LDS Chick Lit

Do you think there is a market for LDS chick lit? Do you think that labelling a manuscript as chick lit in a query letter will help or hurt with a publisher?

P.S. Thanks for keeping this blog up, hornet nests aside. It's helpful.

Chick Lit: a genre of fiction targeted to, and written by or about, young and sophisticated urban women ( slang ) (Encarta)

Do we have young, sophisticated, urban LDS women who like to read?

Although chick lit, in general, is declining in the national market, I think there will always be a place for it. LDS trends tend to follow a bit behind the national market so we haven't seen much of it yet.

Also, true chick lit has a bit of a sassy or sardonic tone to it and there's not a lot of that in this market either.

You could pitch it as light, LDS chick lit, or just as women's fiction targeting young, fun and fresh young women readers.

An example of LDS "almost" chick lit is Stephanie Fowers. Readers, who else might fit this category?


Non-Bookstore Book Signings

I'm taking a break from our hornet's nest discussion because I can't really say anything more until I've read the book. Although I have a copy in my hot little hands, I don't know if I'll be able to read it right away because LDS BOOKSELLERS IS NEXT WEEK AND I'M GOING CRAZY!! So I'm moving on for now but you're welcome to continue the discussion.

Very interesting discussion at your blog. (Cool, isn't it? We got 176 unique visitors yesterday. That's a steller day here at the blog.)

Here's a hypothetical situation:
Suppose a new, unknown author wants to promote his/her book and asks to do a book signing, only to find that bookstores don't want new, unknown authors to do book signings. In order to become more well-known it would seem that this author would need to do book signings, yet the stores only want well-known authors. Isn't this a catch-22? How would said author overcome this obstacle?

Bookstores aren't the only places you can do signings. Public libraries will often do signings. You have to bring your own books and usually agree to donate a portion of the profits. Sometimes it works better if you can get several authors to come talk about literacy or something, and then do a signing afterward. Also try senior centers, schools, other community fairs and events, book clubs, business or service clubs, etc.

Or offer to do a launch party at the bookstore. If you can guarantee to have a certain number of friends and family show up to your party, planning to purchase at least one book (whether yours or someone else's), they might be willing to work with you. Of course, you have to be able to actually get those people to show up, to buy a book, and to tell the cashier that they came because of YOU.

You can also do virtual booksignings. This doesn't get quite as much notice from the bookstores because people don't go into the bookstore to buy the books. But you can have people buy the book by a certain date from you and then sign the copy to them. If you can show that when you did a virtual signing you had 100 people order books from you, that would get the bookstore interested.

Authors, other ideas? What have you done to get a bookstore to have a signing for you?


Hornet's Nest Update

I opened my LDS Publisher e-mail account this morning and. . . 43?!! Do I really have 43 messages there? In less than 48 hours? Oh. My. Gosh.

It took so long to read them that now I don't have time to do a "real" post today. So blog readers, who have come here looking for a post, read all the comments here and here and here and here.

Then make some more comments of your own.

I do want to make some statements at this point, however.

  • I want to make it clear that Zarahemla Books did not contact me about sponsoring the blog. I contacted them and offered a sponsorship because I'd seen the announcement of the new book and Zarahemla has been a very generous sponsor here in the past, and so I asked if they wanted to sponsor. The commenter that implied that ZB set this whole thing up is off base.

  • I have not read this book yet. I read the promo material on the Zarahemla site. I thought it looked interesting. But I also realized by the cover image and the backliner that it probably would not be a book I wanted to buy and keep forever. So I've scrummaged around and found someone willing to loan me the book. I will be reading it this week. When I'm done, I'll give my opinion of it, both as a reader and as a publisher. I don't usually do this, but I feel I need to weigh in on a personal level, since so many of my blog readers are doing so. (And thank you for that.)

  • Every reader has the right to their opinion. We like and dislike things for so many personal reasons. You cannot argue with taste—good or bad. You can discuss the whys and the wherefores, and I love a good book discussion—especially with people who disagree with me, but since book likes and dislikes are often an emotional reaction, you're probably not going to change anyone's mind.

