Thursday, August 28, 2014


I'm usually a fan of summer. I like living in the South where a cool breeze helps me think it's cooler than it really is. This summer, I've seen 102 degrees twice on the thermometer. Now, that's hot. I know we have to have hot days so we will enjoy the cold ones in the winter. At least, that's my opinion.

When it gets warm in the South, the ladies put on more cologne and perfume. I'm allergic to both, so I have a very bad time when this happens. Last Sunday was bad. I've battled runny eyes and noses since that day. The dust from these days without rain can also make my allergies flare up. Then when it rains, my allergies get worse because of the mold I'm allergic to. I guess I can say I'm a mess. At least I am right now.

We have to have summer in order to have winter. The country folks say to count the fogs in August. We are supposed to have a snow for each fog. We had a good fog the other day and we've had a fog almost each day of this month, but they've been around our pond, so I don't think I can count them. If that theory holds true, we should have a couple of good sized snow.

After Labor Day week-end, we usually start thinking about fall. I can say I'm ready for fall. It's been a busy summer, and fall will be even busier. We have three more books to publish this year. One will be out about the middle to the last of October and the other two will come out in November. After that, I'm taking a month to recuperate. I'll probably work on some of edits, but no major work will be done.

My husband is now doing the formatting of the books. He decided he wanted to learn to use InDesign yesterday. One look at it and he gave up. I know how he feels. It is very intimidating when you first look at it. If he ever gets used to it, he will love it.

The edit I'm doing now is calling me. I need to get it finished today and sent off to the author. I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day Week-end.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Usually I don't go into the details of Mantle Rock Publishing, but today I thought I'd let you know in more detail what's going on.

This year is filled up. No more contracts to be filled in 2014. October brings the release of A Shadow of Fear by Janet Ann Collins. Janet contacted me several months ago about a children's book she had written. I thought it was a wonderful idea for children. We all have to learn how to master our fears and this is a cute book to share with your children.

November will bring two releases. One is an adult book and one a companion book for children. Star Song, Book 1, Souls Who Knew Jesus is a series of eight books each. Each adult book will have a book written for children. Katheryn Haddad is the author. The first book is about the birth of Jesus and His growing up. Katheryn has done a ton of research for these books and references will be printed in the back of the book. She has footnoted each reference, which we will put in the back of the book for easier reading.

Here is the list of the books for 2015.

January - Eva's Sacrifice by Dr. Patrick Johnston
February - Whitewashed by Amy C. Blake
March - Book 2, Souls Who Knew Jesus,by Katheryn Haddad
April - TBA
May - TBA
June - Book 3, Souls Who Knew Jesus, by Katheryn Haddad
July - TBA
August - TBA
September - Book 4, Souls Who Knew Jesus, by Katheryn Haddad
October - TBA
November - Book 5, Souls Who Knew Jesus by Katheryn Haddad
December - Office closed

Three of the months have contracts out on them, April, May and July. I haven't heard back from the authors yet. I know I'll probably take another one to be put in August. If all of the slots are taken, that only leaves one more month opened. And March, June, September and November have two books coming out.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I'd have almost all of 2015 filled by now. There are also books scheduled in 2016. I can't thank Hartline Literary Agency enough for being so kind to trust me with their clients. I don't have any historical novels except the ones Katheryn Haddad has written. I would like to see more women's fiction, romance or otherwise. Romance seems to sell better.

Well, I have to get busy. Lots to do today and many more manuscripts to read. Have a super day.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Each morning I close my eyes and for five minutes think of all the blessings I have. There are so many and sometimes it takes longer than five minutes. When we take that short time to think about what we have, especially while others don't have as much, we realize how rich we are.

Here are some of my thank you's or blessings I have received. First and foremost is Christ. I would be no place with out Him. I'm blessed to have the church that He died for, and for the remission of my sins. My family is my biggest blessing, my husband, Jerry, my daughter, her husband, her daughter, my son, his wife, their three children are a big blessing in my life. I feel so blessed to live in a free country and I pray that it will always be free. When I think about the advantages I have compared to what others can't have, I'm truly blessed beyond measure. I live in a nice house, not fancy, but comfortable. I have more house than I need, but it meets my functions. My family includes a sister, her husband, and her four children, plus spouses and their children and grandchildren. My husbands family is also a blessing to know. His oldest brother turns 85 next week and we have been so blessed by him and his family. His sister is also a blessing and we've had wonderful times with her and her family.

There are so many more blessings and you can see if you list them all it could take hours. We have made wonderful friends since moving to Kentucky. It's hard to believe we've been here five years. Those have been wonderful five years. Our neighbors here have blessed us, and I appreciate all of them and their kindness to us.

