Easter Again – M. Laycock

So, it’s Easter again. I’ve seen almost 62 of them
come and go. When I was a little girl it was an exciting time of casting off
winter wear and buying a new dress. Sometimes there was a new spring coat and
hat and shoes and once (yes, I’m that old) I even remember a pair of white
gloves and a little purple purse. I was too young then to grasp the spiritual
significance of Easter but when we walked to church that Sunday it felt
special, like a new beginning. Like anything was possible.
And, really, that’s what Easter should feel like.
That’s what Jesus intended to tell us that day when he walked out of his tomb.
He wanted us to know each and every one of us is so special to Him he was
willing to die for us. He wanted to tell us He was opening the gates to a new
beginning that would have no end. He wanted to shout to the world that now, now
anything is possible. Because He died and rose again. Because He loves us.
Because of His grace.
I love Easter for all of those reasons. But
sometimes they’re hard to hold onto. Special? Me? No, not really. I’m just a
more than middle aged woman with chemo-frizzy hair. Nothing special about me.
But then I hear Him whisper and it’s as soft and warm as a spring breeze.
“Hey, you know I love you, right?” And I’m brought to my knees
because to Him I am special. In fact I’m His beloved. And because I keep
forgetting, He keeps telling me so.
A new beginning? Maybe I’m just a bit too old for
that anymore. I’ve seen a lot of dreams die. I have manuscripts that were written with such hope and promise
but now they’re buried and as good as dead. But then I hear Him say, “It’s
time for that one to shine now.” And hope rises up like a tsunami that
doesn’t crush and destroy but lifts me up so I can see a bigger picture.
Anything is possible? Well, maybe not anything. I
don’t have the energy or time or resources for anything. But then, like Paul I
can say … “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,
this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of
Christ… (for) His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold
wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the
heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose that He accomplished in
Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3: 8-10).
This grace … to preach, through our own words in
story and song and every creative endeavour … the boundless riches of Christ. That is possible, because of
Easter, because He loves us, because He rose again to make it possible.
It’s Easter again. Hallelujah!
****
Abundant Rain, Inspiration for Writers of Faith is available in all ebook formats at Amazon and Smashwords.
Visit Marcia’s website.

Gina Conroy & Digging Up Death

Novel Rocket is about helping authors get their book off the
ground. Gina Conroy has been a part of our team for a while, and we’re thrilled to
celebrate the release of her second novel.



Gina, tell us about your
novel, Digging Up Death 
                 
Digging Up Death is about
a single mom struggling from the emotional turmoil of a divorce she didn’t see
coming as she tries to balance a career and raise her three children. It’s
about a woman who wears masks to hide her pain and who she really is from the
world and from God. On her journey to self discovery, forgiveness, and healing
she stumbbles upon a murder, a stolen Egyptian artifact and must wrestle with
the pull of an old lover and an ex-husband who’s wanted by the FBI. Mari
Duggins seldom makes the right choices, but comes to learn she can’t keep
fighting on her own and must surrender to God to find her self worth I know the
subject matter seems heavy, but I hope it’s infused with enough humor, faith,
mystery and quirky characters to balance that out.
Here’s the official back cover copy:

Archaeology
Professor Mari Duggins is adjusting to life as a single mom and trying to
balance a television career, but gets caught between the pull of her former
flame, a field archaeologist, and her ex-husband who is wanted by the FBI on an
antiquities crime. Then her colleague is murdered, and she gets in over her
head as she searches for truth in a desert of lies. Mari Duggins’ life
caves in as she tries to excavate the truth, but realizes only God can dig her
out of the hole she’s created. Will Mari sort through her muddled feelings
and put her trust in someone else before her world caves in? Or will the truth
bury her alive?   
Where can readers purchase your
book?
Right
now it’s available on Amazon in ebook or softcover, but will be available soon
at B & N, iTunes and other places where ebooks are sold.
One reviewer said, “Digging Up Death. It’s got all the dirt you want–a
tangled mystery, a quirky heroine, hints of romance, and page-turning action.
Conroy keeps the story real and delves into the clean and the not so clean
parts of life. Highly recommended.” How do you weave all those
elements into this story?

