CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

EVERY STOLEN BREATH through November 23rd
Gratitude Giveaway Hop through November 30th
TIGER QUEEN through November 30th

Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews and Guest Posts w/ Debut Authors & Query Critique Giveaways

Kari Sutherland Query Critique & GRAVEMAIDENS Giveaway on 12/9/2019

Katelyn Detweiler Agent Spotlight Interview & Query Critique Giveaway on 1/20/2020

Hilary Jacobson Query Critique & ALL THE STARS AND TEETH Giveaway on 2/5/2020

Megan Manzano Agent Spotlight Interview & Query Critique Giveaway on 2/24/2020

MARGARET OWEN INTERVIEW AND THE MERCIFUL CROW GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Margaret Owen here to share about her YA fantasy THE MERCIFUL CROW. It sounds like it has great world building and a fast-paced plot. I’m really looking forward to reading it.

FOLLOWER NEWS


First, I have news from a follower. Ronel Janse VonVuuren has a new MG fantasy, MAGIC AT
MIDNIGHT. Here's a blurb: Amy has to leave behind her beloved pegasi and enter a world far removed from her own. Can this lowly farm girl prevent war from being declared among the kingdoms? And here's a purchase link:

Now onto Margaret's interview. Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

A future chieftain

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?
 

Hi Margaret! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Hello, and thank you for having me! I suppose it really was inevitable: my family and school were all very supportive of reading and writing, although no one ever tried to persuade me that it would be a lucrative career. I found myself writing a lot as a teen, and then as I graduated, went to college, worked different jobs, moved towns, and so on, the only constants were: my book collection, and how I kept falling back into writing!

2. Where did you get the idea for THE MERCIFUL CROW?

There were a number of elements that I’d had floating around my skull for a while: I wanted to write something atmospheric and a little unknowable, and I’d always found plague doctors interesting. Then I came across an article outlining the lives of medieval European executioners, and I was struck by how they were exiled from the communities they were supposed to serve. Once that was thrown into the mix, it really just picked up bits and pieces of other ideas until it became its own story.

3. Reviewers have said that your world building is fantastic and that part of it is your attention to all the details of your world, such as the politics and religion. Share what your world building process was like.

That’s very kind of them! I’m absolutely a huge nerd when it comes to world building—if anything, I can get carried away. For me, politics and religion are the bedrock of a world, because religion decides what your society believes, and politics shows how they (hypothetically) enforce those values. For example, the foundation of the culture in TMC is the widespread belief that good people are born into ‘good’ castes, that there’s this divine meritocracy being enforced. The next step for me is to ask: how does that impact someone’s everyday life? How does it impact resource allocation? Rituals? Property and land ownership? Tax policy? Folklore?
And then you have to consider how that will play out on the page: what characters want, how those beliefs shape their experiences, what they think is right and wrong. For example, initially Fie is offered money or land in exchange for her help. It’s payment that seems reasonable to a prince and his bodyguard, who have never had their right to those things challenged. But to their surprise, Fie rejects those on the spot. She knows from personal experience that they would only be driven off the land or robbed of the money; her caste has a long history of being denied wealth and stability, and a longer history of that being ignored by the authorities. This circles back to the fundamental belief in a divine meritocracy: the country’s cruelty toward her caste is justified by the belief that they’ve been born to a low caste as divine punishment. That’s why I always start with ‘what does your society believe.’

4. That's great advice on what to focus on in your world building. It also sounds like THE MERCIFUL CROW is a real page turner. What are some of the ways that you kept the plot moving so that readers keep wanting to turn the page?

This is going to sound absurd, but I was actually having a bit of trouble figuring out how I wanted to pace it…. And then I went to go see Mad Max: Fury Road. This was right around when I was drafting the fourth chapter, I think. I came out of that movie thinking about how they kept you absolutely nailed to your seat for what was essentially a 2-hour chase scene. The key was that no matter how far they went, no matter how fast, or who they shook off their tail, there was always someone or something else closing in, and they all knew it.  

5. I think seeing how movies keep you totally engaged in a good way to figure out a riveting plot. What was a challenge that you had in writing this story? How did you overcome it?

Honestly, the biggest challenge was staying focused. I drafted my first-ever manuscript at a time when I didn’t have internet access in my apartment, and it went a lot faster (though not necessarily better.) I had wi-fi for most of my time drafting TMC. More or less coincidentally, I also had my internet blocked for most of my time drafting TMC!

