Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Review

I received the first review, that I know of, for Surrender the Wind yesterday, by Michelle Gripe author of Gallimore.

Review - Surrender the Wind

April 2009

American Revolutionary patriot Seth Braxton is torn between the land he shed his blood for and the prospect of reuniting with his sister Caroline, who was a motherless child taken to England at the onset of the war.

With no intention of staying permanently, Seth arrives in Devonshire to find his sister grieving over the death of her young son. In the midst of such tragedy, Seth meets Juleah, the daughter of an eccentric landed gentleman. Her independent spirit and gentle soul steal Seth’s heart, enraging the man who once sought her hand and schemed to make Ten Width, the ancestral home of Seth’s loyalist grandfather, his own.

Will Seth and Juleah’s love and faith survive a sinister plot of murder, abduction, and betrayal? You’ll have to read it yourself to find out.

As much as I enjoyed getting to know the hero/heroine, what I like most about Rita Gerlach’s writing is her characterization of secondary characters. Sir Henry is the heroine’s father, and though he plays a small but significant part in the story, I looked forward to scenes that included him. His off-the-wall antics and dialogue are due to dementia, which gives one a certain sympathy for the old fellow, but nonetheless are pretty humorous.

Liking Sir Henry is as easy as hating Constable Latterbuck. Bluntly stated, he’s a schmuck. Gerlach’s portrayal of him is as complete as if he were a main character, which pulled me more into the story.

I have to admit there is one point in the story where I skipped to the end just to make sure a character I loved would survive. Without giving it away, the point is that Gerlach includes plenty of action throughout.

Surrender the Wind is a release from the new fiction line at Abingdon Press. I applaud Abingdon’s daring for publishing historicals that aren’t limited to Americana. I am anxious to read a variety of Abingdon’s different eras and settings, and of course…more from author Rita Gerlach!

Reviewed by Michelle Griep for Novel Review

Friday, April 24, 2009


(What's outside my window? The leaves on the sugar maple are budding and a black-capped chickadees and gold finches are at the feeder.)

If you are on Facebook, check out Abingdon's page. If you scroll down the left side, you will find the fiction sampler for the novels coming out in the fall, including Surrender the Wind. You can read the first chapter of the unedited version. If you like, please add a comment on the Abingdon page about Surrender the Wind. You'll have to become an Abingdon fan to do so.

I bulked at the idea of joining Facebook for many months. Then I gave in. It's the best networking resource I've yet to join. I like it far better than ShoutLife, which seems to go nowhere, or the Ning networks I've joined, which have little or no activity. But Facebook is abuzz with activity.

Today, I'm workin on my website to do some updating, and on a book trailer. I hope to get some writing down on Beside Two Rivers.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Editor

I can't sing the praises of my editor enough. She is a die hard. Another fellow Abingdon author likened her to the energizer bunny. She is totally dedicated, committed, and loyal to her authors and the success of the fiction line. She gently led me through the editing process, and is working hard and furiously to place my novel in as many chain and independent bookstores as she can. And her hard work is paying off.

She makes all her authors feel they are a part of a 'family'. She doesn't leave us out, but gives us the heads up on what is going on. One day she will tell us she is flying to Boston to meet with the folks at, then another meeting in an undisclosed location to meet with another huge marketing firm. She lets us know the outcome, which is always excellent news.
This is what editors do.

This relationship between author and editor is what a dedicated, traditional publisher will build.
In addition to the leadership of my editor, I have to praise my publist at Abingdon. She too is working hard to market Abingdon's fiction line. The other day, I received a package on my doorstep. Inside a the manila envelop was a 'glamour bag', a blue foil wrapper, and inside it were the ARCs for two other novels. I was elated.

In the world of self-publishing and print on demand, you will not find this level of committment. Ask yourself, what is it a self-publisher or print on demand company wants from you? The answer - Money. What is it a traditional publisher wants from you? Your novel. And they want you to prosper as they prosper. They want you to be a success. It is a two-way street.

Once again, I must herald the call. Writers, avoid the easy route. I've been on both sides of the fence. Submit to publishers that are reputable in the industry, that will work for you and with you. It may take more time this way, but it is worth waiting for. Above all, commit your work to Him that gave you talent.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea, a Fireside, and Regency Romance

I confess. I am an addicted. I love Georgian, Federal, and Regency ambiance. The clothes, the manners, the courtship rituals. When PBS released the Jane Austen Series, I was glued to my television on Sunday evenings with a bowl of popcorn and a tall glass of ice water. I have to include the Dickens series as well. If I had a fireplace, I'd be reading wrapped in a quilt with a hot mug of tea.

Now when it comes to the novels of these immortal authors, they have inspired writers for almost 200 years. One author in particular that I want to introduce you to is Linore Rose Burkard. Go to her website and sign on for her email newsletter if you love Regency.
You will love it! You will also enjoy her fabulous novels. Here they are.

Before the Season Ends

Linore Rose Burkard's debut novel whisks readers into the Regency with the intriguing story of Miss Ariana Forsythe, a young woman caught between love for a man who doesn't share her faith and her resolution to marry only a fellow believer in Christ.

