The MacGregor Legacy - From Scotland to the Carolinas

(Book 1 - For Love or Loyalty) (Book 2 - For Love or Country) (Book 3 - For Love or Liberty)

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Awakened Redemption (Inspirational Regency)

1815 England - A story that pierces the heart and captures the Regency era.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Unpublished? You Still Need a Website or Blog

You can get by without having a website before you publish, but I can think of a number of great reasons that would be more beneficial to you if you have a website or a blog before you get "the call" or "the email." Here are some of the benefits that are already helping me.

Benefits:
  • If you wait until you get your publishing contract, then you will be scrambling to learn all the aspects of publishing and marketing your book and trying to learn things you could have already taken the time to learn. For instance, I'm not going to have a learning curve of using blogger, creating a website, updating and maintaining my website, submitting to search engines and directories, linking with others--these things will already be accomplished. All I'll have to concentrate on doing is writing and blogging about my experience and creating a realistic marketing plan. This will free me to learn the aspects of publishing I don't know about.
  • Some people leave comments and others don't. Some email me privately. They have questions or want to make comments on something I've written or one of my articles they might have read. I received a lot of comments from my "Angels on Earth" article regarding my daughter's seizure disorder on my website. That experience touched several people. By having a website and blogging, my writing is already touching people even though I don't have a fiction novel in print. That means more to me than I could ever explain. That is what I'm here for. To glorify THE CREATOR through my writing and God can use my writing through this online forum while I work hard and wait to get that publishing contract.
  • While this hasn't happened to me, some people have had editors or agents stumble upon their websites and were contacted for a proposal or hired to do freelance writing and "paid" for it. To me, this is a blessing where God "opens doors that no man can shut and closes doors that no man can open." We have to remember that we write for God and where something may be rare or impossible, "with God all things are possible."
  • Faithful blogging or posting to a website, can build readership for you. If people like your blogging style and your website, they may be willing to buy and read your books when they do come out in print. Remember, people crave information. Decide on the type of information you're going to provide. It has to be "useful" or "entertaining." Think about the types of websites and blogs you lurk around. What draws you to those sites? How can you create something similar, but different?
  • When you send out a proposal, editors and agents want to know if you already have a website. If you do, they will visit while they're considering representation. Your website is your professional image before and after you publish. With the exception of your proposal, your website is the first impression you'll make in marketing yourself. They want to know that you are serious and willing to put yourself out there and do what it takes to sell that novel if they take a chance on investing their time in you and your work.

  • I taught myself how to hand-code my website, but there are easy user-friendly software programs out there that you can purchase. Or you can hire someone to create your website for a small fee. I spend $25/year on my website, but I invest my time in updating it and maintaining it. I recommend hosting it with www.doteasy.com. I have used this hosting service for six years or more and they've been great in meeting all my needs and offering more as technology increases and advances. They have great tutorials for first-time website builders.

    Your website presentation could be your first impression as a serious writer.

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com and our F.A.I.T.H. Blog at http://writingbyfaith.blogspot.com.

    Saturday, January 20, 2007

    Selling Your Book Is Marketing Your Book

    I receive a lot of questions from new authors about online marketing and building a presence on the Web if they are yet to be published. These are great questions and my answer is always the same, whatever you can do--do it. Don't wait until publication. Marketing yourself as an author (or any business owner) is going to cost time or money, or both. The less you can afford to spend, the more time you're going to have to invest.

    Most unpublished authors mistakenly believe that their publisher will handle all their marketing needs when they finally sell their first book. While a publisher will help, most likely your book will appear in long lists with other new books printed in the same week or month as yours. The authors with a proven history of sales and great print-runs will receive the bold listings, call-out features, highlights, store displays, aisle displays and cover racks. A new author is blessed to be on the shelf.

    Promoting and marketing your books will be your responsibility as the author. All the years you spend polishing your writing and promoting your work to agents and editors is a test. This prepares you for the real thing--promoting and selling to the public. This is hard for writers as 80% of us have introverted personalities. We dislike being in the spotlight. We just want our writing to shine and make a difference in the lives of others. That's fine, but in order to make that difference, your writing has to produce sales so your editor can justify why they need to keep publishing your work to get it out to the readers that need and want to read your work.

    If you are unpublished, do you need a website?
    Yes.

    Over the next few weeks, I'll discuss some free, low-cost online marketing strategies you can put into effect now, before "The Call" comes and I'll discuss why you need a website and the advantages you get from marketing yourself now.

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

    Saturday, January 13, 2007

    Words Women Use

    Below is a list of definitions that men use to understand the language of women. A friend in one of my writing groups posted this on our email list for fun. I thought it was cute. Enjoy!

    Words Women Use:
    1.) FINE: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

    2.) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five Minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

    3.) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

    4.) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

    5.) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

    6.) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

    7.) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome.

