Kissing Tree, I’m giving away autographed copies to two readers chosen from the comments.

To enter, leave a comment about which character you most resemble:

  • the sentimental Phoebe or
  • the practical Barnabas.

Enjoy!

Who Would You Be in the Old West?

Last week, I played a game in my Posse Facebook group, that ended up being so much fun, I thought we could play it here as well.

If you lived in the old west, who would you be, and what would you be doing?

I decided that I would be one of those town wives who invited everyone over once a month for a quilting bee where we would get very little quilting done but would have lots of tea and conversations about books.

When everyone else chirped in, we had a wonderful variety of answers including:

  • school teachers
  • librarians
  • innkeepers
  • cafe owners
  • bakers
  • druggists
  • nurses and doctors
  • preachers’ wives
  • farmers’ wives
  • ranchers’ wives
  • sharpshooters
  • tomboy trouble-makers
  • even dance hall entertainers
  • and saloon barkeeps

Who would you be?

Covers That Could Have Been

The first book in my new Hanger’s Horsemen series released last Tuesday, and I’m so excited to have a cover that features a rugged cowboy hero. I’ve had a few heroes make appearances on other covers, but they were always the supporting cast to the heroine.

I have three covers where the heroes get an arm and a leg in the picture. (Although you gotta admit that arm on Levi is pretty nice.)

My first hero only got his leg in the picture.

I did get nearly an entire hero on three of my covers, but the heroine remains the focal point.

So having my cowboy hero front and center this time was an exciting change. And I love the model they chose as well as the addition of the horse as the supporting actor.

However, when I asked my publisher if they had any cover mock-ups that failed to make the final cut, I was surprised to find an entirely different cowboy on the cover. One with a shy smile, rugged physique, and a lot more facial hair.

Here are a few of the first version mock-ups. Notice the different poses, the different backgrounds, even different hat colors.

If I had to pick one of these iterations, I think I would take the bottom middle. I like the hat tip, the smile, and the sunset in the background. Although, I strongly prefer the font and series designation of the one at the top left, which is most similar to the final copy.

All in all, I think they made the right call. I really like the final cover.

 

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger’s Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they’re the ones in need of saving.

Amazon
~
Barnes & Noble
~
Christianbook

 

  • If you were to select one of the runner-up covers for this book, which would you pick?
  • What do you think of having a hero-centric cover? Is it less romantic without the heroine?

 

 

 

It’s Yee-Haw Day!

Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!

So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us go Yee-Haw!!

Linda Broday

My Texas Heroes series (digital only) sale ends tomorrow. Get these cheap while you can!

Knight on the Texas Plains will be FREE

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  APPLE  KOBO

The Cowboy Who Came Calling — $1.99

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  APPLE KOBO

To Catch a Texas Star — $2.99

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  APPLE  |  KOBO

So if you missed one or all of the series now is your chance.

Karen Witemeyer

At Love’s Command releases tomorrow.
YeeHaw!!!

This is the first book in my new
Hanger’s Horsemen series.

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger’s Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they’re the ones in need of saving.

Amazon
~
Barnes & Noble
~
Christianbook

Karen Witemeyer

I’m thrilled to share that I was named one of the top 25 most essential Christian novelists of 2020! This list of authors was nominated by fans across all genres. Such an honor to make the list! You can see the entire group here.

Margaret Brownley

Look at what they’re saying about The Outlaw’s Daughter

“This is how historical romance should be written”- Amazon reader

“This is exactly what I’ve been looking for in a good historical romance novel. -Amazon reader

“Wow! This was an absolutely fantastic introduction to the author’s long list of previous works that I can’t wait to pick up!”-It’s What She’s Reading

B&N

       Amazon

Margaret Brownley

Click here to enter

 

Julie Benson

Puppies have been coming and going so quickly here, finding great new homes! Our newest two are Bella and Mia. 

Here’s Bella, before she got in the pool and decided to play in the yard.

And after…

Before you panic, the green chair she’s in is the dog chair! Lol!

Here’s Mia.

We love both these sweet girls!

Winnie Griggs

Cover reveal time! Looky, Looky!  I know it’s early to be talking about a December release, but I just couldn’t resist showing this off 🙂 
To learn more about Her Amish Wedding Quilt, click HERE.

 

 

Winnie Griggs

In some fun, non-writing related news, my daughter is expecting (my first grandbaby!!) and things opened up around here enough for us to give her a small, family-only baby shower. I haven’t been able to be as involved with her as much as I would have liked to during her pregnancy because of the quarantine so it was doubly fun for me to be able to celebrate with her this way. Below is  picture of me and the mother-to-be!

 

Kit Morgan

 

It’s a new release! Dear Mr. Tindle has arrived!

