Books, books, everywhere!

I am in a state of being overwhelmed. There is so much to do! As always, I have the house, the kids, you know…life. But my list of “to do’s” with my books keeps growing…

TheLadyBornekova1400x2100The Lady BornekovaThe book has been out now for a couple of months and I am excited to see some numbers come next month (the end of the quarter). It has been a wild ride, has it not? But I have very much enjoyed being on this journey with you and sharing these steps that went into making up this road.

The General’s WifeNow through one of three editors, “The General’s Wife” is well into the process toward publication. I am eagerly anticipating the “fun stuff”…you know, the book cover, the banners, the other things that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and give you goose bumps. But this part of the process can be fun too – watching your work of art being honed and fine tuned.

cripple creekHope in Cripple CreekAs many of you know, I recently attended a huge conference, the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference in Dallas. It was phenomenal! While there, I had the opportunity to pitch this novel to an agent. She was interested and wanted to see the full manuscript. But suggested some tweeks in the first and second chapters. Plus, I am still folding in feedback from my Beta Readers. All in all, it needs some TLC.

Trail of Fears This novel also got pitched to two interested agents. One wanted a proposal and sample chapters and the other the_trail_of_tearswanted a synopsis and sample chapters (different agents just want different things). The second agent seemed a lot more interested, she said the novel was “hitting all the right notes”. Overall, the agent meetings went well and I came out well pleased.

The Lady Bornekova’s Sequel. I know several of you have asked about the sequel. I’m well on my way into the novel. But, as you can see, there are many projects in the pipeline, so to speak. And I want to make sure I have the time and energy to focus on this work undistracted. These characters have become so near and dear to my heart (as all my characters really are) and I want to do them justice.

brainstormingThat just leaves one novel, “Off to War”. I just recently finished folding in my Beta Reader feedback and have one more to go. So, it’s sitting and “resting” for now. I mean, it’s not as if I don’t have enough to keep me busy. I also have another project in research mode and will be trying some new organizing and brainstorming methods I learned at the conference with this next project.

At any rate, that’s me. I hope as we head into fall, you are enjoying the weather and decorations we are seeing pop up on porches and in living rooms around us. My home was filled with the enticing smell of pumpkin bread yesterday. Yes, it is fall here too.

Blog Tour GRAND GIVEAWAY

04_The Lady Bornekova_Blog Tour Banner_FINALHere we are…the end of the blog tour. Thanks for following along with me on this crazy ride! It’s been fun. I hope you have enjoyed getting a peek into the book through excerpts, learning more about me through interviews and guest posts, and having a chance to see what’s in store for you in the pages of “The Lady Bornekova” through reviews. All in all, it’s been a good tour and I’m glad you have joined me along the way.

I am pleased to announce that I am already well into writing the sequel to “The Lady Bornekova”! This next book will follow the characters we became acquainted with in the first book through the Hussite Wars. That is all I will say. I want to give everyone space and time to read “The Lady Bornekova” before we jump into more information. But stay tuned to my blog for bits here and there along the way as I do research and delve into this continuing story.

And so, I am also very happy to present the entry for the GRAND PRIZE for the blog tour. This giveaway will run from today, July 31st until August 14th. The package includes:

– A signed print of the cover

– “The Lady Bornekova” bookmark

– A free copy of the eBook

– A $25 Amazon Gift Card

Are you geared up to enter for this package? Here it is:

The Lady Bornekova Grand Prize Giveaway

To Blog Tour, or Not to Blog Tour…

04_The Lady Bornekova_Blog Tour Banner_FINALThe Blog Tour…has been a wonderful monster. But, thankfully, the bulk of it has been managed by the capable team at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. They have really made this tour a much smoother experience. I cannot honestly imagine the kind of work that must go into planning and arranging this kind of tour.

challengesThe Challenges. Even with someone doing the planning and arranging and coordinating, there is still work on my part. Getting the blog posts written, interviews done, excerpts selected, and manuscripts out for reviewers was the easiest part. There’s the waiting for the blog to post each day, posting on social media about it, and following the blog throughout the day to check comments in case I need to respond (on the blog and on social media posts). It doesn’t seem like much, but I do feel chained to my computer all day. There was a day my husband had a procedure done and I was away from internet for several hours in the waiting room (who doesn’t provide wifi in a waiting room when you know your patients’ family and friends will be waiting that long?) and I felt totally out of the loop on the tour that day.

positivesThe Positives. The fact that “The Lady Bornekova” has had exposure to people and markets that otherwise wouldn’t have known about it is HUGE! Numerous people have found me on social media that wouldn’t have known about me otherwise. Those things are priceless to me. And though this paragraph may be shorter than the “challenges” paragraph, the quality of it far outweighs anything found in the one above.

