Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer's Winter by Robin Johns Grant

21807601
Summer’s Winter
Robin Johns Grant

Jan 2014
Inspirational romantic fiction
Story Merchant Books
ISBN 978-0989715430

buy on US Amazon
UK Amazon
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US$2.99 eBook
US$12.9 paperback

When Jeanine finally connects with film star Jamie Newkirk, the object of her obsession, will it be a dream come true? Or will she be pulled into his family's nightmare of secrets, control, and death? 

At age ten, preacher's daughter Jeanine fell in love with young movie star Jamie Newkirk and the character he played--Danny Summer. Jeanine believed God Himself promised Jamie would be part of her life--that he would rescue her from boring rural Georgia. But eleven years later, she's graduating college and about to settle into the dreary nine-to-five life with no word from Jamie or God. 

And then Jamie bursts into her life in an amazing way. There are plans to resurrect the Summer series of books and movies, and Jeanine is right in the middle of it all. Jamie seems to be falling for her, just as she'd dreamed. And yet... 

She never expected all the dark undercurrents. Jamie is hiding out in Georgia following the suspicious death of his former girlfriend. And isn't it odd that he found his mother dead of a supposed suicide in that same house two years before, and that both women had the same strangely-shaped burn on their bodies? And who knew there would be so many sinister characters involved in Jamie's life, and in the Summer series? There's his young co-star, Charlie--the Summer author died in an unexplained fire at his house. And Jamie's stepfather, Elliott, and uncle Richard seem to be in a vicious competition for control of the Summer series and of Jamie's life. 

Jamie is obviously hiding things--about his family, about the deaths of his mother and girlfriend. The media and the public have declared him guilty. Jeanine longs to prove his innocence. Unless she can, Jamie's dark secrets may shatter her dreams, her faith--and her life.

My review
I love Grant’s way with words and her sense of story. It’s not breathless when it doesn’t need to be, and gradually sets up story in a way that’s a luscious down comforter and not a bumpy, worn blanket. Since reading Jordan's Shadow, I knew Summer's Winter would be just as good.

Young Adult fiction can cover a great deal of circumstances and settings, but the genre involves exploration of self, growth, and a lot angst getting there. Skillfully melding twists and romance, blurring the lines between bad guys and good, and identifying and taking responsibility for bad behavior without glorifying it, Grant has published a great story about a young lady with gifts on a sure path guided by the only One we can truly trust, and her obsession, a movie star from another continent portraying a beloved character in a series of motion pictures. While Jeanine may not truly believe that she’ll receive the longings of her heart, she has a firm foundation that the Giver of all good things has a plan for her.

Within the realm of believability, the movie star, Jamie, comes from a similar-enough background to feel guilt over actions he controls, as well as events that he cannot influence…or can he? It’s this sense of responsibility that bring Jamie and Jeanine together, yet keep them frustratingly apart.

Told in multiple points of view, Summer’s Winter is a story will keep readers of romantic young adult fiction turning pages. Set in contemporary America, the story has a genteel feel, despite the despair and drug use and less savory actions hinted at behind the scenes. The characters are rich and multi-layered, adding a satisfactory denseness to the beautiful settings and even the less than beautiful events. Star-crossed lovers? Sure, but emotionally satisfying and with just enough questions left over that make me drool for a sequel.

About the Author

While waiting for her writing to pay off, Robin Johns Grant did a lot of crazy fan stuff and was way too involved with books and movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars, which helped her dream up Jeanine and Jamie for Summer's Winter.

With a degree in English and a mid-life crisis coming on, she returned to school and earned a master's degree in library and information science. She now has her best day job ever as a college librarian, which keeps her young by allowing her to hang out with students.

Robin was named 2014 Author of the Year by the Georgia Association of College Stores, and Summer's Winter won a bronze medal in the Romance - Suspense category of the International Readers' Favorite Book Awards.

Robin lives in Georgia with her wonderful husband Dave and formerly feral felines Mini Pearl and Luna. She is also surprised to find herself part owner of a sweet pit bull puppy named Pete who showed up as a stray at her mom's house.

