Easter's Lilly

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book signings- Don't surround yourself with books!

I went to a marketing class a few months ago and met a few published authors. I asked one of them how her book signings were going and she said that they were going very well. Since book signings have not been my forte as of yet, I was interested in her successful methods. She let me in on an interesting secret. “Go to places where you are not surrounded by books.” What a concept! She went to a winery, another author friend of mine suggested a bakery and the list just goes on from there. What a wonderful idea. It was at least worth some investigating.

I live in a small town that does not really pride itself in promoting local authors. I suspect there aren’t many, so I have been branching out to cities close by. Greenville, probably the closest city, was where I went first. There is a winery out there called The Blue Armadillo and ironically the owner’s name is Friendlee. If any of you have ever seen the television show Cheers, this place is the Cheers of Greenville. The customers all seem to know each other and are as warm as a Texas summer day. Then the strangest thing happened. I sold some books. People were actually buying books. I didn’t have to solicit or run over to people and ask them if this was their genre, they came up to me, sat down and started to chat. I hope to be back soon, and not just to do a signing. Apparently they have comedy nights and music from time to time. So until I become a household name, where every body knows my name at the local book store, I’m going to have to agree with my author friend from the marketing class: “Don’t surround yourself with books.” I would love to hear your book signings stories. Any new good ideas? I'm listening...

For more information on The Blue Armadillo go to http://www.Bluearmadillowinery.com

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review

 Between Midnight and Morning
by Cindy Gerard         Book Description
Books to be reviewedA tall, cool cowboy with a heartbreaker smile, J.T. Tyler had a line of women swooning in his wake. Then he met Alison Samuels, the town's new veterinarian, and found himself face-to-face with a challenge he couldn't ignore. J.T. wasn't interested in relinquishing his bachelor status, but he was definitely interested in learning what the new doc was like between midnight and morning.
Alison had moved to middle-of-nowhere Montana to start a new life—not start a fiery affair with a hunky young rancher. But she couldn't deny J.T.'s persistence...or fever-inducing powers of persuasion. After a few passionate nights wrapped in his muscular arms, suddenly Alison wondered if their sizzling relationship could survive the hours after dawn....

My Thoughts:

This book will leave you breathless. Although it is written in the third person, it is a very personal read. I felt like I was Ali being wooed by the dangerously sexy cowboy.  J.T., the perpetual bachelor, comes across as the heartbreaking cowboy, who gets caught up with the one girl he can’t have. Ali isn’t the usual protagonist that you come across in a romance novel. Although she is fiercely independent, she has a loving disposition, which draws J.T. to her on an emotional level that he doesn’t know he has.

I give this book five out of five stars and if there was a sixth one available, it would get that one too. This novel is beautifully written and will peak your interest from the very first page.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

To tour or not to tour...

I have done the research! I just finished a book tour and I must admit that some bloggers are not very delicate with their opinions.  I did not feel that my demographic had been tapped and even some of my good reviews were a little mean. One girl who actually called me a name while reviewing me, decided to mention me on twitter just to show me that she was posting my review everywhere. Although it was a four star review, I would never show anyone her review on purpose. Another girl, who I am not even convinced read the book at all, simply said that it was not her genre and had a give away. So the question is… was it worth it?

While the tour was going on, my sales skyrocketed. The truth of the matter is that not everyone will love your book and even if you do hit your demographic, every time, there will still be a few people who will simply not enjoy the read. So I would say that even though some of the reviews were less than marketable, these young ladies certainly had “interesting” things to say. While some were obviously trying to say something mean, they just accentuated parts of the book that people who enjoy a soapy kind of series would love.  And despite some of the negative reviews, my star rating didn’t suffer much at all. Other people, whom I do not know, saved the day with something nice to say about one or both books.

