Archive for July, 2014


The All-Important Launch

Posted under Writing Thursdays 2 Comments

With the launch of TAKEN IN now just five days away, I thought I’d share some pre-launch behind-the-scenes tidbits with you.

*These last few days before a release (for any author) is both exciting and a little nerve-racking.  Exciting, because the book you created is finally about to make its way into your readers’ hands. Nerve-racking, because so much of a book’s success (in terms of the publisher) depends on first week sales. If you’re going to make an important list, it happens that first week. Sure, you can linger on lists for a few more weeks, but it’s rare to make it on to a list after the first week without the assistance of a low–priced promotion.

*Pre-sales of a book are figured in with first-week sales figures, so pre-ordering a favorite book is a good idea for any reader (gets it to you quickly, and helps toward keeping a beloved series going).

*Unless you’re a big author (James Patterson, etc), most publishers do very little in terms of marketing. They can get the book better placement in a store (which is very important), and maybe put an ad in a paper, magazine, or journal (rare unless you’re a big name), but most of us pay to tour/market ourselves. That means those bookmarks, notepads, postcards, whatever, come out of our own wallet. See us at a conference? We paid the same fees to attend as everyone else, as well as our hotel, food, etc.  You might say, at this point, well, you’re getting paid the big bucks…  We’re not.  Not even close. In fact, if readers knew how little we make per book, you might question why some of us do what we do at all.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you that I write because I love to write…and because I need to make a living just like anyone else.

*Those illegal download sites that seem to be everywhere all the time? Don’t use them. Utilizing those is no different than walking into a store and stealing something off a shelf. Period.

*Word of mouth for your favorite author is huge. If you like a book–shout it out. If you’re excited about a book’s release–talk it up on Facebook, Twitter, whatever.  For those of you who read this blog often, you know I talk about Linda Castillo’s Amish Thriller series all the time.  I’ve never met Linda. But I love her series. So when a new book comes out, I talk about it–here, on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Because by helping her as a writer, I’m helping me as a reader (of her series).

I think I’ve hit some of the important points about a book’s launch. Any questions about the process or aftermath?

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for my E-newsletter yet, head to my main website:  Next Tuesday morning, my newsletter will be going out to subscribers and there’s some giveaway information in there you might want to read! 🙂


The Power of Friendship

Posted under odds and ends 6 Comments

Please help me welcome my dear friend (and today’s guest blogger), Lynn Cahoon. Lynn has a new book out this week that mystery lovers will enjoy!

*    *   *

Make new friends but keep the old; some are silver and the others gold.

The old Girl Scout camp song has been ringing in my ears lately. I’ve always had few friendships, but the ones I develop are deep and run long. Since I’ve been published, blasts from the past have been showing up on my virtual doorstep.

I love it.

I’ve reconnected with several Idaho Department of Health and Welfare co-workers. I spent more than half of my career there, working with welfare, Medicaid, and Food Stamps. A woman who I met during my stint as a long term care business office manager sent me pictures of her and the hubby. And I’ve heard from relatives I don’t get to see often as we live 1600 miles away from the place where I grew up.

But there has also been some sadness. A girl I knew from band (clarinet) in the small town where we went to school died from brain cancer just about the time I was fighting breast cancer. I found out while researching a scholarship that bore her name to a writing camp. Then when reading her obituary in our home town paper, I saw a mother of one of my high school friends had passed. Reading more, I saw that Kathy, my friend had passed a few years before.

I’m lucky to have good friends now. Women I can call if I’m having boy trouble. (Yes, even after six years of marriage, I need someone to tell me if I’m the crazy one in the fight.) Friends who help me celebrate the highs of being a writer (like flowers for my mystery hitting the NYTimes list) and to pull me up and talk me off the cliff when my book gets the mean reviews.M2M3

My heroine, Jill Gardner, has friends like that. And in MISSION TO MURDER, she needs their support more than ever, since she’s Suspect #1 in the recent homicide, at least according to her boyfriend.

What is your longest friendship? And how do you nurture it?

You gotta have, fri…en…ds…




LynnCahoon416kUSA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

In the California coastal town of South Cove, history is one of its many tourist attractions—until it becomes deadly…

Jill Gardner, proprietor of Coffee, Books, and More, has discovered that the old stone wall on her property might be a centuries-old mission worthy of being declared a landmark. Craig Morgan, the obnoxious owner of South Cove’s most popular tourist spot, The Castle, makes it his business to contest her claim. When Morgan is found murdered at The Castle shortly after a heated argument with Jill, even her detective boyfriend has to ask her for an alibi. Jill decides she must find the real murderer to clear her name. But when the killer comes for her, she’ll need to jump from historic preservation to self-preservation …


My Book, Your Book

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 5 Comments

I woke up this morning to find an email from my editor at Penguin Random House with the cover for Sewing Circle #10–WEDDING DURESS.


My cover artist who routinely hits a homerun with my books, knocked it out of the ballpark with this one.


It is so good, in fact, that now–when TAKEN IN ( #9) is set to release one week from today–my mind is already jumping ahead to April for WEDDING DURESS‘s release.

