Monday, May 28, 2018

An Author’s Struggle with Self-Publishing

     I was so thrilled when my first novel, REGAL REWARD, a Regency Romance, went under contract and was traditionally published back in 2007. Two more historical romances followed: A Kiss of Promise and   A Convenient Pretense. Both were well received. I was delighted! Then the bad news came. My publishing house was closing. Where do I go from here? It meant beginning again to find another publisher. However, too many publishing houses were closing or having financial difficulties and their authors were losing book rights and royalties. Like many authors stuck in the downturn, I decided to take the self-publishing route. I have never looked back.

     I re-published my first three books and gained excellent sales, but one important element was not doing as well. Customers weren’t leaving reviews. I was pleased the editorial reviews I received and happy with sales and hearing good things from readers,  but I realized the main benefit of traditional publishing over self-publishing is collecting reviews. Authors are often more introverted by nature and, for me, putting myself out there as a promoter of my own work was and still is scary! I hear the same from other self-published authors. Promoting is a job that most authors are not especially good at. We want to write, not spend the writing hours we can eek out from other life responsibilities to advertise and promote. Publishing houses have many more outlets to encourage reviews for their authors. 

     Authors love to hear good things about our books from readers, but when it comes to customers leaving reviews on sales sites, we hear: “I never take the time to leave reviews” or, “I don’t know how to leave one.” Many readers don’t realize how easy it is.

     A review doesn’t need to be more than a sentence or two and with most sales sites. It’s as easy as clicking a “Leave a Review” button. A comment can be simply, “Loved this book” or “Couldn’t put this book down”. If the book was only satisfactory, a review can still be helpful for both the author and the reader. “I thought I would really enjoy this book, but I couldn’t engage with the main character.” Perhaps, as a reader, you decide to give the book three stars. You may have liked it well enough to finish it, but it wasn’t memorable enough to give it four or five stars. That’s okay. Most important, whether it’s a three star review or a five star, both authors and readers look for honest reviews.

     As an historical romance and historical fiction author, I want to write the best book I can.  I love researching historical facts and hope my readers find pleasure in my books as well as learn interesting facts about the time period.  As a self-published author, I must work harder to strengthen my promotional muscle, even though I find it as difficult as sticking to a diet or going to the gym many days! What I really love to do is create characters and plots, and at this date, finish writing the third book in my Redemption Series, LOVE AT WAR. 

     To my dear readers, if you are reading or have read my books, especially my newest Women’s Historical Fiction works: Book One: OF FAITH UNDER FIRE, and Book Two: HOPE UNSHACKLED, please take a minute to leave an honest review. Thank you. I am so grateful!  I continue to work on Book Three, LOVE AT WAR, as my characters confront the beginning of the Civil War. Olivia, the main character in books one and two, takes a supporting role as her daughter, now grown, attempts to free a young woman and her child from slavery. Gearing toward a publication date in November 2018!

Monday, February 19, 2018

For the Sake of the Lost

For those of us who are sick to death of multiple lives lost by assault weapons freely available, we need to speak out. We need to speak out against elected officials who would rather receive money from the NRA than save innocent lives. We need to speak out against those who think we are trying to take away 2nd amendment rights.

If our forefathers had envisioned assault weapons like the AR-15, I believe these sensible men would have added a caveat: "For public safety,multiple round assault weapons are excluded from freedoms to bear arms and available only as a necessity by those legally trained by America's military defense agencies and used only in combat to defend America's freedom against foreign enemies."

As a mother who knows the grief of losing a child, I am not speaking out too soon after a tragedy. I mourn and pray for each parent, each family member, each friend of those lost in a senseless act.
Don't fear offending! Flood Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and whatever is at your disposal. Our elected officials need to listen to the people and act accordingly and not be ruled by Lobbyists with open wallets who put dollars over deaths.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Love to Read?

           I love to read, especially in the evening. One book a week is my desired goal, but usually it's more like one book every two or three weeks and many shorter reads in between. So many things come between my current book and me. But, when I can steal an hour or two, it's such a pleasure to become lost in the world of characters and plots. Historical Fiction and Regency Romances are my favorites, but I also enjoy a good mystery or detective story or a non-fiction self-help book that offers practical advice, wisdom, or positive life lessons. 