A shy young woman,
An industrious young man, 
And neither knew the other existed. What’s a matchmaker to do?

Mrs. Mahulda Brock had been tasked with a very important mission. Matchmaking! Not that she hadn’t done a little before…
But this was different. For one, she had to find ways to bring two young people in her home town of Independence together. Finding things to make that happen wasn’t easy. But with the help of her long time friends, Mercy, Martha, and Maude, she’d manage, wouldn’t she? After some trial and error, she wasn’t so sure. Worse, she noticed the young couple in her charge weren’t the only ones bereft of love. There were others. How was she going to manage to bring together so many lonely hearts? Find out in this sweet, clean romantic romp that only Kit Morgan can deliver! 

Amazon

 

Pam Crooks

 

After a grueling, keep-my-hiney-in-the-chair couple of months, I’ve turned in the 2nd book of my Blackstone Ranch contemporary western romance series to Tule Publishing – 3 days early!

This will be Lucienne and Brock’s story.  Release date is February, 2021.

In a few days, I’ll be right back in keep-my-hiney-in-the-chair mode with Book #3, which will be Jace and Shandi’s story.  Release date is March, 2021.

Until then, here is Book #1 that started it all – Beau and Ava’s story, AVAILABLE NOW!

 

Available at the Tule Bookstore.

It’s Yee-Haw Day!

Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!

So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us go Yee-Haw!!

Margaret Brownley

I’m excited to say that my new book will be released May 26th, but can be pre-ordered now.

Amazon

B&N

 

Mary Connealy

On Sale Now!

Tried and True

Book #1 of the Wild Women series

is

ON SALE NOW

99 cents in all ebook formats

Kindle-Click to buy

Nook-Click to buy

 

http://www.maryconnealy.com

Linda Broday

 

TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE

#2 Bachelors of Battle Creek

ON SALE $2.99!

Left with emotional scars from his time in an orphanage, Rand Sinclair has vowed never to marry. But when he discovers Callie Quinn and a small orphan boy hiding on his ranch, he can’t help but open his home to the desperate runaways.

AMAZON  

Karen Witemeyer

I just learned that More Than Words Can Say is a finalist for the Holt Medallion Award!
Yee Haw! Winners will be announced in June.

 

Karen Witemeyer

Serving Up Love, a novella collection of Harvey House Brides

On sale for only $1.99 through the month of May.

 

Might make a fun Mother’s Day Gift.

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook

 

Cheryl Pierson

How many of you are ready for summer? WE ARE! Here in Oklahoma, we’ve had a loooonnngg winter and it was wet. We broke some records for rainfall! The dogs were not happy, and neither was I, since they were so bored and sad about not being about to go outside! But all is well for the time being, with the last two days being in the high 80’s–just like Oklahoma should be at this time of year!

Here’s Sammy enjoying some poolside time alone! It’s not often he gets a few minutes to himself without Maxie!
Max wants to play, but Sammy has moved to the sunlight to soak up the rays.
The aggravating little brother will not be denied! He’s ready to play!
Ah! All’s well that ends well. Time to go find some water and rest a bit.

 

Hope this brightened your day a little! Though we’re stuck at home, we are sure enjoying the warm temperatures and good weather, and being able to get outside. How are you managing during this time of being isolated and staying home?

Howdy!

During this time, I decided to put almost all of my books on sale.  Those on KindleUnlimited are priced at $.99 cents.  Lakota Surrender e-book is priced at $3.99 and my newest release, THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME is on sale in paperback for $9.99.  Here are the links:

Gray Hawk’s Ladyhttps://tinyurl.com/qtl7hsu

White Eagle’s Touch — https://tinyurl.com/vbanq3m

Night Thunder’s Bride — https://tinyurl.com/twdjtx4

Wolf Shadow’s Promisehttps://tinyurl.com/v54t6jw

Lone Arrow’s Pridehttps://tinyurl.com/t2ubbzp

War Cloud’s Passion — https://tinyurl.com/wu824lt

Soaring Eagle’s Embrace — https://tinyurl.com/rfal22h

The Angel and the Warrior — https://tinyurl.com/um834p2

The Spirit of the Wolf — https://tinyurl.com/svyqbxt

Red Hawk’s Woman — https://tinyurl.com/wzyfjqf

The Last Warrior — https://tinyurl.com/uxglq4t

Black Eaglehttps://tinyurl.com/vyygnvn

Seneca Surrenderhttps://tinyurl.com/wjj49nk

Lakota Surrenderhttps://tinyurl.com/wpgbyw9

The Eagle and the Flamehttps://tinyurl.com/w49evpb

 

Hope y’all are doing well!  May God Bless!