Thursday, April 28, 2016

Giveaway Prize Preferences

Upcoming Giveaway Prizes on My Blog
Keli Gwyn here with a question about giveaway prizes.

I saw a post on Facebook recently asking about author giveaways. The person posing the question wanted to know what readers thought about authors who offer prizes such as Kindles, Amazon gift cards and other items instead of books.

Since I've started giving away a newly released Love Inspired Historical on my personal blog each week, the question made me wonder if books are what readers are most interested in winning.

If you're an author, do you offer books for giveaways, or do you add non-book items as special prizes for online launch parties and other big events? What non-book prize that you've offered has generated the most interest?

If you're a reader, does a non-book prize interest you, or are you drawn to giveaways that offer nothing but books? What are some non-book prizes that made you eager to enter a drawing?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Allie Pleiter on Spring in Chicago

Spring is SERIOUS BUSINESS in Chicago!

We suffer—and I do mean suffer—through this region’s cold nasty winters only to dig our heels in for March and April’s wildly fickle weeks.  There was a time earlier this month where we got snow, rain, sleet, and sunshine in repeated cycles all in one day!  It was a different season every time you looked out the window.  Thirty degree temperature drops.  Snow on blooming daffodils.  You don’t know which clothes to keep in your closet, or whether to take the ice-scraper out of your car.  It can make a gal crazy.

Then, finally, Spring puts her foot down and declares her arrival.  It was 80 yesterday, and I did doing the very favorite thing about my work—writing on the deck.  Those are the day where I love the nature of my job, where writing feels like the best profession on the planet.  Sure, it’s 50 again today, but I know Chicago’s on the upswing of Spring.

I’m currently writing the fourth book in the Blue Thorn Ranch series—one you’ll see next year. But this month has also been filled with lovely letter and emails from many of you who have taken the time to let me know how much you’re enjoying the Blue Thorn Ranch series.  Books one and two are out and ready for you to read, and book three will show up in August.

Spring is my favorite time of year.  It’s optimism season.  Dog walks are happy affairs instead of bundled-up endurance tests.  Grass is emerald green and soft, flowers poke their perky noses up everywhere in celebration that Chicago’s winter is long gone.

What’s your favorite thing about Spring?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I'm so over April...

Good morning.  Jenna Mindel here freezing in Northern Michigan with a temp of only 33 degrees.  After a super mild March, April decided to mock us with two snow storms mid month.   Last night while watching the six o'clock weather, I noticed a 35 degree difference in temperatures between where I live in the Tip-of-the-Mitt and a town only a couple hours south.  We were at 36 degrees and they were 71!  That's just crazy!

This video was taken of my back yard on April 10th, after our last sticking snow.  

There have been some nice days in April though, like the one below, near the lake on a beautiful day last week. 

But this fine gray morning, as I work on a synopsis for my next book proposal in the Maple Springs, Michigan series, I know why Northern Michigan inspires me.  It's beautiful for sure, but also unpredictable and ever changing.   A great back drop for my Zelinsky family who are full of surprises too.   With the release of A Temporary Courtship this fall, I hope you'll agree. 

What is it that you love most about where you live? 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Writers and Readers Oh My!

Last Tuesday, after work, I drove to Las Vegas.
Nope, not a vacation location for me.
But, Romantic Times Magazine brought together readers and writers
for a six day conference.
Woo woo.

A bunch of us jumped in my mini-van
Drove through a strange town
to an awesome Italian restaurant
Back row: Vinnie the waiter, Jessica Nelson, Lisa Mondello, Pamela Tracy
Front row:  Danica Favorite, Lenora Worth, Allie Pleiter

We met with Farah who works for Harlequin.  

Harlequin did a book signing
Lenora and I were very happy.

I managed to get a few touristy things done
Like go to the Mob Museum

There was a giant book signing that featured Lenora

The final night, Danica and I plus Judy Devries get together for a party

So, now you know how Pamela Tracy spent the last week.  I'm home now.  The hubby is happy - he no longer has to help with homework. The son is happy - someone will go grocery shopping and buy the right food.  The dog is happy - she's always happy.  The cat isn't happy - he still doesn't understand why we're keeping the dog.

My next book
Available April 24th

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Release Day by Marta Perry

Today is release day for my latest Amish book, THE REBEL, Book Three in the Keepers of the Promise series. I hope you'll look for it!

And watch for a brand-new Amish series, KINGS OF LOST CREEK, coming out from Love Inspired. It will start with a Christmas novella, THE MIDWIFE'S CHRISTMAS SURPRISE, in November.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Final Episode by Leann Harris

I bet I wasn't the only one who watched Downton Abby's final Episode. I enjoyed how Julian Fellowes wrapped up the different story lines running the the series. Seeing the growth in the characters delighted me. Mary grew the most with helping Anna with her problem pregnancy and how she set up the meeting with Edith and Berdie, trying to undo the break she caused. If that hadn't happened, I would've pitched a fit. That's one of the main reasons I started writing, to put the right ending to a story. For me Downton Abby ended on a high note. I would've loved for the the series to go into WWII, but then that would've required new actors to play the children. The thing that is encouraging is this series has found fans all around the world. What did you like best about Downton Abby?

Thursday, March 3, 2016


When I was learning to drive, a few eons ago, my father insisted that I should know how to drive a standard shift. It only took one lesson for both of us to decide that we'd be far better off if I learned to drive on automatic, leaving standard for later lessons and a different teacher. Eventually I did learn to drive standard shift, thanks to my husband who had more patience than Dad did. I drive it if I have to, but it's not usually a happy experience, especially if I have to stop and start on a hill. And that's unavoidable in Pennsylvania!

The trouble is that my preferred mode is to deal with one thing at a time, in driving and in writing. That being said, you can understand the difficulties I face when I switch from writing 100,000 word novels to 60,000 word novels to 25,000 word novellas and even the occasional 3000 word short story. In fact, I've probably blogged about it several times, not because I want to vent but in the hope my experience will be of use to someone else.

In another life, before I wrote for Love Inspired, I wrote a number of short stories for Woman's World magazine under my married name, Martha Johnson. I found that the most crucial thing in developing a short story was the size of the idea to begin with. That means, given the basics of a character with a problem, that the story begins as close to the crisis and resolution as possible. I knew that, of course, but I still wrote a number of stories that straggled on far too long before getting to the point. Then I hit upon the strategy of getting the character's problem out in the open in the first paragraph of the story. There's no space for a leisurely showing of the problem, so I sometimes resorted to opening with another character saying to the protagonist, "The trouble with you is...". Amazingly enough, the first story I wrote with that technique sold, and I was launched on a decent career in writing short stories.

So, when this winter I was tasked with turning from completing a 100,000 word romantic suspense novel (How Secrets Die, out in July from HQN Books) to writing a 25,000 word Christmas novella for Love Inspired, I had to go back to the basics once more. How do you write a compelling, satisfying story in only 25,000 words? The size of the idea came to the forefront again. While a longer novel might include several subplots and side issues, along with a few red herrings to throw the reader off the track, a novella has to stay focused on the main issue, meaning the love story and those things which immediately impact the hero and heroine on their journey to happily ever after.

As I planned the ten chapters that would make up the novella, I made sure that the heroine's external conflict and her romantic conflict came onstage in the first few pages. That done, I could focus on getting the hero onstage (on page 5 or so) and introducing his external conflict and his reaction to the heroine. Once the story was off and running, I could settle in and make sure that I gave the reader a satisfying trip to The End.

The novella I'm finishing up now, The Midwife's Christmas Surprise, will be out in November from Love Inspired. I hope you'll enjoy it!