    When I read a book that is later made into a movie, I am usually disappointed by the movie version. Despite the  visual representations of the characters, the background music and audio and visual techniques, they never seem to capture the deeper meaning and thought that the author  has painstakingly penned, or that I conjure in my imagination while I am reading. The slower process of reading, over watching the movie version, affords more time to think about the story, to dwell on the adventures, mishaps, romances gone wrong, or the character's emotions, motives, and actions for good or evil. A movie can be forgotten shortly after watching it, but a well-written character or plot can stay with you for days, weeks, even years. 
    I especially enjoy Historical Romance and Historical fiction because I am taken back to exciting past time periods. I love the dress, the mannerisms, and customs during the Regency. I also learn about what it must have been like to live day-to-day in earlier centuries. In my two American Historicals, Of Faith Under Fire, and Hope UnShackled, the first two books of my Redemption Series, I became totally absorbed and enlightened by life during the time of slavery before the Civil War. Writing about the horrors of slavery and the courageous work of abolitionists of the period was at times difficult as well as fascinating. It's hard to imagine  and understand the mind set of slave holders pre-Civil War as well as our government laws and actions. We can learn so much and, hopefully, avoid making the same mistakes or commit the same atrocities by reading the tragic outcomes of ignorance and apathy.
    I am presently writing book three of the Redemption Series, Love at War, and hope to have it ready for publication in the fall.  I would love to hear about your reading habits, what you enjoy reading, your favorite books, or favorite authors. Comment here or meet me on Facebook at
Stop by and say hello! 

                                                                                  Happy Reading,  Elaine

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

$.99 for 3 days only! Book One of an American Historical Romance-Redemption Series. Book 2 Just released!

As two men, Benjamin, and William, vie for Olivia’s affection, her minister father 
pressures her with his demands for her to marry his choice of a groom. Meanwhile, strange occurrences create chaos in the parsonage. When Benjamin, a carpenter repairing the family barn, discovers an old, tattered diary that reveals a shocking family scandal, he is tossed into turmoil. If he keeps its sordid secrets, he will lose Olivia to another. If he reveals the contents, it could destroy her and disgrace her family. When the Truth refuses to be denied, a mysterious intruder may be the only one who can heal Olivia’s shattered heart. What follows is a story of fierce love, tested faith, and, family redemption.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

American Historicals of Love, pre-Civil War drama, and Sacrifice

I am excited to announce the first two books of my Redemption series of Faith, Hope, and Love are soon to be released. OF FAITH UNDER FIRE, Book One, (previously The Diary of Narcissa Dunn, has a new look).
My newest release, Book Two, HOPE UNSHACKLED, will be released on November 10th. Both are available now for pre-order on Amazon, B&N, and KOBO, Read more on my website at



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ebook Pre-orders Available on  all Online Outlets 

on October 22st!

American Historical Fiction Series

Read stories of Faith, Hope, and Love in the Redemption Series.  

Sign up for my newsletter today for updated information on publishing dates.

Book One:    Of Faith Under Fire
Book Two:    Hope UnShackled
Book Three: Love at War

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Finding Passion in Prose (or in any area of life)

First the fun part of writing: I love getting to know my characters and continue to be amazed at how the mind and heart works in creation. An idea blossoms. It takes on a life of its own, and characters are born. Their natures and personalities develop and mature with each revision as well as the crises they face and attempt to overcome.

Soon, in the mind's eye, the characters become flesh and blood. Through the writer's pen (or pecking at the computer keyboard), the hero or heroine find his or her way through a maze of difficulties. This is exciting part of writing.

The ‘not so much fun’ of writing: The height of frustration for me as a historical fiction writer is not being able to find accurate research when I need it for a story I’m working on. Everything characters say and do must be accurate to the story’s time period and culture, if the story is to be believable. How they prepare a meal, travel, occupy their time, as well as all social, political, and religious interactions must adhere to the setting and time period. These details can mean pain-staking research for a writer and, I admit, headaches and pain in the seating area of the body as well!

Writers want readers to be transported into their fictional worlds and remain there throughout the characters’ trials and tribulations. One anachronism glaring out at readers can pull them right out of the story. For example, I remember using the word garage in one of my nineteenth century novels. My editor immediately questioned it. After checking its etymology in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, I found the word didn’t come into common use until 1902. Oops, garage became a carriage house.

Over the past week, working on my newest manuscript, I’ve spent exhausting hours researching mid nineteenth century schooling, pre-Civil War activism, and an 1850 cookbook for a gingerbread recipe. Yes, time consuming! I really wish information I need would be at my fingertips, instead of lost in a myriad of books and online sources, but accurate detail is necessary.

Why spend so many frustrating hours? Because it’s called passion! Passion, a very difficult word to define, that truly gets to the core of what it feels like within us. The Free Dictionary calls it “bountiful enthusiasm”. Cambridge Dictionary, “extreme interest, powerful feelings.” None of these definitions truly nail it, as far as I’m concerned.

A good story will hold a reader's attention until the end and that’s what I work towards. I constantly try to improve my craft with each book, no different than anyone who has a career or hobby in their area of passion.  I want my readers to feel my characters' emotions and be transported into their worlds, turning page after page, unable to put the book down. Yes, that’s what all writers hope for as they persevere with each book.

 I admit, even if I didn’t publish a single work, I would still be writing because when you have a passion, you need to honor it. God gives each of us a gift for us to find and develop. When we do, I believe we connect with the mysteries of the mind, heart, and soul that makes our inner voice, exclaim, WOW! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?

And at those moments, I think, God winks!

Blessings, Elaine

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