Friday, June 24, 2016

2-Day Sale on Amazon Kindle, Seventh Dimension - The City, A Young Adult Fantasy


"Jesus used stories to tell great truths. 
Satan uses stories to tell great lies." ~Lorilyn Roberts







Strange signs in the heavens manifest, global chaos ensues, and evil runs amok. The United States is rendered impotent. Other powers rise that are otherworldly.










"I believe YA readers have settled for werewolves and other fictional ideologies because they don’t realize the truth is more compelling, more real, and more shattering." ~Lorilyn Roberts

Monday, June 13, 2016

Should I Use KDP Select? Guest Post by Terri Main



Recently, Terri Main and I had a lively conversation via a marketing group about KDP Select. We have very different opinions on its current effectiveness, and I asked if I could post her email to me on this blog so she could share her thoughts and experience. I think, as she says, you need to figure out what works for you and go with it. Knowledge is always key when it comes to marketing.

I (Lorilyn Roberts) have taken all my books out of KDP Select and can't imagine using it again. Its effectiveness for me has been so minuscule the last couple of years that I prefer not to bother with it and instead have opted for greater exposure on other sites, including Smashwords, bookstores, audiobooks, and website marketing. Terri's points are valid, though,  for KDP Select, and because it's something all authors should try at least once, I wanted to share what she shared with me.

Here's Terri's Thoughts 

This is one we can go around and around about. I know, because I've been interacting with people for five years on this subject. I still see a big bump in sales after a well promoted free promotion. However, it is across my entire inventory.  I see significant increases. In fact the two or three days after a big free promotion are usually double my norm. Now, less well promoted ones it's more like a 20-25% increase. 

HOWEVER.........

And this is the biggie. What works for one person may not work for another. You have to find what works for you. It's like the old joke about the economy. Ask five economists what's going to happen with the economy and you'll get five different answers. Six if one went to Harvard. 

Each of us have different audiences and genres. Free promos for my Bible studies do phenomenally well in the after promotion period. Usually within a week, I will get a bunch of people all in a one to two day period downloading the book. What happened? I can only speculate, but after 30 years in marketing and 64 in church I can make a good guess. Some teachers were out there doing a search of Bible studies. One or more ran across mine for free. They read it and liked it, then the next week or two they adopted it for the class and a bunch of students stated to download it or borrow it through Kindle unlimited. 

Now, with my Science Fiction/mystery novels, following a free promo, I'll get a bunch of downloads of other books in that series. 

However, I see very little effect for standalone fiction. And I suspect that standalone fiction for someone with only one or two books out will not do as well either. 

Plus, we all have different fans. 

The bottom line is you have to experiment. Test. Retest. Keep what works for you and throw out what doesn't. Listen to everyone, but test everything for yourself. 


I look at two top indie authors, for instance, Russell Blake and Hugh Howey. They are both very successful and very different in their approaches. Of course, they are also both very good writers. But they understand their individual markets and do what works for them. 

*~*~*~*

I hope some of you will leave a comments and tell us about your experience. Sharing of information is the best way to help all of us with marketing our books,  so please let us hear from you. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

"Portrait of Jenny," by Alice K. Arenz - Enjoy this Excerpt


I understand this book has a few curse words and sexual tension, but it also has Christian content, and we feature books like Portrait of Jenny from time to time if they have good reviews. 

Enjoy this excerpt! I sure do love the cover.


BACK COVER

Not even a beautiful woman can save Richard Tanner from his past.

Following an explosive—and public—argument with his ex-girlfriend, artist Richard Tanner races into a rainstorm, gripped by a powerful migraine. He wanders to the gazebo in University Park, where he meets the beautiful and mysterious Jenny—a brief encounter that leaves an indelible impression on his mind—and in his paintings.

When Detective Jack Hargrave accuses Richard of the brutal assault on his ex, he finds himself confronting demons of a past he doesn’t remember. A time when little Richie Tanner walked into University Park whole, was beaten and left to die…a time that may hold the key to his future.



