Yesterday I managed to write the words “The End” on my new story. Now the rewriting begins but the storyline is there. So fun.
Here is a sneak preview of the book cover built by Art by Karri. She is a gem of a designer. I have some months of working on the manuscript ahead so don’t know yet when it will be released, but wanted to give my readers a look/see.
My golfing buddies better be high stepping and without limps. Only a few months until green grass and mowed fairways.
Jan 14th and 15th, 2018 Harbored Secrets will be on free promotion. A good time to download a read for your new Kindle you got at Christmas.
Reviewers have been kind to Harbored. 638 reviews with a 4.4 rating. Check them out on my sales page. http://amzn.to/1c8YYaC
In May of 1935, Blinny Platt’s homestead shack burns to the ground forever leaving her family asunder, scattering them like the embers flew on the Montana wind. She was only eight-years-old, sent away and in charge of her little sister. She could handle that because Platts take care of Platts.
However, it is the hidden secrets of her parents smoldering beneath the charred remains that haunts Blinny until 1982. She once again leaves the home place to build a house for herself. As the foundation is poured and the walls go up, each of the hurtful memories are uncovered. Finally the mystery, left in the ashes of the burned home, is revealed. How could her mother do what she did?
A sampling of Five-Star Reviews:
This is a tale so well told, you can smell the sage, feel the heat, and pain this family shares. I wish more authors crafted their characters so well. Renita Hulsey Five-Star Reader Review.
The author was a master at weaving the past with the present. Quaintreader Five-Star Reader Review
Martin knows family dynamics and human frailties. From these she has crafted a heartbreaking story, of love, loss, and endurance. Barb Ward Five-Star Reader Review
The following is an article I did for an online magazine, Women Writers, Women’s books. It was published Oct 18
One of the first questions I usually get at book signings or in front of groups is how I managed to write, publish and sell four novels in the five years after I turned seventy. The honest answer is I didn’t. I had drafts of Ratham Creek, Maternal Harbor, and Harbored Secrets on a shelf in my closet for years before I dared to do anything with them. I had sent them around to different agents and publishers only to receive the dreaded rejections. I set them aside and lived life.
Several months after my husband passed, a writer friend phoned and invited me to have brunch with her at a lovely shop tucked away from Main Street. After we ordered, Angie looked me straight in the eyes and told me, “Your stories are too good to be sitting on a shelf. Get one out, polish it and publish it on Amazon.” I like this gal, but at that moment I thought she was crazy.
But…she’d planted the seed. I reworked Maternal Harbor and hired a fellow to format and upload my manuscript to the Kindle program. He helped design a cover and my book went live. I remember sitting in front of my computer admiring my book’s sale page. Nice, but how on earth would anyone find it, let alone read it? I knew I needed help in promoting my story.
I found it at a group called Authors of the Flathead. There, I learned about websites that promote Kindle books with free sale days. I set up my first promotion, paid my twenty-five dollars to a promoter and waited. And panicked. After all, that was my money at risk. I also found a few websites that did no-cost promotions. They agreed to include my promotion in their emails.
Did the promotions work? 20,184 people downloaded my free Kindle book. I couldn’t believe it. More unbelievable is 830 copies then sold for $2.99 a download. That was my beginning.
Reviews on my book began to trickle in. I suffered with each one. The readers seemed to like the story, but kept remarking about errors and typos. Good grief. I thought I had found them all. I learned I need lots of proofers. I cannot see my own misspellings or missing words.
A couple of gals proofread it again. We fixed a ton of mistakes. I reloaded the new version and continued to run free promotions and paid for promoters. Some months I made money, others I lost.
At the same time, I designed my own website and Facebook author’s page, trying to save as much money as possible to invest in professional covers and other expenses. I also rewrote another manuscript.
Harbored Secrets went up for sale on Amazon five months later. It turned out to be my most successful book according to reviews and sales. It too makes money and loses it. But I always seem to earn more than I spend. As of a month ago, my combined Kindle books have been downloaded by more than 500,000 readers and have received over 1300 reviews. Almost 700 of them are five stars.
That pretty much covers the nuts and bolts of my self-publishing, but I think to be successful, a person first needs to have a story readers can relate to. Mine are stories of women, strong determined women, who fight for what is right and good.
In my first book Maternal Harbor, Teagan owns a fish shop in Seattle. She is pregnant and alone after her boyfriend walks out on her. She meets and befriends three other single moms at her OB-GYN clinic. Teagan ends up having to protect all the babies from a grief-filled insane woman.
In the second novel Harbored Secrets, readers meet middle-aged Blinny Platt, who is building her very own house in the middle of the Montana prairies. As she pounds nails and pours cement, memories of her childhood won’t leave her alone. Through her recollections, the reader learns her story of survival.
In Ratham Creek, Arianne makes a new life for herself after her husband dies and leaves her nearly destitute. She moves to a wild Montana mountain to live within her means and start again.
Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick has four smart, fun-loving widows who just want to live the good life in a quiet companionship. Doesn’t happen. A blackmailer targets them and their world is turned upside down.
As you see I choose to write about the needs of women. To be independent, strong, yet love to the fullest.
Where I find the heroines of my stories is in my family and friends. Take a deep look at who you know, their mannerisms, their actions over the time you have known them. Don’t look for just the good things but recognize the defects. We all have them. Good believable characters are built from the defects and how they overcome them.
I found success with my writing only because I didn’t give up. I never fulfilled my first desire to have my stories published by a major publishing house, but I do have hundreds of thousands of readers, fans who write me nice emails and reviews. Fans who get excited to shake my hand or receive a hug or a free paperback.
Publishing after your hair turns white is just fine.
No matter what, says the tiny golden rod, I’m a gonna bloom.
I live under these maple trees. Every year they seem prettier than the year before. My hubby and I bought the old two-story arts and crafts home in 1991. I mean to tell you, I have raked my share of golden leaves since then. Some years I bitch about doing the chore, other years I’m joyful. I think this will be a joyful one as I rake the first couple of times. I probably won’t say that on the third of forth go around. However, I am blessed to reside in such a beautiful valley. Snow is already covering the tops of the rocky mountain range that surrounds me. Winter is coming.
My old trusty pitching wedge decided it was a bad boy and sent every pitch to the left side of life. Sooo as punishment I ordered this nice used ladies pitching wedge for 14.99 plus shipping. It’s pitching good in the back yard. We’ll see if I wasted my money tomorrow on the course. Shhh. I’m not telling my golfing buddies.
I have been invited to conduct a workshop on building well-developed characters and marrying the setting around them. Hopefully I can do it without too many nerves getting in the way. For those of you who are interested I will post the practice handouts on the May thirteenth on my blog.
One of the strongest urges to clean and rearrange and rehang pictures happens for me in the beginning of March each year. I took a critical look at my office and told myself I need one spot in the room that looks neat and pretty. You can see why. These two areas are hopeless.
This is what I came up with. It is the narrow wall between the closet door and main door. I now have one spot that doesn’t look cluttered. I think I will celebrate.