I’m not really sure, LOL! I wanted to write a
fun, quirky mystery that held some women’s fiction themes, so without thinking
about my story fitting into a specific genre, I sat down and wrote. I’ve been
told it starts out a bit Chicklitish, then takes on mystery/suspense and women’s
fiction tones. Maybe that’s why it didn’t sell in the CBA at first even though
editors like the story and writing. I guess it just didn’t seem to fit. But I
wanted to be true to my character and the story, and though it may never be a
best seller, I think people have enjoyed the fresh change of pace that this
story offers.
How much of yourself do you write into your
characters?
In
some ways my characters are a lot like me, in other ways, they’re nothing like
me. Most often the lessons the characters
learn are things God is trying to get through my thick head, but the
circumstances my characters find themselves in are usually very different from
my own. I’ve never been a single mom, or widowed, or divorced, or been an
archaeologist, but I did grow up in a divorced family and felt like a failure
as a mom. I know what it’s like to try and control things when life feels out
of control. I know how helplessness and hopelessness feels, and I’ve been
learning what it means to truly surrender and rely on God.
What are you working on now?
I have several
half finished projects I’m excited about, but I’m working on the next book in
the Mari Duggins Mysteries. So many readers have asked what happens to Mari and
all her relationships, so I start the next book the morning after. It has a
mystery thread, but it’s more about the relationship entanglements Mari found
herself in at the end of book one. It’s tentatively entitled Mayhem Under the
Mistletoe, so I’m hoping to get it out before the Christmas season!
You have a website called Writer…Interrupted.
What is that about?
It’s a place where busy
writers can come for encouragement in balancing life and writing and find
information to help them improve their craft and continue on their writing
journey.
Why did you start that Writer…Interrupted?

About nine years ago, after ten years off from writing to raise my kids,
I started writing again. My youngest was two. This was about the same time I
started homeschooling and let’s just say my priorities became so messed up that
I felt impressed by God to quit writing for a season. So to deal with my “not
writing” I started a blog to figure out how all the other successful writing,
homeschooling moms did it. I started out interviewing a few writing moms, and then
when my first writing dad, who just happened to be an editor at a publishing
house, started visiting the blog, I thought maybe this thing was bigger. I
opened up the group to anyone who felt their writing was interrupted by life,
and now I have a place where busy writers come to learn the craft of writing
from experts and find encouragement in balancing their personal and writing
lives.
You’ve
homeschooled your four children, you teach creative writing, and keep up your
website and blogging, how do you balance it all?
You forgot, I also ballroom dance! I’m really not sure I balance it
all, though I try. I’m still figuring it out and over the years I’ve
interviewed over a hundred writing moms and dads and the one thing I’ve learned
about balancing writing with family is that it looks different for everyone. For
me, the amount of writing I do goes in seasons. There was a time in the
beginning my priorities were skewed. I put writing before a lot of things, and
I got out of balance to the point that I had to lay down my writing for a
season. After years of struggling, I’ve finally found freedom in the seasons of
life. I don’t sweat not writing when I can’t and I try to focus on what’s in
front of me. Of course, it’s still a struggle, but I try to keep things in
perspective. There will be a time when my kids will be gone and I will have the
time to write. For now, I’m embracing this season of life and the time I have
with my kids.
How can readers find you on the Internet? I LOVE to
connect with people and you can find me at:
Facebook: Author
Gina Conroy

Twitter: @GinaConroy
gina@ginaconroy.com
Pinterest: Author Gina Conroy
http://ginaconroy.com

Thanks, Gina, and congratulations on the new book!

Lisa Bergren ~ Creative and Collaborative Marketing Tips

 

Lisa T. Bergren is the author of over forty books, and the
latest is the Grand Tour Series, beginning with Glamorous Illusions and continuing on with the newly released Grave Consequences
and the upcoming Glittering Promises. When she’s not messing around on Facebook
or Twitter, she’s usually researching or writing her next project.
She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three children. You
can find her at LisaBergren.com, Facebook.com/LisaTawnBergren, and @LisaTBergren.

