Thursday3Some: Perfect Match by Carol DeVaney

The Thursday3Some Spotlight is shining brightly on Perfect Match by Carol DeVaney, one of my fellow authors on Authors of Main Street.

About Carol DeVaney

Carol writes heartwarming Contemporary Romance based on family relationships, commitment and sacrifice. She also writes Romantic Suspense, peppered with a dash of humor and grounded in her Southern roots.

Find Carol DeVaney Online

Website: http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caroldevaney.author
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carol-DeVaney/116690041776153
Twitter: https://twitter.com/caroldevaney
Authors of Main Street Blog: http://authorsofmainstreet.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/old-friends/

About Perfect Match by Carol DeVaney

Cali Weston and Trace Robbins refuse to embrace forgiveness for different reasons, until they realize happiness depends on just that. Trace carries guilt for his wife's death, and Cali won't play second fiddle to a ghost.

When did you write Perfect March?

Perfect Match was the first book on my road to publication. I'd played with the idea of forgiveness and the main characters for a while. I wrote the book in 2010, but put it aside. I pulled the manuscript from the dust pile in 2012, polished it and e-published in November of 2013.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

Most of the stories that run through my head have a thread of forgiveness. I have a weakness for children who have lost a parent, especially their mother. I had twenty-seven-year-old Cali who refused to forgive her beloved father for abandoning her at age twelve. Then came Trace, a single parent of young Dylan, who  blamed himself for his wife's accident.

Dylan, through grief at the loss of his mother, had emotional issues. Enter Cali into their lives. Against her will, Cali and Dylan bond to the point that Dylan only allows Cali to comfort him during his episodes of nightmares. The story escalated from that stage. I find their story full, satisfying and with a happy ending.

Why do readers buy Perfect Match?

I think most readers can identify with a loss, forgiveness and the issues that layer through division in families. Perfect Match also has a thread of humor and suspense. The humor helps lighten the story's overall tone, and the suspense brings about Cali's understanding of her father's abandonment. I believe readers love a good story, where they can take away hope that love is the one thing that lasts. Love is the one influence that links lonely, grieving people together.

Buy Perfect Match by Carol DeVaney

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Takeaway Truth

A little vacation can always be found between the covers of a book. Buy one today.

Kimberley Troutte: A Mother's Love Inspires Book

My guest this morning is Kimberley Troutte whose latest book is God Whisperer.

About Kimberley Troutte

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kimberley Troutte has been an accountant, substitute teacher, caterer, financial analyst for a major defense contractor, aerobics instructor, real-estate broker, freelance writer, homework corrector, and caregiver to all the creatures the kids and hubby drag in. She lives with her husband, two sons, a wild cat and a snake in Southern California. Kimberley writes romantic suspense and children's fiction.

About God Whisperer

A frightened mother on the run…

Lonnie Hogan has lived and breathed fear for the past eight years. She’s ready to run again, or fight for her son’s precious life, but she won’t let anyone take David.

A desperate man searching for his family…

Few people on St. John, Virgin Islands, know their favorite doctor, Mark Norton, is a desperate man searching for the life stolen from him.

Will they sacrifice everything to protect the boy who hears God?


Find Kimberley Online

Website: http://kimberleytroutte.com/
Blog: http://kimberleytroutte.blogspot.com/
Newsletter: http://ymlp.com/xgbqwswygmgj
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kimberley-Troutte/207803425918885?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KTroutte

Grab your coffee or tea and settle in to read Kimberley's very personal love story that inspired her latest novel.

God Whisperer, Near and Dear to My Heart
by Kimberley Troutte


Thank you for having me here at SlingWords!

I am celebrating the release of my new book from Astraea Press. God Whisperer is near and dear to her heart because it’s a personal love story.

I was blessed to be the mother of two amazingly wonderful boys who were born with different and super-rare, non-life-threatening challenges. My oldest was born with a rare eye-tracking condition that also played havoc with his balance. My youngest had perfect eyes but was born with an incomplete, deaf ear. No hole! When the surgeons at UCLA created an eardrum and canal and he was able to hear with both ears for the first time in his life, I wept with joy. The miracle was overwhelming and poured out onto the page.

