About Once Upon a Word: We're a large group of multi-talented authors working together, to bring you the best romances. Please, stop by our websites and check out what we've been up to: Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Victory Tales Press.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A TEXAS TEA AND BOOK PARTY-Book Signing Event


Several years ago, the release of my first novel excited me, yes, but it also threw me into a dither. A dither, if you’ve never been in one, is similar to mild hysteria and confusion. All other authors I knew at the time talked about book signings, and I attended a couple of them. In my opinion, this might not work for me, as they don’t seem to work very well unless you are the author of Harry Potter. How many readers would drive to a bookstore and buy my book? I fear not many, and there I’d be, all alone in public, people walking past me, ignoring the books on the table. The thought of buying a big stack of books and not selling them didn’t make me comfortable, either.
THIS IS MY FIRST NOVEL

So, I wondered what else I might do.
I decided to have the book signing at my house. I know many people in town since we’ve lived here for close to four decades. I’ve had gatherings at my house, and we have a lot of parking space—near the house and out on the road.

First, I created a half-page invitation on Word and printed it on pink paper. I explained about the book: title, genre, a brief plot, price, and a link to buy it in eBook or print from my publisher and on Amazon. On a separate line, with a different font, I explained I would be happy to order it for them, give a one-dollar discount, and I’d pay the postage. With my publisher’s generous author discount, I’d still make a little over three dollars on each book. Besides, I was more interested in numbers of books, not the dollar amount.

I instructed the reader to send me a check or cash for the amount, or send an e-mail to reserve one and pay later, or tell me in person and make sure I wrote down the name. I said I would place the order in two weeks.
As an added incentive, I invited each buyer to my house on a certain date and time for a Texas Tea and Book Party. Instructions included my address and to look for the Lone Star Flag out by the road. (Photo to the Left--My Front Porch)

Everywhere I went, I left a small stack of the half-page notices. If someone picked one up, fine, if no one did, fine. I didn’t even look. At the end of the two weeks, I had orders for sixty-four books.

Now, about the party. The food was easy: Texas-shaped chips, salsa, nuts, Texas Pecan Cookies, assorted cheese tidbits, and peach iced tea. I shopped at a warehouse with highly discounted everything, and bought plastic cups, and small paper plates and napkins the color of a Texas bluebonnet. All this cost about twenty-five dollars.

My husband worked as the parking lot attendant, and he also stayed on our wide front porch to greet people.
Before the party, since I had everyone’s name, I pre-signed all sixty-four books. That alone took a long time.

With the release of my second book, I sent out almost the same announcement by e-mail, except I did not have a party. Instead, I delivered the books, or took them along when I knew I’d see some of the buyers at a meeting or gathering. That took time, but I could give that buyer special attention.
I now have a reader base and an email contact list for my next book—if it’s available in print. Since I live in Texas, I write about Texas, whether it’s a Western Historical or a Contemporary. Each time I send an announcement, some of the readers will ask: “Will you have another party?” Maybe with my next (and fourth) Texas book (titled TEXAS DREAMER-as yet unfinished) about the Camerons and Kings of Texas, I will throw a party. 
And you all are invited!
 

 Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
 
BIO:
Celia Yeary is a seventh-generation Texan, and her life revolves around family, friends, and writing. San Marcos has been her home for thirty-nine years. She has nine published romance novels, a short story, six novellas, three anthologies, and published essays with a local magazine. The author is a former science teacher, graduate of Texas Tech University and Texas State University, mother of two, grandmother of three boys, and wife of a wonderful, supportive Texan. Celia and her husband enjoy traveling, and both are involved in their church, the community, and the university.

She meets with The Write Girls on Tuesdays at a local coffee house.
~~*~~
Post: "Texas Tea Party re-dux"

Friday, June 28, 2013

ONE MAGIC NIGHT BY CHERYL PIERSON

Have any of you ever incorporated your family history into your writing? Do you like to read books that are based, however loosely, on factual happenings?

My mom was the oldest of eleven children. She knew everyone in our family and how they were related. Because she and my dad grew up together in a tiny little town in southeast Oklahoma (their high school had a graduating class of twelve), she also knew quite a lot about his side of the family as well.

But when I was younger, I was not interested in the stories she told me. It was only later, when I was grown and had children of my own, that I began to wonder and ask questions, and by that time, her memory had already begun to decline.

If you have ever read the book, The Education of Little Tree, (by Forrest Carter) or seen the HBO movie, this story might sound familiar. http://www.amazon.com/Education-Little-Tree-ebook/dp/B005JFBDAW/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372218998&sr=1-1&keywords=the+education+of+little+tree+forrest+carter
When Andrew Jackson decided that the Indians were to be assimilated into the white man’s world, he put lots of plans into action that would take years to snowball and evolve into what they eventually became—a truly shameful period in the US governmental policies and procedures. One of Jackson’s plans, besides Removal, that was carried through into subsequent presidencies, was the idea of assimilating Native American children in white homes to integrate them more completely. The Native American children were taken from their villages and given to willing white families (along with a tidy little government stipend for their troubles) to raise.

