Unlikely Merger – In Progress

11112210_858579607541022_8504991036842170166_oHave you ever worked for a company that was swallowed up by another company? Acquisitions can be painful. Sometimes even fatal (to your job). In the collaborative novella Unlikely Merger, the heroine works for an acquisitions firm. Mercy Lacewell has to learn to choose the right businesses for her father’s company to fund or buy. A wrong decision can cost the firm a lot of time and money. The stress of the position nearly grounds Mercy before she gets started.

I worked for a small civil engineering company that was bought out by a larger architectural engineering company. The buyout was a relief for the owners who were nearly at the end of their rope financially. The employees were dubious. Would we be fired to make room for corporate replacements? If we were retained, would we like our new bosses? What other changes were in store?

These are all concerns that our heroine needed to address when she sat down with prospective companies. What did this acquisition mean in dollars and cents to the employee? Bottom line–what did their future hold? She was inexperienced, but her natural abilities pushed her through this exhausting process.

One of the most difficult requirements of her new position is travel. Based in Denver, she has to fly all over the country to interview and assess the prospective businesses. Each of our chapters deals with a different location. And of course, she meets a different eligible bachelor each time. But Mercy keeps her distance, because she’s a professional, and she’s sort of an introvert. Merger? Unlikely.

IMG-20150130-WA0008But one of these guys will end up as Mercy’s forever. Once again, Write Integrity Press is releasing one chapter a day on their website. Once the last chapter is released, the readers will be invited to vote for their favorite. For more information, and to read the chapters, click the link here:

Write Integrity Press: Unlikely Merger Chapter Two

On July 1st, you can download the book, with its final chapter–the proposal–absolutely free on Kindle. It will remain free through the 5th of July and then, it’ll be 99¢.

AND at some point during the month of June, something BIG is happening here. On this blog. So watch for it. You can also “like” my Facebook author page–right over there (see right margin)–to keep up with what is happening. If you ask me in a comment, either here or on Facebook, you may win a special prize. But you have to ask.

Bonus Materials! Follow the links below for more personalized information about the key characters in Unlikely Merger.

Marji Laine:  Human Icicle

Julie Arduini: If We Could Have been Part of a Company Merger

            Carole Towriss: Dustin’s Detour Bellview Texas

            Jennifer Hallmark: Sacred Journeys by Carole Towriss

Fay Lamb: Meet the Heroes of Unlikely Merger: Dustin Rogers

Writerly Connections

I haven’t really gone fishing. Not in the usual sense. 

As a writer, I need to make connections. One of the best ways to do that, is to attend conferences. You meet all sorts of people at writers conferences. Of course you meet lots of writers from the novice to the expert, unpublished, published, multi-published. You meet agents, editors, publishers, teachers, speakers, and everything in between.

I attended my first writers conference in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, several years ago. Excited and more than a little nervous, I walked into a classroom and sat down. After it started, I realized I was in the wrong class, but the speaker was so funny and interesting, I decided to stay. And besides, there was chocolate.

After that, I attended every class she taught. Ginny Smith, author of numerous novels in several genres, became my first “writerly” connection. Ginny encouraged me to keep working. She suggested I join a writing organization that offered critique loops where I could meet other beginning writers and improve my craft.

But most important of all, Ginny became a friend. There were others along the way, who also encouraged me to keep working at my writing. I met Fay Lamb on the main critique loop at ACFW. She encouraged me to form my own group, where I met my long-time crit partner, Amy Blake.

After a while, Amy got busy with home-schooling and other responsibilities, and had to move on. I joined two other small groups and met Nike Chillemi and Jennifer Hallmark. Nike (AKA Crime Fictionista) is a constant encourager, and in return, I get to read her crime/suspense stories in progress. Jennifer and I work together on a blog she started with another of our critique loop members, Christina Rich (Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My!).

As I got to know Fay Lamb better, we discovered so many “odd” coincidences in our lives, we’ve decided we’re long-lost siblings. And yes, “odd” is the correct word. She even named her latest dog “Audrey.” Another weird coincidence, since my middle name is Audrie. By the time many of you read this post, I hope to have met Fay, face-to-face for the first time. Ever. But we have so much in common, will it seem we’ve known each other much longer?