6. Your agent is Victoria Martini. Share how she became your agent and what your road to publication was like?

Unexpectedly quick. I’d already slogged through the query trenches with my first manuscript strapped to my back, with nothing to show for it, for about 2 years before I shelved that story. I fully expected to take a year to find an agent, then spend another year on submission, which is a perfectly normal time frame.

Then I entered TMC into a pitch contest and wound up with a startling amount of interest from participating agents. That’s when I knew something was up. I sent out queries to any agents who I wanted to be sure had a chance to look at the manuscript… and then the next day I got an offer, which meant I had to nudge all those queries, which FYI looks SUPER SKETCHY when you do it ONE DAY after sending a query. There was a bit of a flurry as I got to talk to a bunch of wonderful agents, but at the end of the day, Victoria really blew me away on every level. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I’m a pretty clean drafter, so we were able to go on sub fairly soon. I signed with Victoria in April, and then by June, things were heating up with editor interest, and we went to auction at the end of the month. By the time we got back from the July 4 weekend, the auction had wrapped up, and I was able to officially (and very smugly) give my work notice that it was time to start looking for my replacement. The whole thing was wild. I can't wait to see what my next deal is like.

7. Sounds like a publication story we'd all like to have. What is something that surprised you in the publishing process?

The amount of things people think authors have control over that we DEFINITELY do not. Coworkers would ask me if I’d be doing my own cover, and I would try not to laugh rudely in their face. Same goes for events, special editions, tours, you name it—I’m lucky to have a great team making a lot of cool things happen, but I’m hardly clapping my hands and shouting, “Garçon! Bring me the sprayed edges, post-haste!”

8. What have you done to promote THE MERCIFUL CROW prior to release? How are you planning to market your book when it releases and after?

That’s a tricky question, haha. The tough answer here is that as a debut author and unknown quantity,
I can only directly and personally convince a couple hundred people to buy my book, maximum. The big game-changing marketing happens at the publisher level, where they’re pitching my book to different outlets like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indie bookstores. As a control freak, that’s something I had to come to terms with.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t help in other ways—for example, this blog post! And other things like features, guest posts, interviews, reaching out to libraries and indie booksellers, and so on. We also know the most effective form of marketing is word-of-mouth, which can be something of lightning in a bottle: the trick is how to catch it. For me, that’s where the real value of a preorder campaign is, and why I appreciate all the bloggers and book fans posting pictures of the swag they get—it’s an organic way to promote the book, because odds are it’s the first time at least one of their followers will have heard of it. (Yes, I’m including a link to my preorder campaign below.)


9. Thanks for sharing your practical ways to help market a debut book. They are something we can all do. What advice do you have for authors who are signing their first publishing contract about preparing for their debut?

I’m going to repeat what I heard the most, because it’s absolutely held up for me: work on something else. Work on your next project. Not your sequel, because if you get a sequel, odds are you’ll make changes during edits that would impact your sequel. Start the next project you intend to sell. I don’t think a lot of authors go into this intending to only ever publish one book; the sooner you can have something else ready to go, the better shape you’re in.

There also tend to be gaps of days, weeks, sometimes months when you don’t have anything to work on for your debut. That’s exactly when you should be working on your next book. Or starting a creepy doll collection! You’re an adult, I can’t tell you what to do. I bet the book’s gonna be more profitable in the long run, though.


10. What are you working on now?

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Margaret. You can find Margaret at:


Twitter and Insta: @what_eats_owls
Preorder campaign, open until 8/6: https://forms.gle/ofzNFhT2q8MjB51y8

Margaret and her publisher Henry Holt & Co. have generously offered an ARC of THE MERCIFUL CROW for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through August 10th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. The ARC giveaway is U.S. and Canada.

Here's what's coming up next:

Wednesday, August 7th I have an interview with debut author Gabrielle Kirouac Byrn and a giveaway of her MG fantasy RISE OF THE DRAGON MOON

Monday, August 12th I'm doing a monthly newly released MG and YA giveaway if there is no giveaway hop in August

Monday, August 26th I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Melissa Richeson

Hope to see you on Wednesday, August 7th!

CHRISTMAS IN JULY GIVEAWAY HOP


Happy Sunday Everyone! Are you having a good summer? This is one of my best since my husband died five years ago. I'm at an annual theater group retreat much of this week with my boyfriend, have lots of birthdays, including mine tomorrow, and a few long-weekend trips to see family. Plus I am getting more bits of time to work on my manuscript. And I'm reading a ton. I just finished SORCERY OF THRONES by Margaret Rogerson. It was so good!

