Jubilee of Kansas Authors

A Barnes & Noble rep sent this announcement our way. Chatting with local authors, discovering new reads, and throwing some support to an area library: sounds like a good way to pass a hot summer afternoon!

The Barnes & Noble at Bradley Fair, located at 1920 N. Rock Road, will host eight Kansas authors at their July Jubilee Book Signing on Saturday, July 30, from 2 to 5 p.m. The authors will be available to chat with customers and sign copies of their books. The featured authors include Jim Baumgardner, Jefferson Knapp, Ramona Lampe, Roberta Seiwart Lampe, Kara Louise, Nancy Mehl, Judith Miller, and Kim Vogel Sawyer. Their newest books will be available at Barnes & Noble at Bradley Fair, as well as limited quantities of their previously released titles.

This book signing event is part of a Bookfair Fundraiser for the Rose Hill Public Library. If you mention the Rose Hill Public Library when making any purchase at the Barnes & Noble at Bradley Fair on July 30, a portion of your sale will be donated to the library. Also check out the Rose Hill Public Library’s Wish List table all day, where you will find books that you can buy to donate to the library.

Here is a brief description of each author:

Jim Baumgardner is the author of The Making of a Spy: Sarah’s Quest the latest book in the historical, young adult ‘Sarah’ series that includes Sarah’s Wish, Sarah’s Promise, and Sarah’s Escape. He was born and raised in Wichita. He helps keep history alive by volunteering at the Old Cowtown Museum and by giving various programs on writing, the Underground Railroad, cowboys and trail drives, and early Wichita history to schools and homeschool groups. His website is http://sarahbooks.net .

Jefferson Knapp is the author of the children’s adventure novel The Brave Journey (The Kingdom at the End of the Driveway, Part 1). He lives in the country outside Wichita. A graduate of Butler County Community College, Knapp’s career path has changed from stand-up comedian to children’s book author. Knapp is 33 years old and still has a love for animals – except snakes. His website is www.krakenbooks.com.

Ramona Lampe is the author of the children’s books Ruby the Diva Clydesdale, Calves in the Kitchen, and Santa and the Clydesdales. Ramona was raised on a farm near Cheney, Kansas. She attended high school in Garden Plain, and college at Emporia State University. After college, Ramona toured the country, performing in various professional theatre shows. She now lives back in Kansas where her favorite hobby is taking care of the horses at the C3 Clydesdale Farm.

Roberta Seiwart Lampe is the author of the children’s books Air Dog First Class, A Pig Wish, and Two Farm Cats as well as the historical fiction book The Homestead Trail: Kansas Calls. She was raised in Garden Plain. She served as a newspaper reporter for the U.S. Army before returning home in 1959, when she met her husband and became a farm wife. Working as a library aide, she became inspired to write. Roberta and Ramona Lampe’s website is http://lampebooks.tateauthor.com.

Kara Louise is the author of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do and Darcy’s Voyage, which are both based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. She grew up just north of Los Angeles. She moved to Wichita in 1991 with her husband and son. She now lives just outside Wichita on 10 acres where she and her husband have a big garden, 3 horses, 2 goats, 6 cats, and a dog. Since 2001 she has written 6 books based on Pride and Prejudice. Kara Louise’s website Jane Austen’s Land of Ahhhs is at http://ahhhs.net .

Nancy Mehl is the author many books including the Curl Up and Dye mystery series that includes Blown Away and Missing Mabel, as well as the religious fiction novels of the Harmony Series that include Simple Choices, Simple Secrets, and Simple Deceit. She lives in Wichita with her husband, Norman, and her son, Danny. She spends extra time with her volunteer group, Wichita Homebound Outreach. Nancy’s website is www.nancymehl.com, and her blog is www.nancymehl.blogspot.com.

Judith Miller is the author of a number of religious fiction titles including the Daughters of Amana series that includes Somewhere to Belong, More Than Words, and A Bond Never Broken. She is the co-author of several books with Tracie Peterson including the upcoming To Have and To Hold (Bridal Veil Island, Book 1). She was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Kansas after high school. She is the mother of four and lives in Topeka, where she writes full time. Her website is www.judithmcoymiller.com .

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the bestselling and award-winning author of numerous religious fiction titles, the newest being Courting Miss Amsel and In Every Heartbeat. She is also the author of the Katy Lambright teen Mennonite series, the latest of which is Katy’s Decision (Katy Lambright #4). She is active at her church, and enjoys quilting, drama, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in Kansas and have 3 daughters and 6 grandchildren. Visit her on the web at www.kimvogelsawyer.com.


The mother bird constantly scans her surroundings, on the hunt for sustenance for her hatchlings. Alert and ready, she keeps her eyes focused so as not to miss the tiniest movement.

A writer is constantly scanning her surroundings, on the hunt for fodder for her work-in-progress. Alert and ready, she keeps her eyes (and ears) focused so as not to miss the tiniest insight.