After much consideration, I have decided to tour book two. The sales are not nearly as high as the first book and I think it’s because I haven’t toured it yet. I found someone who I think has a handle on it and am looking forward to another round of holding my breath in anticipation. I think, all in all, a good product will sell itself (as an author friend of mine said to me after I got my first poor review) and if it’s a good book, it will sell, plain and simple. Getting the word out is of course, the challenge. I have found myself running a little low on steam as far as enthusiasm goes for marketing. But…I have turned over a new leaf. If I want the same results with Brother Number Three as I got with Easter’s Lilly, I’d better get moving. So yes, it was worth it, it is worth it; the virtual tour is the way to go. Find someone you trust, look for references and spread your wings a little. Book three is coming out in January, so I’d better jump over the cliff now, if I want to swim later.

“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” – Leo F. Buscaglia 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Eleventh Hour- Tides of Atlantis by Natalie Bushnell

Book description:
Veronica Lark is hunted by the dreams of a husband and past that don't exist. Desperate for answers, Veronica is caught snooping around the local museum by the manager, Troy Hemmingway. Who also has a secret? United by a love stronger then death, they unlock the truth of their past life together in Atlantis. Where they embark on a journey of self-discovery, true love, betrayal and destiny!

An extremely gorgeous stranger was attached to my lips and I was so kissing him back. His warm supple mouth melted mine. Convincing me he had been over my lips a thousand times before. This kiss was undeniably staking a claim; even calling me home. A kiss to say, "I have missed you my love."

My thoughts:

Hold on tight!
This book was full of action and suspense.  There was no telling which turn the story line was going to take at any given moment. The descriptions of the characters were so detailed; I would swear that one of them was Brad Pitt. (But I won’t ruin it for you and tell you which one).

As a writer myself, I must say that the only way to keep a book moving along at such a pace is to keep the reader on the edge of their seat, and that is what Natalie succeeds in doing. I woke up this morning and grabbed my Kindle, just to see how it ends. Prepare for take off when you open this book. It will send you spiraling out of control. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Writing Rituals

With almost every author interview I have done, I have been asked the same question: Do you have any writing rituals? I think we all have certain routines that we go through when we write. For example, I was just talking with an author who reads while she exercises and that’s the way she gets her reading done. I couldn’t believe that I do exactly the same thing. I recently discovered the Kindle and though I admit that I prefer the book in my hand, I have since had a change of heart. I can place the Kindle on my elliptical machine and simply push a button when I’m ready to turn a page. No more trying to hold the book and turn the pages without dropping it onto the floor. The Kindle makes it incredibly simple for me to catch up on my reading while I’m burning calories.  Since I take about an hour to work out, this is an incredible time saver.

I also check my social media first thing in the morning before I get started.  I check my email and make sure there is nothing that needs my immediate attention. If it does I take care of it before I get into the zone so to speak.

If I’m writing in the evening, I enjoy a glass of Chardonnay while I’m writing but if it’s daytime I enjoy a glass of unsweetened, green tea.  I read over the last chapter that I have written, just to make sure I am up to speed on the details and haven’t forgotten anything. Once I’m writing if anyone is talking to me while I’m working I appear to be paying attention but I assure you that I hear nothing. It’s kind of funny how I have been able to pull that off but I’m sure as time goes on, it will become more and more apparent that I am not paying any attention at all.

After I finish writing I back up my files twice and close up shop. I re-check my social media and power down my MacBook. The next day, it all begins again. I do take two days a week and devote a large part of those days to marketing. I hope that some day I will be able to pay someone else to do that part of the job for me but until that time… it’s up to me.

What are your writing rituals? I would love to hear what gets you motivated.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review: Shadows of Suspicion by Ashley Dawn

Book description
Revenge is the agenda…


“Find my sister.”

Rick Reiley’s words were what drove Luke to search mercilessly for Kerry. He is in a race against time to find her and will have to face more than a criminal mastermind to get close to her. He is prepared to give his life for her, but what about his heart?

“…I would like you to meet….My wife.”

Those words from her enigmatic rescuer threw Kerry more than anything else that had happened to her in the last few days…and that was saying a lot! Kerry’s simple life is turned upside down when she is kidnapped and dragged to the middle of nowhere by a madman. She trusts Luke with her life, but can she trust him with her heart?

