Tag Archives: GoodReads

Seems like it takes forever…

Today, I’m celebrating the  release of my newest book, THE CATTLEMAN. And I’m happy to report it has one 5-star review! Yay!

This book is #2 in the “Sons of Texas” series and a sequel to last year’s release, THE TYCOON. You don’t have to read THE TYCOON, but the story arc over three books is a family saga, so you might like to read it to get the total picture.  🙂 The third book in the series will be THE HORSEMAN, which will be Troy’s story. If I write really fast, I might get it done within the next 6 months.

So far, THE CATTLEMAN is available only at Amazon, but I’ll be loading it onto other sites this week.  I hope to have the print edition available by the end of the month. Following are the cover and the blurb. AnnaJeffrey_TheCattleman800

     Ever since a disastrous marriage and divorce at a young age, Pickett Lockhart has kept his emotions under control. He’s preoccupied anyway with learning to be the general manager of the vast Double-Barrel Ranch outside of Drinkwell, Texas. Still, his older brother’s marriage and looming fatherhood have aroused an envy within him to have a wife, kids and home of his own. But he can’t get married, even to a woman he loves who also loves him. His divorce cost him and his family a bundle, leaving him with an overwhelming fear of stepping into another financial trap.

     Amanda Breckenridge, winning swim team coach and English teacher in Drinkwell High School, has been in love with Pic for as long as she can remember. They were high school sweethearts. After he eloped with someone he met in college, Amanda left Drinkwell. Her father’s illness brought her back to town and a revived relationship with Pic. But Pic’s mother has never thought Amanda was good enough for him. She intends to destroy their relationship by sending a friend’s beautiful daughter to the ranch to tempt Pic. Can Amanda and Pic’s bond survive his mother’s meddling schemes? Or the unexpected career opportunity that falls into Amanda’s lap?

I don’t know about other authors, but the release of a new book is an anxious time for me. I’ve never felt so naked and vulnerable as I do when a book goes on the market for the first time. I can’t explain it. I just know that I won’t relax until after it’s out there and those who are going to praise it have had an opportunity to do so and those who are going to pan it have also had the opportunity.

Since my books are a little different from most typical romance novels, I’ve gotten a lot of criticism over the years. Probably a lot more than I would get if I followed the more conventional path.

In any event, it’s packaged and gone.

If you haven’t read my Anna Jeffrey books and like a love story with a little different twist, you might give it a try. And drop me a note and let me know what you think. Or post a review on Amazon or GoodReads. I can’t express enough how important reader reviews are.

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The Most Important Element…

As some of you know, I sometimes invite other authors. So today, my guest is Caroline Clemmons, author of western romance and adventure set in Texas.

I’m also featuring my cover designer, Kim Killion. Most marketing gurus tell independent authors that the most important element to selling a book is a good cover. If you can’t create one yourself, it’s worth the money to hire someone who can.

Taking that advice to heart, I was lucky enough to stumble across Kim. The day I found her was one of happiest in my independent publishing life. Not only is she a great graphic designer, even though I’m pretty sure she hasn’t had time to read my books, I feel we’re on the same page. To show my appreciation for her and her talent, for the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring some of my author friends who have also had Kim design their covers.

Below, read how Caroline Clemmons came to be an author and take a look at some of the beautiful covers Kim has designed for her.Caroline Clemmons - Dreamin in Dallas - 4-1-11

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved the written word. My dad, who had taught me to read, told me a good storyteller could create a story about anything. As examples, he mentioned a grain of sand. Where had it been, how did it get where it is today? Or, he added, a fly on the wall—what has the fly seen and heard? He encouraged me to read and to write.

CarolineClemmonsFront_TheMostUnsuitableCourtship_POD_1000pxThose early lessons stuck with me. I loved English classes and then took journalism to express myself. I won awards as editor of our school paper, and those encouraged me to stick with that type writing for many years. I even worked for a small newspaper as a reporter and featured columnist. The urge to create my own stories was relieved by composing long, long, anecdote-filled letters to my family.

What started me writing fiction? Oddly, it was my mother in law. On one trip to visit us, she brought a grocery bag filled with old Harlequin and Silhouette novels. She insisted that if I could write letters like mine, I could write romance novels. Secretly, I’d had an idea in my head for some time, but hadn’t the confidence to write it into novel form. My husband encouraged me and I launched into the story. I had never been to a writers group or taken formal creative writing classes. Do I need to tell you the story was awful? Not the basic idea, which I used later, but the higgledy piggledy execution.

Finally, I heard about and joined Romance Writers of America (RWA). Attending a local chapter, I heard excellent workshops. I learned about point of view, characterization, plotting, and the myriad of other tools for creating a story. What a shock to my muse.front cover MUH

I temporarily put aside my original book. Another contemporary novel idea hit me as my family was driving home from visiting our parents in West Texas. By this time, I’d also taken classes in creative writing. I sold the second novel in 1998. Hooray, I was a published author.

My dad had shared tales of his family coming to Texas from Georgia in 1876 and some of the family adventures in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Probably that’s why I enjoyed history, especially Texas history, so much. My brain finally got the message. Why not write historical novels set in late 1800’s Texas? Historical novels require immense research, of course, but remember I love history. Reading about the Old West was pleasure. I consumed it like chocolate, and I adore chocolate.

One thing I’ve realized, I’ll never run out of ideas. What a relief! In the future, I’ll be writing contemporary, paranormal, and historical novels. And now I’m stepping into audio books, always stretching to keep up with the times. But no matter what authors write, a good cover is one key to success. This is why I’ve switched from my Hero husband and me designing my covers to Kim Killion.