  • I do not want anyone to go out of business! There are so few of us LDS publishers around, especially small presses that can reach minority tastes, that we need everyone to keep at it. Zarahemla meets a market need, as evidenced by the fact that one of their books won TWO Best Novel awards in 2007.

  • If you are reading a book and you don't like it, STOP READING. Put it down, return it to the library, pass it along to someone else or throw it in the trash. (I've done that before—more than once.)

Oh, looks like I did a real post after all.


Newly Released LDS Fiction

We're going to take a short break from the hornets' nests because today is Friday and on Friday, we feature new titles by LDS authors. We will hit the last of these related topics on Monday.

This week's new titles over on the LDS Fiction blog:

Runaway Amanda by Leora Potter

Lost Luke by Leora Potter

A Soldier's Secret
by RaeAnne Thayne

Did we miss any? If we did, let me know.

We've also posted the next contest and the winner of last week's contest.

P.S. Authors & Publishers—I'm out of sponsors for weekly LDS Fiction blog contest. Sponsors agree to ship a copy of their book to the winner of the contest. If you'd like to be a sponsor, contact me.


Hornet's Nest #4: Is 'LDS Fiction' a genre label?

Is LDS fiction a genre label? If not, should it be? If so, what is the genre description?
We, as humans, seem to like to categorize things. Categorizing simplifies things, it brings order and understanding, and it helps us navigate our world. Categories also save us a lot of time when trying to share our life experiences with others.

For example, if I ask you out
to dinner, would you rather I say we're going for Italian food, or spend the next 30 minutes describing each dish on the menu? When I say Italian, you have a general idea of what to expect—pasta and spices. You would be shocked to find wantons or sushi on your plate.

So, categories can be a good thing.

In literature, we use the word "genre" to designate story categories. According to dictionary.com, a genre is "a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like: the genre of epic poetry."

Again, if you ask me what I like to read, would you rather I say fantasy, or describe the plot line of the last five books I've read?

Literary genres are a categorizing tool. They let bookstores and libraries know where to shelve the book. Genres are also a marketing tool. A genre label helps to very quickly target those readers who will most likely enjoy and/or purchase the book.

As a writer, it's important to know what genre your book falls in and to follow the expectations of the readers who enjoy that genre. For example, if you're writing a western, you don't want to spend a lot of time exploring the deep emotions of your protagonist. If you're writing a romance, emotions are the meat of your story.

That's not to say that you can't bend the genre rules a bit. Bending the rules gives readers something fresh and fun and new. Bending the rules can also create a new genre or sub-genre—chick lit, for example, is a relatively new sub-genre of women's fiction.

However, if you stray too far from the genre rules or if you mislabel your genre, you're going to have a more difficult time selling your book, both to a publisher and in the bookstores. You'll also find disgruntled and disappointed readers popping up all over the Internet. (ahem.)

So now that we understand what genre is and what it does, is "LDS fiction" a genre label? Does it bring with it its own rules and reader expectations? Based on the uproar over books like Angel Falling Softly, who market themselves as LDS fiction, I'm thinking LDS fiction has, indeed, become a literary genre.

Based on my experience in the industry, the majority of LDS readers who pick up a book marketed as LDS fiction, have the following expectations:
  • that one or more of the characters in the story will be LDS

  • that the content will deal with the LDS experience of life in some way

  • that there will be minimal violence, physical intimacy, and/or profanity

  • that if there is violence, intimacy, or profanity in the story, it will be necessary to the story and not gratuitous, and that it will not be descriptive and detailed

  • that although there may be trials along the way, good will be blessed and bad will be punished

  • that the basic tenets and beliefs of LDS doctrine will be affirmed and upheld

There have been successful books labeled as LDS Fiction that do not meet all of these expectations. As I said before, bending the rules can sometimes be a good thing. But it's a fine line and what one reader calls bending the rules, another reader calls stomping the rules to smithereens.