While the book is pure fiction—the mother is not me, David is not my son, and I am happily married—there is a river of truth flowing through the pages. The worry a parent faces when her child is born with disabilities can be crushing. God Whisperer comes from being in that place when a mother realizes she is not good enough, strong enough, or smart enough to face the challenges ahead for her child. I think all parents feel this way to some degree, don't we?

The important thing I realized early on was to ask questions and educate myself. Also, everyone has some sort of failing. Nobody is perfect and we can all help one another. Writing the book was my way of helping.

God Whisperer is my gift of gratitude. I hope the book shows there is always hope, support and love.

To help others who are going through the trials my family faced, 10% of author royalties will be donated to the American Society for Deaf Children.

Special for SlingWords Readers

I will give away a PDF version of God Whisperer to a random reader who either:
  • knows the real life Danish town in the hills of Southern California where God Whisperer takes place
  • OR tells me their favorite small town.
Thank you for having me here!

Buy God Whisperer by Kimberley Trutte

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Takeaway Truth

A little vacation can always be found between the covers of a book. Buy a book today for a getaway from the mundane.

When To Update a Blog?

For writers, one of the best tools in your author tool kit is a blog. For readers, one of the best tools to connect with others who share common interests is also a blog.

For civilians--that's non-writers like the wonderful readers of SlingWords--a blog can not only help you connect with others and provide information and entertainment to them but also it can be a way to produce income through monetization.

Is Change Good?

To make your blog a viable tool, there are many elements to consider. At the very least, you should push new content to your blog frequently and consistently, that is, write new posts. You've all heard this. But what about changing the look of your blog? Let's talk about updating your blog.

Should You Change Your Blog Design?

Your blog gains Google PageRank, one of the methods Google uses to determine a page's importance, when automated software called web crawlers crawl through your pages, seeking the importance of your content and links. The higher your PR, the more you can charge companies who offer monetization opportunities to websites.

Important pages get higher PageRank and will appear at the top of SERPs, that is, Search Engine Result Pages. Changing a template or design may make your PageRank drop initially but the drop shouldn't be huge as long as you don't change the actual textual content on your blog.

The important thing to remember is to keep the words in your metadata, your keywords, and your text the same.

Elements You Can Change

I've come full circle since moving last year at this time. Much of my writing life has been put on hold so my advice today falls under the category of "do as I say, not as I do."

So, here's what to do.

1. Review your blog and make notes about elements that take up space but don't bring any benefit to you.

2. Check all links on your various pages to make sure they still work.

3. If you have ads, make sure they are still valid.

4. If you have more than one page, look at each page and see if they're complete. (Mine aren't so do better than I've done when I changed my blog design.)

5. Speaking of pages, do you have the minimum necessary pages, especially a Contact Page? What other pages could you add?

6. Is your blog visually appealing? Ask others. Make notes about what they like and don't like. I'll blog more about blog design aesthetics, but you can check the posts I've already written. You'll find many of them in Something to Talk About / Internet Success.

Takeaway Truth

To paraphrase Mark Twain, "The rumors of the death of the blog have been greatly exaggerated." Make your blog stellar, and it will reward you.

Most Bang for Audio Book Bucks

Back in March, I blogged about library circulation statistics for audiobooks and ebooks. I heard from a lot of people who do not listen to audiobooks. What surprises me even more are the number of authors who don't listen to audiobooks. Why? The reasons vary, but one reason is because audiobooks can be rather expensive unless one checks them out at the public library.

Since I've listened to audiobooks since the era of cassettes, I'm always telling others how they can get the most for their audiobook dollar. (This post repeats every 6 months to help readers new to SlingWords.)

When my first book, Just One Look, was produced as an audiobook by ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange, an Amazon company, and distributed by Audible (another Amazon company), I joined Audible.