Excerpt from Chapter 1 PORTRAIT OF JENNY
by Alice K. Arenz



For the first time since I’d noticed her, I realized her clothing was completely dry in contrast to my own rather bedraggled state. For an instant, I felt awkward and self-conscious, especially since I was still fighting that unusual urge—but it was only for an instant. The moment those violet eyes met mine once more, I was lost, completely caught up in the girl before me.
“You come here often?”
The question was inept, and I could have kicked myself for having asked it. I still wanted to move closer to her, examine her from every angle, my artist’s eye preparing the figure before me to transfer her likeness onto canvas. Even this was odd. I’d always steered away from portraits, never feeling capable of giving the subject the proper three-dimensional look. But this girl…
“It’s nice here.” She withdrew her hand from beneath the gutter, pulling it in to watch the remainder of the water run between her fingers. “Do you come here often?” She gazed up at me, the smile still playing about her lips, the question innocent rather than mocking.
I shook my head. “It’s usually too crowded for my taste. It’s a beautiful spot, though.”
She nodded. “I don’t care for crowds, either.”
She dried her hand on the hem of her skirt, then stood and stretched her arms over her head. The action set in motion a long chain with an ankh at its end, both swinging and bouncing lightly between her breasts. Even from where I sat, I could see the unusual design of silver and gold entwined, and wished again to have a better look at the girl.
My assumption that she was short was correct; she couldn’t be more than five feet if that. There was a delicacy about her, an overwhelming presence of femininity that was so rare in girls today. She wore it casually, as one might an old, familiar piece of clothing, which added to her overall attractiveness. I guessed her at around twenty but knew immediately that her very smallness could add to the illusion of youth. But the vitality I sensed from her was no illusion. She seemed to radiate a kind of controlled sense of being, abundant energy that was held tightly in check.
I was held transfixed as she appeared to float across the gazebo with her eyes downcast, their long, sweeping lashes and her secret smile making it impossible to catch my breath. Coming to, I ran nervous fingers through my hair in an effort to make myself more presentable.
“You should use an umbrella next time.” She stopped a short way in front of me near the edge of one of the picnic tables. Lowering herself gracefully onto the seat, she clutched absently at her pendant as she regarded me with obvious amusement.
I felt the heat rise from my neck into my face, and wondered idly about the last time I’d blushed. It wasn’t a normal reaction for me, my response to the girl seeming to prove just how special she was.
“I didn’t mean to embarrass you,” she said softly, lowering her eyes from mine once more.
“You didn’t, er, well.” I laughed. “You’re right. I should’ve used an umbrella. Actually, I had one when I started out. Guess I left it at my last stop.”
I made a futile attempt to straighten my wet clothing, quickly realized the uselessness of the effort, then sat back to drink her in.
The blush came readily to her face, touching the high cheekbones and adding to her overall beauty. Her eyes seemed to take on a darker hue as the rosy glow spread across her face, and she looked at me frankly, completely aware I studied her every move.
“I’m being rude—”
“No, no. It’s all right. Really. I,” she smiled broadly. “I’m flattered. It’s not often a girl sees such honest admiration in a man’s eyes. I like it.”
“Honest?”
She nodded. “Completely. No come-ons, no overt acts to seduce me. Why, you actually seem quite shy, even a little embarrassed to be so interested in me.” She drew her legs onto the bench and hugged them to her as she’d been doing earlier. “Whether you know it or not, you’re really quite sweet. And, I’d imagine, very nice looking when you’re not soaking wet.”
“Thank you. I think.”
She laughed.
“My name’s Richard Tanner.” I held out my hand, but she made no move to take it. Seeing her hesitation, I withdrew it and made a show of tucking the book back inside my jacket pocket.
“I’m Jenny.”

*~*~*~*


Romantic mystery/suspense Portrait of Jenny is the newest book of 2010 ACFW Carol Award winning author, Alice K. Arenz. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her first three novels were honored by two finals and one win in ACFW’s Carol Award: cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (a 2009 finalist), The Case of the Mystified M.D., (2010 winner), and mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (a 2011 finalist), all re-released by Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications. Last August, An American Gothic, also a romantic mystery/suspense, was released by Forget Me Not Romances.

Visit her at her website www.akawriter.com

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John 3:16 Books donated to orphans and library in Nepal