Today I'm excited to participate in the Christmas in July Giveway Hop hosted by by BookHounds. I am so grateful to Mary at BookHounds for continuing to host these giveaways because I know they take time for her organize.

So here are your choices. I've got a combination of MG and YA books and recent books by followers that I hope you're looking forward to reading. Remember, if you want an earlier book in any of these series, you can pick that instead as long as it doesn't cost more than the book here. You can find descriptions of these books on Goodreads.















If you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.



To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of this blog and leave a comment telling me what book you want or that you want the gift card through July 30th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. I will also give you an extra entry if you follow me on Twitter and let me know this. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is International as long as the Book Depository ships there for free.

Here's what's coming up (FYI I'm starting my summer slow down to spend time planning next year's schedule):

Monday, July 29 I have an interview with debut author Margaret Owen and giveaway of her YA fantasy THE MERCIFUL CROW

Wednesday, August 7th I have an interview with debut author Gabrielle Kirouac Byrn and a giveaway of her MG fantasy RISE OF THE DRAGON MOON

Friday, August 9th I'm doing a monthly newly released MG and YA giveaway if there is no giveaway hop in August

Monday, August 26th I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Melissa Richeson

Hope to see you on Monday, July 29th!

And here are all the other blogs participating in this blog hop:








AGENT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH CONNOR ECK AND QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Connor Eck here. He is a literary agent at Lucinda Literary.

Hi Connor! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Connor:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.
I started my career in journalism and film then found my niche in publishing at Lucinda Literary, where great mentorship and learning experiences propelled me into an agenting role in 2017. I’ve since had the opportunity to build an eclectic list. It’s been extremely rewarding editing and selling books across different genres and formats—from children’s to adult to poetry and more. I like to keep my palate guessing! 
About the Agency:
2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.
We’re really unique in what we offer authors. We coin ourselves as a hybrid in that we do a lot more than provide representation. We have a speakers bureau and add a wealth of marketing experience along with personalized author care. Not only are we very hands-on editorially, we like to be friendly and transparent with our clients, which can pleasantly surprise a lot of people. 
What He’s Looking For:
3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?
I represent all children’s genres. More picture books, MG, YA, and illustrators, please! I don’t go for high-concept fantasy stories that overpower character development. I mostly look for contemporary or magical realism. For picture books, the sillier the better, or heartfelt stories that tap into some universal nerve. For all books, I look for that commercial hook. I’ll also ask, “What moral value does this bring?” or “What new, fresh idea does this present?”. 
4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?
You don’t know until it’s in front of you!
What He Isn’t Looking For:
5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?
Anything that might not be ready for agency submission. Too often writers query manuscripts before they’ve been properly (and thoroughly!) revised many times over. Also, poor grammar from the outset is never fun to see. Good writing starts at grammar. 
Agent Philosophy:
6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?
Take on good people whose work moves me powerfully. Work incredibly hard, make people’s dreams come true, build lasting relationships. And don’t forget to enjoy the process. (That was long-winded for a mantra—I do apologize!). 
Editorial Agent:
7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?
Indeed. I’ll begin by providing broad-strokes feedback then narrow into line editing as we approach submission. 
Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)
8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?
Query me by email (connor@lucindaliterary.com). Include a brief query letter; 250 words is ideal, and copy and paste the first 25 pages below your signature. Thank you, kindly!
9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you? 
Long-winded letters feel daunting. Charmin Ultra, less is more. Grammar mistakes in the first pages hurt my soul. It’s a very sensitive soul. 
Response Time:
10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?
It’s impossible to respond to every query! I’ll try my best to respond to requests for pages in timely fashion but sometimes, depending on the time of year and volume of projects I’m working on, it might take longer than I intend. 

