River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose: New Cover!/End of Summer Back to School Splash Out #greatweekendreading #endofsummer

New Cover, New look, available on Amazon, in print and Kindle versions. Kindle, $2.99, free with purchase of print version
New Cover, New look, available on Amazon, in print and Kindle versions. Kindle, $1.99, free with purchase of print version. Click to purchase.
Just couldn’t wait to share this with you all: “River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”, the first book in my “Enchanted River of the Rose” series, now has a new cover, as well as a new and improved, and hopefully more informative (without giving away too much, wink, wink) back blurb (description/summary). (Please note: for now, until it has time to get into the system, you may still see the old versions when you click onto the Amazon listing, but you would receive the newer version.)

For those who may have been wondering why I haven’t posted in a while, my husband just recently finally got his kidney transplant, and he just recently ended up back in the hospital with a mild case of rejection, but the awesome doctors and specialists on his care team at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, NC have done a wonderful job, and we are back home now. (If any of you are reading this, much love and hugs to you all for the awesome expertise and care you have shown us during Keith’s surgery and recent hospitalization! We appreciate you!) So, it goes without saying that we have been pretty busy, and for the first few weeks after the surgery, I have been busy taking care of him, making sure he gets his meds, especially his anti-rejection meds, which are important to keep him from rejecting the kidney, weekly follow up visits, etc. After all, he is my high school sweetheart, and has in return been my closest confidant and advisor, and a big help to me with advice concerning my books, marketing, plans, and all of that good stuff AND he has read both of my books!

Meanwhile, now about my End of Summer, Back to School Blow Out! The Kindle versions of both of my books are now only $1.99! That’s right, I have just lowered the price for the Kindle version of this book, as well as the Kindle version of my first book, “Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind”. It may be a day or so before they are available at the new price because of course, any changes we make have to go through their approval process, but check back in a day or so and they should be up. So, the new price for the Kindle versions of both of these books is now only (insert drum roll) $1.99! Also, both of these are in Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook Program, meaning if you buy the print version of a book, the Kindle version is free. The print versions are still $9.95, I have gone as low as I can on them (we can’t list them below the minimum cost to produce them, etc.) If you don’t have a Kindle device, that’s okay, you can now download the Kindle app to your smartphone or device. There are links on the page to download the app.

Amazon Createspace eStore link: Click here for Createspace eStore Listing (Shows new cover).

Amazon Kindle: Click here to preview and purchase “River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”.

Amazon Kindle: Click here to preview and purchase “Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind”.

As summer comes to an end and everyone is getting ready to go back to school, what better way to unwind on the weekends than curling up with a great summer read for one more last minute summer adventure? Both of these stories involve events happening in the summer time, making them great summer reads. In Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind, mysterious winds are blowing at Windy Mountain Campground and Resort, and, in the latter half of the book, the Wilkerson family is getting ready to go on a vacation that will take them on a journey they will never forget! Read the first two chapters free here. In River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose, well, the title says about all I can give you without giving too much away, wink, wink. I’ll just say that Anna’s story will take you down a summer road on a journey you won’t soon forget. Read the first two chapters free here. Get yours now and if you know a friend who would be interested in reading these, then by all means, feel free to share this post, Facebook it, Tweet it, or email it!

Oh, and I hope everyone has had a truly great summer, and wish you all the best in whatever road you choose to take! Hopefully, by next summer, Anna will be back to take you on another journey back in time in book 2 of my “Enchanted River of the Rose” series, “Return to the River, Scent of the Rose”! I hope everyone has a great school year! Study hard, drive safe, and when you need a break, read!

Please share this with anyone you know who might enjoy reading these! Also, be sure to subscribe to my email through the tab above, so you will be sure not to miss out on my upcoming projects! Stay safe and enjoy whatever is left of your summer break!

Reader Reviews:
5 Stars 
* * * * *
A wonderful book. October 8, 2014
This book is a wonderful and inspiring story. It takes you back to a simpler time and surprises you with unexpected twists and turns. A must read for everyone. Keith
* * * * *
By R Byrd  December 28, 2014
Great story

#Writers vs. #Readers and #Goodbooks…What’s in a Great Read?

I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.  – Edgar Rice Burroughs

I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.  – Stephen King

I think of myself… as a troubadour, a village storyteller, the guy in the shadows of the campfire.  – Louis L’Amour

My first book, “Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind”, inspired by a late Native American friend and mentor.

What’s in a good book? What distinguishes a really great read from all the others? What is it that makes the really good ones stand out?

Of course, we as writers all know, first of all, we need to have a really great cover that tells the reader what to expect. (I admit I am still working to improve mine. Hey, we are all learning here). Then, we have to have a back cover blurb, or description that makes it sound interesting enough to make them want to read it. Those are just for starters. These are just the factors that will make your book actually stand out from the rest and make people want to read it.