Fay linked me up with Tracy Ruckman of Write Integrity Press. I was invited to contribute to a multi-author novella published this past February–A Dozen Apologies–a humorous “caper” of a romance. Jennifer Hallmark also worked on that novella. What fun we had. I’ll also meet Tracy this weekend. Later this year, Write Integrity Press will publish my novel, Amelia’s Legacy, the first of three in the Legacy Series.

At a local gathering of authors, I met Hallee Bridgeman and her husband, Gregg. Hallee is busy making quite a splash in the Indie publishing market. I had self-published a couple of fantasy-adventure novels several years ago. They lacked “pizazz” — Hallee and Gregg helped me get them spruced up. I’m working on some final details that will (huge sigh of relief) make me proud of those two books. I could not have done this on my own. God knows exactly what we need, and when we need it. Along comes the connection at the precise moment of need.

Are you beginning to see the pattern here? Of connections made over the years, one after another? Though many times, I’ve been tempted to give up, I kept moving forward, and now I’m a published author. I’m still attending conferences, because you still need to make those connections.

I have worldwide connections now, as my connections multiply.

We cross-publicize, pray for one another, encourage one another in the craft of writing and in life. What greater pleasure is there? So dear reader, are you discouraged, thinking you’ll never make it? Have you done everything possible to improve your craft? Have you put yourself out there? Found and attended local groups and conferences?

Life is a series of connections, both public and private, whatever field or calling is yours. Where you are right now came as a result of some sort of connection.

I thank God for all my connections. I’ve met wonderful people along the way, who took the time to express encouragement to a newbie. I learned from some of the best among them. Never forget, you may be someone else’s most important connection.

“Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” Philippians 2: 2-4, The Message

photo credit: Sifter via photopin cc

Small & Indie Publishers Rock!

What a month I’ve had! July has been so exciting, I almost hate to see it go. And it flew by, don’t you think? Did you take a vacation? Go someplace really fun or restful?

I visited with three very busy people. Three publishers who are making their mark, pressing in and beyond to achieve their goals and dreams. Reaching out to bless others and speak living words into as many hearts and lives as possible. I’ve been blessed beyond measure just reading some of the comments left on the posts. Yes, these ladies are making a difference.

I would like to once again thank Tracy Ruckman of Write Integrity Press, and Pix-N-Pens Publishing, Nike Chillemi of Crime Fictionista Press, and Nicola Martinez of Pelican Book Group, for taking the time out of their oh, so busy schedules to answer my questions.

Three outstanding interviews! If you missed one or all of them, click on the links here:

Tracy Ruckman
Nike Chillemi
Nicola Martinez

I enjoyed working with Tracy, Nike, and Nicola, preparing their posts, and reading their answers to my questions. It is obvious, all three of these ladies work hard at what they do. It shows through their most excellent work.

And most of all, thank you, dear readers, for stopping by. I hope you’ll check back in during the month of August when the subject is “Connections.” I have a couple of special guests lined up, who will share their take on the importance of connections in our lives.

Tracy Ruckman, Publisher


Tracy Ruckman is publisher, writer, wife, and mom. She earned her bachelor’s degree in May 2014 and is now pursuing an MFA in Screenwriting. When she’s not working, studying, or writing, she likes to eat, sleep, cook, and explore.
One question I didn’t ask Tracy is, how in the world do you keep up? 
I am so grateful she set aside some time to answer my questions. I hope you enjoy her interview, check out her websites, and please feel free to ask her a question of your own in the comment section of this blog post. I’m sure she’ll be glad to answer.