Self-Published and Small Press Authors:
11.  Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?
Yes, though typically only in adult nonfiction. 
12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?
I think there’s more opportunity to find authors nowadays with so many writers self-publishing and using mediums like Medium (ha!), Wattpad, podcast forums, and the like. For scouting, these avenues are great. I don’t see them negatively affecting an agent’s role, because people still yearn to be published with major houses—that’s where the money, prestige, and enduring career live. Agents are the avenues that make this happen. 
Clients:
13. Who are some of the authors you represent?
Why thank you for asking. I guess it would make most sense to mention the ones whose books are forthcoming… Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl, the greatest WWE midget wrestler of all time, has a memoir publishing in September, LIFE IS SHORT & SO AM I, about his improbable journey to stardom. Karla Clark’s picture book, YOU BE MOMMY, publishing with Feiwel & Friends in March, is an adorable role reversal story where a tuckered out mother is too tired to be mommy at bedtime so she asks her daughter to be mommy and tuck her in, kiss her chin, and so forth. It’s a tender rhyming story, if you can’t already tell! And then there’s Emily Dalton, a talented young writer living in Brooklyn. BE STRAIGHT WITH ME, written in verse, documents how she and her male gay best friend unexpectedly fell in love in college. You can find this on the shelves next spring. 
Interviews and Guest Posts:
14. Please share the links to any interviews, guest posts, and other links, such as to Manuscript Wish List, you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.
Links and Contact Info:
15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.
Email me (connor@lucindaliterary) and be sure to follow our submission guidelines: http://www.lucindaliterary.com/representation-guidelines/
Additional Advice:

16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?
Common convention tells writers to read and write a lot to become better writers. I believe you need to do more than that. If you don’t know what to look for or what mistakes you’re making, how can you improve? You need to deeply study the mechanics of writing—grammar, syntax, structure, character development, poetics, simplicity, pacing, I could go on… This can be done by devouring on-writing and on-editing books, getting your own work edited or your hands on professionally edited manuscripts, taking classes, engaging a writing coach, etc. 
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Connor.

Connor is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follower button if you're not a follower) and leave a comment through July 27th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that's okay. Just let me know in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, or follow me on twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an international giveaway.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com
Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.

JUNE MCCRARY JACOBS INTERVIEW AND RES-Q TYLER STOP GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut middle grade author June McCrary Jacobs here to share about her MG historical adventure RES-Q TYLER STOP. She's also a long-time follower and posts with the MMGM bloggers on Mondays. I love the setting she chose—1968, and it sounds like a heart-warming story that kids who love animals will be drawn to.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads


It's the summer of 1968 in Sonoma County, California, and eleven-year-old Weston Gregg and his nine-year-old sister, Wendy, are looking for fun things to do during their summer break from school. When they discover some abandoned rabbits, they hatch an idea to make a positive difference for animals and people in their small town of Tyler Stop. 

They decide to form 'Rescue Each Species-Quickly', or RES-Q Tyler Stop.

There are challenges to face as they move forward into their new venture, including standing up to someone who is targeting Weston's friends for being different and a painfully bad decision.

Will Weston have to handle these issues on his own or will he learn to accept the advice and wisdom shared by some important people in his life? Join Weston and his family and friends as they share some adventures and learn and grow together in RES-Q Tyler Stop.

Hi June! Thanks so much for joining us.

I'm glad to be your guest on Literary Rambles, Natalie. Thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I have always enjoyed writing. I remember in junior high, high school, and college I was thrilled when the teacher/professor would assign an essay or announce that part of an exam would be in essay form. Other students would moan, but I loved the writing process and was pleased to have an opportunity to prove my subject knowledge through essay writing rather than simply multiple choice or true/false questions.

I was a classroom teacher for twenty-one years. I was privileged to teach Kindergarten through fourth grade students during that time, but I spent the majority of my time working with first graders.

After I stopped teaching full-time, I began submitting my original sewing designs to various magazines and book publishers. Not only did I design and make the project for publication, I was required to write a blurb, sidebars, and the stepped-out instructions for each project in accordance with the specific publication's editorial requirements.

I had an opportunity to 'audition' for a regular column in a sewing magazine published in the United
Kingdom, and I was chosen to write a quarterly column about the sewing industry, trends, designers, and anything to do with sewing that was happening over here in the United States. I wrote that column for around two years.

With some experience and confidence under my belt, I began writing fiction. I wrote Christian and inspirational romance mostly in the contemporary genre. I submitted to a lot of publishers before an inspirational historical short story was picked up for an anthology published by a very, very, very small press.

In the autumn of 2012 I saw a call for submissions online for Cedar Fort, Inc.'s 'Holiday Tale Contest'. I wrote my inspirational holiday novella, 'A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom', in a few weeks and submitted it in mid-January, 2013. I was ecstatic to when I learned Cedar Fort wanted to publish the book and that I had won the contest. One of my prizes was publication of the book by this traditional, small press publisher. The book was released in October, 2013.

After promoting this novella, I worked on my first full-length novel, 'Robin's Reward', a contemporary Christian romance set in the Coastal Mountains of Mendocino County in Northern California. I submitted this manuscript to publishers and agents without success and decided to self-publish the novel in April, 2015. I released my historical inspirational romance short story, 'Handmade Hearts', in December, 2018. 'RES-Q Tyler Stop' followed in April, 2019. Both of these projects were self-published. 