Then too, we all know we need to have a good, thorough and professional editing job on the inside, although some of us cannot afford that, especially if you are just starting out, as I am. If you can’t, that’s okay, if you can get a fresh pair of eyes to help you, maybe a teacher or other professional you know. Bottom line, it’s just going to look a whole lot better if it’s edited professionally, as I know Joanna Penn, as well as others, have said. For now, I happen to have an advantage on that since I have had text editing and formatting classes, which were a part of my curriculum when I was pursuing my Associate’s Degree in Office Systems Technology. Yet, even still, you can tend to miss something, especially if you have been looking at it for (insert however long you have been working on your book here). Meanwhile, for now, we just do the best we can and keep learning from other authors and look forward to eventually climbing our way up the “best sellers’ ladder”.

For more tips on writing, self-publishing, and marketing our books, there are plenty of experienced authors, artists, and others out there who offer a lot of tips and helpful resources, like these that I subscribe to, Joanna Penn at http://www.thecreativepenn.com/ and Shelley Hitz at http://www.shelleyhitz.com/. Joel Friedlander at http://www.thebookdesigner.com/ also offers a lot of helpful advice, and he has some very affordable interior design templates for self-publishing authors you can check out at http://www.bookdesigntemplates.com/.

Another great website that some of you old die hard dinosaurs like me who still like to work in MS Word might find helpful is Derek Murphy’s DIY Book Covers, http://diybookcovers.com/. Derek has packed it full of tutorials, freebies and lots of other goodies for the “do it yourselfers” like us. But you don’t have to just take my word for it. Click here to read what Joanna Penn and others have to say. You can also download some free sample book covers to try it yourself or become a member for a very affordable price and have access to hundreds of other templates, and of course, Derek’s help along the way.

Both of my book covers were done using one of his templates (although he wouldn’t recognize it, but hey, I’m still learning)! If it’s not working, then I work to improve it and go back and get some more advice and maybe even some hands on training using Derek’s tutorials, and keep going until I get that best selling cover that will hopefully eventually get that coveted NYTBS phrase that we all want to see on our books. Meanwhile, like all of us writers, I keep writing, and improving as I go, and hoping that I will finally write that one great book, that will climb up the ranks, and eventually win me a place in the best seller lists.

Then, of course, there is one accomplished author, whom I met at one of his book signings a few years ago, who is certainly more qualified than I am to give writers’ advice: Nicholas Sparks. Yes, he has an actual section of his website for writers, and I think it’s safe to say, his advice is well worth listening to.

Of course, this post would not be complete without my mention of a lady who is a much more experienced writer than I am and has taught me a lot, my friend and mentor, Beverly Nault. I have to say, hats off to Bev for the help she has given me so far. You can stop by her page for a visit and check out her books at http://beverlynault.com/. She also has a writers’ group on Facebook which I am a part of, called the Fresh Starts Writing Room. It goes without saying that we help each other. We post helpful links to share with the others, we ask advice, and we share things, we critique each other’s work, all under Bev’s helpful guidance. Bev also worked with Mary McDonough on her book, “Lessons From The Mountain, What I Learned From Erin Walton”. For those of you who remember “The Waltons”, you will remember Mary as “Erin”, the middle daughter.

For those who are already traditionally published, my hat is off to you, and you are certainly welcome to comment here and give us all some advice! For the rest of us “Indie Authors”, we write, we edit and re-write, and work to improve, we learn from our mistakes and help each other as we hone our craft, and hope that one day, we will achieve that best seller status, and hopefully, eventually be able to attract a traditional publisher. If you know of some resources or links that I haven’t listed here, please comment and share!

Now, back to my question: What’s in a really great read? What makes it a “must read” that everyone will be talking about? That is probably a question I am not qualified to answer as much as some of those I have referenced above. Perhaps, to me at least, it evokes one more question: What is the one thing that helps propel a really great book forward and make it a success? If we do all of these things I mentioned above to the best of our ability and produce that really great book that readers will want to read, and we market it through every channel possible to those that will read it, then it will stand out, and it will earn that one thing that truly makes it a success–REVIEWS!

I had the wonderful experience of meeting Mary at one of her book signings for “Lessons From The Mountain, What I Learned From Erin Walton”. You can read my (blog) review of her book here. My customer (Amazon) review of the book is somewhere amongst the others on the Amazon page. I will also be posting reviews of other books in the near future to help my fellow authors. In the meantime, if you have purchased either of my books, “Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind”, or “River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”, I would greatly appreciate it if you would stop by the Amazon page for them and leave a customer review!

