Character Interview – Rebecca’s Legacy

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! I’m so honored you stopped by. How do you take your coffee? I like a little half-and-half in mine.

I have a guest today! One of the characters from my upcoming release—Rebecca’s Legacy

Jack Emerson

Welcome to my blog, Jack Emerson. Jack is Amy Juliana Emerson’s elder brother. How are you, Jack?

Jack: “I’m great, thanks, happy to be here. I take my coffee black, by the way.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. Of course, you do.” (Pours coffee) “Well, I’m sensing a deeper meaning in that simple statement, ‘happy to be here’. You’re happy to be alive, I think.”

Jack: “Yes, I am. Thank you for keeping me alive, not killing me off in that prison camp.” He sips his coffee.

Me: “Are you kidding? Amy would’ve killed me if I didn’t bring you back alive. No, Jack, one thing I’ve learned about you is, you’re a survivor.”

Jack: “Thanks for saying that. As I learned early on, bad things can and do happen. It’s how you handle what life throws at you that makes you the person you become. I chose a different path than what my parents expected of me, but they recognized it was right for me.” He pauses. “But this story’s not about me, is it? What would you like to know about my sister?” He grins. “I’m an open book.”

Me: “Good one, Jack. Okay, you’ve known Amy all her life, so tell us something only you would know about her.”

Jack: (Coughs behind his fist) “That I can get away with? You know she’s going to read this.”

Me: (My turn to laugh) “Hah! I hope she will. So, what can you share and still hold onto your skin?”

Jack: “She snores. Not loudly, but she snores. It’s funny. I’ve teased her a lot about it.”

Me: “But, you snore, too, Jack.”

Jack: “I know, but it’s okay if guys snore.”

Me: “I’ve always heard that. So, let’s talk about Amy. There’s a thing she does, to build herself up before she heads into a situation. When did that start, and why do you think she does it?”

Jack grins. “I’m sure you’re talking about the pep talk.” He grows more serious; thoughtful. “You know, she’s not as self-assured as people think. That’s pretty much all a mask. A ruse. She’s faking, big time. Don’t get me wrong, the girl’s got an ego. She’s always been a princess.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “She’ll bust my chops for calling her that—she hates it.” He grinned. “Which is why I always loved to say it. I’m afraid I pestered her quite a lot, growing up.”

Me: “Isn’t that what brothers are for? From what I’ve observed, you, Amy, and Bobby are all very close. You seem to really love each other.”

Jack: “Oh, absolutely. Even though I was—let’s see—twelve, when Bobby came along. Mother and Dad kept us together, kept us communicating. Dad was often away, and worked late when he was in town, but we spent holidays at Perry’s Landing. He made sure we were together at all the right times.”

Me: “That’s great. Something you can pass along to your own family.”

Jack: “Dad taught us more than that, let me tell you. We learned by example that hard work pays off. Yes, he inherited the business, but he earned every penny of it. His sacrifices were labors of love. He gives Great-grandmother Amelia all the credit for the corporation’s health and longevity, but he’s a lot of that reason, too. If he’s tough on us, that’s the reason. He wanted us to grow up with that same attitude, so we could step into his shoes and carry the baton forward, just as he did.”

Me: “I like that. And you’re right about your Dad. He is the reason the company has stayed strong. So, what does the future hold for you? Will you be the one to receive the baton?”

Jack: He shook his head. “Not me. That’s not my path, I can tell you that right now. It’s not in my blood. You know that.”

Me: “I do, but our readers don’t, unless they’ve read Amelia’s Legacy. There’s a little-known secret about Jack Emerson that only readers of that first book know.”

Jack: “Good thing Amelia’s Legacy is a free download during the upcoming release.” He glanced around. “Oops, is that a secret?” He winked. “Did I let the cat out of the bag?”

Me, laughing: “No, I was going to announce the free e-book at the end of this interview. I have no problem with you doing it.”

Jack, faces you, the reader: “So, if you don’t know, or maybe don’t remember what we’re talking about that’s only revealed in Book 1, Amelia’s Legacy, don’t miss the free download on release day.” He frowns. “What is an e-book, anyway?”

Me: “That’s complicated. Your great-grand kids are going to love it, though.”

Jack: “I’ll take your word for it. I know this, your readers are going to fall in love with Amy. She’s a beauty with a heart of gold. She grew up a lot that summer. I’m proud of the woman she’s becoming.”

Me: “Thanks, Jack. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.”

Jack: “Oh, no problem.” Eyes on the reader again. “See you in Rebecca’s Legacy. Be sure you buy the book. Hey, it’s only a buck and some change.”

Readers, you’ll find my newsletter sign-up in the right sidebar (← looks like this). You can click on that big square in the sidebar to sign up. I will never share your email address with anyone, and you can unsubscribe at any time. There will be freebies and giveaways that will only go out to my newsletter patrons. All new sign-ups will receive a free novella – Lake Frigid Aire – a quirky little mystery I wrote.

You won’t miss out, though, if you’re already receiving my newsletter. There will be other opportunities to win, AND not long after the release, you’ll find it online for only 99¢ Thanks so much! See you next week!