Trouble at home sends Ariana to her aunt's townhouse in the fashionable Mayfair district of London. There, she soon finds herself neck-deep in high society and at odds with Mr. Phillip Mornay, London's current darling rogue. Then, a scandal changes Ariana forever. Her heart, her faith, and her future are all at stake in an unexpected adventure that gains even the Prince Regent's attention.

Will Ariana's faith survive this test? What about her heart? For it's Ariana's heart that most threatens to betray the truths she has always believed in. When she finds herself backed against a wall, betrothed to the wrong man, how can it ever turn out right?

Jane Austen fans and readers of historical romance will love Before the Season Ends.

The House at Grosvenor Square

Readers who loved Before the Season Ends will delight in this charming sequel set in Regency London.

As Ariana Forsythe plans her wedding, she must adjust to the realization that she will soon become the wife of an extremely wealthy man. She wonders if it's wrong to rejoice that her future husband is rich. But, she promises herself to use her new position to do what she can to aid the numerous street waifs she sees all too often in London.

During a tour of her future home-the house in Grosvenor Square-Ariana impulsively makes plans to redecorate (just a little) according to her tastes . But when Philip arrives home later, he is informed that an expensive silver candlestick and a miniature portrait of George III have gone missing. Moreover, each time Ariana visits the house, another item disappears.

When Ariana suffers an abduction attempt by two villains, and other mysterious goings-on are unexplained, Mr. Mornay must unravel the mystery of who is after her, and why. He knows he has to prevent any harm from befalling his future bride, even if it means he must keep her under lock and key in his own house!

Romance, suspense, and a deft touch of humor are part of the wonderful story of Philip Mornay and Ariana Forsythe's march to the altar. Fans of Linore's first book, Before the Season Ends, will love this delightful addition to the Regency Inspirational Series, as will all readers of historical romance.

Friday, April 10, 2009


(Outside my window: Blooming cherry blossom and dogwood trees in the distance.)

On Tuesday, I had a surprise package arrive on my doorstep from Abingdon. Inside were ten fiction samplers, three of the titles coming out in August (ARCs) and ten ARCs of Surrender the Wind. It was exciting to see these copies. White book jackets with the future covers on the fronts. In large caps across the top 'Advance Reader Copy'. Along the s
ides of the book covers, 'Unedited Edition - For Promotional Purposes Only'. At the bottom Abingdon's logo. On the back the title's synopsis and author's bio. Along the bottom contact information for sales inquires, publicity, media inquirers, marketing, advertising, and reading group inquires.

Inside, beautiful layouts. Surrender the Wind has a historical look. Abingdon is mailing the ARC out to a list of book reviewers, published authors for endorsement, and media.

So now, I am making a list of where and to whom I should give these ARC copies to.

The local library system
My local community college library
Hood College Library

The Frederick News Post
Frederick Magazine
The Shepherd's Table Bookstore
Two other independently owned bookstores in town

Take note writers. Why not start your own marketing plan now? Start a document file with contacts, bookstores, colleges and universities, newspapers, magazines, that are in your area. Include book reviewers, authors that you plan to contact for endorsements, ect. Also, start a file in your My Pictures for your title. Search for royalty free graphics in the public domain tha
t you could use for a book trailer, on your website, and blog. You may not have a publishing contract yet, but it's still a good idea to have things in place for when you do.

* * *

100 years ago in 1909 in Frederick County, Maryland.
Following a quarrel with his sweetheart, Peter Kretzer, aged 18 years, living at Antietam Iron Works near Sharpsburg, attempted to drown himself in the Chesapeake and Ohio canal. Kretzer was frustrated by several friends who chanced to come along as the youth stood on the aqueduct ready to make the plunge, a distance of about 30 feet.

Thank God for good friends. This broken-hearted youth had them come along just in the nick of time. I wonder if Peter and his sweetheart made up.

Friday, April 3, 2009

To Whom Is Given Much, Much Is Required

(Outside my window: Rain. Soaking, torrents of rain!...and a downy woodpecker who doesn't seem to mind.)

There is more to the production of a novel than just editing, book cover design, and printing. Be prepared. You will have more required of you, and it is a good thing. For the more promotion you and your editor work on, the more exposure there will be.

Christian Book Distributors has a wonderful feature on their website where they showcase authors of various genres. You will find authors' favorite verses, and a brief bio about them. There is the 'Writers Corner', which is abundant with advice for aspiring writers.

Each of the Abingdon authors has been asked to contribute to these categories. This morning I finished a 1,500 word essay for The Writers Corner entitled,
Perseverance, Patience, and Humility. I hope you get the chance to read it, as well as read the other great articles there.

As an aspiring writer, realize that much will be required of you once you sign on the dotted line. Go into it with joy and cooperation. Here is a list of some of the things you may need to write or work on. If you make a special file now, with some of these things ready to go, you will be way ahead and have more time for writing your next novel.

1. A polished, well-written manuscript

2. Query
3. Book proposal

4. Synopsis

5. Writer's biography

6. A few essays on writing

7. Book discussion group questions

8. A devotional centered on the spiritual theme of your book
9. A website with great content

10. Interviews

11. A book trailer

12. Marketing materials, such as bookmarks or release announcements

( 3 more months until the offical release date. Written in the spirit of Bronte and Sabatini, Surrender the Wind is a novel of love and betrayal set in post-revolutionary war England and Virginia.)