Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Release: Left Turn at Paradise by Kristin Wallace

I’m so pleased to feature Kristin Wallace as she introduces a brand new series!

The Shellwater Key Tales

As children, Layla, Emma and Callie made a vow to be “friends for life”. Life and heartache intrudes, and each ends up going her separate way. Years later, they all return to their hometown of Shellwater Key, Florida for different reasons. All soon become involved in reviving the old Paradise Dinner Theatre, and it is there that they find healing and ultimate happiness.

Book One, Left Turn at Paradise, is available TODAY! Here’s the blurb:

High-powered business executive Layla McCarthy has lost everything, but an abandoned dinner theatre is about to usher in a brand new act in her life.

Layla McCarthy has spent most of her life trying to outrun the wild reputation of the mother who abandoned her. Raised by her grandmother, Layla puts all her faith in building a career, only to lose everything. So, when she learns her grandmother and great aunt have bought the old Paradise Dinner Theatre, she returns to her hometown of Shellwater Key to ensure her relatives don’t lose their life savings. Reviving The Paradise brings an unexpected romance with Grayson Kendall, the enigmatic director hired to produce the first show. But nothing will ever be the same when Layla’s long-lost mother returns, looking to make amends.

In the end, The Paradise will become the backdrop as Layla opens her heart to love…and three generations of McCarthy women find a way through past mistakes to a new life filled with hope and redemption. 


I have a mortgage. A lease on a new luxury car. I am an unabashed shopaholic and like regular meals. I need a new job. A new career. A whole new life.
Layla McCarthy tried to quell the panic as she pictured the pile of bills waiting for her at home. Bills she had no way of paying thanks to her now empty bank account.
A human hurricane had struck her life, leaving her business, LM Concepts, strewn across the landscape. Her passion, her baby, the one thing that had never disappointed her…gone. All because Layla’s business partner had fallen in love and decided to abscond with him…and the company funds.
She really should have decked him.
The moment Melanie’s spray-tanned, Euro-trash boyfriend had used kissing the back of Layla’s hand as a cover for looking down her shirt, she should have decked him. As a green-eyed blonde with a body that screamed bombshell, Layla was used to leers and suggestive comments, even from her friends’ significant others. Usually, they tried to be discreet about it though. Julian hadn’t even made an effort.
For Melanie’s sake, Layla had restrained herself.
She’d wound up losing everything for her trouble. Whatever had been left after Melanie fled had gone to pay vendors, a private investigator who was still sending her invoices for what looked to be nothing more than internet searches, and an outrageously expensive bankruptcy attorney. Layla might have held strong and kept going, except her clients took a hike too, unwilling to stay aboard a ship that had Titanic written all over the bow.
She’d known this day would be difficult, but she hadn’t expected the gut-wrenching sense of loss. The soul-shattering knowledge that she was a failure at thirty. Failing was something Layla never did.
She walked to the window and looked down at the street. From this vantage she could see both downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay. Traffic flowed on Biscayne Boulevard, the cars looking like giant ants marching back and forth—all racing to get somewhere, while Layla’s life had come to a screeching halt.

Left Turn at Paradise is available at the following links:
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00ZSF2Z5U
Barnes and Noble: (link to come)

About Kristin Wallace

Kristin is the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational and contemporary romance, and women’s fiction filled with “love, laughter and a leap of faith”. Growing up Kristin devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate. Her first Golden Book led to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Drew, C.S. Lewis and the Sweet Valley High series. Later, she discovered romance novels and fell in love all over again. It’s no surprise that she would one day try her hand at writing them. Kristin is the author of the Covington Falls Chronicles, inspirational romances set in a fictional Southern town, as well as the Shellwater Key Tales.
Connect with Kristin:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wisdom from Possum Trot