One of the things I've been most thankful for is the doctors I've found here. My general practitioner is a great doctor and a great person. The nursing staff in her office are remarkable. The surgeons I have met are the best anywhere. We cannot say enough good things about my orthopedic surgeon. He is the best! My general surgeon has brought me through three surgeries, and finally we have success. I'm so thankful for him.

This list only skims the bucket. There are so many more, but it would take all day to list them. Try this exercise each day. You'll be surprised how much it will help your mental and physical being.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock's novel, A Most Precious Gift, released about ten days ago. This is a great book by a great author. She has been so much fun to work with. I knew you'd enjoy learning more about her, so I asked her to be my guest today.

1. Readers love to know about writers, so tell us a little about yourself, family, dogs, cats etc. 

I am the youngest of five girls. Because my three older sisters were basically adults when I was born, I like to say I grew up with four mothers. I was born an aunt and have several nieces very close to my age, so it made those years very loving and very special for me. 

I’ve always been very family oriented. After four and a half decades of marriage, my husband and I were blessed with a granddaughter last year. I thought I knew what love was, but oh my!

2. What are some of your favorite activities? 

I’ve always had a love affair with music, doing solos for as long as I can remember. Also, I love crossword puzzles, games such as Scrabble, and an occasional season of crocheting. But when it comes down to my all time favorite, there’s nothing I enjoy more consistently than reading a good story. 

3. What made you want to be a writer?

I am a country girl from fifteen miles inland off the Mississippi Gulf Coast, so much of what I learned about the world early on came from books. Discovering the joy of entering other lives and cultures via the few books to which I was exposed whetted my appetite for more. When I became an English major, I discovered just how little I had read. Since part of my job was to teach literature, I knew right away that what I was teaching I eventually wanted to do myself.

4. If you could do anything that you are not doing now, what would it be? 

I would play the piano inside the comfort of my home and sing along to the top of my voice.

5. If you could live anyplace besides where you live now, where would it be? 

I would make my home near one of God’s oceans.

6. Are you a morning or evening person? 

I am definitely not a morning person, though I wish I were. But being in the work place over a span of forty years forced me to become acquainted with the early eastern sun for many days.

7. What do you like best about writing? 

I love getting to know the characters and having them tell the story to me. I love laughing at what they say and choking up when life gets tough for them.

8. What do you dread most about writing? 

I can’t say I dread anything per se about the writing process, but I don’t look forward to cutting and editing.

9. What is your worse fear? 

My worse fear about writing is that I’ll read something I’ve written and dislike it intensely. My worse fear generally is that I’ll see a snake in my yard and be chased into the house.

10. How many times have you been known to re-write a scene? 

Countless times would be the only honest answer. Each time I look at a scene, I’m tempted to tamper with it. Finally, I just have to walk away and flatly refuse to look at it again.

11. Do you read your manuscript out loud?

Very rarely do I actually read it aloud, but sections of it play in my head almost audibly.

12. If I met you for the first time, what would I like best about you? 

I don’t know, but I’m told I have a pleasant personality. 

13. If you could pick a time to live, when would it be and why? 

I would pick now because now is as good a time as any as long as the Lord is in my life. In my estimation, all times in history have their advantages and disadvantages.

14. What is your favorite vacation place? 

I loved the Bay area of California the few times I visited there; I loved my trip to England and Scotland, but I can’t say I have a favorite place except somewhere near the ocean.

15. Do you have a bucket list? 

Not really. I’ve had things which I’ve prayed for long and hard—such as the grandbaby born last year—that has made me feel a sense of joy and accomplishment, but I’ve always known that these things would only happen if God willed. If, however, I’d ever had a list, I think now with the publication of this book it would be pretty well filled.

16. Do you see a story in people you meet? 

Absolutely I do. I see stories in people every day. The anecdotes they offer at the supermarket, the things they are passionate about o a lunch date, a turn of phrase, the way they smile—all these things find a place in my head which I’m liable to retrieve at some point and use in a story.

Thank you Jacqueline. I'm not a snake person myself. I'm in the house right behind you, or maybe I'll push you out of the way and get there first.

A Most Precious Gift is for sale on Amazon in ebook and print book. You won't regret buying it. A wonderful story.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


The one part of being an author that I dearly hate is marketing. I don't like to go out of my comfort zone. It's much more fun to sit at the computer and write or read manuscripts or edit manuscripts or play games. Marketing is an essential part of an author.

Years ago, when there were not a whole lot of Christian authors, you could write a book and the publisher would do most of the work. That's before the digital and print on demand age. Back then, people were searching for clean Christian literature and there was very little around.

The first books I read that were considered "Christian" were by Yvonne Lehman and JoAnn A. Grote. I have a bunch of their books. There are other pioneers, like Deb Raney, but for some reason, I never read her books until later.

The market grew through the years and it became harder for publishers to do what they used to do for their authors. Only very big publishing houses send their authors on tours with their books. As the market has changed, so have we as authors and publishers. Now we have to work to sell a book.