I cannot finish out this entry without thanking Amy and her team at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. They have been amazing! I highly recommend this service for any authors out there considering a blog tour and wondering whether or not to go it on their own or use a service like this. I cannot say enough good things about my experience with them.

And now, some news. The blog tour will end here in early august, on my blog, with a GRAND giveaway. We’ll be giving away a signed book cover, a Lady Bornekova bookmark, a free e-copy of the book, and an amazon gift card. Stay tuned!!

Will I do another blog tour? Absolutely! For each and every book that gets published. And I hope that this blog tour service will be available for each and every tour I do. They are fantastic!

The Lady Bornekova has arrived!!

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~ Walt Disney

TheLadyBornekova1400x2100The BIG day. Today is a big day…for me and for this blog. This blog began when I got the first “bite” at my manuscript “The Lady Bornekova“. And today a dream of mine is coming true…one that I almost never dared hope would come. For today, I become a published author. I am just sitting here at my keyboard and letting that soak in. It feels strange, it feels good…I feel the weight of the long journey lifted off of my shoulders. I cannot thank you enough for joining me on this journey, no matter where you came in. You have been a part of it!

celebrateCelebrate with me! Please feel free to interact with me via this blog or on Facebook (Sara R. Turnquist) or Twitter (@sarat1701). I would love to hear what you think as we get this book launched!!

The Blog Tour. The tour is still in full swing. In fact today, you can find me at Library Educated‘s blog in Interview about the book. Please stop by and check it out. The blog tour has been a wonderful opportunity to read excerpts from the book, get some feedback from reviewers, and read posts by me on other blog spots. To catch up on the tour and to keep following, click here.

thank youA Moment for Gratitude. I am so thankful for many people. God, Who has gifted and sustained me through so much. My husband who tirelessly supports me. My children, who (though they tirelessly tire me) love and inspire me. My parents and family who have shaped me into the person I am. My friends who encourage and carry me through it all. My publisher who believed it me and my book. My blog tour coordinator who has helped me tackle the marketing bear. My mentor and beta readers who have sharpened and honed my skills and so much more. And you, reader, who has taken this journey with me and cared to follow my story. So, to you, I say “happy reading” and let’s keep meeting…same time, same blog?

 

News and Updates!

blog tourHey, everyone! The virtual tour officially kicks off TODAY! I am super excited! I hope you will hang with me for the tour. You can keep up with the tour schedule here: Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours or check my Twitter (@sarat1701) or Facebook Author page (Sara R. Turnquist) for daily updates on where I “am” in the virtual world. I will tell you that today’s posting will have a giveaway entry. So, you want to be a part of that for sure!

Pre-order your copy of the “The Lady Bornekova”! Also, you may have noticed that “The Lady Bornekova” is now available for pre-order! There is a buy link to amazon on the left side of this page for your convenience.

Where are the rest of the books? I was just working on that this morning, organizing and planning out where each of the books are in their processes. So, the information is as follows:

bookThe General’s Wife” – Pre-edits are done and it’s ready to be queried. This is an exciting thing for me as this was the first book I wrote. How long do I wait to query after “The Lady Bornekova” has been published? I don’t know. Is this even the next book to try to query? I don’t know. So, those are some questions that need answered before I make a next move.

“Off to War” – I am currently about a third of the way through the book with pre-edits and is with my last Beta Reader. So, I’ll gather her feedback and fold in those edits along with what I’m already doing and prepare to query this book. Also, I’m kind-of thinking this book may need a new title. Any suggestions? I am open to anyone who has suggestions after reading through the description of the book (just click on “Off to War” and you should be directed to the description).