How to Prepare for a Book Release

1. Make sure you have plenty of coffee on hand.

That might show up as #1 on my list, but what would you place there?

For the writer, preparing for a book release can be a little like getting ready for a birth. I had my hospital-bound suitcase packed a month ahead of time. I had a checklist, to make sure I was ready to go. I still wasn’t ready to go when the time came.

You also need to make sure home is ready to receive the new addition. The nursery is ready and well-stocked.

So, how does that compare with a book release? Well, I’ve packed my suitcase with all the essentials: blog posts and short articles, tweets, and Facebook posts, memes, and possibly a video clip, if I can get around to it. I have a few lovely, embroidered linen book marks  to give away. They’re similar to the handkerchiefs used by Nancy and Amy Emerson.

No reason for this photo. Just liked it.

I’m working on a few other giveaway items. I once won a $100 gift card and a beautiful scarf and earrings from a book release, along with an autographed book, of course. Amazing! I loved the book, so left a positive review in all the right places.

Back to business! Early communication with your team, if you have one is vital. A team can be made up of friends and family who are willing to share your posts about the release.

Release Day can be crazy busy, so you want to have as much as possible done ahead of time. You’ll also want to be ready and available to respond to comments and questions on those blog posts and updates.

If you are planning a blog tour, you’ll need to keep an eye on those, so you can respond in a timely fashion to all the comments (speaking positive words over future blog posts!).

Hopefully, release day is only the beginning as readers enjoy the work of your hands (and heart). That’s kind of like having someone visit to see the baby. They “ooo” and “ahh” over the infant. They want to cuddle and kiss the baby. When it’s a book we’re talking about, we hope our readers love it so much, they’ll leave a positive review on Amazon, or Goodreads, or even just talk about it on social media.

Word of mouth sells books. If you enjoy reading books by a certain author, your positive words in the right places help more than you may realize. So, if you love the idea of helping a beloved author, but stumble at the thought of writing an actual review, all you have to do is tell your friends how much you enjoyed the book.

As in that first trip to the hospital, I’m still not ready! I have a lot to do before release day, August 7, 2018, when this lovely lady makes her public debut⇒⇒

SALE! The book releases at a one-day-only low price of 99¢ (Kindle edition), but we’ll also be giving away a novella to those who download the book on that first day. The novella is a quirky little mystery called “Lake Frigid Aire”, written by me! 🙂

Watch for more exciting release news and a giveaway or two!

[CLICK TO TWEET] Word of mouth sells books. If you enjoy reading books by a certain author, your positive words in the right places help more than you may realize.

NEXT WEEK: An interview with one of the main  characters in Rebecca’s Legacy!

Another Thursday Morning

Hello! Can you believe it’s already Thursday morning? I’m beginning to think there are two per week, they  come around so fast. Life is zipping by…

The hot summer weather we’re enduring reminds me of my latest young heroine, Amy Emerson. She was “sentenced” to a summer of service by dear old Dad. The first few days were sheer torture for this big city debutante.

I remember summers on Grandma’s farm in West Tennessee. The nights were so hot, sometimes it was hard to sleep. The days in the hot sun were worse, but we were busy working in the fields or the garden, so the days went by fast.

Back at the house, we made straight for the window fan, sat in front of it until the sweat dried and we’d cooled down enough to talk into the fan and laugh at the funny sound of our voices.

It’s amazing how wonderful a breeze feels, or the shade of a thick oak tree. We  carried ice water in bell jars, which we left beneath the trees to keep cool. We had to wear long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats to shield ourselves from the brutal, southern sun. Any exposed skin could mean a second- or third-degree burn. It was serious business.

What about you? Did you ever work outside in the summer? Or lived without air conditioning?

At home, our family of five shared a single bathroom. I was the only girl, so sometimes having time to myself was difficult. I could commiserate with Amy when she had to wait in line for a chance at a bath, and then the water was no longer hot.

Although, I think she should have been glad to have a bathroom. Grandma’s farm had no indoor plumbing. We had to tote buckets of water in from the well. The “bathroom” was an outhouse in the yard. A bath was taken in a large, galvanized tub on a Saturday night, so everyone would be clean for Sunday. These days, I wouldn’t really call that clean, since I was seldom first in line for the shared bath water. Yuck!

I survived, and so did Amy, though more hardships awaited her down the road. Sometimes, life hits a rough spot and it seems like it will never let up. But, then it does, and all those troubles end up in the rear view mirror, rolling farther and farther into the past. That’s when you’re thankful for the grace of God that got you through.

I was reminiscing with my mom the other day about our trips to the beach when we lived in San Diego, California. I remembered watching with great anticipation, sometimes stretching over the back of the front seat, trying to catch that first glimpse of dark, blue water. And then we topped a hill, or rounded a curve, and there it was—in all of its glory—the great Pacific Ocean.

The sight sent shivers down my spine. There’s a scene like that in Rebecca’s Legacy, when Amy catches a glimpse of sea. She begs to stop so she can get out and feast her eyes on the view, smell the salt air, and listen to the roar of the waves.

