Support Your Starving Authors

Encouraging words bloom like a rose and last much longer.

The time to pull a book off the shelf or download an eBook can be measured in seconds. But the thinking, plotting, researching, writing, deleting, and revising probably involved years. After investing all this time, making a bestseller list is only a dream for most authors, yet their work may bring joy to many readers. When you’re a satisfied reader, please reward the author.

A few kind words warm the author’s heart, boost her spirit, and inspire. More than that, reviews and comments draw attention to the book and sales help feed the starving author. 

I know reviews are hard to write and bring back memories of those high school book reports days. The good news is, you can leave the full-blown reviews to those who love to write them. Your reader comments are extremely valuable. So, I’m offering a quick how-to for any of you who would like to encourage, inspire, and help feed the authors you like.

Think of a one sentence answer to the questions below. Combine a few of those answers to create comments and post them on the book page of online bookstores, your Facebook page, Goodreads, or Twitter.

  •  Did you love, like, or enjoy the book?
  •  When did you get into the story? (Hooked on the first page.  Or, Ease in, getting to know the characters and becoming comfortable in the setting.)
  • Was there a character you’d like to know in person?
  • Did a character remind you of someone you know?
  • Did one character seem like you?
  • Was there a villain you wanted to strangle?
  • Did the romantic line make you feel loved?
  • Did the hero remind you of the man of your dreams?
  • Were you sorry when the story ended?
  • Do you want to read another book by this author?
  • If this book is not your kind of book, do you know someone else who would love it?

Now, take a few of your answers for inspiration and write three or four lines to show your appreciation to the author and help promote the book. Always mention the author’s name and book title.

A helpful comment might be something like this: Deanne Durrett’s [amazon_link id=”B008VTNT2S” target=”_blank” ]The Rogue Trust (Ordinary Days in Myrtle Hill)[/amazon_link] kept me reading past my bedtime. I shared Becca’s fears and suspicions and couldn’t wait to see how she worked things out. If you ever imagined becoming suddenly wealthy, this book will shed new light on your daydreams.

Your words might inspire the author and her next book might be one of the  best you’ll ever read.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Anita Higman

 

Anita Higman

I enjoyed  Anita Higman’s [amazon_link id=”1609366883″ target=”_blank” ]A Merry Little Christmas[/amazon_link] and I always like to know about the authors I read. Consequently, I’m a blog surfer and enjoy following some of my favorites on Facebook. I was thrilled at opportunity to interview Anita after reviewing her book. Of course, my first question is:

Q. Anita, what inspired you to write this book?

I grew up on a farm in Western Oklahoma, and I knew someday I would write about my life. This novel seemed like the right vehicle to use to share a few of those personal experiences. So, that’s how A Merry Little Christmas was born, wanting to share some of my early life with readers. Even though A Merry Little Christmas is really a love story, I felt it needed some additional conflict, and some of the racial struggles of the 60s seemed to be the right choice for this particular plot. I grew up in the 60s, and I was always interested in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In some ways I feel I’ve waited my whole life to write this book. It came easily to me in that it’s been percolating in my imagination for a long time, but it was also hard to write because I had to consider more deeply the injustices of that era. Even though it sounds like a cliché, A Merry Little Christmas truly was the book of my heart.

 [amazon_image id=”1609366883″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]A Merry Little Christmas[/amazon_image]

 Q. The farm scenes seem pretty realistic. Did you grow up in the country?

I did. While the small towns in the book are totally fictitious I did grow up on a wheat, cattle, pig, and chicken farm in Western Oklahoma, and it was pretty much identical to the one in the novel. If the farm scenes seem realistic it’s because I got to know farm life quite well before I moved off to college at eighteen.

Q. Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, but are both looking for something very different from the way they’ve grown up. Do you think as humans, we all just have a “grass is always greener on the other side” mentality?

Yes, that is a human frailty that is easy to succumb to, and I’ve been guilty of it as well. But God is good about reminding me that he’s placed me on my own unique life-road, and it may have little to do with anyone else’s journey. Besides, in many cases when we get a closer look at someone else’s “lush green grass” it usually turns out to be turf.

