Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review - The Tutor's Daughter

The Tutor's Daughter

By Julie Klassen                                       

Bethany House Publishers 

Emma Smallwood assists her father with Smallwood Academy, the boarding school in their Devonshire home. Enrollment is down, and her father hasn’t been himself since her mother’s death. Mr. Smallwood accepts an invitation from Sir Giles Weston to tutor his teenage sons at his home in Cornwall. Although hesitant to leave Devonshire, Emma accompanies her father to Ebbington Manor, hoping a change of scenery will lift her father’s spirits.   

Philip and Henry, the older Weston sons, studied at the Smallwood Academy years before. Emma got on well with Phillip, the more personable of the two brothers. Henry was another story. He seemed to enjoy making Emma’s life miserable. Imagine her delight at the prospect of seeing Phillip again, and her trepidation over bumping into Henry. 

The Tutor’s Daughter contains mysteries large and small. Unfortunately, the Smallwoods arrive at the Manor at a bad time. The Westons are in a bit of an uproar over something, but Emma cannot place her finger on what is happening behind the scenes. Unexplained events pop up at the most unusual times, and about the time one mystery appears solved, another surfaces. 

More questions than answers find Emma puzzled and a little nervous. Does Emma’s friendship with Phillip fare well despite the mysterious happenings? Is Henry cold and uncaring, or has time and maturity mellowed his personality? Is Emma drawn to either brother, or one of them to her? If you like historical fiction with a dash of intrigue and a hint of romance, I suggest you pick up a copy and find out.

This book is a wonderful read. I liked Emma immediately; she is complex yet relatable, as are the other key players. The plot twists and turns had me guessing and always on my toes.  Klassen’s classic, consistent style of well-developed characters and rich, appealing storylines is evident once again. Her vivid tales engage the senses, and direct readers to look beyond the surface and examine where their faith lies.

Don't forget to join me this Monday when we kick off my Fourth Blogoversary celebration. There will be giveaways and special guests throughout the month of March. I hope you can join me!

What are you reading this weekend?

Happy reading and writing, 

Please note:  I received this book free of charge from Bethany House for review purposes. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Happy Writing!

Today's post?

Well, it was in the works.

It was coming together. Sort of.

I looked over the text. It was so-so.

Then it hit me. Hey, this is my blog.

If I want to table the post until later, I can.

So I made the executive decision to save it for another time.

Instead, I'm sharing a quote that made me smile. Maybe it'll make you smile too.

"A metaphor is like a simile."

 Unknown Author

I found that little gem at the Quote Garden, where you'll find quotes for nearly every topic and occasion.

Please forgive me for not being terribly insightful today. :) We'll kick off the celebration for my Fourth Blogoversary next Monday. Throughout the month of March, there will be special guests, giveaways, and of course, chocolate. Hope you can stop by!

In the meantime, I may try writing with colored pencils. Care to join me? You never know, it might be inspiring.

Have a great week,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Visit With L. Diane Wolfe

Please join me in welcoming author L. Diane Wolfe! We are celebrating the release of her latest book, How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now! 

In addition to being a writer, Diane is a professional speaker and a member of the National Speakers Association. 

Welcome Diane! So glad you could stop by. :) So tell us, what prompted you to write this book?

Hi Karen! Thank you again for doing this interview. This book came from two seminars I’ve taught for over five years now on book publishing and promoting. Both seminars are packed with information and attendees have always asked if I had a book. Yes, I was missing a big opportunity there, because I did have a book for my motivational seminars, but not for those. My husband really prodded me to write one and through hours upon hours of research, packing in as much information as possible, I finally finished. Now when someone asks if I have a book they can buy, I can say yes!

Sounds like a smart moveWhere do you see the publishing industry heading in the next 5-7 years?

I know people don’t want to hear it, but I really see e-books dominating. As tablet sales continue to grow and more schools adopt the devices in lieu of physical books, I think e-books will overtake print books by next year.

I also believe self-publishing will continue to grow, although authors will have to maintain a high level of professionalism to compete with the big publishers. Just because they are losing their major playgrounds (the bookstore and print books) doesn’t mean the big boys are giving up.

Wow, I wasn't expecting it to happen so soon. Guess time will tell, right? Here's a question I just have to ask. You are known as "Spunk on a Stick" - where did that name come from?

My husband has a theory that everything is better on a stick. Chicken is good, but chicken on a stick (like one gets at the fair) is even better. He said that spunk was good (my nickname is Spunky) but Spunk on a Stick was even better. Thus it’s the speaker name I’ve used for seven years now!