            Most of my promotional giveaways are things I’ve made because I have lots of craft materials lying around and because I enjoy making them. Plus, working on crafts gives me another creative outlet, especially when the writing part of my brain isn’t working so well. But what if you’re not into crafts? What if your creative talent lies in other directions? I asked several of my author friends to weigh in on low-cost ways that they market themselves and their books. One of the first people I approached – and the first to respond – was fellow Clean Reads author Jeff Salter, who writes romance as J. L. Salter.
            Like most people our age, Jeff/J.L. is reluctant to dive into social media. But he’s definitely learned to use Facebook to cultivate a relationship with his readers. He has an author page on which he notifies us of his books and blog posts, but his regular profile includes little bits of wisdom that reflect his writing style and personality. He calls them his Possum Trot posts and they’re highly entertaining, so I asked him to share how he came about this idea and what it’s done for his writing:

            Patty graciously invited me to explain what I do on my personal Facebook page to entertain and occasionally enlighten others… but which also (indirectly) promotes my writing career. By that last part, I mean if people become interested in what I have to say (whether humorous, thought-provoking, or newsworthy), I believe they’ll be more inclined to read what I’ve written and published.
            Though I was reluctant to engage in FB, I finally relented in early 2009. At first I figured I didn’t have time for it and didn’t have much to “say” anyhow. But what I didn’t foresee was all the cool new friends and wonderful networking opportunities it has provided. I also worried that if I posted very often, it would somehow “drain the tank” of my creative writing. If anything, however, it has STIMULATED my creative wellspring.
            After a few months of posting about things I’d seen or experienced (or thought about), I decided to give my FB readers a sense of where (geographically) I was coming from. I had retired in mid-2006 to acreage which has been in my wife’s family since about 1803. The name of the community around this land has (historically) been Possum Trot. That name also signified the down-home flavor of many of my posts. So it was logical to begin calling them Possum Trot Posts. As time went on, I added to the different TYPES of P.T. posts, by calling them P.T. Professor, P.T. Pundit… Psychs, Pets, etc. Not sure why I decided on alliteration, but there were others like, Protests, Puzzlements, Pondering, etc. Also, I had another series which began with T, as in P.T. Tunes, P.T. Tribute… Thanks, Trouble, etc. One of my favorite categories – which also typically generates interest and feedback – is P.T. Television. When I’ve seen part (or all) of a movie or TV show which caught my attention, I’ll provide a short critique.
            At first, I assigned arbitrary numbers, to help identify these posts, but beginning in 2012, I started formalizing the numbering, as in Possum Trot Puzzlement (#12-001)… or P.T. Psychs (#12-568). Having begun with the worry that I’d have little to share with anyone, I found that last year (2014), I posted over 700 bits of Possum Trot wisdom or humor… and that does NOT count any of the FB posts I used to directly promote my novels, novellas, blogs, reviews, or whatever. [I had read the opinions of many experts who said people will stop reading your posts if you’re continually “selling”… and I’m inclined to agree.] I don’t have firm figures, but I’d estimate there weren’t more than about 100 “promotional” posts on my personal FB page in 2014… compared to those 700+ posts of general interest / entertainment. This year, I’m numbering all of my posts consecutively, regardless whether they’re general or promotional. It will be interesting to see how many I end the year with.
            Patty has selected one of the general posts from my personal FB page to share with you as an example.
Thanks, Jeff! I wasn’t able to choose ONE Possum Trot post. Here’s one from June 20:

Possum Trot Pundit (#15-582) --- Word to the wise: when you're trying to wrangle 728 leetle teeny pieces of clear silica gel... do NOT keep your nearly full coffee cup on one hand.
Put the cup down and no one will be hurt!
I've discovered that when I lean way forward to pick up something, whatever I'm holding (like a cup of hot coffee) leans forward WITH me.
Yep, now I've got splashes of coffee to mop up... in addition to corralling those invisible ball bearings...