Q. Do you think that sometimes we don’t pray for what we want because we are afraid of getting what we pray for?

Perhaps that’s true, which would explain why Franny is equally nervous and excited about the sudden answer to her prayers.

Q. Seems like this story could be enjoyed any time of year. Was there a reason you added the themes of Christmas and music to the story?

My editor asked me to add those elements, and it was a blessing, since Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love music. Also, female readers in general love novels that are set during the holidays, and I’m hoping the music adds a cozy feel to the overall Christmas theme.

 Q. What is your favorite Christmas song?

“The Holly and the Ivy.” The song has a melancholy feel to it, but it’s also beautifully sweet. I love the “Currier and Ives” style pictures my imagination conjures up when I’m listening to it.

Q. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

I love to have my gal friends over for brunch around Christmastime. I have been collecting tea dishes for many years, and so when I do a brunch, I go all out. Women are usually in a service mode most of their lives so when they come to my house I want them to feel wonderfully pampered. And by the time they leave, I hope their hearts are a little merrier and they feel we’ve celebrated Christmas well!

Q. Is Franny’s character based on any “real life” person?

Franny is like me in some ways, but she has a lot more courage than I have and more laughter in her heart. So, really, I want to be Franny when I grow up.

Q. Does the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” have a special significance to you?

The song makes me swoon it’s so romantic and lovely. It makes me think of being snowed-in with the man I love. Of course, that scene also needs a mountain cabin with a crackling fire and two mugs of wassail.

Q. You have written everything from romance to suspense/thrillers to nonfiction. What is your favorite genre to write?

I love inspirational romance. There’s just nothing else like it for writing and reading. It naturally makes you want to curl up on an overstuffed couch and read the day away.

Thank you, Anita. I enjoyed our cyber chat.

A Fun Christmas Romance (Review)

I finished this book a couple of days ago and enjoyed the story from beginning to end. It reminds me of the classic City Mouse and Country Mouse story my mom told me when I was a child.

Fanny Martin wants to leave the farm she inherited and try city life. Charlie Landau wants to leave the city, and his domineering wealthy father, to try his hand at farming.

He buys her farm.

When she agrees to stay on as his employee and teach him to farm, the stage is set.

Romantic banter swirls through the pages as a love story unfolds. Anita Higman weaves romance, humor, a shared love of music, and a bushel of trouble into a fascinating tale. The Christmas backdrop makes it right for the season, but this story could be enjoyed any time of year. I highly recommend [amazon_link id=”1609366883″ target=”_blank” ]A Merry Little Christmas[/amazon_link]. It’s a good read.

(Interview with the author to follow.)

 

WREN’S NEST

Wren's Nest  new FB Cover--1

WREN’S NEST, became “live” in the Amazon Kindle store last October. By then, this work had been in progress at least three years and the experience is best described as something like a very long pregnancy. A long wait but worth the effort.

My mother looked forward to the birth of my book with an enthusiasm I still cherished. Yet, when she asked to read it, my answer was always, “Not yet.” And when she said, “When?” I said it takes a long time to write a book. She was ninety when I started… and gone when I finished.

I dedicated WREN’S NEST to my mom, not to her memory. I’m not sure why. As far as I know, there’s nothing in the story that relates to her, no idea seed that took root in my imagination. Maybe it’s because so much of her is still alive in me. She encouraged me to keep writing when I wanted to quit. I had to finish WREN’S NEST because I had this enthusiastic mom waiting to read it. I hope you enjoy Joe Chandler’s story as he and Blake Adams join forces to complete the Myrtle Hill/Phoenix connection. They have a team of retired cops with their boots on the ground ready to protect and serve those God brings to their door.

Christians need to serve as earth angels; God’s boots on the ground. That’s my passion and the seed that stirred my imagination for many years as this storyline evolved. I believe that God uses people who are in the right place, at the right time, and willing to serve. Joe Chandler thinks of these people as earth angels. They are there, ready to help anyone in need. Sometimes it’s a person endangered by someone else’s mistake. Other times, it’s someone who made a bad choice and needs a little help to find the way to a second chance. Sometimes it’s a little one who needs a guiding hand. I think of these people as God’s boots on the ground.

