Monday, August 22, 2016

Life as an Author and Independent Publisher

Jean Ann's book cover photo by Jim Williams, cover by Nina Newton

I'm sixty-two, going on sixty-three, and it's time I dive into what my husband has been encouraging me I could do for fifteen years: independent publish.

I wasn't ready fifteen years ago to Indie publish, but I've learn a few things since and am ready to tackle life as an independent publisher. And with ten book manuscripts in various stages, I'll be one busy author.

Believe me when I say I can't do this alone, however. I've hired a free-lance editor to work on my articles and book manuscripts. She also does my graphics and above all she encourages and reassures me. Nina Newton, of Ruby for Women magazine, knows the business. Recently, and to thousands of readers excitement, Ruby for Women became a print magazine in May 2016, after being an online source for over seven years.

Currently, Nina and I are in the last stages of pulling together my manuscript, "God's Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother's Heart", into a book of devotions for mother's of suicide loss.

Because it is my first indie published book, she's doing most of the work, well, actually all of the publishing side of the work. Next time, I'll be in on getting a book into Createspace and yes, I'll lean on Nina when I don't understand something in the process.

Because I appreciate her, I wanted to take the time to say, "Thank you, Nina Newton, for all your hard work and your beautiful graphics!"

"God's Mercies after Suicide" will pre-release on October 22, 2016 with a release date of November 19, 2016. On the release day, you'll find the Kindle version at Amazon for free.

Here's the book trailer, created by Opal Campbell of Videos by O:

Until next time . . . I write and pray my words show the Glory of God.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Feature Friday Author Charlie Perryess and His "Wordmonger" Blog

I’m pleased to introduce blogger Charlie Perryess, where here we’ll learn something about Charlie and his blog Wordmonger.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Charlie.
I love words. This love has manifested in my love of writing (mostly for teens), my love of reading (typically 1-2 books a week), my blog about words (Wordmonger), and thirty-four years of teaching (mostly middle school English). I’m now retired from the teaching gig, which means I get to read more, write and revise more, and volunteer. I drive for the local food bank, volunteer at our county arts association, and I’m a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators co-county coordinator here in San Luis Obispo. When it comes to non-word-related passions, I’m a bicycle commuter, I love to bake, and I’m crazy about my wife, Ellen.

Ah, retired. I'm happy for you, Charlie! Where can you be found online?
I can be found at Wordmonger ( Every Thursday night I post a short piece about words. I generally cover etymologies, also known as word histories, but every so often I’ll look into other vagaries of English – like spelling. I’ve done a post or two on anagrams, palindromes, and on particular authors or their books. I’m also online through my author profiles at,, and

You’ve published in a few anthologies. Please tell us a bit about each one.
The two anthologies I’m most pleased with were published by Heinemann and Darby Creek. The Heinemann publication is used at several colleges in education classes and is called In Short: How to Teach the Young Adult Short Story. It includes “Grungy Breadwads”, my funky retelling of Hansel and Gretel, in which two grunge ukulele players, Hammer and Metal, play so loud their folks boot them out of the house. They end up at a huge mall, where they wander into a music store and discover a shredding player named Twitch. Your imagination can take it from there. I couldn’t be more pleased that “Grungy Breadwads” landed in an anthology with works by Vivian Vande Velde, Gloria Skurzynski, Avi, and Neal Shusterman and others. The Darby Creek anthology, Lay-Ups and Long Shots, features stories about sports. My contribution, “Dirt Girl Rides Again,” features a seventh grade competitive dirt-bike rider who is wrestling with the social pressure to be more of a girly-girl. This story gets to live between the covers with tales by more of my writerly heroes: Joseph Bruchac, David Lubar, Terry Trueman, and others.

Fantastic, Charlie. Tell us a few things about yourself some folks may not know.
When I was in fifth grade my friend Timothy Bratten and I used to skirt around the after-school ballgames happening at school, so we could avoid athletic pursuits to sprawl on the floor at his house, where we drew maps and pictures, and (what a surprise) wrote stories.
In the 60s, when Huntley and Brinkley’s faces and voices were an integral part of suburban American life, my sis and I loved the way they closed every news show, so we started mimicking their lines. At bedtime I’d say across the hall, “Good night David,” and she’d respond, “Good night, Chet.” The family picked up the nicknames, and ever since then she’s been David and I’ve been Chet or Chester.