My great-great-great grandfather was one of these children. We don’t know his real name. It was changed when he was delivered to his new “family,” a Presbyterian minister and his wife. Their last name was Walls. So his name was changed to Walls, and he was given the first name, David. Forbidden to speak his language, he was forced to forget all the ways of his People, and dress in white man’s clothing, go to white school. But he was never going to be white, and his place in the world was divided so drastically that he could not fit in anywhere. Eventually, the Rev. Walls sent David to medical school in Missouri. When he returned to the small town where he’d been raised, he was a doctor who rode to his patients on horseback. Later, he married and had children, but it was not a happy union and his son, my great-great grandfather, became an alcoholic whose own children, in turn, left home as soon as they possibly could. My great grandmother, his daughter, married at 13. Her older sister left home one day and never returned. No one ever knew what became of her.





This is my great grandmother, Josie Belle Walls McLain Martin at about age 25

I’ve often thought of these children that were abducted by our cavalrymen, and taken away to their white “families”, forbidden everything familiar and forced to adopt completely new and different ways, even down to their speech and childhood games—and their own names. Can you imagine it? To never be allowed to see your mother and father again. Siblings separated and “given” to different families, their heritage and connection with one another lost forever. How many tears must they have shed? And how lonely and separate they must have felt, how isolated, even into adulthood…so that most of them, I imagine, never were able to fit in anywhere in the world.

My short story, ONE MAGIC NIGHT, is based loosely on what happened to my long-ago ancestor. This story first appeared in the Victory Tales Press 2011 SUMMER COLLECTION. Last summer, it was released through Western Trail Blazer publishing as a single-sell short story in the “dime novel” gallery for only .99.

Dr. Shay Logan has just returned to Talihina, Indian Territory, from medical school in Missouri. Shay hopes to settle down and make a life for himself, but how? He doesn’t belong to either world, Anglo or Indian He's made the acquaintance of Katrina Whitworth at the July 4th town social, and the attraction is mutual from the very beginning. Shay begins to have hopes and dreams that may be out of the question…but Katrina seems to have stars in her eyes for him as well. Will she risk everything to be with him? Katrina makes a social blunder, and Shay follows her into the woods to apologize to her, but when they return, Katrina's drunken father humiliates her. To make matters worse, her former beau shows a side of himself she had not seen before. Can Katrina and Shay have a life together that they so badly want? Here’s an excerpt for you.




FROM ONE MAGIC NIGHT:

As Whitworth’s hand started its descent, Katrina turned away. But Shay’s arm shot out, grasping Whitworth’s hand and holding it immobile.

“You will not.”

Three words, quietly spoken, but with a heat that could have melted iron, a force that could have toppled mountains.

Katrina’s father’s face contorted, his teeth bared, finally, as he tried to jerk away. He didn’t
utter a word. He stared up into Shay Logan’s eyes that promised retribution, as the seconds ticked by. Finally, he lunged once more, trying to pull free, but Shay still held him locked in a grip of steel. Only when he released that grip was Whitworth freed.

“You presume too much, Doctor Logan, unless you are assuming the care and responsibility of my daughter.”

“Papa! Oh, please!” Katrina felt herself dissolving into a puddle of less than nothing beneath stares of the townspeople of Talihina. What had started as an exciting, beautiful evening had become an embarrassing nightmare. It was torture to think that she was the cause of it all. How she wished she had stayed home with Jeremy as she’d first planned, before Mrs. Howard had volunteered to keep him company.

Now, Papa was saying these things that she knew he would regret later. It was always this way when he drank too much. These accusations had gone beyond the pale of anything he’d ever said before. But Shay Logan wouldn’t realize that. He wouldn’t know that Papa would be sorry tomorrow.
Evidently, there was one thing Shay did recognize, though. She saw the very slight flare of his nostrils as he drew in the scent of alcohol on her father’s breath, and in that instant, there was a flash of understanding in his eyes.

“You’ve had too much to drink, Mr. Whitworth,” he said in an even tone. “I will overlook your behavior toward me because of that, but not toward your daughter. She has done nothing, yet you would strike her, and cause her shame.”

“She’s my daughter,” Whitworth replied sullenly.

“But not your property, Whitworth. Never that. You owe her an apology.”

“No, Shay, really—” Katrina began, then as her father whirled to look at her, she broke off, realizing her mistake. ‘Shay,’ she had called him. As if she had known him forever. As if she was entitled to use his given name freely. As if she were his betrothed.

“‘Shay’ is it, daughter? Not, ‘Dr. Logan’? Shay.” He spit the words out bitterly. He drew himself up, looking Shay in the face. “I’ll not be apologizing to her—or to you. And I’ll expect nothing less than a wedding before this week’s end. Do you understand me, Doctor?”

Shay had lost any patience he might have harbored. “You understand me, Whitworth. You will not dictate to me, or to your daughter on such matters of the heart. As I say, the alcohol has got you saying things you’re going to regret, and—”

“Threatening me, are you? Threatening me?”