2. That's great that you can write for different age groups and in different genres. Where did you get the idea for RES-Q TYLER STOP?

Believe it or not, the story idea came to me when I saw a bumper sticker in traffic several years ago. The sticker had a large black dog print on it with a motto, 'Who rescued who?' I began thinking about how we, as humans, think we are rescuing animals when we adopt or foster them.  The more I thought about it the more I grew to interpret the motto to mean animals rescue humans from their issues of loneliness, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and many other maladies.

So I began writing a contemporary family-style story about two siblings who want to open an animal rescue in their small rural town in Northern California. The story changed genres two or three times and morphed from the family-style story to a contemporary romance to a historical romance into what it was intended to be all along—a middle-grade novel. I decided to set it in 1968 because it was a time period I completely understood and could relate to because I grew up in Northern California during that time.

By the way, a few weeks ago I saw two more bumper stickers relating to this subject. Both had the dog print motif. One read, 'Rescue Mom on Board'; the other read, 'I [heart] My Rescue Dog'.

3. That is such a fun story about how you got your story idea. I love the historical time period that you picked because I remember it. Your story also shares information about the Pomo Indians. Did you have to do any research to be certain that your story was historically accurate or rely on your own experiences? What advice do you have for other writers who want to write historical fiction?

This is an excellent question, Natalie. I minored in history in college, so I enjoy researching anything historical—especially California history. I am committed to sharing only well-researched facts in my work to present issues in an accurate, authentic, and culturally-sensitive manner. Therefore, I did a lot of research about the Pomo Nation in California. There is a full print bibliography and online resource bibliography in my book so readers can read the facts for themselves.

I have had the pleasure of viewing many exhibits featuring the Pomo culture and Pomo basketry in various museums over the past few decades. The Grace Hudson Museum, the Haggin Museum, and the Mendocino County Museum are three of the institutions which house and display these beautiful baskets. When I was working on the section of my book where the school bully, Terry, is criticizing some of his classmates who are Pomo descent, I decided I wanted to include some of this nation's rich history in my manuscript.

I went to the county library's online catalog and checked out several books about the Pomo people and Artist Grace Carpenter Hudson. I read the books and took copious notes, and then I went online to learn more. When I felt properly educated in this history, then I began writing that section of the book.

My advice to writers of historical fiction is to take the time to verify facts and investigate your time period and events especially if you are writing for children. Your historical novel may end up being a 'teachable moment' for young readers. If you have double-checked your facts, you can feel confident that you are publishing good content for your target age group.

4. You are a former educator focusing on literacy for kindergarten through third grade. Did that influence how you wrote your story? If so, how?

I was the literacy mentor at our site for a three-year period. I was able to attend high-level training by experts in the field of early literacy so I could work with students, new teachers, and parents on how best to meet the needs of their students in the areas of literacy and language arts.

Through this advanced training I learned a lot about how young readers interpret what they read, what holds their interest, and how they process information. I believe all of this knowledge helped me when I sat down to write my middle-grade novel. Working with children for so many years and being a child in 1968 in Northern California allowed me to feel confident about the dialogue and speech patterns for that time period.

5. I'm sure your work experience did really help to understand how to write or middle graders. What was a challenge you had in writing RES-Q TYLER STOP? What did you learn from this experience?

Keeping the pace of the story moving at a good clip was a challenge since it was my first children's book. Also, writing the bullying section was difficult for me because I do not have any experience being a bully myself. Writing 'mean' dialogue was a challenge, but at the same time it was interesting to figure out how someone with a bully-mentality would act and speak.

Perhaps the biggest challenge was to write about racism with respect and honor for the targeted diverse group while at the same time letting readers know it is not acceptable or appropriate to treat those who are different from you in a disrespectful, hateful, biased manner.

6. You decided to self-publish your book? What led you down this path to publication? Do you have any resources that you would recommend to other writers considering self-publication?

As I mentioned previously, this is the third project which I have self-published. The reason I chose to self-publish this book and my other works is because I believe in my work. I stand by these stories, and I want to share them with readers.

I am blessed to have a top-notch editor/cover designer/formatter, Author Cindy C. Bennett, to work with on my projects. She is a successful self-published YA author in her own right, and she has been my self-publishing mentor. As she is editing, she notes questions she has about the story or asks if I have verified some historical fact or event I have included in the manuscript. This keeps me on my toes as a writer.