As Luke fights to keep Kerry safe, the chemistry ignites and the danger gets closer.

Will God protect them while Luke tries to sort out his heart….and capture Kerry’s?

My Thoughts:

The book starts out with Kerry’s over-protective brothers calling Luke Reeding to rescue their sister Kerry from her kidnappers. Kerry manages to fight her way out of trouble when Luke discovers her and takes her to safety. They all agree that the kidnappers are still a threat, even after Kerry is rescued, so Luke follows her home and keeps watch over her to make sure she stays unharmed. I won't give too much away, but her stubborn nature makes his job quite the challenge.

It is obvious that Luke is a non-believer and Kerry’s strongest desire is to bring him to Christ. There is a serious attraction between them, which has them both thinking about a future together. This kind of thinking is simply unrealistic because she can’t see herself marrying a man who does not believe in God and he simply feels unworthy of her affection. This book carries a certain amount of danger and mystery; just enough to keep the potential for romance, interesting and at bay.

I would certainly categorize this book as Christian fiction because although it is also considered a romantic suspense, the storyline is predominantly about Luke and his faith or lack there of. It is full of sexual tension throughout the novel and if you’re looking for a good, clean read, I highly recommend it. It won’t steam up your windows but it will keep you turning pages anxiously all night long. I give this five out of five stars.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Loving Lilly

Lilly is a different kind of character. She isn’t your usual strong female in love with the white knight who sweeps her off her feet and rescues her from her bad choices and situations. Lilly is innocent to a fault. All because of one bad choice, her life gets thrown out of control. She gets involved with a low-ranked gangster who gets her pregnant and leaves her all alone in a strange city. She marries the handsome Diego Montiago and later finds out he’s the king pin of one of the largest crime families in the world. So, her first bad decision spins her into another bad decision and so on… The poor girl eventually falls in love with Diego’s younger brother Max, which turns Diego inside out.  So, is she the typical protagonist in a romance novel? Certainly not.

Why do so many people find her so identifiable? Why do so many others want to pull her hair out? Why is she breaking hearts and turning pages? The emotion evoked by this series is triggered by the controversial personality I have assigned my character.  I worried about it at first. But after I got stopped in supermarkets and chased down in doctor’s offices, I started to realize…I love Lilly. Lilly is part of me.

I don’t know about you, but in my life, I have made a few bad decisions. I have made some less than wise dating choices and found myself in situations over which I’ve had little or no control. As we get older, I think it’s safe to say, that the amount of control we actually have over our lives is painfully revealing. Although we have control over our choices, God is certainly in control of the outcome. I will be the first to admit that I dream my story lines, so if I were to try to convey to you that I had a plan in creating the beautiful Lilly, I’d be lying. I didn’t plan to make her the woman we often wish we could be or are afraid to admit we are sometimes. She just kind of ended up that way. The fact that communication is simply not her strong suite, unless she’s hanging out with Hector of course, relationship skills don’t even enter into the picture.

It has been suggested to me by other fellow authors that I keep my voice. They tell me to write the way my heart leads me and to heck with the consequences. So I continue to dream and feel grateful for the real romance in my life. The communication between my husband and me is the backbone to our continuous happy marriage. Will Lilly find that kind of love someday? We can only hope.

 So, I have to ask. What makes you choose your characters and their love interests? Do you take them from your real life or do you go to sleep at night and wake up with a really good idea? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

“Characterization is an accident that flows out of action and dialogue.”
– Jack Woodford

Monday, July 11, 2011

Brother Number Three's Latest Review on Amazon

I just got my first professional review for Brother Number Three. Patricia Foltz of Way2Kool Designs writes, "As for the author Judy Serrano I can't wait to read her next book. She writes with such passion and enthusiasm with lots of twists and turns, and full of adventure and excitement..." read more at http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Number-Three-Judy-Serrano/dp/1612960375/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310425964&sr=8-1

Latest Review of Easter's Lilly

I had to share my good news with you. The latest review of Easter's Lilly was posted today by Stephanie Fatta on her blog, Beauty Brite. Here is a quick excerpt:

"Easter's Lilly caught my attention from the first page!  After reading the first page, I just wanted to keep reading and reading.  There is so much mystery and intrigue within the pages that I didn’t want to put the book down.  Easter’s Lilly is filled with surprises that I did not see coming..." read more at 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How important is the shelf?