    8.) Whatever: Is a woman's way of saying forget it.

    9.) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking "what's wrong", for the woman's response refer to #3.

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.


    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    F.A.I.T.H.

    I'm blessed to be joining five other Inspirational authors on a new blog called F.A.I.T.H. You can visit us online at http://writingbyfaith.blogspot.com. The acronym stands for Following. Always. Intently. Trusting. Him. Each day a writer will post a blog and on Sundays we will take a day of rest. My day for posting will be on Saturdays. We're planning to post interesting info, Q & A, chats, and uplifting tidbits. Come visit. We'd love to have you join us.

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

    Sunday, January 07, 2007

    Review - "Freedom of the Soul"


    by Tracey Bateman

    Description
    Shea Penbrook has just buried her grandfather and inherited a run-down shack in Oregon that needs more repairs than she can afford. With no job, no money, and no family, she agrees to sell her family's last few acres to a sneaky, despicable neighbor. As she's cleaning out her grandfather's attic, Shea finds a set of old diaries that reveals her heritage and the fact that she is the last living heir to Penbrook House in Georgia.

    Shea heads for Georgia hoping to claim her inheritance so she can save her family's home. Instead, she ends up saving the life of a black man who has fallen victim to a warped political system that tolerates and secretly supports the Klan. His best friend, Jonas Riley, is owner of Penbrook House and invites her to stay out of appreciation. Jonas and Shea are caught in a whirlwind of murder, deceit and Shea's own secret identity and ties to Penbrook set the tone for betrayal and mistrust in the midst of their developing love.

    Review
    Set in 1949, this book is very true to how the South continued to treat and view black people. While they may have had their freedom, they were not allowed to use the same bathrooms, attend the same churches, share the same seats in restaurants, buses, etc. One scene deeply touched me. After Andy, a black man, was beaten so badly he was near death, Shea called the ambulance and they refused to take him to the hospital, because Shea had unknowingly called the wrong one.

    As I was reading I was swept away by diary entries telling the love story of Shea's ancestor who had fallen in love with a slave who had nursed him back to health. He gave up his inheritance, family and all they he had to be with Celeste. They went to Oregon and settled. This story handled the issue of an inter-racial marriage very accurately for the time period. I enjoyed how this author weaved two historical tales back and forth between 1847 and 1949. I was never confused and always intriqued and I kept wanting to read more. This book was hard to put down. Tracey Bateman is a gifted story-teller and you feel the emotion and thoughts of her characters. I give "The Freedom of the Soul" five stars out of five.

    "The Freedom of the Soul" is the second book in a series of The Penbrook Diaries. I have not had the privilege of reading the first book entitled "The Color of the Soul." Therefore, these books do not necessarily tie together so that you can't read them out of order.

    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    Goals and Dreams

    My first post of the new year--2007!
    Today I didn't want to go back to work. I wanted to stay home and write, write, write. Everyone is talking about their New Year's resolutions and what they want to do differently this year. There are so many things I want to do this year, but most of them are unrealistic so they wouldn't make good resolutions. Therefore, I thought I would list my dreams.

    Dreams--2007 Would be the Year (not necessarily in this order):
    1. I get my fiction novels published, specifically (Faith Endures, Promised Blessings, Flaming Rose, By His Plan).
    2. My husband's business would make enough money for me to write full-time at home.
    3. Homework would limited to 1-2 hours a day.
    4. My brother's back would be completely healed. If not, then he would at least get Medicaid for the surgery he needs.
    5. This list goes on, but I'll keep the rest in my heart where it belongs.

    2007 Realistic Writing Goals:
    1. Finish writing By His Plan and submit it to my agent.
    2. Enter at least 3-4 writing contests.
    3. Enter the Genesis Contest.
    4. Attend the ACFW Conference in September.
    5. Rewrite Candid Grace and submit it.
    6. Begin a new novel.
    7. Produce 4 newsletters.
    8. Pray, Pray, Pray!
    9. Write, Write, Write!

    I used to set long-term goals and now I just concentrate on one step-at-a-time. The biggest disappointment I set up for myself, was to determine that I wanted to be published by the time I turned 30. When my 30th birthday rolled around, it was a bitter disappointment and a rude awakening. It nearly took me three years to get over it. I didn't write during that time. Now five years later, I can look back and see how and why I wasn't ready.

    1) I wasn't writing what God wanted me to write. Nothing I wrote glorified God.
    2) I wanted the things that I thought success would bring, fame and money. My priorities and motives for writing were all wrong.
    3) I was so eager and determined "to make it" that I was willing to neglect my family.
    4) I needed to mature in the Lord.
    5) I needed to love God before my writing.
    6) I needed to write for God's glory, not mine.
    7) I needed to seek God's guidance.

    First, know why you write, who you write for, what you write and then set your goals and dream.

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.