Thursday, January 29, 2015

Don't Forget to Review!

One of the things that most authors crave but feel uncomfortable bringing up is the importance of a review. After readers finish one of our books or novellas, we really appreciate people giving us stars and commenting on what they like (or don't like) about our story.

I used to cringe (okay, and sometimes cry) after someone slaughtered one of my "babies" in a negative review, but that's not the case anymore. Now I read what the person had to say with a different mindset. If there is something specific about the story that has an issue, I decide whether or not it's something I can fix … or if I even want to fix it.

My reviews have been all over the place, with some people loving the story and saying it's the best book they ever read, while others slam that same story for various reasons. This tells me that I've managed to evoke emotion through fiction, and that's what most of us want to do.

What I don't appreciate are slams against me as a person and lies to turn prospective readers away. Yeah, you may not believe this, but I've been called names, had readers say I don't know what I'm talking about, and accused me of manipulating my characters. One reader even stated that I've obviously never been to the South because she has never heard anyone call children "young'uns." Really? She has obviously never met any of my Mississippi relatives. And then one reviewer claimed that I had foul language in my books, which is absolutely not true. I am extremely cautious about the language I use in my stories because people of all ages, including children, read them. That reviewer was obviously trying to turn my fan base of Christian readers away. It didn't work.

The negative reviews can also be productive and may even drive people to purchase my stories. One example is when a woman whose father passed away recently cried as she read one of my novellas that opened with the heroine discovering that her father had died. She gave me a one-star review because I took her to a very uncomfortable place. While I don't like to upset people, I do want to evoke emotion. Another reviewer claimed that some of the characters in one of my Summer Walsh mystery series stories (written under my maiden name, Deborah Tisdale) were odd, and she wasn't sure if she liked them, so she'd have to read some more to figure it out. Yeah, that's what I was going for.
To purchase Murder Under the Mistletoe, click HERE.
To purchase Gun in the Garden, click HERE.
Offed at the Office coming soon!

 Readers, I'm asking you to leave reviews on our books so we know how you feel and to give other readers some idea of what to expect. It also provides Amazon and other retailers a compass to determine placement of our books.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Belles in the City

As I mentioned last week, I've been working on a new romance series, "Belles in the City." The first book, Trouble in Paradise, is already available on Kindle. I'll eventually add it to other online retailers, but at the moment, you'll need either a Kindle e-reader or app (free on Amazon or your device's app store). 

Now back to the series. All of the main female characters in the "Belles in the City" books are southern gals with accents, southern sensibilities, and a love for down-home cooking. These women are strong but feminine, and they truly appreciate a true gentleman. 

Since all of these books have a common theme, I chose covers that show each woman's "walk of life." Here they are:

I've labeled them as "Christian Romances," but I think they're much more than that. These stories are about the lives of normal women who find themselves in all sorts of normal and abnormal predicaments. The heroes are unlikely love interests, but as you get to know them, you'll eventually see what Charlene, Bethann, and Sunny find so alluring. And just as much fun is the interaction among the women who form relationships with each other. They all met in New York, but their bond is the South.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A New Beginning

One of my early books, A New Beginning, published by Avalon Books is now part of Amazon's Montlake Romance line. I recently got word that they're promoting this book with a special offer of only $1.99 for a limited time. If you like sweet romance with a touch of an inspirational message, you'll enjoy this one. And if you enjoy this one, you can read A New Image, A New Attitude, and A Understanding.

One of my favorite fan letters came from a woman who said this story gave her hope for the future and finding true love. After she read it, she passed it along to her granddaughter. I enjoy writing stories that entertain without bad language or subject matter that isn't appropriate for the whole family.

Here's a blurb:
   When Bethany Moore returns to her childhood home she is heartbroken to find that the old oak tree behind the house is gone.Reverend David Hadaway, the new owner of the house, makes no apologies for cutting down the tree because it was threatening the foundation.   Along with the loss of the house, the tree, and her grandmother's failing health, Bethany's world has been shaken to its core. But with David's patience and steadfast commitment to always doing the right thing, she realizes what's really important in life.
   It finally takes being forced to make a major, life-altering decision before she can act on her heart's desires and accept true love.

Order Here: A New Beginning

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Trouble in Paradise

I absolutely love southern fiction, so it makes sense for me to write it. My Class Reunion series (Pretty Is as Pretty Does, Bless Her Heart, and Tickled Pink) are all set in a fictional town near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Most of my other books are also set in the Southeast, but you'll often find my characters making their way up to New York City - one of those places I love to visit as often as possible.

Order here: Trouble in Paradise
One of the things that I find fascinating is when you take a southern girl and place her out of her element. Her accent will grow thicker, and she'll make everyone around her smile - even when what she's saying isn't intended to be funny.

This month, I published Trouble in Paradise, the first book in my "Belles in the City" series. Here's a blurb:

Southern belle Charlene Pickford finds herself in a pickle after landing the job of her dreams in New York City. Her boss Alan might be attractive, but when it becomes obvious that he's hiding some deep, obviously very dark secret, she feels an overwhelming urge to flee. 

She could go back to Georgia to help her parents—even though they've made it clear that they don't want her hovering. Or she can stick around and see what happens with her career and her feelings for Alan. Decisions, decisions, decisions … 

The second book in the series, One Foot Out the Door, is currently in production. I've written it, and now it's being revised and edited. As soon as it's available, I'll post the information here.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Make 2015 a Mannerly Year

I'm still writing etiquette articles for, and I absolutely love it. It gives me the opportunity to share what I learned throughout the years, and I often hear from people asking all sorts of questions about proper manners. Most folks who write in are sincere and care enough to want to do the right thing. That gives me hope for society.

Here are some of the most popular articles that I often recommend:

I hope you have a wonderful 2015. Celebrate every single day by being kind and showing respect to others while you work, party, hang out at home, and go about your everyday business. 

Photo courtesy of Matthew Hull/

If you'd like to make a commitment to learning and using proper etiquette in 2015, please sign up for my Etiquette newsletter that goes out once a week as well as on occasions when I have something extra to say. Here's a link: Etiquette Newsletter.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

It's Free!

Not only have I published Gun in the Garden at Amazon, I've made it free for a few days! Here's a blurb:

Summer Walsh will do anything to avoid going back into law enforcement, so when she has an opportunity to leave Nashville and run a day care center in Atlanta, she grabs it. To her parents' chagrin, she stumbles on another dead body and can't resist the urge to get involved. Over the next several days, Summer encounters several suspects including a man who has threatened to take down the victim's tree that drops fruit into his yard, a nosy neighbor, a man who will stop at nothing to get her car, and the garden club president who thinks the victim is pond scum.

Order here: Gun in the Garden