1.       Why did you decide to start your own publishing company?
In 2009, my husband was forced into early retirement. We knew we needed to do something big and bold, so after lots of prayer and discussion I decided to go back to school. As I enrolled, I realized that the publishing industry had just taken a huge turn, and now was an excellent time for both authors and entrepreneurs. 
2.       How did you begin? (Research? Study? Jump in and learn along the way?)
In 2008, Jeff Gerke had launched Marcher Lord Press, and his publishing model intrigued me. I corresponded with him for a while, asking a lot of questions to determine whether this was something I could do with a different focus. Jeff published sci-fi/fantasy/spec fiction, and I wanted to publish other genres. We first opened Pix-N-Pens publishing, with a focus on evangelical books. Then a manuscript arrived that didn’t have a strong evangelical message, but the story was exceptional. I sent a rejection, although I really didn’t want to send it – I wanted to publish the book! Tim and I talked about it, and I decided to open a second imprint – Write Integrity Press – to have the ability to publish quality books that don’t necessarily have a gospel message, but that are still clean and wholesome. I then contacted the author I’d previously rejected, Jennifer Fromke, and was delighted to learn that her manuscript, Docking, was still available. We changed the title and A Familiar Shore became WIP’s first novel. 
As of this writing, we’ve now published 32 books in print and/or digital formats.
3.       What are some of the obstacles you have encountered?
Where do I begin? LOL! The enemy – satan – does not like our work. We’ve learned to recognize some of the attacks we face – his demons seem to hit all of us, publisher and authors – on a regular basis. From wacky computer issues to household disruptions (busted water lines, blown fuses, leaky roofs, etc) to wayward children to major storms (two tornadoes hit our house four days apart last summer, and there had never been a tornado in our area ever before!), we usually see an increase in life disturbances right before a major book launch. There have been so many, it’s almost become laughable (except for the one being hardest hit), so we call out the prayer warriors and push through.
Marketing has been another obstacle. We have some really excellent books, but getting the word out to more than just the hundreds of thousands of connections we have on Facebook and Twitter is proving to be a challenge. We’ve had some fun events in previous years that have helped generate buzz, but we’re ready for the next level now, so that’s what I’m working toward this summer. We’re still fairly small, and the business isn’t supporting itself yet. So our marketing efforts can’t be too costly – and that just presents the ever-familiar Catch-22 of needing money to make money. 
My health has also posed its own set of problems in the past two years. If anyone had told me that approaching menopause would cause all the problems I’ve had, I might have rethought both school and publishing. But I push through. And thank God for iron supplements, protein bars, and B-12. 
4.       How do you stand out from other small publishers?
I’d like to think it’s because we treat our authors like family. We all work together as a team to market each other, and we pray for, support, and encourage one another. From the reader’s perspective, we may be different because we publish clean and wholesome books. I want readers to know they’re “safe” when reading our books. 
5.       Everyone always likes to share their horror stories, so let’s go another way. What has been your greatest blessing since you started your publishing company?
Watching our authors grow and blossom. I work with some of the finest writers in the industry, and to be a small part in their writing dreams being realized is a huge blessing. I have a deep, deep desire to help them realize even bigger dreams. We’ve just got to get there. 

Thanks, Tracy! 
You can find more information about Tracy Ruckman and her companies at these websites:

Pix-N-Pens Publishing – www.PixNPens.com
Write Integrity Press – www.WriteIntegrity.com

Small Publishers – Indie Publishers

Happy July! Happy 4th of July!

July’s theme has a lot to do with freedom. We have the freedom to choose how we want to publish. We have the freedom to become our own publisher, or to start our own company.

I hope you will come back every week to read about these publishing journeys and be inspired!

Quality is the key. The editors and authors I’m highlighting this month are quality. I’ve known a couple of them for several years and can attest to the quality of the books they publish. I think you’ll agree.

Here’s the schedule:

Thursday, July 10th
Tracy Ruckman
Write Integrity Press
Pix-N-Pens Publishing
TMP Books
Thursday, July 17th
Nike Chillemi
Crime Fictionista Press
Thursday, July 24th
Nicola Martinez
Pelican Book Group
Thursday, July 31st
Hallee Bridgeman
Olivia Kimbrell Press
Sign of the Whale Publishing

 Mark your calendars. Or sign up to receive my blogposts via email. “Like” my Facebook page.