“Hope in Cripple Creek” – Finally has a name! It, too is with Beta Readers. It will be the next book I go after for pre-edits.

“Trail of Fears” – Much the same as the previous book. It is with the first Beta Reader and is third on the list for me to get into editing. This one and “Hope in Cripple Creek” are a little “light” for Historical Fiction, so I need to think of adding some length to these two in particular. I do think it’s easier to add length than to cut though.

Backlogs. I’m thinking as you read this that you might think it’s normal for writers to have such a backlog. From my understanding, it’s not normal for newbies to have such an extensive backlog. I met with an agent a couple of weeks ago and pitched “Trail of Fears”. She responded positively to it and asked if I had anything else. Yes, yes I do. We spent the next several minutes going over my other unpublished works. She commented on how prolific I was (cue blushing and shy smile – I don’t do well with compliments). The agent seemed rather pleased with what she heard and wanted me to send her the synopses for these unpublished works. And so I did. A week ago. So, now I’m ever so patiently (or at least attempting patience) playing the waiting game.

question markWhat’s next? Oh my goodness. With the blog tour and the book coming out, plus kids and home, I barely have time to breathe. Add in there the occasional day I get some of those pre-edits in and then the days I make myself sit down and read (not because I don’t like it – I am an avid reader, I have to make myself because I’m so busy, but EVERY writer/author should continue to read as part of learning their craft). But I cannot not write. I cannot stop my brain from coming up with new ideas. So, I have ideas for not one, but two new books. So, the main character’s name (this is how all my books are titled until I come up with an actual title) is staring down at me with the words “research” and “outline” underneath for each of the two on the board above my desk. I don’t want to say too much in case the ideas fall through, but I will say that one is a sequel to one of the books I’ve already written. Yes, one of the stories just has more to tell. The characters have more to grow and develop.

So that, my friends, is that. This is what’s going on with me. How are you?

 

Virtual Book Tour for “The Lady Bornekova”

 

04_The Lady Bornekova_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Hey, all! These are exciting times, are they not? I gotta tell you, I’m up in the clouds and don’t know when I’ll be coming down. But I want to make sure I keep everyone in the loop. I’ll be going on a book tour…a virtual book tour (this is the digital age, after all, is it not?).

My blog tour has been arranged by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/) and my first “official” stop will be Monday, July 6th at www.whatisthatbookabout.com and I’ll end my tour here. There will be giveaways along the way and a GRAND prize blog tourhere at the end of the tour. You will definitely want to stay tuned for that!!! So, come July 6th, stay tuned into my blog or Facebook or Twitter (@sarat1701) where I will post where I “am” each day.

Now, I say “official” stop because one of my fellow authors through Clean Reads (my publisher) will be hosting me on her blog (https://authordanarlynn.wordpress.com/) TOMORROW, July 3rd. So, definitely check that out!

Thank you for going on this journey with me and for your continued support!!!

“The Lady Bornekova” COVER REVEAL!!!!

cover revealThis has been quite the journey…and we are on the home stretch. THE LADY BORNEKOVA book release is set for mid-July and that date is fast approaching. My cover came in yesterday and we are ready to reveal it to everyone!!!

The Cover. This cover is the product of some collaboration between the artist and myself and LOT due to the cover artist’s great talent. For that, I can take no credit. The cover is everything I could have envisioned. I am thrilled!

The Story. For those of you who have not been following my blog, THE LADY BORNEKOVA description is here. It is the story of a young lady coming to her own as her country faces one of its greatest trials in its history – civil war. Where does she stand? What about her family? In the midst of her struggle to find herself, she finds love, but can that young love survive the trials she must face – including a mysterious individual with murderous intentions? Interested yet?

Clean Reads. The publisher I am working with is called “Clean Reads” (formerly “Astraea Press”). They have been fabulous! Stephanie, the owner, has made herself available for this newbie’s questions and has really been amazing to work with. You can learn more about this company here.

Pre-order. If you would like to pre-order the book, I understand that this option will be available soon. Check in on amazon and cleanreads.com for pre-order information.