I think it's a great title for a speaker. :) You're a member of the National Speaker Association, how did you get started speaking to groups?

Over 15 years ago I was part of a motivational & business training program. Believe it or not, I was incredibly shy back then. But I was forced to speak and teach at team meetings and seminars, and it whet my appetite for speaking. (The first time I got to use a microphone, I thought “Oh buddy, I could get used to this!”)

I started speaking to writing groups and then put together my publishing and promoting seminars and offered it through NC’s community colleges. Now I have six seminars that I enjoy doing!

Do you recommend that writers add speaking engagements to broaden their audience? 

Yes I do! Speaking places the author in front of more potential readers. Hearing you talk gives people another way to get to know you better, and when people feel they know you, they are more apt to buy your book. Speaking is also a great way to supplement income, as it’s a rare author who can make a living off his or her books alone. It prepares you for media interviews and opens the door to a lot more opportunities.

These are great points, and something worth considering. Okay, one more question just for fun. What is your favorite writing snack?

Good ‘n’ Plenty or Red Vines. And I try not to eat the whole package in one sitting. Thank you again, Karen!

Thank you, Diane, it was a pleasure! Wishing you all the best with your books!

Here is my review of Diane's book

Author L. Diane Wolfe gets right to the point. Selling books is tough business. But that doesn’t mean we should ditch the dream of writing a book. Not at all. Give that book the best chance for success, she says, by being prepared and tapping into good info.

The first portion of the book discusses the writing industry, ghost writing, co-authoring, finding your genre, and more. Diane poses dozens of questions. Will your book fill a need? Who is the target audience? Is the storyline unique and fresh? Serious writers, of course, should provide thorough answers to help ensure a book’s success.

The remainder of the book elaborates on the ins and outs of the industry. You’ll find information on copyrights, e-book formatting, offset printing, and print on demand. Do you know how to submit a book to wholesalers, distributors, and libraries? Or how to handle budgets, media, and blog tours? Diane does, and includes her upbeat and savvy advice here.  

Short, user-friendly chapters include tips, links, and all the information needed to make informed publishing and promotional choices. As a bonus, chapters conclude with wise and encouraging quotes from seasoned journalists, bloggers, and authors.

Diane has done writers of every genre a great service by taking the daunting publishing process and breaking it down into manageable steps. Her down to earth, conversational approach puts writers at ease and provides the necessary ingredients for success. No matter where you are in the publishing process, this wonderful resource offers valuable insight and advice. 

You can pick up a copy of Diane's book at the following retailers:

Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble
Stop by and visit Diane's blog. She'd love to see you!

Do you have any questions for Diane? What intimidates you most about the publishing process?

Happy reading and writing,


Monday, February 11, 2013

It's All Good

The basket of goodies is overflowing! Thought it was time to share. :)

Do commas and quotations trip you up? C.S. Lakin offers advice in Get a Handle on Commas. If you need more help, check out another post, Commas That Are, Indeed, Useful.

When it comes to submissions, the basics really do countTerry Whalin tells us why in this post at The Writing Life.

What makes a great metaphor? A fabulous simile? Sally Apokedak, associate agent at the Leslie H. Stobbe Agency shares her thoughts in A Metaphor Is the Fizz in the Soda Pop over at Novel Rocket.

Having a tough writing day? Check out YoungPrePro Bamidele Onibalusi's tips in this post, 18 Challenges Writers Face and How to Overcome Them.

Tyrean Martinson's ebook Champion in the Darkness makes its debut today. Congratulations, Tyrean! Check out the details on this YA Christian Fantasy here. Tyrean has agreed to stop by and share the details later this spring. Looking forward to it!

The Christian Fiction for Your Kindle blog offers regularly updated posts for free and great deals on ebooks. Offerings include fiction and non-fiction for all ages.

Sweet blogging friend Maria Morgan's new website is up! Stop by for a bit of encouragement. You'll be glad you did.

Sending a big congratulations to Marja Meijers for My Neighbor's House! It's the newest book in the Ten Commandments series. If it's anything like her previous books, it's sure to be a treasure. 

Have you visited the hippo? The Word Hippo, that is. You'll find synonyms, antonyms and a whole lot more. I know I've shared it before, but it is one handy site, so if you haven't been there, hop on over!

Don't forget that L. Diane Wolfe joins us next week to discuss her new book, How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now! Hope you can join us!

What are you writing this week? 

Happy writing,

Photo credit: Stock Exchange