Perhaps what Angel Falling Softly and other books that have created an uproar or have been pulled from shelves in the past are telling us is that the LDS Fiction genre has grown to the point that we need a way to label and categorize the varied expectations of the LDS reader.

I don't know that sub-genre will work. What would we label them? Clean LDS? Edgy LDS? Perhaps a rating system like what is used in the movies? Or perhaps, word of mouth is good enough.

What do you think?


Hornet's Nest #3: LDS Authors with Objectionable Content

Should LDS authors who include objectionable content in their books go to H-E-Double Toothpicks? (Read original question here.)
Okay, that wasn't the real question, but isn't that the crux of it? And you noticed, didn't you, that I said should, not will?

And here's a corollary question: Am I now doomed because I dared to even refer to "the bad place" in this post? (Now here's an idea for a future contest. How many ways can you refer to "the hot place" without actually using it's real name??)

But let's get serious. Today's issue breaks down into two parts:

1) Do LDS authors have a responsibility to write books without objectionable content? and

2) should we doom them to heck when they include content that doesn't match up with LDS teachings?

1) Yes and no.

2) Yes and no.

The whole point of the gospel according to LDS theology is to teach people correct principles and then allow them to act according to their own agency. I believe someone important, like maybe Joseph Smith, said that. (Journal of Discourses 10:57,58)

Interpreted into this scenario, authors, LDS or otherwise, are free to write about whatever they want to write about, and readers, LDS or otherwise, are free to think and say whatever they want to think and say about what they read.

The problem occurs when someone tries to guess what others are going to find objectionable. I've heard of words that are on the taboo list for other publishers that I wouldn't even think twice about. I've also read words in books published by DB & Covenant that I would edit out.

Even when faced with the issue of pornography, there's disagreement. We all (hopefully) agree that pornography should not be included in books published to and for an LDS audience (or anywhere else, for that matter), but shockingly, we wouldn't all agree on what should be labeled as pornography. I know some people who put Michelangelo's David in this category. Some people will be offended at the mention of this statue, and highly offended that I included a link to an image of it. Other people are going to read this and think I'm making this up; that no one seriously defines this piece of sculpture as pornography. (I am not making this up. I used to regularly argue with a neighbor over this very thing.)

Bottom Line: It is impossible for me, or anyone else, to define objectionability for an entire community of readers. All I can do is define it for myself and then share that definition with others. (See yesterday's post.)

For me, it's not the subject matter in a book that is objectionable, but the treatment of it. Someone in the early days of the Church (I'm thinking Brigham Young, but I'd love it if someone could find me the exact quote with source and reference), said something to the effect that the evils of this world should be addressed on the stages of Zion. I believe that also applies to the pages of our books. We can learn vicariously through watching others, even if those others are completely fictional.

I believe that all authors, including LDS authors, have a responsibility to express the truth of their world view. If you are LDS, I believe you have a responsibility to write to the level of your testimony and beliefs; the overall theme and message of your stories should support what you believe to be true. As long as an author is true to what they believe, I will not condemn them. I may not read them, and I may pray for their soul, but I won't say that they should have done it differently. That's between them and God and none of my business.

The truth of my world is that we all struggle with issues that are sometimes dark and difficult. Exploring those struggles in fiction, using the tool of metaphor, can be very, very helpful to those still in the fight between good and bad choices. I believe that is the purpose of story—even in the fluffiest, most escapist, let's-just-have-a-fun-read forms of fiction.

I believe the reason some stories are beloved by so many people, is the author has successfully used their metaphor to tap into a need, a dream, a desire, or a struggle that speaks to the heart of others, and that in some way, it helps the reader to resolve or to cope with that issue.

Within those guidelines, I also have a list of personal Dos and Don'ts. I have the same set of rules for LDS fiction and authors, and non-LDS fiction and authors:
  • I may need to know that two someones have gone into their bedroom, but don't want to peep in and watch.

  • I may need to know that terrible things have happened to someone, but don't want to watch it as it happens.

  • I may need to know the level of someone's frustrations, and the fact that they may use a word that I won't admit to using myself, but I don't want to listen to every single expression of someone's anger or outrage.