Okay, now that you have that mental picture fixed in your brain, think about it. As writers, we should consider our entire lives “grist for the mill.” Every summer vacation, every fast food run, we could return with a great idea for a book, poem, or blog entry. One of the characters in my work-in-progress is based on a highway worker I saw removing road kill along the side of the road. Weird, huh? Exactly!

When your brain doesn’t understand something, it tries to make up a reasonable explanation, thus, creativity. If we settle into a daily routine and don’t look around once in a while, we will miss the creative clues that life provides us. Even the most prolific authors occasionally hit a dry patch. That’s when we need to rattle the noggin a bit.

Try doing some “creative calisthenics.” This process was penned by Terri Main, a California college professor, for her students. Next time you’re waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store, examine the items in the cart of the person in front of you. Now speculate what type of evening they’re going to have: boss coming to dinner, first date, horrible bout of the flu or nursing a broken heart? Write a paragraph or two about what might be going on in their lives.

Do you remember the last time you saw a really bad movie? My husband and I spent the drive home trying to “fix” the plot. Allowing your imagination to run wild is great exercise for a writer, even though your mom always thought it was a bad thing.

Every day, every interaction and situation we experience affords us an opportunity to create art. Inspiration for writing comes from every direction and we need to be vigilant as a mother bird to focus in on literary fodder. Keep this in mind and great ideas will be flocking to your door.–Carol J. Martin

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy to be called an idea at all.”–Elbert Hubbard

Promotion Tip: Hosting Guest Authors

Writing a book may seem like a daunting task, and it is, I’m not slighting that at all. After the book (novel, novella, even an article) is finished, next comes yet another complicated task: getting it published.  Of course, during this part of your being-an-author process, you start or continue working on the next project.

After you have found a publisher or decided to go the Indie published author route, then you need to dive into the world of promotion. Trust me, your publisher really wants sales, but they are only willing to do so much to get the product sold. Their biggest part is finding outlets to make your book available (their website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Fictionwise, Bookstrand, etc.). All of that is great! But now YOU need to promote your product anywhere and everywhere you can.

One of the ways I promote my books and myself as an author is to take part in a blog tour or finding blogs to appear on. In the last 3 months I’ve done blog posts at 14 blogs. I have another 11 lined up from now through the end of September. It can be time-consuming to come up with slightly different information about yourself as an author, coming up with a short blog post on a topic somehow related to your book, or finding yet another way to share information about your latest release. Yet I love the challenge and it pays off in getting new readers interested in checking out my various books.

Now I’m taking this blogging thing a step farther. I’ve added Tuesdays and Wednesdays with Starla Kaye for guest authors to my website’s blog. I started promoting this a week ago to my fellow romance authors, my four publishers, and two promotion services I work with. My calendar is full from June 21-August 31 and I will start taking reservations for September 6-the rest of the year.

My point about this is not to brag on what I’m doing, but to share what I’m doing. Having a blog is important as it draws people to your website or your blogsite and gives them an opportunity to look at what books you write. Hosting other authors who have an established fan base that follows them around where they blog can also be valuable to you. Yes, you get that pleasure from helping someone else. You also get a chance to have others who might not ever have seen your books or come to your site to learn more about you. I strongly recommend you consider hosting guest authors on your blog, authors that write in your genre. You are welcome to check out my newly redesigned website and see how I have set up the calendars and more.  Starla Kaye

Share a Story at our May Workshop

We’re peeling back the layers of fiction genres and sub-genres at our monthly meeting this Saturday, May 21. But we’re also making time to let our members strut their stuff. You’re invited to bring something you’ve written and read it aloud. It can be a short story, poem, essay, or a scene from your novel. Just keep it brief enough so we have time for everyone who wants to participate.

We love talking about writing but we love hearing what our members can do too — maybe more. It’s one thing to know your fellow writers struggle with the same issues you do. But we can’t just talk about the process all the time. Sometimes, we want results! How did you resolve that point-of-view conflict? What moved your dialogue from static to snappy? Let us be inspired and moved by what you actually have written. And if you’re just a little too shy about public speaking to step up the podium, consider letting someone else read for you. This isn’t a critique session per se but you never know, you may get some feedback that you needed.

My first book video

What an experience this has been helping to create my first book video in connection with Goddess Fish Promotions. This was created for my medieval romance released May 7, Their Lady Gloriana, which is available as both a paperback and a Kindle ebook at Amazon, as well as with my publisher Black Velvet Seductions. The video can be seen on my Starla Kaye website or at YouTube by searching for Their Lady Gloriana.

Live Blog from the Scene Seminar

We kept a live blog going during the KWA Scene Seminar with speaker Kirt Hickman. If you couldn’t make it, check out a sample of what you missed! — Erin Perry O’Donnell, Scene Seminar Coordinator

4:19 p.m.
Critiques–everyone needs them. Many of us fear them. How do you keep those comments about your life’s work–your baby!–in perspective? Kirt says:

  • Remember that a critique is not personal. The reader is genuinely trying to improve the writing.
  • You asked for, and perhaps paid for, their honest opinion. Don’t be upset when they give it to you!
  • If they don’t point out problems, they’re not doing you any favors. It doesn’t matter what they are, though, because anything can be fixed.