Collaborative Marketing

By Lisa T. Bergren 

 

So you’ve shouted the news about your new release
on Facebook, Twitter, and your author web site as well as covered it
in your author newsletter. How else can you get the word out about your
book?

Form a Website/Blog Loop

In 2012 I released a YA series and after another author
read Waterfall,
I was invited to take part in an ABA-oriented scavenger hunt, in which
I hosted a YA author and yet another hosted me. We formed a loop of
about 30 stops, and it was so successful, it’s been oft-repeated and
gone on to incorporate more than 100 authors, with three separate arms.
Now everyone wants in, but you can’t always take part.

What readers loved was that they both gathered clues
for a potential prize, but also learned about new authors they’d never
heard about. What writers loved was that readers who had never heard
of them, now had, and were buying their books.

So I brought that same concept over to my Christian-fiction
pals, and we formed a loop last summer and fall, and will do so again
this May. Each hunt has brought me at least 1000 new visitors to my
web site, and gotten at least 900 to focus on my name, title and cover
for a minimum of a minute. You just can’t buy that kind of advertising.

Do you have 6-10 author friends with published works?
Consider rallying the troops for your own version of our scavenger hunt!
Figure out the dates, get firm commitments from all involved (if you
have a broken link, you’re in deep weeds), and then get your party
started! Speaking of parties…

Throw a Twitter Party & Invite Your Author Pals

In conjunction with the last hunt, I had my first
Christian Fiction Twitter party, which was fairly successful. It’s
hard to judge how many took part, because many see the Twitter stream
but don’t jump in to comment. I’ll try it again this summer, and
do more build-up to hopefully get more engagement. But let’s face
it. If you’re into Twitter at all, there’s a voyeuristic aspect
that’s kind of fun. If someone’s dialoguing with another, you can
click on that person’s stream and put the conversation together. It’s
almost like listening in. And readers get a special thrill over listening
to authors talk to one another. It’s like being given entry to a secret
club. Why not give them that thrill and talk a lot about one another’s
books? They’re listening. Even cooler? Use a unique #hashtag and readers
can continue to discover that conversation for months to come! Speaking
of conversation with friends…

Cultivate Friendships with Book Bloggers

Let me introduce you to your new BFFs: Book Bloggers
Who Already Adore You. They won’t think of your new coziness as usury.
They’ll think of it as mutually beneficial. J You’ve likely been sent 25-100 free copies of your newly
published books. These weren’t meant for your grandma and her buddies
at the retirement center. These were really meant for you to give to
influencers–people who will influence others to all flood the bookstore
or online retailer and buy your book. Now if your grandma is one of
those, give one to her. But then move on to book bloggers!

PLEASE NOTE: There are more and more book bloggers
all the time. Savvy women have discovered that if they commit to blog,
books will come. What you want to find are those book bloggers who both
have some decent traffic and engagement on their site, but also LOVE
YOU AND YOUR WRITING. You’re looking for the kind of blogger who would,
honestly, promote your book, even if they had to go borrow it from the
library to read/review. The kind of blogger who talks, and people listen.
Know of one…or ten? Send ‘em a free, autographed book. Consider
offering another as a prize if they do a special post or interview with
you, which you can, in turn, link to on your Facebook author page (you
have one of those, right? No? Get thee to the Book of Face immediately
and create one!)

AN ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you’re an indie-published
author, many book bloggers refuse to review you. I know. It stinks.
But there are some who will—and it’s even better if you can send
them an e-file rather than go through the expense of posting a paperback.
Check the blogger’s guidelines to find out if they’re open to indie-
or self-published works so you don’t burn that bridge you’re working
so hard to build.

So there are a few ways to take publicity from lonely
to a corporate experience. Bring in your friends and have fun with it!