Audible offers a great membership plan. I now have 8 audiobooks available. Pause here for the commercial which is a list of my audiobooks with the Audible buy link embedded. (I hope you'll get one of my audiobooks whether or not you become a member).

Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones

Just One Look

Nobody's Cinderella

Old Enough to Know Better

Romeo and Judy Anne

Scents and Sensuality

Still The One

The Trouble With Love

Now, on with the post!

To Get Most for Your Dollar, Become a Member

Audible offers several introductory offers for membership. Click here to Try Audible Now and Get A FREE Audiobook!. When the Audible membership fee goes to regular price, that's only $14.95 a month. Each month on the basic plan, you get 1 credit per month. If you don't spend the credit, it rolls over. For 1 credit, you can buy any audiobook, regardless of retail price. Now that's a deal!

Plus, there are special sales for members throughout the year--sales like BOGO or $4.99 sale prices. I stock up during the sales.

So there are alternatives to paying high retail prices for audiobooks. I'm sure there are other audiobook sites with membership fees, but I'm most familiar with Audible which also offers another benefit to readers.

WhisperSync

Another benefit to Audible membership is WhisperSync. You can get the Kindle ebook edition of the audiobook you purchased for a reduced rate and switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book edition and listening to the Audible audiobook.

You can check the ebooks in your Kindle library to see if they're WhisperSync enabled. Not all are, but all of mine are. Learn more about WhisperSync here.

With Audible, you can download a book in just about any format so you can play it on your iPod or MP3 player, your Smartphone, computer, or even burn a CD and play it in your car or home if you're still listening to CDs.

Audiobooks Embraced

The popularity of audiobooks is growing by leaps and bounds. If you read my post about library circulation statistics for audiobooks and ebooks, you saw the staggering increase in audiobooks. In retail sales, there was a 20% increase from 2011 to 2012 even as all book sales declined during that same period.

Once audiobooks were enjoyed mostly by the blind. In today's world, audiobooks have risen in popularity because they make books accessible to anyone--people who love to read and people who are marginal readers. Plus, you can "read" an audiobook while driving, working out at the gym, cleaning house, or doing most anything.

Save Time & Still Be Literate

Time is at such a premium in today's world that readers often don't have the time to devote to their passion. Being able to listen to an audiobook allows readers to indulge their love of books. Audio books can take away the tedium of commuting, traveling, mundane chores and tasks, and entertain you all at the same time. When chitchat at a social gathering turns to the bestsellers, audiobook listeners can hold their own.

Takeaway Truth

About 5 years ago, a little more than 4,600 audiobooks were released. Fast forward a couple of years, and the audiobook releases increased to more than 13,000. It's only going to keep growing which is very good news for authors--and readers too.

Heat Wave

"If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?"

That rather amusing question was posed by the droll comedian Steven Wright. I adore his deadpan delivery and his skewed way of looking at life.

One of my favorite authors, Peter Mayle (love his books about Provence) said: "There is nothing I like better at the end of a hot summer's day than taking a short walk around the garden. You can smell the heat coming up from the earth to meet the cooler night air."

That may be true of Mr. Mayle's part of France, but it's definitely not true of July in Texas. About the only smell rising here at the end of a hot summer day is the smell of perspiration dripping from one's brow while it washes away the mosquito repellent applied prior to walking around the garden.

Call me crazy, but I like summer. 

Takeaway Truth

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it." ~ Russel Baker

Waiting for Inspiration or Just Waiting

I hear a lot of people talk about waiting for inspiration. Some who wait for inspiration say they want to write a book or get in shape or start a business or learn a hobby. They may say they're waiting for inspiration, but is that true? Or is it just a way to procrastinate on one's dreams?

Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate of the United States, said: "If you wait for inspiration, inspiration's going to go away and look for more fertile ground to work with."

The Truth Is

Now, I'm only familiar with the "want to write a book" syndrome, but I have a feeling the same thing applies to any aspiration so where I say writer/writing, just insert the words appropriate to the dream of your choice.

If you are an aspiring writer, chances are you view writing as something you do when truly inspired and motivated to succeed. Writers and others call that mindset "communing with the muse." The thing is these people don't know something that professional writers do know.