In THE ROGUE TRUST, God’s call is answered and the funds are made available. In WREN’S NEST, Joe Chandler’s team in Myrtle Hill connects with Blake Adams’ ministry in Phoenix. And….. coming soon… LUCY’S MANSION becomes a battleground where following God’s lead involves a rocky path up a steep hill.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B009Q85TBC” /][amazon_enhanced asin=”B008VTNT2S” /]

The Nose Thing

I noticed a little white spot on my nose, it didn’t look like it should be there. But, it was small, about the size of a pin head, and not noticeable at all. I’ll mention this next time I see the doctor, I thought.

And, I did. It might not have been the next visit, but one day I was in for something else. I remembered the little spot as I was going out the door. “Oh, I said, what’s this?” and I pointed to my nose.

He looked and frowned. Ran his finger across it. “That’s a Basal Cell Carcinoma.”

And I frowned!

“I’ll make you an appointment with a dermatologist for a biopsy.”

Thank goodness, we were living in Arizona, probably the skin cancer capitol of the world. If we’d been here in Oklahoma, my doctor might have been the one who carried a bottle of freezing-stuff from room to room. He might have made one of his on-the-spot diagnosis and froze that little  spot until it sizzled.

Fortunately, I was in Arizona and when the biopsy came back in agreement with my family doctor’s diagnosis. He gave me a choice. “You can go to a plastic surgeon. Or, you can have radiation, Or you can have Mohs surgery.”

I frowned. “But this is such a little spot… plastic surgery, radiation! What’s Mohs surgery?”

And then he told me that Mohs surgery takes the least amount of tissue with the most certainty of “getting it all.” The surgeon marks the suspicions spot, dividing it in sections, before removing the afflicted tissue. The segments are examined under under the microscope. If any cancer is left, the surgeon knows the exact location and removes another small amount of tissue. This is repeated until the microscopic examination shows that the edges and bottom of the removed tissue are clear of cancer. Sometimes only one slice is necessary. “This is what we recommend and we have an excellent surgeon in mind.”

This all seemed so unreal! And way too much excitement for such a tiny spot. Did I mention that it was about the size of a pin head? I mentioned that to the Mohs surgeon when I asked her how much of my nose she expected to remove.

“This may only be the tip of the ice berg,” she said. I don’t know what I’ll find until we have a look under the microscope.” And then she started talking about the repair and a plan to remove tissue in front of my ear for a skin graft on my nose.”

I blinked and shook my head. “A skin graft for this tiny spot? Let’s wait and see if I really need a skin graft.”

She nodded and patted my arm. I felt I still had a little control over the situation.

“After the skin graft, we’ll stitch a yellow pressure bandage to you’re nose.”

I laughed and rolled my eyes. This had to be a joke. Who ever heard of stitching a bandage anywhere. Weird! I shook my head.

She homored me. “We’ll schedule the surgery and you can decide about the repair after we’ve removed your cancer.”

And, I left the office wanting to believe little spot would not require a skin graft… And a yellow bandage sewed to my nose! Well, she did make me laugh when I was feeling pretty glum. Although basal cell is not a life threatening cancer, the thought of removing part of my nose was very disturbing. How much were they going to remove? There was no answer and my imagination took flight. Our granddaughter had a jewel in her nose (I hated it) but, maybe that’s what I would do if I needed to hide the scar/hole. Maybe I would need a jewel encrusted gold nose…

A couple of weeks later, I sat in the waiting room of the mohs surgeon’s office with a large white bandage taped to my nose waiting for the results of the microscopic exam. I prayed they wouldn’t have to take more tissue… no more cutting. Although I had experienced no pain, cutting on the nose makes a lot of unpleasant noise.

Good news. They got it all. No more cutting. Now, “Did I want a skin graft to repair the wound?” She handed me a mirror.

After a quick glance I knew the answer. “Yes. I believe I do want a skin graft.” And an hour or so later I left with a yellow bandage sewed on my nose. Medical professionals don’t do much joking about serious matters.

It took about a year for the skin graft to become almost unnoticable and during that time, I did some fretting that wasn’t warrented considering that I had cancer; it was a nonthreatening cancer and it was gone.

That was eight years ago and this is how my nose looks today, much closer than most people see it.