  • I want enough information to understand what is happening and why, and I can fill in the details myself.

  • I want my life view supported and confirmed: that when people make poor choices and behave in ways that hurt others, they pay a price, eventually; that when people make good choices and are kind and loving to others, they are blessed, eventually.

  • Whether God is addressed in a book or not, when I finish the last page, I need to still know as firmly as when I read the first page that there is a God in heaven who has established rules of right and wrong, that He loves us, and that He is sure and in charge; I do not want to be left with nagging thoughts of question or doubt.

This is my opinion. What is yours?

Hornet's Nest #2: Blog Sponsors

Do I have a responsibility to my blog readership to ensure that all sponsors of this blog and the LDS Fiction blog uphold what is traditionally defined as LDS standards? (Read original question here.)

The whole idea of sponsorship came about because I wanted this to be an interactive blog. I wanted you to ask questions. I wanted to answer them. And I wanted discussion.

Hard as it is for most of you to believe, just because I'm "the publisher" doesn't mean that my opinion is always correct. Or best. Or whatever. To be healthy, a company needs to grow and evolve—we need to learn from you how to better meet your needs and expectations, while teaching you to meet our needs and expectations. That can't happen unless there is dialog, give and take, sharing.

And you guys weren't sharing!

So I started to provide contests and prizes to trick information out of you. And it worked. You started commenting. And your comments are generally thoughtful and often helpful to us. Your comments here have sometimes been discussed in corporate meetings and in meetings with other publishers. They have impacted company policies and procedures.

It was great. Except I had to pay for the prizes. And my prize budget got cut. Then eliminated. So I had the bright idea, what if I sold advertising? But that sounded so crass. Ergo, the comment contest with prizes provided by authors and publishers.

And it was heaven. Until yesterday when someone pointed out a potential problem. Not that I'm saying one of this month's sponsors is a problem. We'll deal with that when we get to hornet's nest #5. I'm just trying to sort and sift ideas here.

On the one hand, by accepting a sponsor, I recognize that in the minds of some readers, on some level, I am giving tacit approval or endorsement to that book. I suppose that if I knew a book were highly offensive to a majority of my audience that I wouldn't accept it for sponsorship. For example, I don't think I'd let George R. R. Martin sponsor this blog even if he were LDS. Not even if he offered me lots of money. However, I'd put Stephenie Meyer on here in a heartbeat. (Not that she's asked, but one can dream.) Orson Scott Card? Gray area for me. In think many of his books are wonderful. Others are surprisingly offensive to some LDS readers.

On the other hand, can I really be expected to read and approve every offer of sponsorship? I don't have time to do that. First, I'd have to have sponsors volunteer, then hunt down a copy of their book or ask them to send it to me (which would mean they'd have to donate TWO copies of their book to the cause), then find the time to read it, then think of every possible way someone might be offended by the book and decide if that risk too great. And I'd have to do it within a monthly deadline for this blog and a weekly deadline for the LDS Fiction blog. Honestly—sometimes I don't have a sponsor locked until the day of the posting. I read fast, but not that fast.

Also, maybe I'd be offended by something that 99% of you wouldn't even notice. Or vice versa. Nope. Don't want to do that for the blogs—I have to do enough of that type of juggling in my day job. (You would not believe some of the things our pre-readers think might be offensive to the general LDS population.)

And if sponsorship of my blog equates with my endorsement, well, we've got a problem because I'd be more likely to turn down a sponsor for using the word "lighted" instead of "lit" than I would be to turn it down because they used the "d" word once.

So. What do I do, folks? Do I put a giant disclaimer on the sponsor page, like the radio stations do when they run an editorial, and trust you guys to have a little common sense and think for yourselves? Or do I only accept sponsorships from books I've read and know are squeaky clean? Or do I dump sponsorships altogether?

What does it mean to you when you see a book on my sidebar? Help me here. I need some pros and cons. Some feedback.


