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Friday, April 26, 2013

13 Ideas For Favorite Author Book Promotion--And Giveaway!

3 Free Books this week! 

This is a guest post today, but these suggestions are applicable for any reader wanting to help a favorite author's book become a success. Is there anything here you can do to help someone you enjoy reading? If books don't sell well, publishers stop offering contracts, and the difference often depends on word of mouth and excitement created by readers. Contest rules at the bottom--3 FREE Books! Blowing on Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell, releasing June 1. Copies given will be ARC (advanced reader copies)

Book promotion: bumper sticker
Bly Books bumper sticker

Janet Chester Bly

Want suggestions for how to do book promotions for your favorite authors?

You can make a difference! Here’s 13 things you can do for your own personal favorite author book promotion campaign … pick one or more:
1) Tell a friend what you liked about his or her work. Word-of-mouth book promotion is the best!
2) Recommend the book to your local bookseller(s) or librarian.
3) Give a copy of the book to a public, church, or prison library.
4) Pass the word about their website or blog. Here’s ours – or “On A Western Trail” blog at  (and here's Miralee's....
5) For your friends who do social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc., tell them they can become friends and followers of their favorite authors – share  the links.
6) Give a book by this author as a gift to a family member, friend, or co-worker. Include a rave review of your own.
7) Do a video review and post it on YouTube or other video sharing website. 
8) Tell some book club members about the book(s) or organize a group of friends to read and discuss the book(s) together.
9) If you’re a speaker or do seminars, offer the books for sale on your display table or include flyers about the books. (From Miralee: If your fav author is a speaker, invite him or her to speak at an upcoming function)
10) If you have a website or blog of your own, set up links from your site to your favorite author’s site.
11) Include a feature or interview on your blog about the book(s) or about the author.
12) Write a review for or other online bookstore. (From Miralee: Post reviews everywhere you can. Amazon, B&,, Goodreads, Facebook, they're all a huge help)
13) Email a photo of yourself with the book(s) to your favorite author. If you send one to Bly Books, we’ll feature it at “On A Western Trail” blog … attach it to email and send to janet(at)blybooks(dot)com.  The same for Miralee's books. Send a pic of yourself with one of your favorite books of mine to miraleef at gmail dot com. 
So...what can you do this week to help Janet, myself, or another author you love? We appreciate your help more than you can possibly imagine!
Leave a comment about what you will do for one of us, and be entered into a drawing for an ARC (advanced reader copy) of my brand new book releasing June 1st. And if you actually do one of the things listed above and come back and let me know, you'll get three more entries. If you follow my blog or Janet's, let me know, and you'll get another, so five total possible. 

The point of this give away is to find influencers who are willing to help promote my new release. I'd love to have you help Janet, as well, with the book she helped finish writing for her husband, Steven Bly. The ARC copies I'll give away are unproofed book, fully bound, with all the content intact, but not the final copy. They may not be given away, sold, or donated. You are not obligated to buy anything, nor do you have to promise a 5 star review, and it is open only to residents of the U.S.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kathleen Fuller--Read the Entire First Chapter of Her New Amish Novel

                Today I'm featuring Kathleen Fuller--
Author Extraordinaire of Christian Fiction and a Personal Friend

Bio: Kathleen Fuller is the author of over twenty-five novels. Her latest book, Letters to Katie, is the third book in the Middlefield Family series, and releases May 7, 2013. Kathleen lives in Geneva, OH with her husband and three children. For more information about her books, visit

To download the first three chapters of Letters to Katie, click  here.

And here's a preview of the first chapter. Enjoy!

Letters to Katie
Chapter 1
            “Oh, Katherine. This is so schee.”

            Katherine Yoder smiled at her best friend, Mary Beth. She’d spent hours working on the baby quilt, making sure the tiny stitches were as perfect as possible for Mary Beth’s new baby.  “I’m glad you like it.”

            “Of course I do.” Mary Beth touched the soft flannel quilt, running her fingers over the pale yellow, blue, and peach blocks. Each block had a ragged edge, a new pattern she hadn’t attempted before. The simple style was well suited for a baby, and Mary Beth’s was due within a few weeks.

            “I love it.” Mary Beth folded the quilt and placed it on her knees, her expanded belly barely allowing the space. “Danki for such a beautiful gift.  Although I don’t see how you have the time, working so many hours at the restaurant.”

