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Posted in News & Muse

It Takes a Village….

…to launch a book.

It’s true. So many people help behind the scenes so that readers can find the books they love. Editors—content editors, copy editors, proofreaders, fact checkers; Cover designers; Publicity People—blog tour mistresses, blogger participants, professional reviewers, readers…

Wait a second…Readers?

Yes! Readers are a huge part of a book’s entry into the world. How?

Readers tell other readers what they like. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. And I refuse to subscribe to the cynicism that proclaims that readers’ opinions don’t matter. They do—because the connections between people of like mind are what makes the world go ’round—and the books get read.

There are many ways to tell other readers what you like: an Amazon review, a review on a site like GoodReads, a review on another site that the book isn’t on already, a Facebook post, a tweet, a photo on Instagram with the book’s cover (in some exotic vacation locale, or sitting on your couch), putting in a request at your local library, and word of mouth (either virtual, telephone or in person).

As part of the September 2017 release of my new novel, my blog tour guru (Claudine from JustJane1813.com) and I are gathering a group of readers/reviewers/bloggers to read, review, and help spread the word about the book’s release. Launch Team members will receive a FREE ebook of the novel and have access to promo material, exclusive fun tidbits, and some info ahead of the general public.
Sound interesting? Then, you need to follow the link below:

ICWaB Launch Team

This will take you to a Google form that explains more about the Launch Team, and if you like what you see there, you can submit the form. A few things to remember:
1. The main purpose of this is to HAVE FUN while telling people about a new book that (hopefully) they will like to read too. If you are added to the team, you will be sent an invitation to a private Facebook group, that will be our base of operations. If you don’t Facebook, and still want to be part of this, let me know. We can find ways for you to participate.
2. My whole career in real life has been spent in either health care or special education. We are BIG on confidentiality in those fields, and I’m big on privacy with my book promotions and newsletters too. I will not share your email address or any other information with anyone that isn’t helping me run this team, and that’s like, two people- who also will respect your privacy.
3. You DO NOT have to be a “Social Media Maven” to be a part of this. Everyone has different ways they can participate, and we’re all about that!

I would be beyond thrilled to have you on the ICWaB Launch Team. If you need a few days to mull it over, that’s fine. We will accept form submissions until midnight EDT on August 20th, 2017, and will let folks know if they’ve been selected by midnight EDT August 22nd, 2017.

Please consider joining us. You’re a reader—and your opinion matters.

With gratitude,
Karen

Posted in Excerpts, News & Muse

Excerpt: The Journey Home

Today’s offering: An excerpt from my ebook novella, The Journey Home, which releases tomorrow. I call The Journey Home a “side-quel” to my debut novel, 1932, a Pride and Prejudice variation that takes place in the US South during the Great Depression. The Journey Home stands alone as its own story, but readers of 1932 might enjoy seeing the events in that novel as a background to this story, the tale of Georgiana Darcy’s journey to rebuild her life.

This scene corresponds directly with an important event from 1932, but that event is not the focus of Georgiana’s thoughts that day:

August 2, 1932

“Sir, excuse me. Could you please tell me what time the train from Springfield arrives?” I was out of breath from running by the time I reached the ticket window.

“Springfield? No train come from Springfield today, miss.” The ticket master spoke thickly around the wad of chewing tobacco in his cheek. I swallowed my disgust and tried not to make a face.

“Not Springfield, Kentucky, sir, Springfield, Illinois.” I felt a tug on my skirt.

“Oh, Illinois. Well, let’s see here.” He spat into a container thankfully hidden behind the counter and got out a paper schedule. “You see, the train wouldn’t come straight from Springfield, honey. It probably come from Louisville or Cincinnati.”

“Yes, yes, I know.” My impatience with this man was growing by the second. “What time does it arrive? I’m supposed to pick up my brother, and I’m afraid I’ve missed the train.”

“Mama.” Maggie tugged my skirt again.

“Just a minute, darling.”

“Well, that’s the thing.” He squinted at me, yellow teeth flashing as he talked. “Springfield wouldn’t be on my paper here. You don’t know which way he come?”

“No, I’m afraid I don’t. I—”

“Mama,” Maggie repeated a little louder.

I closed my eyes in frustration. “I’m trying to find out what time Uncle’s train gets here.”

“This is ’portant.”

“What is it, Margaret? I’m losing my patience.” I turned to look sternly at her.

“Ruth ran that way.” She pointed into the crowd behind us.