Winners of our 2010 KWA Writing Contest
Some of the winners of the 2010 KWA Writing Contest were able to join us to accept their awards. Front row: Conrad Jestmore, Lu A. Ross, Sara Jenlink, Marsha Lytle. Back row: Ray "Grizzly" Racobs, H.B. Berlow, Vincent Omni, Bill Goodwin.

3:30 p.m.
Are you one of those writers who hated English in high school? It’s your lucky day! We’re giving you permission to break some of the rules from senior composition — when it comes to writing dialogue.

  • Sentence fragments. Use them. (See what I did there?). Kirt says anything you can do to compress dialogue will make it punchier and increase the tension.
  • Use contractions. You do it when you talk, so don’t restrict your characters’ speech.
  • No long, 50-cent words. Most people don’t use them when they talk.

On the other hand, don’t get so realistic with dialogue that you include every “uh” and “well.” Jump past the pleasantries too, and start the talking when it gets interesting. Think natural, not cinema verite.

3:12 p.m.
Have trouble showing your characters’ emotions rather than telling about them? Check out Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood, with tips on 36 different emotions and how to infuse your story with them.

Seminar participant Sara Jenlink (left) asks a question.

2:17 p.m.

Another dynamic definition for you: What is the difference between suspense and tension? Duration. Tension is momentary. Suspense makes the reader keep turning pages. Tension makes their heart race.

2:13 p.m.
How many times have you heard “Show, don’t tell”? How many times have you wondered what that really means? Here’s how Kirt says to think about it: You may state facts. But don’t draw conclusions for the reader. Ask yourself, how does my character know this? What is he experiencing or seeing that allows HIM to draw that conclusion?

11:01 a.m.
How to muzzle your internal editor?

KWA Scene Seminar
Writing longhand engages your right brain, so try it as an exercise to loosen up your creativity.

Get up early. Skip the coffee. No, really. Kirt says, “Your editor needs the caffeine. Your muse does not. Your muse is up dreaming all night. You can get a good couple hours writing in before your editor even realizes you’re up.”

Write longhand on unlined paper. This will open up your right brain. Typing is a left-brained process, and that’s your editor.

Don’t stop to edit.

10:17 a.m.
Kirt’s giving us a great tour through the elements of plot, from starting points to dark moments and resolution. We’re using well-known movies to illustrate some of the points. Who knew the Donkey in Shrek fulfilled the mentor role? Or that your mentor and antagonist can be the same person in romances? (See: You’ve Got Mail.)

9:46 a.m.
Amateur pitfalls of character development:

Kirt Hickman, KWA Scene Seminar
Kirt Hickman
  • Make each character’s personality different, so they don’t all act and talk the same.
  • Make your hero strong-willed. If a character does not believe enough in their goal to assert themselves to achieve it, your reader is not going to care enough to read about it.
  • Don’t make your hero just an observer, watching everyone around them solve the problem.
  • No cliché character traits: no dumb blondes or mad scientists. Do the opposite of what the reader expects.
  • Don’t forget your secondary characters. No cardboard cutouts.
Scene Seminar
Here we go!

9:19 a.m.
Kirt on knowing your characters: You need to know a lot more about your characters than your reader ever will. The better you know your characters, the more real they are for you, and the more real for someone else. You should be able to talk about this character as if they were someone you actually know.

9:12 a.m.
Our speaker, Kirt Hickman, is going over the basics of self-editing. Two of the things we all know to watch out for are 1) show, don’t tell, and 2) use active voice, not passive voice. What I never considered is that these two things often occur together. When you’re editing your manuscript, you may notice them together but not if one occurs on its own. So, edit for one thing at a time. Focus on one element during one read, then look for the other on a second pass.

Your Email Signature is Your Easiest Promotional Tool

In today’s world we communicate via email. Of course many of us still make phone calls and text, too. But the common way we communicate with friends and family, our readers, our agents, our editors, and our publishers is via email. Your signature is an important way to reveal information about you. It is the cheapest form of promotion you can find. Use it well.

This week my article at the Writers Tools blog on my website  is on The Art of a Writer’s Email Signature. Be sure to read this article and check out the number of links on how-to’s for creating email signatures.

Starla Criser

Starla Kaye/S. K. Fero

E-book Sales Continue to Grow

E-book sales continue growing wherever you look.

Barnes & Noble announced that e-book sales are more than double that of print book sales. As of January 29, they estimated they have 25% of the e-book market with Nook sales.

Amazon reports that sales of Kindle e-books now outnumber traditional paperback sales. They stated that for every 100 paperbacks sold they sell 115 Kindle titles. E-book sales now outnumber hardcover sales by a three-to-one margin.

News summarized from Publishers Weekly and Fierce Mobile Content.

Starla Criser