FrontcoverTheMostUnsuitableWife_POD_1000pxWhether an author is published with a “big six” New York publisher or self published, the author must be active in social media. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, WattPad, and LinkedIn. I have a website, I blog three times a week, and I’m on three team blogs: Smart Girls Read Romance, Sweethearts of the West, and Cowboy Kisses.  Yes, I’m everywhere.

Picture me banging my head against my desk. Yes, that’s how most authors feel about promotion. I genuinely love and am grateful to my readers. Although authors love meeting readers and love them for buying our books, we resent the time social media requires for promoting our work. We just want to write! Who knew we’d need an MBA in marketing to do so?

So now, thanks to getting acquainted with Caroline’s great covers, you’ll recognize her books instantly. And you’ll know the name of the cover artist as well as hers. And that’s a good thing. If you like tales of Texas with a dash of authentic history, you’ll love Caroline’s books.

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THE BETTER TO SEE YOU WITH…

English: Eye with a contact lens (myopia).

Sight and hearing might be the senses we take most for granted. That is certainly true of me. So some months ago, when I wasn’t seeing as well as I thought I should be, I thought it was my contact lenses. I thought the prescription needed renewing. I toughed it out for as long as I could stand it because I just hate to take the time to go sit in a doctor’s office, go through the exam, wait for the prescription, yada, yada, yada…..

Imagine my surprise when he said, “I don’t think I can do much for your left eye. You have a bad cataract.” And all the while, I thought my left eye was my “good” eye. Before I even had time to absorb that and all of its implications, I had appointments with a cataract doctor to have surgery!

So I went under the knife, or the laser, or whatever it is, on the left eye on Monday. I think it went as it was supposed to. Already, I’m seeing much better out of that eye. Light is brighter, colors are clearer and my distance vision is great. I might not have to wear glasses by the time all of this is finished.

And I didn’t even know I had that kind of problem.

The surgery on my right eye is scheduled for about three weeks from now.

The moral of this story is if your vision is not quite what it should be, get your eyes checked! Don’t fool around.

The Dreamin’ In Dallas writers’ conference it coming up the last weekend of March. There will be book sales and a signing on Friday night, starting at 7:00 p.m. Then a full day of workshops and networking the next day. So if you’re in the Dallas area, come on out and see us. It’s at the Double Tree Hotel in Richardson. The last I heard, about 60 authors will be there signing books. I’ll be signing THE TYCOON and SWEET RETURN.

AnnaJeffrey_TheTycoon_200px

 

Doing another book giveaway of THE TYCOON. The coming week, it’s on GoodReads. It should show up in a couple of days. So if you’re a member of GoodReads, perhaps they will draw your name. If you aren’t a member, by all mans, JOIN! It’s a wonderful social site for readers.

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A Good Book…

Sometimes it’s hard to find a book that suits your mood. Even when I consider my tall TBR stack, I often still can’t find one that I want to tackle. For instance, “Nine Dragons” by Michael Connelly, one of my favorite authors, is still lying on my nightstand unfinished after months have gone by. I just haven’t been in the mood for Harry Bosch.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was wandering through my keeper shelves for something and I came across “A Gentle Rain” by Deborah Smith, one of my all-time favorite authors.

“A Gentle Rain” was released in 2007 and was a RITA finalist. I read it the first time back then. But you forget the fine details in books after a while, so I set out to read it again. I’m so glad I did. This is such an entertaining book and revisiting Deborah Smith’s writing is like enjoying a scrumptious chocolate sundae. No one is better at placing you right in the middle of a setting and right at the center of her characters’ hearts.

I started enjoying the re-read so much, I went to GoodReads and gave it a five-star rating.

The story is set on a struggling cattle ranch in humid, swampy Florida. It’s full of quirky characters you can’t help but grow to love, including a smart-mouthed South American parrot, and a hero and heroine who will steal your heart.

The heroine is Kara Whittenbrook, a young woman who grew up in South America. Her rich hippie parents adopted her when she was an infant. The parents are killed in a plane crash, leaving Kara fantastically wealthy and her journey begins.

Her one desire is to find her birth parents. The manager of her estate tells her who they are and steers her to the Florida cattle ranch, where she goes incognito. The ranch owner, believing her to be a homeless wanderer, gives her a job, which enables her to get acquainted with her birth parents as well as his odd assortment of ranch hands. In the course of her stay there, she learns that both of her parents are mentally challenged. One suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and the other from shaken baby syndrome. For those reasons, when she was born, they were forced by her father’s family to give her up for adoption.

She also finds Ben Thocco, a salt-of-the-earth, half-Seminole ranch owner who not only takes care of her birth parents, but half a dozen other mentally challenged souls, including his own brother who has Down’s syndrome. And it doesn’t hurt her feelings that he looks like Keaneau Reeves.

Kara and Ben travel from one adventure to another, with her becoming more beloved by the group as the story unfolds. Even Ben falls in love with her. He’s a man with a past and gradually, it manifests itself and it turns out they have a connection from years back.

It’s a romance, so naturally there’s a happy-ever-after ending.

Deb Smith

I don’t know Deborah Smith personally, but I do know she’s one of the most respected authors around. She’s an author’s author.  No one tells a better yarn or writes it more exquisitely. She’s a New York Times Bestselling author from years back and has won many writing awards. She’s now part owner of a small publishing company and continues to write in several genres. I’ve lost track of all of her pen names. You can visit her Web site at www.deborah-smith.com

If you’ve already read “A Gentle Rain,” be sure to stop by the blog and leave a comment. If you haven’t read it and want some pleasurable reading moments, try this one.

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