I gasped, and my eyes immediately began to search for white blond curls. “Ruth!” I left the man at the window and dodged and ducked among the crowd at the station, calling frantically for my younger daughter. I was practically dragging Maggie behind me, although she was trying her best to keep up.

“Oh, dear Lord! Where is she? Ruth!”

“I’m sorry Mama.” Maggie’s lip quivered. “She pulled me, and I couldn’t hold on.”

“It’s not your fault, darling, but we have to find her right now!” I forced myself not to think about the dangers train stations posed to toddlers.

“Ruth!” Maggie’s little voice rang above the crowd.

I broke through another throng of people and heard a voice calling, “Is this who you’re looking for, ma’am?” Blond curls snapped into focus, and my heart stopped before it started beating again.

A young woman with dark hair was holding Ruth and waving to us. I began rushing toward her, and the woman set Ruth down and watched her toddle straight into my arms.

“Ruth Anne Darcy!” I babbled. “You mustn’t run from Mama like that, darling. Thank you so much for catching her, miss. She’s quick as lightning. I looked away for a moment, and she was gone.”

The young woman smiled. She was pretty, with vivacious brown eyes and dark hair. She leaned down to talk to Maggie, and they proceeded to carry on a grown-up conversation while I tried to slow my pounding heartbeat. Through some pleasant small talk, I found out her name was Elizabeth Bennet, and she had just moved to town with her parents and sisters.

Suddenly, Maggie pulled away from my grasp, her excited “Unca!” ringing through the depot. I turned to see William several yards away, holding out his arms to the girls. I let Ruth down so she could follow her sister.

“I guess I should go. It was good to meet you Miss Bennet, and thank you again for catching Ruth.”

“I hope to see you again soon.” Elizabeth returned my friendly smile. “Goodbye Mrs…”

“Oh, I’m Georgiana. Georgiana Darcy.” I was so flustered I’d forgotten to introduce myself.

When I approached William, he reached over and gave me a quick embrace. “Hello, Gi.”

“Welcome home.”

“I didn’t expect you to bring the whole clan.” He reached down and chucked Maggie’s chin.

“We lost Ruth, but Elizabeth found her,” Maggie piped up.

“What happened? Who found her?” he asked, his expression instantly stern.

“She got away while I was asking about your train. That nice young woman over there caught her before she got too far.” I tried to discreetly point out Miss Bennet to him.

“Her name is Elizabeth, like my middle name,” Maggie chimed in.

“Gi, you could have left the girls at home with Mrs. Reynolds.”

“Well, William,” I replied in exasperation, “I probably should have done that, but all they could talk about this morning was coming to get Unca. I didn’t want to disappoint them.” His terse tone, after I’d just had the scare of my life, was mighty irritating!

“Mmmph.” He leaned over and gathered up Ruth with one arm.

I didn’t take offense at his little grunt. I knew he would have brought them along too.

Maggie tried to take his suitcase and carry it for him, but it was as big as she was. He laughed.

“Here, Maggie Moo.” He gave Ruth back to me and picked up the case in one hand and took Maggie’s hand in the other. “How about you let me carry that big suitcase, and I’ll hold your hand.”

“All right.” Maggie beamed up at him.

I took a deep breath to calm my nerves, and after seeing Maggie’s adoration of her “Unca” for about the thousandth time, whispered a word of thanks for my big brother.

The Journey Home is now available for preorder (Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, GooglePlay) at a novella-sized price of $1.99.

Amazon Link: viewBook.at/TheJourneyHome

Happy Reading!

Posted in News & Muse

The Journey Home

The August 1st release of my novella, The Journey Home, is fast approaching. I’m so excited to finally share this story with my readers in ebook format!
A companion piece to my award-winning Depression-era novel, 1932, The Journey Home is the story of Georgiana Darcy, a young mother who has landed back at Pemberley, her childhood home, after a harrowing start to adulthood. Her brother, William, welcomes her and her two small daughters with open arms, but home isn’t just a place, it’s a state of mind as well. Georgiana has a journey of self-discovery and acceptance to make. When she finds herself drawn to her brother’s long-time friend, Sheriff Richard Fitzwilliam, she digs deep down to find the strength to forge her own path without the fear and bitterness of the past.
Fans of 1932 will love seeing the parallels to that book while reading The Journey Home, but it is a stand-alone story that can be enjoyed by new readers too.

Release is scheduled for August 1, 2017, and pre-orders will be accepted until that date. Please see your favorite ebook retailer for more information.