Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Fate of "Returned" Books

Keli Gwyn here to talk about unsold books.

Have you ever wondered what happens to books that sit on the shelves at your favorite booksellers and don't sell?

The logical answer is that the booksellers return the books to the publishers. But, sadly, that's not what happens to all books.

In the case of mass market paperbacks, which are the smaller-sized paperbacks such as those published by Love Inspired, a different fate can await them.

If you look at the copyright page of a mass market book, you might see a box similar to the one in this photo. Unless you're a curious sort, though, you might not be in the habit of reading copyright pages and the fine print found there.

In this close-up shot, you'll see that the books might not be shipped back to the publisher. Instead, a mass market paperback might (shudder) have its cover removed, and the remainder of the book would be "destroyed."

Yes, it's possible an employee would wield a box cutter, slice that pretty cover off the book and toss the rest of it in the trash. The mere thought causes me to blink back tears. Perhaps your reaction is similar.

Why would a publisher allow an unsold book to be destroyed? Good question.

Publishers know that not all the books they print are going to sell. They factor that into their planning. Because mass market paperbacks are priced lower than the larger trade paperbacks, the publishers figure it's more cost effective to have the book sellers return the covers for credit than to ship the books themselves back.

It's sad to think of books meeting such a sorry end, but that is the nature of the publishing business. What can help is realizing that every time you purchase a mass market paperback, you're ensuring that the book will not end up lying in some dumpster "stripped" of its cover.

As I stood in our local Walmart a few days back, I saw that all five copies of my August Love Inspired Historical, Make-Believe Beau, were still on the shelves. Knowing what awaited them if they didn't sell, I grabbed four of the books and headed for the register.

Since I'm a softy and believe those books deserve good homes, I gave them away to some happy Facebook friends who will provide them.

Questions for You 
Have you ever wondered what happens to books that don't sell?
Have you ever noticed the "stripped book" message in a book?

If you were to rescue books from such a fate,
who would you give them to?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Release day!

Jenna Mindel here, excited for the release of my third installment of the Maple Springs series.  Today should be the day A Temporary Courtship hits the shelves at my local Walmart and MeijersYours too.   I'll check on that later today.  Although this is an October book, Sept 20 is the day paperbacks can be ordered off Amazon and Barnes & Noble .  I still prefer a paper book to read, how 'bout you?.
Below, I included the cover blurb, but that's not quite the whole story. My hero, Darren is a man of the land with a deep connection to the area.  He has a chip on his shoulder against the summer residents and tourists who he believes do not appreciate his town like they should.  And Bree happens to be one of those summer people who thinks nothing of Maple Springs other than its a place to vacation.
I'm excited about this book for a couple reasons.  First, there's beagles on the cover!  I love beagles.  But more importantly, I was able to showcase the wild edibles Northern Michigan has to offer.  That was fun research even though I fell in love with hunting for morel mushrooms years ago.  Hopefully, that love translated into this book.

 An Inconvenient Attraction 
Before leaving for a coveted two-year musical residency, cellist Bree Anderson is taking one month for a relaxing lakefront vacation. But she's thrown off track by the instant attraction she feels for one of the resort's instructors. The last thing local Darren Zelinsky needs is a privileged summer resident like the fiancĂ©e who jilted him. Bree's no threat to his heart…until he uncovers the vulnerable woman beneath the pristine exterior. And soon Bree is in danger of falling for the rugged outdoorsman. The clock on her stay is ticking and Bree's facing an impossible choice—between a lifelong dream and a lifetime love.


ps.  Here's a picture of our beagle, Lana.   We also have a rat terrier, Peanut and her puppy Walnut who will be 4yrs old in Jan, but will always be the baby. :) 

Have a wonderful day!
Best wishes and many blessings,

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Regency Romance Writer Goes to Texas

Regina Scott here. Many of you know me from my dozen or so Regency romances over the years. But that’s not the only period of history that fascinates me. I love a story about knights in shining armor, pioneers heading west on the Oregon Trail, and cowboys riding across the plains. That’s why I was thrilled to be asked to write the third book in the Lone Star Cowboy League: The Founding Years series, A Rancher of Convenience, out this week.

So, how did a Regency author fit in Texas? The Texas Hill Country in 1895 is a far cry from the English drawing rooms of the early nineteenth century. For one thing, there are no butlers, maids, or other servants hanging about ready to dress and clean and cook for my hero and heroine, just a couple of cowboys tending the herd. But that just means Hank and Nancy have to be more resilient. If they want something done, they have to find a way to do it themselves. And those cowboys were so sweet to Nancy when she lost her first husband.

And the language! It was a lot of fun to use a more common dialogue than the elegant sentences my Regency lords and ladies are used to uttering. But that doesn’t mean those cowboys and the ladies they love aren’t witty. Take this exchange between Hank and Nancy.

“For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health,” he murmured, releasing her.

She’d said those vows twice now, but never had she felt them more surely. “That’s right. I mean to honor those commitments.”

His smile inched into view. “Even the obey part?”

“Don’t be absurd.”

Then there’s the food. Those ladies in Little Horn sure know how to cook! In fact, Renee Ryan (Stand-In Rancher Daddy), Louise M. Gouge (A Family for the Rancher), and I had a grand time coming up with recipes for our heroines to cook. Here’s one of my husband's favorites:

You can find eight more recipes, along with extended excerpts from our books, in the Lone Star Cowboy League: The Founding Years Sampler, free on Amazon

Because even a Regency author can get carried away in Texas.

How about you? Do you have a favorite time period or setting?

Friday, September 2, 2016

My Volunteer Flower Garden

Hi everyone, Winnie Griggs here.