Sweet sibling story, Chet! I know for a fact, you write humorous books for boys. Tell us about one of your book-length works-in-progress.
Though I’ve been writing novel-length manuscripts since 1992, not a one has become a book. This would be ridiculous if I didn’t enjoy the process, but I’m having a good time writing, so I just keep going. Some of my manuscripts are humorous books, some are contemporary, some are pre-industrial fantasy manuscripts, one is dystopian, and my work-in-progress is a somewhat metaphysical story taking place on an uncharted Micronesian island. I have many friends who have self-published and are loving their lives as self-published authors. At some point self-publishing may appeal to me, but I’m painfully aware I have zero skills when it comes to marketing and promotion, so I continue to hang onto the outdated dream of being published by an established house.

What do you hope readers will take away from your Wordmonger blog?
All my life words have fascinated me, made me laugh, made me wonder. I hope folks logging into Wordmonger might experience a bit of this joy. Since starting the blog in 2011 I’ve written about 240 posts.

A little bird told me you do narration for audiobooks. Tell us just a bit about this and how you got into it.
For years I’ve run the first-pages presentation at our local SCBWI Writers’ Day. This means a friend and I are on stage reading the first pages of participants’ work, then we all listen to the responses of the editors and agents on faculty. I’ve always loved reading aloud (said the English teacher), and people kept saying the nicest things about the cold-reads I was giving their work at Writers’ Day. It occurred to me (an introvert) that sitting in a little room all by myself reading a good story was a dream come true. Just about that time, ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) came online. They offered excellent free tutorials and advice on how to set up a studio and get rolling, so I did. I’ve now got a converted garden shed my wife and I call the Shedio, and I’m narrating and producing my thirteenth audiobook. The ones I’ve done include a trio of middle-grade time-travel books, some adult mysteries and romantic comedies, and a short story and poetry collection about baby-boomers. I’ve even tromped through Scottish fens lopping off zombie heads. In the best-known-author category, I had the privilege of narrating and producing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first published short story. You can check out my audiobook site at, or just search for Perryess on Audible.

Wow! This is fascinating to me. So Charlie, when did you meet the fascinating Jean Ann Williams?(Ummm, you added this Mister Charlie!)
I had the good fortune of meeting Jean Ann Williams when we were both helping out our regional SCBWI. I’m pretty sure the first event we worked together happened at the Portuguese Hall in Arroyo Grande and involved two authors offering advice on first pages. Since then, I’ve found myself recreating that event every year at Writers’ Day and the two writers (Judy Enderle and Stephanie Jacob Gordon) have taken their show on the road and built a career on first page commentary. 

You are correct as to where we had our first event! I’ve appreciated working with you in the past, Charlie, and all the hard work you’ve done for the SLO Region of SCBWI.

Until next time . . . read Charlie’s Wordmonger.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Feature Friday Author Jo Huddleston and her Book "Promise Me"

I’m pleased to introduce Author Jo Huddleston, where here we’ll learn something about Jo and her book, Promise Me.

In order to enter the drawing for a chance to win an eBook copy of Promise Me, please leave a comment with your email address. To protect your email, write it similiar to this: jeanann_wATyahooDOTcom.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Jo.
Jo Huddleston likes to laugh with people but not at people. The beach is her favorite vacation spot. Jo doesn't like to see or hear about people or animals being abused. She's a spectator fan of several sports, her favorite being tennis. Jo doesn't like being in the dark and is fearful of snakes!

Jo is an Amazon Bestselling author of books, articles, and short stories. Novels in her West Virginia Mountains series and her Caney Creek series are sweet Southern historical romances. Her novels are endorsed by Amanda Cabot, Debra Lynn Collins, Cara Lynn James, Sharlene MacLaren, and Ann Tatlock. The redeeming story of God’s pursuing love is the foundation of Jo’s novels, and in them you will find inspiration, hope, and gentle stories that are intriguing and entertaining. Jo is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN).

Where can you be found online?
Website (Read novel first chapters here):
Sign up for Jo’s mailing list:
Christian authors’ books blog:
Inspirational blog:
Facebook author page:
Facebook personal page:
Amazon author page:

Where can readers purchase Promise Me?

Please give a jacket blurb of Promise Me.
When war calls…faith is tested
In 1960, civil discord in Vietnam fills the news. After his college graduation, Patrick Fitzgerald plans to join his daddy’s South Carolina accounting firm. But Uncle Sam may have another position in mind for Patrick—in the U.S. Army. His family’s affluence would be no match for the persuasion of the military draft.

Adriana Montagna’s papá ekes out a living as a coal miner in the mountains of West Virginia. Can a lasting relationship form with Patrick, or will his wealth become a barrier between them?