            All I have is time, Katherine thought. She pushed the self-pity aside and managed a smile. She didn’t want to ruin the moment between them with jealousy. Unlike Mary Beth Shetler, Katherine didn’t have a husband—and soon a child—to take care of. Outside of working at Mary Yoder’s and helping her parents at home, her only other pursuits were her sewing and needlework.  She was always busy, yet longed for something different. Something more.

Apparently God had other plans. 

            Mary Beth managed to rise from the chair in her tiny kitchen. Her husband Chris had built the four-room home behind Mary Beth’s parents’ property. The dwelling resembled a dawdi haus, and likely would be used as such once the rest of Mary Beth’s siblings—Johnny, Caleb, Micah, and Eli—married and left home. But for now, the tidy, cozy home was enough.

            And more than Katherine had.

            Mary Beth placed the quilt on the table. “I’m glad you came over. Since I’ve gotten so big, I haven’t gotten out much.” Her light blue dress draped over her bulging belly.

Katherine’s eyes widened. “Are you sure you’re not having twins?”

            “Nee.” Her friend laughed. “But I look like I am.” With a waddling gait she moved to the cabinet. “Do you want anything to drink?”

            Katherine shook her head. “I can’t stay too long. I wanted to make sure you got the quilt before the boppli arrived. I have to work later today.”
            “Maybe just a few minutes?” Mary Beth went back to the table and sat down. She reached for Katherine’s hand. “It’s been so long since we talked. ”

            “We’ve both been busy.” She squeezed her friend’s hand. “And you’ll be even busier in a few weeks.”

            “Ya.” A radiant glow appeared on Mary Beth’s cheeks. “But I don’t want us to drift apart. You’re mei best friend.”

            Katherine released her hand. “And I promise I’ll be the best aenti to your boppli.”

            “The baby has plenty of onkels, that’s for sure.” Her smile dimmed a little.

            Katherine frowned. “What’s wrong? It’s not the boppli, is it?”



“Chris is fine too. We’re happier than we’ve ever been.”

            “Then what is it?”

            Mary Beth sighed, but she didn’t reply.

            “You know you can tell me anything. If something’s troubling you, I want to help.”

            Her friend looked at Katherine. “It’s Johnny.”

            Katherine’s heart twisted itself into a knot. She glanced away before steeling her emotions. “What about Johnny?”

            “Are you sure you want to talk about him?”

            “I’ve accepted that there’s no future for us. What I felt for Johnny was a childhood crush.”

A crush. The truth was, Katherine had loved Mary Beth’s twin brother Johnny for as long as she could remember. For years she held out hope for a chance, however small, however remote. She had clung to that dream as if she were drowning and it was her only lifeline.

            But not anymore. 

            She sat straight in the chair, brightened her smile, and said, “What’s going on with him?”

            “He’s been acting. . .different.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “Distant. Partly because he’s been working so many hours at the buggy shop.  Mamm said she barely sees him except for church service. He leaves early in the morning and comes home late. But when he is around, he’s quiet.”

“That doesn’t sound like him,” Katherine said. “Do you think he’s keeping something from your familye?”

Something. . .or someone?

Despite Katherine’s vow not to care, her heart constricted again at the thought.

“I don’t know.” Mary Beth’s brown eyes had lost the warmth they’d held moments ago. “He’s becoming like a stranger to me. To all of us. We’ve drifted apart.” Her smile faded. “Like you and I have.”

            Katherine shook her head in protest.  “You know I’m always here for you.”

            Tears welled in Mary Beth’s eyes.

Katherine drew back. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

            “I’m always crying.” Mary Beth wiped her eyes. “It makes Chris ab im kopp. Hormones, I’m sure.” She sniffed, wiping her eyes. “I’m glad we’re still best friends.”

            Katherine hugged Mary Beth. “We always will be.”


         Johnny Mullet put his hands on his hips and surveyed his new property. Four acres, a small house and an even smaller barn. All his.

         The sad little farm didn’t look like much. But by the time he finished fixing everything up, no one would recognize it. He glanced at the empty pasture on the left side of the house. Tall grass, green and dense, swayed against a southerly breeze. He planned to purchase that acreage, too. Expand, and make his horse farm something he could be proud of.

         If only Daed could see. . .
          At the thought of his father, the grin faded from his face.

         Hochmut, his father would say. Pride.

         The worst character flaw any Amish could have.

         But was there something wrong with feeling satisfied after hard work? After a job well done?

         This wasn’t about pride. It was about independence. Making a good living. He’d seen his family struggle. He didn’t want that for his future. A future that, God willing, wouldn’t include only him.

