Friday, April 18, 2014

Stumbling Block can be Blessings in Disguise

Sometimes stumbling blocks can be blessings in disguise. This, I feel, is very much the case in the many problems that have besought the release of my latest book. Allow me to go into detail.

     March 31 I received an early April Fool's jolt: a call from Max Adam, the ex-German soldier whose story I retell in my book. He informs me that he cannot accept the title of my book--that I'll have to change it. I Wouldn't Serve Hitler was just not true. He had to serve Hitler or his family would be in danger, and thus he felt the title would reflect poorly upon his name.
     On a side note, for the past several week up to this point, I had been hounding my publisher for a copy of the book's cover. I had a book blog tour in place and I needed to make a banner for its PR. Also, The King's English Bookshop had been asking and asking for a copy of the cover to post on their site to advertise my book launch party. The same morning I received the call from Max, I was finally sent a copy of my book cover.
     I immediately called my editor after talking to Max and told her about Max's disapproval. The book was literally fifteen minutes away from going to press. She pulled the plug on it, took the matter to the committee, and they quickly came up with a new title: Surviving Hitler, A Mormon Soldier in the German Army. I liked the title better than the original one. It was more accurate. Max liked the title and so the ball got back in motion at top speed designing a new cover to fit the new title. I never saw that cover. My editor didn't get a chance to send it to me. Instead she called to tell me that we had to change the title yet again. Deseret Book was coming out with a WWII novel in July titled: Surviving Hitler: the Unlikely story of an SS Officer and a Jew (or something like that). If we went with our Surviving Hitler title, they wouldn't carry my book in their stores.

     The committee met and came up with Conflicted: a Mormon Soldier in Hitler's Army. 
     I hated the new title. It sounded like a romance novel to me--at least the main title. And who really pays that much attention to subtitles? I racked my brain, trying to come up with something better. Nothing was coming to mind. I dropped to my knees and begged for some help. I got back up and decided--with almost a flippant attitude, for what did I have to lose--that I'd go to the scriptures for help; I'd just let them flop open at random and see what inspiration I could pull from the page. My book is a WWII story and I was going to the scriptures for ideas--yeah right. It wasn't really expecting anything. My quadruple combination (4 books of scriptures in one for those of you not familiar with Mormon lingo), fell open to Alma, chapter 7. The word dilemma almost jumped out of verse 18. That was it: The Hitler Dilemma. After all, that is really what Max's story was about; the dilemma of serving Hitler when it went against everything he knew and felt.

    I ran the new title past Max. He liked it. I submitted it to my publisher. They liked it and decided to go with it instead of Conflicted. (Perhaps it was because I lambasted the lame title, telling them I didn't want my book to come up on an Amazon search grouped with racy romance novels). So the cover artists got to work immediately using the new title.
     Yesterday I received a copy of the new cover. I hated it. Maybe not hated, but it was so absolutely boring that it made me cry.
     I emailed, and then called the cover person and begged them to change it. I told them I didn't mind the design, but please change the coloring. In fact, I loved the coloring of the previous cover, couldn't they just used that same red and gray color scheme. Red absolutely had to be in the cover somewhere--I think red when I think Nazi.

     Today when I checked my email, I saw the new cover. I liked it much better. Still I wondered why they didn't go with the gray and red like I had requested. Then I read her explanation; they had discovered that the book that Deseret Book was releasing in July looked very similar to my original book cover with the red and gray. I agreed, we needed my book to be distinctly different from theirs.
     Just as I was ready to give myself a pity party for all of the hurtles and delays in the release of my book, and overwhelming sense of gratitude pushed my negative urge away. All these road blocks stood out as blessings instead. At the beginning of this entire process, I asked for God's help in getting my book out there into the hands of as many readers who would be blessed by this story as possible. God sees the big picture. He knew what was needed for my book to stand out, appeal to the reader, and get it seen by the most people. His tender little mercies are humbling.

   Here it is, finally, the official title and cover of my new book. Details of its release date are upcoming.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Delay in Release of My Next Book :(

I've had a major upheaval today concerning the release of my upcoming book. It was literally 15 minutes away from going to press when I received word from Max Adam, the gentleman whose story I was retelling in the book, and he expressed his disapproval and major concern with the title, I Wouldn't Serve Hitler, My publisher has been scrambling and came up with a new title that Max approved of. The new title will be Surviving Hitler: A Mormon Soldier in the German Army.

This means the book's release date will be pushed back several weeks, if not longer. Strangely, I'm very at peace with it all. The last thing I would want to do is create a book that Max would not be proud to have his name attached to. It will be worth the delay to have everything done right. Ironically, I finally received the image for my book cover first thing this morning for my approval--I'd been waiting on it what felt like forever. I actually really liked it. I'll share it with you--even if it's going to totally be changed now.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Blog Tour: I Am Strong! I Am Smart

I thought the book was very well done. I loved the art, the grandma, and the self-talk lessons. I Am Strong! I Am Smart! brought a lump to my throat as I thought about being a grandmother myself. Though I only have one small grandson at present, one of these years I'll be old and gray like Grandma May in this book. I can only hope that my grandchildren will love me as Lu did her Grandma May, and like Grandma May, I pray that I might be able to make a difference in their lives.