From experience, you have to do a lot more to be noticed. Book signings are a great way to meet people and grow a fan base. That's where you have to put on your big girl shoes and go to the book stores. No one is going to come to you. The more people that know who you are, the more books they'll buy. If you are not making yourself visible on writer's loops or conferences, you're missing out on sales. One agent told me that we all buy each other's books. That is so true.

Last week I attended a webinar where the speaker said to be able to write full-time, you needed a fan base of 1,000. That's 1,000 people who will buy your print book, not ebook. That's a lot of books. Wouldn't it be nice to know when you have a book published there will be a minimum of 1,000 books sold. If you have a good print book fan base, think of what the ebook fan base will be!

How can I get that fan base? Have a website. Put a book store on your website. It's all right to sell the books yourself. I'm sure you can order some from your publisher. As a publisher, I want my authors to order books from me. Every author should be writing a blog. Why? Think about this. When you go to the doctor's office and sit down in the waiting room, what magazine do you pick up? Nine times out of ten it will be "People." Why? Because you want to know what those Hollywood stars are doing. Write about yourself and your family on your blog. Let people know what you like, dislike, what you do, what's going on in your family. We're nosy people. We want to know what others are doing.

If your book is a Print on Demand, get extra copies and put them on consignment in a store. There's a store here where we live called, Shop-O-Rama. They boast of having 50,004 items in their inventory. I have my books there and they sell everything from nuts and bolts to clothing and decor items. Tour buses stop there. I'm selling books there. Everyone in the area knows about Shop-O-Rama. Go to some out of the way place and put your books there.

These are some of my experiences. You have to take chances to sell books. You have to work at marketing to sell books.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Today, I'd thought about writing something different until I read a blog by my friend Edie Melson. I've known Edie since my first ACFW conference. She and I were both waiting for an interview with an agent and we were both nervous. We chatted until we were told to be quiet. They don't like for you to talk while you're waiting because you might disturb someone. After that, Edie and I see each other at a conference and she feels like home.

Edie talked about whether God wants us to skydive or parachute. So many people are afraid to take chances, thus they use a parachute. Then others are ready to soar. Personally, I like to soar. In 2011 we started Mantle Rock Publishing, but I was wearing a parachute. I was afraid to ask anyone to send me their manuscript. One year ago, that changed. I can't tell you how many manuscripts I've received, but a bunch. I can tell you how many I've accepted, fourteen. That's in only one year. I've shrugged off the parachute and I'm skydiving.

We have so many opportunities in life, if we'll only take them. We have to have our eyes open and acknowledge those opportunities. It's with everything in life, not just business. We meet people, and we may not like them at first, but if we spend a little time with them, we'll find they are wonderful people. I've met a lot I've spent time with and then found out they were not what I thought they were, but that's experience. I don't regret the time I spent with them, I only wish they had a different outlook on life.

I have a daily schedule. Each day I know what I'm working on and work with all my heart to get it accomplished. I don't stick by the schedule 100%, but I try. Things in life happen and we have to change our plans. Like tonight I would read proposals, but my oldest grandson is playing football and I'll go to the game. One of my authors told me over the week-end that I needed to take Saturdays and Sundays off. I take a little time off during the week and feel I have to works some on Saturdays. I don't work on Sundays unless I'm really pushed or I get a thought that feels like a lightening bolt.

Think about your life and your writing. Are you skydiving or using a parachute? Are you taking the lead with your life? Do you take chances and they pay off? Or, are you too afraid to take a chance?

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Yesterday A Most Precious Gift was released on Amazon in both ebook and print book. This book is by Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock and I highly recommend it. I recommend it because it is a good book, not because my company published it. Jacqueline is a wonderful writer. I've laughed and cried when I read it, and I've read it probably about six times. It's always new to me. It can also be bought at I don't have my copies yet, but they should be here in a week or a little more.

Dinah Devereaux, New Orleans-born slave and seamstress, suddenly finds herself relegated to a sweltering kitchen on the Natchez town estate of Riverwood. Having never cooked a day in her life, she is terrified of being found out and banished to the cotton fields as was her mother before her. But when she accidentally burns the freedom papers of Jonathan Mayfield, a handsome free man of color to whom she's attracted, her fear of the fields becomes secondary.
A gifted cabinetmaker, Jonathan Mayfield's heart is set on finally becoming a respected businessman by outfitting a bedroom at the palatial Riverwood—until a beautiful new slave destroys his proof of freedom and his fragile confidence along with it.

When the mistress of Riverwood orders Dinah to work alongside the sullen Mr. Mayfield, sparks fly setting the two on a collision course. Is their mutual love for God strong enough to overcome deep-seated insecurities and set the couple on a path toward self-acceptance and love for each other?