Unlike many of the other ladies who post here I do NOT have a green thumb. Mine, I'm afraid, is much closer to brown. That's why am so enamored of what I call volunteer flowers, those that just pop up on their own without any effort on my part. In the spring there are those lovely yellow daffodils.  And this time of year I always look for the first signs of spider lilies.

And today was the day I stepped out in my back yard and saw them!  With their blazing red color and slender, tendril like petals they are a sassy close out for summer and harbinger of the Autumn to come.  Here are a couple of pictures of the ones in my back yard.

I did a little reading up on spider lilies and learned that they normally bloom a few days after the first good rain in September, so I guess mine are a little early.

I also learned that they have several other common names (none of which I'd ever heard before) British Soldiers, Guernsey Lilies and Surprise Lilies

So are you a bona fide gardener? And how do you feel about 'volunteer blooms'?

TEXAS CINDERELLA - A September 2016 Release

In Search of a Groom 
After a life of drudgery on her family's farm, Cassie Lynn Vickers relishes her new-found freedom working in town as a paid companion for feisty Mrs. Flanagan. When her father suddenly demands she come home, she has no choice. Unless she can find a husband. If only she could convince handsome town newcomer Riley Walker to marry her… 

Riley is on the run. He's desperate to keep his niece and nephew safe from his crooked half-brother. But a delay in Turnabout, Texas, shows him everything he didn't know he was missing: home, family—and Cassie Lynn. Can he find a way to both keep the children safe and become her Prince Charming?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Uncooperative Characters by Leann Harris

I'm working on the next book in my "Rodeo Heroes Series". I know the heroine, Kai Delong. She is the younger sister of the the heroine of my last book. Kai just finished her degree at the University of New Mexico. I know the hero, and where the book is set. It's back in Peaster, Texas, west of Fort Worth. I know the hero has a sister, but none of those folks are talking to me. They're closed mouth. Won't share anything. Both the hero and heroine are second children. (I believe in birth order.) Now I know the horse that is featured in the book that brings the hero and heroine together. The dog that the sister has (therapy dog) happily wags his tail and is willing to lick my face, but that's it.
I am not a pantser, but with this book I plan to sit down and write the first three chapters. I don't like doing it this way, but the same thing happened with my last book. Rats.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Beginnings

Keli Gwyn here to talk about beginnings.

It's the time of year when my Facebook feed is filled with pictures of students heading off to the first day of school. I smile each time I see one, recalling the joy I felt every year when I headed off to begin a new grade.

The first day of school picture at our place looked different this year. My retired teacher husband and our daughter, who is pursuing a teaching credential, are both working as substitute teachers.

To our surprise, their first guest teacher assignments of the year took place on the same day at the same school. They got to carpool to work.

Even though they had to leave the house by 6 am, I was up with camera in hand ready to capture their departure. A surge of pride rushed through me as I watched two generations of Gwyn teachers head off.

Questions for You

Did you look forward to starting a new school year?

What new beginnings are you looking forward to?

Monday, August 8, 2016

You've Got Mail

Howdy, Pamela Tracy, here and yes, I used one of my favorite movies as a title for today.

Since email became more popular, most of the mail I get from 'fans' come via Internet.  Which is cool because it's immediate.   Another plus, is it's easy to file.   I've figured out who writes me for almost every book (I LOVE YOU) and I figured out some people cut and paste their fan letters (and once they forgot to change the title of the book).

Actual fan letter to me.
By the way, I Googled Fan Letters and discovered that there's a how-to site for
writing a fan letter to Taylor Swift.  I did not find my name mentioned in a similar manner .

Used to be (yes, I've been around a long time) fan mail would be sent to the publishing house.  Many editors had files with their authors' names and the mail would go into the files.  I'm not sure whether the editors (or their assistants) would simply transfer the mail to a manilla folder once the file was full or if there were a few times a year when they cleaned all the files.  Doesn't matter.  A decade ago, a few times a year, I'd get manilla envelopes full (okay, not full full) of fan mail.

There were a few different kinds.  Some simply told me what they loved about the book and promised to read all my books (Thanks Mom and Aunt Shari).  Others told me my mistakes (I once typed ASAP instead of ASSET for a teacher heroine).  Some were amazed that I used all the names of their relatives in my book (There are lots of Brittneys, Sarahs, and Mikes in the world).

Fan letters do touch the lives of authors.  I've gotten handmade bookmarks and recipes (I've always admitted that I don't cook.  Some readers think a recipe will change this character flaw.  So far, the perfect recipe hasn't appeared.  Hmm, methinks the only perfect recipe would be one used for the replicator on Star Trek).  I've had readers share poems and ask for prayers.

Yes, I've gotten the letters from prison inmates.

My favorite, though, came not because of a story but because of a dedication.

I dedicated one of my books to my birth mother who I met a little over a decade ago.

I got a fan letter because my birth mother's name is fairly common and one reader saw the name and the sentence I wrote as part of the dedication, called her friend who had the same name, and said, "Wow, you've had a book dedicated to you!"

The second lady said, "Uh, no, there's hundreds of people with my name.  Not me."

But, she went and found the book and read it, too.  Then wrote me and said, "God has blessed your gift of writing.  Thank you for following His path and sharing your life with us."

She was right.  God has blessed me.

A long time ago, I read an article in the Romance Writers Report.  It was a list of things authors should do.  One item was "Write one fan letter a year to an author new to you."

I've done that.  Sometimes I get a thank-you back.  Sometimes I hear from an author's assistant (I want one of those!"  Sometimes I hear nothing at all.   Best of all, I've made a few friends.

So, readers and writers, what are your experiences with fan letters.