Inspiration comes to those who write consistently, every day.

Don't Wait

Professional writers don't wait for inspiration before hitting the keyboard. We know that the part of the brain that spews words is like an old-fashioned water pump. If you don't know how one of those water pumps work, let me enlighten you.

The pump has a long, cast iron handle. You pump the handle up and down vigorously. After a few seconds of pumping, water spurts out—unless the pump hasn't been used in a long time. If the pump isn't used regularly, you may have to pump and pump until your arm muscles scream in protest, and you're out of breath. It takes a long time for that water to spurt out. Sometimes, you even have to prime the pump by pouring water into it in order for it to start pumping water out again.

Action Begets Inspiration

That's how writing, or any other endeavor, works. You get started and work every day and that creates the motivation and inspiration to keep doing it, day after day. When you write every day, it's easy to get that outpouring of words. But, if you write every now and then, only when you "feel" inspired, it takes a lot longer to get the words flowing.

Many professional writers leave nothing to chance. They prime the pump every day by leaving a dangling thread that can easily be picked up the next day. They also may prime the pump by reading over what they wrote the previous day, editing it a bit, and then diving into the current day's writing.

Sometimes, writers who don't write regularly have a difficult time getting the words to flow. Sometimes the flow is less than a drizzle, only a drip or two. If they give up then, it's even harder the next day.

Sometimes if they don't persist and keep pumping that handle and priming that pump, the flow dries up completely. The longer they go without producing a flow of words—or without taking action toward a goal—the harder it gets to squeeze a word out or make yourself take a single step toward your aspiration of choice.

When that happens, writers call it writer's block. I don't think I've ever heard of a daily working writer with writer's block.

Takeaway Truth

Always remember what Rita Dove said: "If you wait for inspiration, inspiration's going to go away and look for more fertile ground to work with."

Gripe Session

Friday has dwindled into the evening, and I'm just now posting to SlingWords because I am extremely irritated by too many things so I might as well gripe here as to keep griping to my husband.

We were at our house in the Hill Country, but the internet wasn't working. So we mowed -- an action only resembling mowing your lawn in the sense that a blade was used to cut the grass.

Two weeks of no mowing up there means you just about need a hay baler to cut through the tall coastal Bermuda grass and weeds. I keep saying we should get a couple of goats to do the mowing for us, but without humans around to guard the goats, the coyotes would be enjoying them for dinner.

So gripe #1. I pay through the nose for Internet service, but this year, it's been spotty up here. After calling (name withheld currently until I know whether I'm entitled to bitch), I received a voice mail from them saying we were too far away for the high-speed service so they reduced our service to half the speed it was. Huh? WTF! (That's frack if anyone is checking) Not only do we get erratic internet connectivity, but we get a "repair" that makes no sense considering we've had the same internet for about 4 years and it's worked fine up until 6 months ago.

Gripe #2. I received a jury summons AGAIN for a place where I no longer live. I served jury duty there last year before I moved. Then received a notice for jury duty this past December. I called, told them I didn't live there any longer. They tersely said to fill out the form and send it in. I did. Didn't get a response. Now I get another notice, sent to my old address and forwarded.

Gripe #3. Dishwasher here went out in January. Yeah, that long ago. Try getting a repairman to come out to the country.

Gripe #4. I broke a tooth, rather a tooth root on one of my crowns, broke. Met with oral surgeon. Oh, joy. I'm having oral surgery next month for a dental implant. Goodbye 5 grand.

Gripe #5. Oh, heck. That's enough. who wants to hear all my gripes when you've all got problems of your own. How about a mild annoyance to shut this bad news fest down?

Twitter Verifications. Don't follow me if I have to jump through hoops to reciprocate. That's just annoying.

Takeaway Truth

Okay. I'm going to have a nice large glass of Red Road Signature Red and listen to Joe Walsh or Texas Blues or something foot stompin' and thigh slappin'. Wish you could join me outside on the bench under the big oak tree.