Rebecca’s Legacy happens one summer. So, many of my beloved summer memories made their way into the story. I am so excited to share it with you.

We have grand plans for the release of Rebecca’s Legacy, and the festivities will begin very soon. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming my latest story to the world.

What will it take to teach a spoiled heiress that the greatest legacy is love?

Nancy and Robert Emerson’s daughter Amy Juliana is doing her best to follow in Mom’s rebellious footsteps.

Her desperate attempt to escape Dad’s control comes at the worst possible time. A threat against their family and Sanderson Industries has Robert Emerson taking extra steps to guarantee his family’s safety. He sends Amy, an heiress and a debutante, to the country to work on a produce farm run by Aunt Rebecca. Humiliated and angry, Amy contemplates a path that will lead her even farther from home, away from Dad’s protection.

Will Aunt Rebecca’s quiet strength and unconditional love be enough to still the prodigal daughter’s rebellious ways, and open her heart to the plight of others around her?

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to help keep his daughter in line. She thinks the guy is an old fuddy-duddy. By the time her ideas about him begin to change, it may be too late. When an old friend tests her loyalty, she is forced to face her past to overcome a guilty conscience. But, is she playing into the hands of the enemy?

Release date: August 7, 2018

The Revolutionary – A Book Review

The Revolutionary
Liberate The Captives
Rogues, Book II, by Kristen Hogrefe

After being sentenced to a labor camp in Rogues Book I, The Revisionary, Portia Abernathy’s story continues three months later, in a coal mine. [You can read my review of The Revisionary here]

The Revolutionary—I was hooked by the opening paragraph. The rest of the paragraphs kept me turning pages far into the night. Like this one:

“Get your cart, idiot,” he says. “We need you to clear the coal from a new tunnel before we can move forward. It’s tight, but you’ll fit.”

These days, there’s not much I won’t fit through.

What happens afterward starts a romp that doesn’t quit, even as the book winds up (on a high note, leaving a smile on my face). I can’t wait to read the next one.

Hogrefe mixes suspense, espionage, angst, pain, and anxiety into the pages, along with a hint, and sometimes more than a hint of romance. Her characters are real and flawed. They fit smoothly into the story line; well balanced and fully told.

The protagonist, Portia Abernathy, may be small, but she’s tough, and keeps moving forward with a strong purpose throughout. Though fear and doubt threatens, she holds hope in her heart to see her loved ones again. She keeps secrets trapped in the steel vault of her mind and heart, while chasing after an elusive dream she stumbled upon in the words of an ancient Bible—a promise of freedom for the oppressed.

Rogues is a young adult (YA) dystopian series that presents a dark and dangerous world without God in it. The powers that be have managed to enslave most of the population and put them to work for the benefit of the ruling class. Hogrefe weaves in historical facts as the students in book one make discoveries about their once proud nation.

Book I, The Revisionary, has won several awards to date, including the Grace Award, and the Selah Award. Though I’m not a young adult, and usually don’t care for dystopian stories, The Revisionary intrigued me. It was so well written and kept me turning pages. Often, book two of a series can be a let-down, but The Revolutionary was anything but. I liked it even better than the first.

Why? Maybe because the first book was laying the groundwork. Even though there was constant danger, the reader is just getting to know Portia and her friends and the world Hogrefe created. And why her friend Luther calls her, “Cotton”.

In Book II, we “hit the ground running”, already familiar with the main character and her friends. As they enter unfamiliar and very dangerous territory, we hold on for an exciting ride. This is my new favorite. I loved it so much, I bought the print versions of both books to give to my favorite young adults—my lovely granddaughters. I know they’re going to love this series.

A little about the author / Kristen Hogrefe’s byline on her website is: Think Truthfully, Live Daringly. She goes on to say,

My fiction stories develop characters that young adults can relate to and that a person of any age can identify with in some way. The choices they make, the situations they face stretch them relationally, physically, and yes, spiritually.

The bottom line is not what happens to the characters, but what the characters do with what happens to them. That’s where the characters grow–and where we can grow right along with them.

This is an author you can feel good about. Maybe, like me, you’re hesitant to read a new genre. But I encourage you to take a chance on this one. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Click to Tweet: In The Revolutionary, Hogrefe mixes suspense, espionage, angst, pain, and anxiety into the pages, along with a hint of #romance. Her characters fit smoothly into the story line; well balanced and fully told. #dystopian

The Revolutionary—Liberate the Captives

Revolutions run on sacrifice … and blood. Three months a satellite prisoner, Portia wonders if the Brotherhood has left her to die—until she plunges into the domain of a smuggler contacted by her brother. But her rescue comes with a price tag, and now, she must forfeit her identity to act as a spy. She learns that her enemies want the Dome to approve mass satellite executions, though no one knows why. Worse, they’re using her friend Luther, now a Court Citizen intern, to sign the short-term orders. She wants to confide in Luther, but can she still trust him with the company he keeps? Plagued by shadows and guilt for leaving her protector Gath behind on the satellite, Portia must find a way, not only to rescue him and the other prisoners, but also to destroy the slave camps once and for all.

Next Week – Hello, Thursday Morning! continues…