And so, without further ado….HERE IT IS:(click to reveal)

It takes a village…

20150611_093907

My office today.

Today I’m coming to you from Disney’s Polynesian Resort! My family is on vacation and are enjoying Central FL. Today in particular, my husband and I are having a writing date at the Polynesian Resort, followed by lunch at the Kona Cafe (in about an hour). So, this is my office today. It’s nice to get out and have a change of scenery. It’s also been nice to be away away from the kiddos for a writing date. It gives me a chance to really sit and think.

So, as I sit and think over my journey, I’m coming to realize all of the people that go into making a book happen. And all the more as I’m working on subsequent novels. Let’s see if we can go through the list…

Writer – First there’s me, the writer. Story’s gotta come from somewhere, right? The writer has to first be inspired to write. Do we write what we know? Sometimes. Probably more often than we admit. But I, in particular, have a Biology degree and experience in Sleep Medicine and Zoo Education and I write Historical Fiction with meaningful romances….go figure. But I have developed a great love of history and historical places as I have traveled and do a ton of research as I write.

Beta Readers – Next come in my Beta Readers. These are friends with whom I share my work and accept very valid feedback from. One of my beta readers is an avid reader of many different types of books. She is invaluable for helping make sure the reading is “smooth” for the reader and makes sense. She also helps give me feedback on speaking in the time period. She does have a History degree 🙂 Another Beta Reader has an English degree. She is great for content feedback and telling me where the story needs to expand and where story lines have been left a little thin. My other Beta Reader is also my Proofreader. She is great for grammar, commas (My name is Sara and I have a comma problem), and other types of story feedback. They are each so valuable to me…my novels are what they are because of these three ladies. Can’t forget my sounding board, faithful hubs, though. He is great and wonderful at giving instant feedback.

Critique Group/Critique Partner – I also attend a writing group in my hometown where we share scenes and receive and give regular feedback. Our fearless leader has just critiqued the first four chapters of Trail of Fears in detail to prepare it for submission to the agent I met at the writer’s conference last week. Her thoughts and suggestions are priceless to me. She is also an author who has published and is currently working on her next book. Hubs and I just love, love, love our critique group. The folks involved are so talented. It is a highlight of our week.

EditorsEditors only make your work stronger (I can say that about everyone else too), but I strongly encourage you to keep this in mind about editors. So far, The Lady Bornekovaon it’s way to publication,  has been through three editors (and I think that’s it…I hope). A content editor (who examines character and story believability, continuity, etc), a line editor (who is more concerned with grammar, did you use the right word, is there a better word, etc), and a proofing editor (I haven’t gotten those edits back yet, so I’m in the dark about what that editor’s specific job is).

Publisher – Of course you need the publisher! But I will say that I have particularly enjoyed working with my publisher. Any time I have a question or just need some reassurance about something, I can shoot my publisher an e-mail and she gets back to me in a day or two. She is great!

Agent – I don’t have one yet. But I pitched Trail of Fears to an agent at the writer’s conference and he wants more information from me (yay!). I am still researching why I would need an agent since I am already “in” with a publisher who likes my writing and, so far, I have a good working relationship with. Agents know the ins and outs of contracts in a way authors just don’t. They can also open more doors than I as a writer can. So, I’m still thinking on it.

Marketing Team – In today’s world, more of the marketing is on the author’s shoulders. The Publisher will do some of the marketing, but some of it is left up to me. For me, I’ll be going on a Virtual Book Tour (Blog Tour) this summer!!! I am using a Blog Tour service, for example, to assist me with setting up the blogs and tour package stuff. More on this service and the blog tour to come!!

And I know I’m forgetting someone…or some people. There are Mentors and those who run Writer’s Conferences and those who share their nuggets of wisdom at said conferences to name a few. It really does take a village to raise an author. Not to even mention all of you who inspire characters and add to the life experiences of writers that make them who they are and contribute to their works. So, keep being funny, dramatic, melancholy, inspiring….you.

Three Special Steps…That’s All You Need

oso_hero_areaMy kids have all watched Disney Junior’s Special Agent Oso. I don’t know if your child has enjoyed this particular cartoon, but the main character, Oso, a special agent in training, accomplishes all manner of tasks in “three special steps”. So, as I am in the midst of getting The Lady Bornekova prepared for publication, it seems to me that this journey can fit into “three special steps”.