As a klutz, I can relate! These punditry posts often encourage people to weigh in, and people do! Here’s another one from earlier that same day:

Possum Trot TV (#15-580) --- Exercising today at the 'Y', I saw some 70 minutes -- on AMC, with about 22 mins. of commercials -- of one of my favorites. Stripes from 1981. Yes, it's extremely irreverent and strains belief of anyone who's actually been through military basic training (regardless of service branch). But entertaining with a bushel of fascinating characters. As interesting as any is the only "straight man" --- Warren Oates as the drill sergeant.
Had I been the director, I would've told Bill Murray NOT to ham it up (as he did) at the scene near the end when they go in to rescue their platoon-mates. That was the weakest link in the film. It's one thing to be "cute" when nobody is in danger, but quite different when lives are on the line.

Makes you want to join in the discussion - or at least watch the movie to see if you agree! J. L. Salter can be found at his personal blog, the group blog (where he doles out more Possum Trot-like wisdom on Thursdays), on Twitter, and of course on Facebook! His most recent book is One Simple Favor, released by Dingbat Publishing and available from Amazon and other ebook retailers.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sticky Note Fever

Goodness! It’s been over a week since I last posted, and I want to get back into the habit of returning here weekly. I’ve been working on sewing more bags, but I want to share some of the goodies I’ve sent out in some of them. These are little post-it note folders, made from scrapbooking cardstock. A friend of mind had one and showed it to us at our Crazy Crop scrapbooking club. I’m always on the lookout for unique promo items so I asked if I could make a pattern from hers and then I went home and copied it, using materials I had sitting around the house. I had stickers with my name and website, so I added those. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out! 

Materials needed: scrapbooking cardstock, 3 inch by 3 inch sticky notes

Directions: cut cardstock into strips 3.25 inches by 8.5 inches. Place the sticky note pad on the center of the strip, but don't attach yet. Trace around the note pad, remove, and then fold on the lines. Place the pad on the strip again and make another crease to make the top cover. Attach the pad to the cardstock strip (I like to use double-sided tape). Attach a velcro dot for the closure. 

It's still my plan to fill a few goodie bags and send them out, but I'll need more stuff to put in them.  Guess I'll have to keep working on swag!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Just Call Me the Bag Lady

It has been a long dry spell for my writing. From January through April I was tied up with my teaching duties and it was all I could do to keep up with grading papers and correspondence with my over hundred students. I barely kept up with blogging commitments and had a minimal presence on social media. When the semester ended, I breathed a sigh of relief and opened up my abandoned manuscripts, eager to finish them up.

Unfortunately, the words didn't come. I sat here staring at my laptop, wondering where to go from where I'd left off. I brainstormed with other people and took notes, outlining a series of events, the goals, motivations and conflicts of my main characters, did research until my eyes crossed.

Nothing worked. I still had nothing.

Then the headaches started. Every time I opened my laptop I'd feel this pressure on my temples and I'd have to lie down. My daughter encouraged me to take some time off and work on some other hobbies, like sewing, scrapbooking, and card-making. I made plans for re-organizing my craft room and found out I have WAAAAYYYYY to much fabric. So I started finding ways to use it. I found quick and easy instructions for making pillowcases, as well as an organization who was collecting them. I found a quick little project for using up scraps of fabric and started making things for giveaways at book signings. And I made a whole bunch of tote bags. Bags with handles, bags with drawstrings, and I've got some I'll probably put zippers on. Big bags, little bags, Christmas bags, springy type bags, you name it. I'm going to be ready for any occasion.

I'm going to use most of these bags as giveaways. A lot of times authors are asked to donate giveaways for various causes. I can fill these bags with some of my books as well as other little promotional items. I'm so excited about them I'm starting a new blog series that I'm calling "Marketing on a Shoestring." These bags cost me next to nothing to make. Most of the fabric was given to me. And a lot of my giveaway stuff is handmade too. I'll tell you about them in future posts. In the meantime I've asked other creative types to share the giveaway items they come up with that don't cost them much. Because unless you are a NYT best-selling author (and even then, sometimes), you don't make enough money writing to pay for your marketing. 

Anyway, Since I don't have a new book coming out soon, I'm going to give away some of my bags! I just have to figure out what to put in them. Stay tuned!

Oh, and by the way, the writing is slowly starting up again. I'm hopeful I'll finish another book before the end of the year.