Meanwhile, the fiber of America’s unity stands on the precipice, while its youth fight a no-win battle on foreign soil. What good can a young couple hope for at such a time as this?

Tell us a few things about yourself some folks may not know.
I don’t do well in elevators—I’m claustrophobic. I’ve never been able to do a cartwheel or jump rope. I played varsity girls’ basketball in high school.

What other writing have you done?
More than 200 of my articles, short stories, and devotions have been published in more than fifty secular and Christian periodicals. I wrote an inspirational newspaper column for seven years. I have six nonfiction books published, two of which I coauthored with Vickie Phelps.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
After reading Promise Me, I hope readers will understand that even when we might get angry with God about our circumstances, he always waits for us to return to him. The redeeming story of God’s pursuing love is the foundation of my novels.

What was your inspiration for Promise Me?
Promise Me is the third and last book of the West Virginia Mountains series. My inspiration for the series came from visiting a college friend’s home in West Virginia where her daddy owned a coal mine. I saw the sparse living conditions and commendable work ethic of the miners and their families and wanted to put this in a story. As for the inspiration for Promise Me, as the series progressed the characters of Adriana and Patrick strengthened until they deserved a book of their own.

What parting wisdom do you wish to give those not book published?
We do have to prepare ourselves for writing by reading writing craft books and by attending writers’ conference. But besides all this, be prepared to exercise your patience muscles as you wait for responses from agents and publishers where you’ve sent your work.

Thank you, Jo Huddleston, for being featured here on my blog. 

Until next time . . . read Jo's Promise Me.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Feature Friday Author Naomi Miller and Her New Release "Blueberry Cupcake Mystery"

I’m pleased to introduce Naomi Miller, where here we’ll learn something about her and her book, Blueberry Cupcake Mystery

In order to enter the drawing for a chance to win a print copy of Blueberry Cupcake Mystery, please leave a comment with your email address. To prevent hacking, please enter your email similar to this example: jeanann_wATyahooDOTcom. 

Tell us a bit about yourself, Naomi.
My life is a little different from many others . . . I went back to school when I was in my 40's to finish my education. Then I began writing. At the moment, I am working full-time, but I'm hoping within a few years, to be in a position to devote more time to my writing career. I would also enjoy spending more time attending workshops and writer conferences. I enjoy traveling with my family, singing inspirational/gospel music, taking daily walks, and reading -- I read a lot!

Where can you be found online?
Newsletter Sign-up: 

Where can readers purchase Blueberry Cupcake Mystery?
You can pre-order it at the following links:
MY WEBSITE: Autographed Copies

Please give a jacket blurb of Blueberry Cupcake Mystery. 
In the small town of Abbott Creek, mystery is as much a part of daily life as The Sweet Shop's sugar cookies. 
Katie Chupp spends her days at The Sweet Shop, taking care of customers and baking delicious treats . . . not exactly a profession where one expects to be thrown into the midst of mysteries and mayhem.
But when the bakery is broken into, someone has to find the thief . . . besides finding another place to do the baking and get the orders to the customers.
Is this a random theft, or is the thief trying to ruin the town's Independence Day celebration?
And watch for book 2 - Christmas Cookie Mystery - COMING SOON!

Tell us a few things about yourself some folks may not know.
I have diabetes, so I have to count my carbs and exercise daily. I only need six hours of sleep . . . if I get less, I feel exhausted; if I get more, I wake tired, with a headache. My granddaughter and I wear the same size shoe. I've never owned my own home; I'm saving for one now and hope to buy one before I retire.

 What other writing have you done?
Almost thirty years ago, I began a novel. I was newly divorced, with two small children, and put it away. Someday I hope to work on it again.

What was your inspiration for Blueberry Cupcake Mystery?
Honestly, my inspiration came from books written to make Amish young people look weak and easily manipulated, or worldly. I felt God guiding me to write a series of books that show inspiration, love, faith, and good works.
Wonderful, Naomi! What do you hope your readers will take away from reading Blueberry Cupcake Mystery? 

I hope readers pick up this book (or any future books in the series) when they need something to distract them from sadness, worry, and doubt. I hope reading a light-hearted, fun cozy mystery, will inspire readers and leave them feeling happy and content.

What parting wisdom do you wish to give those not yet published?
If you enjoy writing, don't stop. Even though you aren't published, keep writing . . . attend local workshops and conferences for writers/authors and learn as much as you can about writing, editing, and how to submit your work to agents.

Great advice! Thank you, Naomi Miller, for joining me here today.
Until next time . . . read Naomi’s book Blueberry Cupcake Mystery.