WRITERS vs. READERS? I should think not. If you think about it, there is really no contest, because at one point or other, we are all readers and writers. At some point, we all write. Even if you are just writing your thoughts in a journal, that makes you a writer! My husband, has degrees in Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice, and Paralegal, yet he cannot work at the job he would love to have because of his kidney disease and having to go to dialysis three days a week. So, I told him why not put all of his training and knowledge to work writing–what else—murder mysteries! He’s already started on his first one, and so far, it looks pretty intriguing to me! Who knows? Maybe there is a future New York Times Best Seller trapped inside of you! In reality, there is no contest of readers vs. writers, but all of us, helping each other. So, the one thing that is in a great best selling book is going to be in the number of reviews it gets. No matter how hard we work at what we as writers do, without our readers, we have nothing.

So, why not sit down and write a review on Amazon or Barnes (and) Noble for your favorite author? It doesn’t have to even be long, just your honest opinion, good or bad, just a few sentences. Even better, write one for a self-publishing author. When you do, you will be helping us all as writers, and perhaps yourself as a future writer. Then, don’t stop there, keep writing. No use walking around with that future best selling novel trapped inside you.

So, what’s in a really great read? Maybe that is for you to decide.

KIMG0503With the Librarians at the Johnston Community College Library

Me with the JCC Librarian receiving my books for addition to the library
Me with the JCC Librarian receiving my books for addition to the library

Something For Your Daughter… From a Mother of 2 Daughters

In my “Book Reviews” section, I have something new I’m doing that I wanted to let you know about. The name of the “Book Reviews” tab has changed to “Flo’s Reading Room: Book Reviews”. My approach here is something a little different that I wanted to try. As time goes by, I will be featuring reviews of books I have read that I thought were very good reads or that have had a positive or inspiring impact on my life. As I add more of these, this will be sort of a “Reading Room” type thing, or my own little “virtual library”, if you will.

You may have already read my review of Mary McDonough’s book, “Lessons From the Mountain, What I Learned From Erin Walton”. (Mary also has a new book coming out, called “One Year”. You can visit her at www.marymcdonough.com to learn more and preorder your copy. My newest addition is one that I ran across a few years ago while browsing through a local bookstore. Written by Robin McGraw, who is Dr. Phil’s wife, it’s called “Inside My Heart” (Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose). This is a very powerful and encouraging book which is geared especially toward women who want to learn how they can choose the fulfilling, satisfying, and rewarding life they want to live and pursue it. After I flipped it over and read what it is about, I immediately purchased it and gave it to my youngest daughter as a gift, and then told her that when she finished reading it, to give it to her older sister and let her read it. I later went back and bought myself a copy. I decided to review it here on my blog and add it to my “Reading Room” for anyone who has daughters and wants the best for them, as I want for my daughters. You can read my review of it here:

My review of Robin McGraw’s book, “Inside My Heart, Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose”.

Part of what we do as writers is help other authors, which is really only a small part of why I am doing this. My goal, in addition to promoting my own books, is also sharing books with you that I have found helpful in my own life, either as a writer, a wife, or a mother, or even as a grandmother. So, from time to time, I will be adding to this collection, and eventually have my own little “virtual library”. As for my own books, my first two, “Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind” and “River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”, are now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (online) in print and ebook versions. You can click on my “Books Available Now” tab to learn more. You can also visit the “Books Coming Soon” section to read sneak preview excerpts of other books I am working on, including one my husband and I are very excited about, “Sadie’s Love”,  which is a heart warming story set in Big Sky, Montana, about a Siberian husky, Sadie, and her journey to becoming a Seizure Alert dog. This one is nearly finished and coming soon, although the title may change, as it will likely end up being two books. However, I have decided to hold off on self publishing it, as I did the first two, and send out some query letters and hopefully attract a traditional publisher. I will, of course, keep you posted with new updates on this, so be sure to subscribe to my email by clicking that tab above so you won’t miss out! This way, you will receive an email when it comes out.

In the meantime, while you’re waiting, you can check out my other two books and let me know what you think, or even stop by either the Amazon or Barnes & Noble online pages and leave a nice 1 to 5 star (hopefully 5) customer review! Or, grab a cup of coffee and visit the “Reading Room” and see what’s new in “Flo’s Library”.

These are the books by the authors who have inspired me on my own path to becoming an author, and who have been my greatest teachers. Check back as I will be adding more books to my little “library” from time to time. As for the newest addition, Robin McGraw’s book, I thought it made a great gift for my own daughters. By the way, while we are on the subject of gifts for our daughters, here is some valuable insight written by a father of four daughters: 10 Men Christian Women Should Never Marry.

The greatest gifts we can give our daughters comes from our own experiences, and the life lessons we have learned on our own journeys. Those are the lessons and experiences we will one day pass on to those precious grandchildren when they come along. Those life lessons are the important treasures that our daughters carry forward with them, and eventually become a part of who they will be as young women in a tough and changing world.

The books written by some of the great authors who have gone before me, such as Louis L’Amour, who was one of my Dad’s favorites, just happen to have been a significant part of my journey. May they be a part of yours as well!