To satisfy my demographic, I need the novels I write to be available in paperback as well as electronically.  Many people who read my books will want to hold the book in their hands, see the page numbers and even skim to the end if they so desire. However, the argument has been made: How important is the bookshelf?

I never really thought about this as such a difficult question until today. I had a friend on vacation that read my first book and wanted to get her hands on the second book.  Although my books are available in some stores on some shelves, they are not universally available. She was unable to get the book and I will have to get it to her when she gets home. Of course, I am happy to do it, but I was disappointed that she had to wait. That being said, someone called me on the phone today from a local bookstore and asked me why he can’t find my novel on the shelves.

There is no doubt that the future of bookstores is uncertain. There will probably be a time in the not-so-distant future where electronic books will be more of the norm and less of a luxury.  But until that time, bookstores are still in business and people are still buying hardcovers and paperbacks. So how important is the shelf? What do you think?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

I am sure you have all heard that if you’re looking to become rich, don’t become a writer. “You’ll never make any real money that way,” they all say to me. I can’t help but notice that Rick Riordan and JK Rowling are certainly singing a different tune. However, we all know that people who are successful in such gigantic proportions are not really the norm, but more like the occasional success story.

So where do we go from here? I know some writers who decide to write for the market: Figure out what’s hot and go for it. Then there are those who continue to follow their instincts and satisfy their craving to write the way they always have. They continue to draw breath into their storylines with their own style, answering the cries that taunt them in their imagination while they are trying to sleep or get something productive done.  Who is right anyway? Will any of us really ever see our characters up in lights someday? I’m pretty sure that Stephanie Meyer had no idea what a huge success she was going to become with her Twilight Series.

So I say, go for it! Write, edit, publish, market and push as hard as you can to make your dreams come true. If you can see it, you can become it.

I believe it was Dale Carnegie who said, “The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.”

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What Writers Read

Growing up, I struggled with dyslexia, which made it difficult for me to really enjoy reading. I found it interesting that I had always been a writer though. I think part of the dilemma was the types of books they give you in school to read. Now, I know my teacher friends out there are going to yell at me, but books that were written back in the 1920’s simply do not interest a young adult in high school nowadays. When I was a kid, the books we were given to read were so out of date, that understanding the books, especially with the addition of my learning challenge, became an all consuming, torturous task.

Now that I have learned to overcome my dyslexia challenge, for the most part, I LOVE to read. Lately I have been reading more and more books that are not in my genre and I believe that as a result of this, my writing is suffering, just a bit. Nothing major yet but not being submersed in the genre certainly takes its toll.  My husband pointed out to me that I used to feverishly finish the books I was reading and then begin to zealously write until my fingers bled.

I read up on some pretty famous authors and some of them say to read EVERYTHING! I began to do that and must humbly disagree. I am not sure if it is my learning challenge or just my attention span, but if a book is not in my genre, it will take me forever to finish it. If a book is in my genre, I’ll devour it in two days…tops! When I was a young songwriter, I remember my dad saying to me, “You will have to choose a style. You will eventually write what you let inside.” Wise words, I must admit.

So, I think it is time to be honest with myself and love what I read as much as I love what I write. Books that take a running start off a cliff are certainly the ones that keep my attention. Romance, love, even forbidden desire are all on my list of must-reads and it is time I get back to it. So, Lilly and her family can rest assured that I will no longer leave them holding their breath, waiting for me to write their happy endings. I think I’ll just take a day off and read, read, read…