This book touched on the subject of bullying in schools. Teachers are not always aware of what is going on. Luckily this little girl felt close enough to her grandma to reveal her hurts. The author did a beautiful job in weaving a cute story around these important lessons.

You can purchase Fay Klinger's I Am Strong! I Am Smart! on Amazon
and in Christian bookstores. Check out the author's website for those links

Author, Fay Klinger

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Hedge Against Discouragement

My husband and I are in the throes of a major house renovation project. The project has sucked my time and sucked my desire to write. Needless to say, I am discouraged and feel like giving up on writing. But something inside me nudges me from time to time and won't let me quit. There are scores of novels inside me, begging to be written. When I stumbled onto this quote below, it gave me the encouragement I needed. Even if I write but a page a week while I'm in the midst of this remodeling project, I will continue to write.

I wanted to share my encouragement with you in case you are having some discouraging moments and need a boost.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love)

This quote is often attributed to Nelson Mandela, but was written by Williamson. I mean, really, can you see Mandela saying, "brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous" in an inaugural address?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review: Tell Me No Lies by Rachel Branton

     It's been quite a while since I've read such a fun, engaging romance as Tell Me No Lies, by Rachel Branton (aka Rachel Ann Nunes). I found the characters vivid, the plot intriguing, and the writing crisp.
     I'm not generally a reader of romance, but after browsing through numerous e-books, that I had down-loaded from Book Bub, I was almost ready to give up on purchasing bargain books. I had found so many of them either boring, vulgar, or poorly written. When I stumbled onto a book by a fellow local author, I decided to give it a try knowing that at least it would be a clean read. When I started reading Tell Me No Lies I was drawn in by the first page. I felt like a 49er who'd finally struck gold.
     I would highly recommend this book to those who love a good, clean romance. and/or anyone who is looking for a fun read.

Book blurb:
With her trust fund in jeopardy, Tessa Crawford enters into a relationship with a mysterious neighbor that soon turns into something more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.

Two days before her wedding, Tessa Crawford’s world crumbles, leaving her hurt and betrayed. Worse, if Tessa doesn’t marry and receive her trust fund, her younger sister will lose her house and the homeless girls she helps will have nowhere to go.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: Behind the Mask, by Elizabeth D. Michaels (aka Anita Stansfield)

Behind the Mask 500

I purchased this book as an e-book during a $0.99 promotion two weeks ago. It was one of my better investments. I loved the book.
Since receiving my Kindle as a Christmas gift just over a month ago, I've been downloading lots of free and heavily discounted books--because I can at little cost to me. (I've had a Nook for several years now, but the deals just aren't there for the Nook). Anyway, I was getting discouraged, having yet to find a book that pulled me in among all those cheap e-books. I was about to adopt the attitude I was determined never to tread upon--because I am a self-published author who has two e-books out there for $0.99 each on Amazon: the attitude that self published books are of lesser quality. Then I was directed to Behind the Mask through one of Rachel Ann Nunes's promotions.

I more-than-welcomed the feeling of being pulled into a book within the few pages. By the end of the first chapter I was fully engaged and had a hard time putting the book down. Lately, this has been hard for me to find such a book. I think it's because I've become overly critical in my reading because I'm overly critical of my writing. I find all the writing "no-no's" as I read, often letting them distract me from enjoying the story. Though I was bothered at first at Anita's writing style of jumping from one character's point of view to another's, sometimes even in the same paragraph, I was able to look beyond that "no-no" because the story pulled me in with such power.

I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who love a good, clean romance with a touch of mystery.

The author was recently interviewed on a blog I visit. You might want to check it out to learn more about the author and the production of this multi-book series.

Abbi has the gift of dreams. But her uncanny ability to see glimpses of the future has no apparent purpose or meaning until a dream leads her to a man on the brink of despair and destruction.

Cameron is a man without a name and without a country, framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Long ago forced into exile and believed dead, the passing of years have defaced him of all hope.

The country of Horstberg suffers beneath the weight of tyranny, and only Cameron holds the secret that could see her ruler undone and restore the people to peace and prosperity. While revolution brews and whispers of treason threaten all that is dear to Abbi, she remains unaware of her own ability to answer a nation’s prayers.

Trusting only her heart and the power of her dreams, Abbi gives all that she has to lead Cameron back into a civilized world, where love is real and freedom comes only in facing what hides behind the mask.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Resolutions: Why only in January?

     With the dawn of a new year, it seems to be a time we all make resolutions to do more, eat less, and change things about our lives we don't like. But there is a problem with this paradigm--at least that's what I've found.  
     By procrastinating making these needed life changing goals until January 1, instead of grabbing the bull by the horns at the time we first recognize these needs in the previous months, we are already establishing yet another bad habit--the very thing most resolutions aim to battle. We are also setting ourselves up for potential failure. It is easy to be caught up in the popular trend of making New Year's resolution, often becoming over zealous in our goals. By mid-February our enthusiasm wanes. By mid-summer we give up or even forget about our resolutions--we'll wait until the new year to change.
     I've found that if I continually make goals throughout the year as different situations arise, and work at them slow and steady, picking myself up and dusting myself as needed, has been much more successful for me than making New Year's resolutions.
    What is your feeling about New Year's resolutions?