I can’t share it with you just yet, but the second (and I mean, the second) I get the green light, it will be one day’s entire blog post. As in the picture and nothing else. 🙂

As for what else is going on, I’m 1/3 of the way through my edits for my women’s fiction manuscript and drooling at the notion that I’ll be able to read (someone else’s stuff) starting Friday.

So, what are you reading right now?

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


S’mores, Gooey Butter, and Ice Cream, Oh My

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 5 Comments

On Friday, I came across a recipe for a S’more cookie bar that simply looked too good to ignore. The fact that I had all but one of the ingredients had my fingertips, made the decision to make this recipe even easier.

I made it.

And…oh my!


On Saturday, DH and I had a barbecue to attend and I was tasked with making a dessert. He requested I make a Gooey Butter cake and so I brought that along (of course, there was a good 6 pieces that didn’t fit in the to-go tin so that, too is in my kitchen).

Sunday was DS # 2’s birthday celebration and I got him a Moose Tracks cake (yum!).  A little less than half of that is still in the freezer this morning.

Basically, my house is temptation city right now. Not good when I’m working on edits…

Tell me what desserts (homemade or otherwise) are extra hard for you to resist…

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)




Pieces of Bits

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 3 Comments

Got a new round of bits & pieces for you today.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

1) What’s your favorite form of exercise?

2) What’s your favorite time of day/favorite day of the week/favorite month of the year?

3) Fill in the blank (have fun):  The best part of waking up is ???

4) White or colored socks?

5) Word Association time. I say  “gigantic” and you say ??

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


The Where

Posted under Writing Thursdays 3 Comments

Part of writing a story of any kind, is getting the setting details just right.

Most people, when they hear the word “setting” think place…something you see. But in the world of literature, setting is what you see, smell, hear, taste, feel. When you give a reader all of those things, they can truly be immersed in your fictional world.

002I figured it might a fun writing exercise to look at a picture and try to describe it with all five senses (as you would in a book). It doesn’t matter if you’ve been there or not, you’re just imagining…and trying to describe it in the event a picture was not there.

So give this a try in the comments. Either describe a place you’ve been (using all five senses), or try to do it with this picture. Note time of day (that might help with some things) and there is water off to the left (which is why the benches are positioned facing out).


~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)



On Tap

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 2 Comments

w.f.manuscriptOver the next week, I’ll be spending the bulk of my time editing the non-contracted want-to manuscript I’ve been working on every day since May.  It’s the longest manuscript I’ve written to date and the editing phase will no doubt keep me busy.

In addition to all the red-inking and rewriting that’s ahead of me, I also have to spend some time and effort on coming up with ways to get news of TAKEN IN‘s release out into the wild. So yesterday, while waiting 6 1/2 hours for repair work on my car (don’t even ask about the price tag of said work), I started coming up with ways to entice readers into helping me get the word out.

Tweet incentives, FB share incentives, and FB pictures are some of the ideas swirling through my head. I know a Street Team is a good idea but I don’t really have the time or resources to get that up off the ground right now (maybe in the spring).

Oh, and when all of this is done, I’m on to the first book in a brand new mystery series that will release in 2016. I already have the first three chapters written, as well as a full synopsis, so hopefully it will be smooth sailing. 🙂

That’s where I’m at right now. Hoping to do all of this without hitting my chocolate stash.

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


A First Sighting

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 4 Comments

About two weeks before a book launch, my publisher sends me a single author copy.takeninauthorcopy The day it arrives feels like Christmas!

It is the first time I see what I’ve created in its finished form.

Last night, this showed up in the mail!  🙂


It’ll be out August 5th (two weeks from today)!

On that day, I’m going to be asking anyone with a Facebook and Twitter page to help me with a very specific quest. So stay tuned on that!

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


Fun & Lazy Days Ahead (I hope)

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 7 Comments

Can you believe we’re already halfway through summer?

I attribute some of the lightning fast feel of this particular summer to all of the writing I’ve been doing. Sometimes, it’s four o’clock before I even look up. Now that the work in progress is done and I’ll be starting on the next one in about two weeks, I’m looking around thinking, whoa.

We had a great family vacation a few weeks ago, but, really, time has just slipped away.

Saturday night, the kids and I went bowling, out to eat, and to a local ice cream stand and it felt like summer should–fun.

So now I’m vowing to shoehorn in a bit more fun between the kids’ work schedules/social calendars (even the youngest is working as a camp counselor) and everything else life is always coming up with at a moment’s notice.

Next up? I’m eye-balling a picnic at a waterfall in CT, followed by a stop at Norman Rockwell’s house (love his paintings)…and a waterpark day…and a beach day (or day/night).

What are you wanting to do in the remaining weeks of summer?

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)


Bits, Bits, and More Bits

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 5 Comments

Let’s get back to bits today…


1) What’s one thing you hear right now?

2) When you take off your shoes, do you untie them first?

3) Mr. Rogers or Magic Garden? (I’m banking on most of you knowing this)

4) Beach or ski trip?

5) One thing you’re really hoping to do this weekend?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~Elizabeth (a.k.a. Laura)