“Truman.” Jack Thompson stepped out of the crowd and smoothly came to stand beside Katrina. “Let’s put this…unfortunate incident…behind us, shall we?” He confidently tucked Katrina’s hand around his arm. “I can see that the church auxiliary ladies have almost got everything set up for this wonderful Independence Day meal—” he frowned at Mrs. Beal, nodding at the picnic tables behind her. She jumped, motioning the other ladies to resume the preparation.

He gave a sweeping glance around the group of onlookers. “I, for one, am ready to eat! How about you all?”

Katrina was swept along at his side as he walked toward the tables, speaking to acquaintances and friends, laughing and…and seething with tense anger the entire time. She could feel it in his body, with every step he took and the tightness of his grip as he covered her hand with his. Katrina glanced back over her shoulder, hoping to catch a glimpse of Shay, but the crowd blocked her view.

“Smile, my dear,” Jack gritted into her ear. “I’m hoping we can still salvage your virtue, no matter what happened, really, between you and the good doctor. If I see him near you again, I’ll kill him.”


BUY LINK FOR ALL CHERYL'S WORK:
https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

BUY LINK FOR ONE MAGIC NIGHT:
http://www.amazon.com/One-Magic-Night-ebook/dp/B0089VDL3K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372218853&sr=1-1&keywords=One+Magic+Night+by+Cheryl+Pierson

BUY LINK FOR VTP A 2011 SUMMER COLLECTION:
http://www.amazon.com/2011-Summer-Collection-Anthology-Sensual/dp/1463593988/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372218916&sr=1-2&keywords=One+Magic+Night+by+Cheryl+Pierson

I WILL BE GIVING AWAY A COPY OF A 2011 SUMMER COLLECTION TO A LUCKY COMMENTER! JUST LEAVE ME A COMMENT WITH YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS AND I WILL DRAW WINNERS SOMETIME AFTER 8:00 TOMORROW NIGHT!
ALSO, REMEMBER TO LOOK FOR THESE STORIES AND MORE DURING THE CHRISTMAS IN JULY SALE, COMING SOON!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day 2013


 
Life Lessons

 
You may have thought I didn't see,
Or that I hadn't heard,
Life lessons that you taught to me,
But I got every word.
 

Perhaps you thought I missed it all,
And that we'd grow apart,
But Dad, I picked up everything,
It's written on my heart.
 

Without you, Dad, I wouldn't be
The person I am today;
You built a strong foundation
No one can take away.
 

I've grown up with your values,
And I'm very glad I did;
So here's to you, dear father,
From your forever grateful kid.

 
By Joanna Fuchs
 
Please share your Father's Day wishes or memories with us to enrich our blog.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Perfect Excerpt




Excerpts—we love them, don’t we? There’s no better way to sample an author’s writing style than to read an excerpt. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to post the perfect excerpt. Many writers have their own methods, from very long, to very short, somewhere in-between, at times concise, and at others, rambling.







What is the best method of selecting a sample of your writing? How can you entice a reader to read your full excerpt?

Choose one that contains dialogue or action, not just narrative, and keep it short and simple.

Consider the short story. The guidelines are: limit to a specific time, place, event, interaction, or character’s evolution. It is, in fact, a mini-novel, complete with a beginning, middle, and an ending, i.e., an abbreviated novel.

Attention span is the amount of time a person can concentrate on a task without becoming distracted. Continuous involvement without any lapse at all is as short as eight seconds. The average adult who is engaged in an interesting activity or topic will remain focused for twenty seconds. People are also capable of longer periods up to two and a half hours when they are doing something enjoyable or motivating, such as watching a movie.
 
Researchers have found that the modern adult’s attention span shortens as time goes on.

The phenomenon of instant gratification in our technological world deters the attention span even more.

Now consider the excerpt. The guidelines are perhaps the same as those for a short story: one idea, one interaction, in one short time frame, wrapped up with a beginning, middle, and an ending, approximately three hundred words—a mini-short story with a hook at the end.  

Here’s a test for you. How many words are in this article to this point? (310) How long did it take to read it? (Average adult-one minute.)

EXAMPLE from a short novel titled RODEO MAN--
Excerpt: Cody and Marla

Smiling lazily, he looked her up and down, at her short white shorts, pink stretch T, and red flip-flops. With that salacious grin, he continued back to her hair, hanging to her shoulders in a tangled mass of curls, but right now, there was no time to brush it properly. Some day she would just get it all whacked off and stop worrying about it.

“Stop staring,” she demanded.

“Well, I can hardly keep from it since you’re standing right in front of me.”

“Oh,” she muttered, straightened, and moved to the side.

Cody kept staring at her even though she’d moved out of his direct line of vision.

He drawled, “You know, if there’s anything I like in this world, it’s a woman with red hair.”

“It is not red. And if there’s anything I hate in this world, it’s a man saying my hair’s red. For your information, it’s strawberry blond.”

“Strawberry blond. Whadda you know? Now, I like that even better.”

Narrowing her eyes at him, she said, “Well, I’m just as pleased as punch.”
***
This short excerpt has three parts: Beginning: Cody stares at Marla while she watches him. Middle: they have a short argument. Ending: She has the last word.
It contains 260 words.
Reading time: 25 seconds.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary
My Website
My Blog
Sweethearts of the West-Blog
My Facebook Page