One of the things I enjoy most about the self-publishing process is sending my cover designer my ideas for how I want the cover to look including images, fonts, placement of text, etc. It's exciting to see the cover develop as we send ideas back and forth. Then when the cover is right, I get a special feeling and send a message back to the designer with, 'This is it!' in the subject line.

TIPS for authors considering self-publishing:

-- Always hire a professional editor to help you polish your work. It is worth the cost to have a book you are proud to present to the public;

-- Set up an Author Facebook page and keep it up-to-date;

-- Set up a blog so you can post content there and begin building your subscriber list. I use 'Blogger' through Google. There are many other free platforms available to authors;

-- Take advantage of Amazon's free Author Central page and Goodreads's free Author Page and Author Blog. Connect your blog to all of these sites so your blog posts automatically feed to these three platforms. Keep your Amazon and Goodreads author pages up-to-date;

-- Join Facebook Groups which are in-sync with your genre and writing style. I belong to several Christian author, Christian/clean romance, indie author, and children's author groups. I enjoy interacting with group members there because I learn a lot from people with more experience than I have, and I also have the opportunity to share a little of what I have learned with others;

-- Read these magazines:  Publisher's Weekly, The Writer, and Writer's Digest. You will learn about industry trends, upcoming releases, information from successful authors, and lots of other information you never thought you would need to know;

-- Get quotes from editors and publicity companies so you can begin to work on a budget. You will definitely need to include the cost of promotions, promotional copies, and postage to mail out the promotional copies. {Use USPS Media Mail to send out your promotional books to giveaway winners and/or reviewers. You get tracking for a reasonable price compared to the cost of Priority Mail.} Make a budget and try to stick with it; and

-- You may become downhearted when you read about other author's successes with literary agents and publishers, but be proud of your work and enjoy your writing journey. Never give up!

7. Those are great tips. You are also the author of two adult inspirational romances, ROBIN’S REWARD and HANDMADE HEARTS and a holiday novella, A HOLIDAY MIRACLE IN APPLE BLOSSOM. How has publication of these books influenced what you are doing to promote your new book?

For my first two books I spent hours and hours and hours sending out email messages to bloggers to try to find people to read, review, and post about my books. It was a time-consuming and frustrating experience.

For 'Handmade Hearts' and 'RES-Q Tyler Stop' I hired JustRead Publicity Tours to work on creating and organizing a blog blitz and blog tour, respectively, for me. They did the sign-ups, all of the communication with the bloggers, made the graphics, set up the schedule, publicized it on all of their platforms, ran the giveaways, and generally did a fabulous job of getting the word out about my books. You can get a free price quote from them if you visit their website and submit the Campaign Proposal form.

Having experts handle this important facet of a book release for me allowed me to enjoy my promotions and be a relaxed author instead of a worn out, exasperated author. Easy-peasy.

8. That's a great idea to hire a company to set up and organize your blog tour. What are you working on now?

I am working on the second book in the Tyler Stop series with Weston and Wendy in Tyler Stop, Sonoma County, California.

The book picks up where RES-Q Tyler Stop left off, but includes new characters and new adventures and of course, new challenges and opportunities for personal growth for everyone.

I also have several other projects in various stages of completion including some contemporary and historical inspirational romances and some short stories for middle-graders. For now, my focus is book two for Tyler Stop.

This was fun, Natalie! Thanks for hosting me on Literary Rambles today.
  
Thanks for sharing all your advice, June. You can find June at:

'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic' Author's Blog:  https://authorjunemccraryjacobs.blogspot.com 
Author's Facebook Page:  https://fb.me/JuneMcCraryJacobs 

June is generously offering a paperback and e-book of RES-Q TYLER STOP for a giveaway.  To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through July 20th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. The book giveaway is U.S. and  e-book is International. 

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog.

Here's what's coming up (FYI I'm starting my summer slow down to spend time planning next year's schedule):

Wednesday, July 10 I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Connor Eck

Sunday, July 14 I'm participating in the Christmas in July Giveaway Hop

Monday, July 29 I have an interview with debut author Margaret Owen and giveaway of her YA fantasy THE MERCIFUL CROW

Wednesday, August 7th I have an interview with debut author Gabrielle Kirouac Byrn and a giveaway of her MG fantasy RISE OF THE DRAGON MOON

Friday, August 9th I'm doing a monthly newly released MG and YA giveaway if there is no giveaway hop in August

Monday, August 26th I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Melissa Richeson

Hope to see you on Wednesday!