         With the hazy orange sun dipping below the horizon, Johnny hopped into his buggy and headed home. Ten minutes later he pulled up to his parents’ house. He was late for supper. Again. He quickly put up his horse and hurried into the house, sliding into his seat just as his father closed his eyes for grace.

         After prayer, his mother passed his father a platter of ham. He speared a slice with his fork, peering at Johnny as he did. “Late day at work again?”

         Johnny picked up a roll from the basket on the table. He drew in a deep breath. “Nee.”

         “Then why are you late?”

         “I bought a farm.”

         Silence. Johnny glanced around the table. Caleb’s mouth dropped open, and Micah’s fork was poised in mid-air. Even six-year-old Eli gave him a funny look.

         “You what?” His mother’s eyes went wide with shock.

         “You know that house down the road a piece? The one with the barn in the back?”

         “You mean that shack?” Caleb shook his head.

         Micah scooped up a forkful of green beans. “Calling it a shack is a stretch.”

         Their father cleared his throat. The boys ducked their heads and kept eating. He turned to Johnny. “When did you do this?”

         “Signed the paperwork yesterday.”

         “Where did you get the money?”
         He was already tired of the third degree, but he had expected no less. “Savings. From my job at Gideon Bender’s.”

         “You must have gotten it for a song,” Caleb added. “Or less than a song. Maybe just a note.” He chuckled.

         “Caleb.” His father shot him a silencing look before turning to Johnny again.  “I wish you had consulted me first.”

         “I’m an adult, Daed. I didn’t think I had to.” Seeing the flash of hurt in his father’s eyes, he added, “Trust me. I know what I’m doing.”

         “I hope so.”

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Granddaughter is Coming!!

I'll admit to being just a little bit excited....ok, who am I kidding....a whole lot excited! Like, over the moon excited! 

What's happening that would have me in such a state, you ask? Can you get a hint from the color of ink I chose?

Tomorrow night by this time our family should be welcoming a new granddaughter into the world. Kate Isabelle Ferrell is due to arrive tomorrow as they've decided to induce delivery. Our son and his lovely wife live about 2 1/2 hrs away, so it will depend on how late in the day the blessed event happens as to whether we make the trip tomorrow or Monday. We don't want to tire our daughter-in-law too much if she has a long day of it and is exhausted. 

I'll post on Monday evening or Tuesday with the news, the stats and best of all, pictures! I hope you'll rejoice with me as I enter a new phase in my life--one I've been looking forward to for a long time--one of my kids presenting me with a child of their own. It doesn't get much better than that. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Win a Historical Novel by Mary Connealy

Swept Away by Mary Connealy--This One is a Keeper!

Swept AwayThis is my first book by Mary Connealy. Let me preface by saying I wasn't sure if it would be something I'd enjoy. I'd heard reviewers in the past say Mary's style is romantic comedy and that doesn't fit with what I typically enjoy.

I was wrong.

The characters were wonderfully drawn and strong, and the story was interesting, not silly, with touches of humor that I could thoroughly relate to and enjoy. I LOVE historical novels set in the old west, and a romance makes it even better. I enjoyed everything about this book and will definitely be looking for others by this author from now on.

I would highly recommend this book.

When a cowboy focused on revenge encounters a woman determined to distract him, there’s going to be trouble in Texas!
Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn’t terribly upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they’ve ever done is work her to the bone. Alive but disoriented, she’s rescued by Luke Stone…so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.
Luke is on a mission to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men currently on the property won’t let it go without a fight. Luke plans to meet up with friends who will help him take back the land, and since he can’t just leave Ruthy in the middle of nowhere, she’s going to have to go with him.
But the more time Luke spends around the hardworking young woman, the more he finds himself thinking of things besides revenge. Will Ruthy convince him to give up his destructive path and be swept away by love?
Now for the giveaway....
the winner must live int he US. To enter, please leave a comment telling us if you've ever read any of Mary's books and what your favorite genre is to read. If you only leave a comment saying you want to be entered to win, you won't be entered (I like to see that you've actually read the blog post and aren't just finding book giveaways and scrolling to the end to leave a comment). 
Be sure you leave a way for me to contact you in case you win. 
If you want a second entry, sign up to follow my blog, or let me know you already do, and I'll enter your name twice. 
Drawing will be done this coming week end. Thank you!!!

I was given a copy of this book to review but that in no way influenced my review.
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