Step 1: Write your book

First you need an idea, inspiration. A story to tell. Characters. A plot. Then, at some point, you just have to start writing. There are many ways that writers go about writing. Some people use an outline. Some people just get right into it, and write from beginning to end. Some people, like Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone With the Wind) write from the end to the beginning. My husband is a fan of the “Snowflake Method“. I write with a different approach that seems to work for me. I make a list of scenes, some with a historical event attached to them. Then I will go through and fill in the scenes as I feel inspired. So, I might actually finish Chapter 3, for example, before Chapter 1 is completed. But the scenes for Chapter 1 are “ear-marked” already with my listing font/formatting.

Step 2: Get it published

Whoa, there, Sara! That’s actually a lot of steps in one. Well, if you’ve ever watched the show, Special Agent Oso’s Paw Pilot “cheats” this way too. 🙂

Okay, so you have your novel written. I would recommend you thoroughly pre-edit yourself and send it to perhaps three or more beta readers (one at a time) before you query it. So, you’ve done that. Now, you’ve got to write a query letter. I learned a LOT about writing query letters from a literary agent’s (named Query Shark) blog site.

After you’ve queried, comes the waiting. If you get a nibble or a bite, congrats!!! Now onto contracts. I have no particular advice for you here except to say READ IT CAREFULLY (always…for anything you sign) and research anything you don’t understand (again, common sense advice). Writer’s beware!

Now, if you haven’t been faithful with your pre-edits, now comes that hard work. Then comes more edits from an editor (this is where I am – going back and forth with the editor). And more work that I have yet to discover (cover art, proofs, galleys, etc – keep tuned in to my blog and I’ll continue sharing as I am on this journey).

Step 3: Market, market, market

This is a little misleading as a sequential step. As I understand it, marketing your book can begin as early as you’d like. But, perhaps not too much too early. I have very little idea as of yet what will be involved with this step. I know I’ll need to put together a media package. Probably do some sort of blog tour. Set up a writer’s platform (which I’m only beginning to understand what that means). Have a book trailer made. Among other things….Lord, help me! Do I have the stomach for all of that? I’m a writer, for crying out loud!! But I know I cannot, and should not, rely on the publisher to do all of the marketing for my book. A bit of that falls on my shoulders. If you are wise, you will realize this too. This industry is changing, so I keep being told. And we must flex with it.

Oh where, oh where has my novel gone?

IMG_7676Got new headshots for the book!

I’m still deep in the editing process, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Too bad, I have three other novels to apply the same process to (although not on a deadline). All in all, I think it will have made me a better writer, but I do not relish the experience at all. I still say that adverbs are important. (Though I understand they need not make up the bulk of your novel.) I have come to understand that I overuse the word “that”….oops. And my characters “smiled” at each other “politely” quite a bit. (They are, after all, members of polite society.)

At any rate, I have rediscovered this novel anew. I don’t think I have read through The Lady Bornekova from top to bottom in months. But there were moments I found myself completely caught up with the characters and what was happening to them. I was tense when things were tense, I was moved by the things that made them sad, I was elated when they felt joy. And I can’t believe this story came from me. But then again….it didn’t just come from me. I have to once again shout out to my beta readers and my proofreader/copyeditor, without whom this novel would not be what it is today.

And so, after a week solid of using every free moment to edit, I have been given the wise advice to put the editing to the side and let my creative juices flow on my WIP (Work In Progress). I am so excited to get back to work on The Trail of Fears novel. I don’t know if any of my fellow authors feel this way, but I imagine that my characters are sitting, frozen in action, waiting for me to write their next line of dialogue or action when I have to break from a scene. So, there Thomas (my lead character) sits, mouth open, ready to disperse some words to his fellow characters, hand in the air as it was the last time I was with that scene. Now you think I’m crazy. I may very well be.

So, if you need me between now and my next blog post, you’ll find me (when I’m not cleaning house, grocery shopping, or chasing one of my kiddos) still with my computer, but with a smile on my face instead of a grimace, hard at work creating my art.