Hornet's Nest #1: Books Posted on the LDS Fiction Blog

Dear LDS Publisher,

I don't want to stir up a hornet's nest, but. . . I noticed that Angel Falling Softly is a current sponsor for your blog. I have some real issues with this book and its portrayal of LDS theology. It angers me that it's being billed as an "LDS" book when it clearly would be offensive to most LDS readers. Do you have a problem with this book sponsoring you, since you label yourself as an LDS publisher? How do you feel about this?

Also, I noticed that a couple of books on your LDS Fiction blog have content warning labels, but this book doesn't. Why not? And why do you post books with content warning labels anyway? If the books are antagonistic to LDS teachings, and therefore not really LDS fiction, why not delete them from the blog entirely, especially since you're calling your other blog "LDS Fiction"? It would seem that a book with explicit s*x scenes or promoting behaviors that aren't in line with LDS teachings shouldn't be called LDS fiction.

I don't mean to offend here. Just want to understand.

hornet's nest? You've got a whole slew of nests here. That's okay. I can handle hornets.

As I see it, the issues you've raised are:
  1. Books posted on the LDS Fiction blog that not may uphold LDS standards.

  2. Sponsors of this blog and the LDS Fiction blog that may not uphold LDS standards.

  3. LDS authors that write books that may not uphold LDS standards.

  4. Books marketed to LDS readers and promoted as LDS fiction that may not uphold LDS standards.

  5. Angel Falling Softly, as a specific example of the above.

Did I miss any? Let's separate these issues and deal with them one at a time, starting with today's issue.

Books on the LDS Fiction Blog:
When I started the LDS Fiction blog, my intent was to inform LDS readers of newly published fiction books written by LDS authors. The only conditions I set for books finding a spot on that blog were that 1) they be fiction, 2) they be published (not just e-books), and 3) the authors be LDS. Even though I've personally encountered books by LDS authors that made me uncomfortable, it never crossed my mind that I might need some provision for LDS authors publishing books with highly offensive content on the blog. Silly me.

I have not read every book listed over on the LDS Fiction blog. I haven't even read a majority of them. While I wish I could, I don't have the time or money required to purchase and read every book published by every LDS author in any given year. If someone would like to pay me a salary to do this and provide me with the books, I'd be happy to quit my day job and start a book review blog and give you my completely unbiased and highly educated opinion on each and every one of these books, but until then, I count on you, my blog readers, to help me out.

And you've been great about this. I appreciate that you send me e-mails suggesting titles to add and tell me about LDS authors who publish nationally or who self-publish in small niche markets. I count on your input and I couldn't maintain that blog without it.

I also count on you to comment about these books. Just because someone is LDS does not mean they write books with characters who adhere to or promote LDS standards of living. Nor does it mean they use language (descriptive or dialog) with which the average LDS reader would be comfortable. Not only can we, as fiction readers, help each other find great books by leaving positive comments on the LDS Fiction blog about the books we read, but we also owe it to each other to comment when we find something offensive.

The first time I got an e-mail about a book containing offensive content, I spent some time thinking about how to handle it. I admit that my first knee-jerk reaction was to take the book post down because I don't want to offend. I want to uplift and enlighten and entertain. But then I talked to quite a few people about it—readers, authors and publishers. Is there a line that I, as blog owner, need to define and draw? Where is that line? Is it only for sexually related content? Do I include violence and gritty real-life issues? What about swearing—are certain words okay, but others not? Whose sensibilities do I honor or protect? How many people need to be offended before I take a book off the blog?

After lots of thought and prayer on the matter, I decided that if a book met my original criteria—published fiction by an LDS author, I would give it a place on the blog. However, if I read a book that I think will be offensive to others, or a reader makes a comment or sends an e-mail about offensive material in a book, I will put a warning on the post.

Hopefully, you will put your own warnings on such posts, as this commenter did. Don't just say, "This book was offensive." Tell us in general terms what was offensive, such as, "This book had more swearing than I'm comfortable with."

If we post our honest opinions, feelings, and reactions to the books we're reading, then others who read our comments will be able to make an educated decision about whether or not they want to read the book.

What do you think?

(We'll tackle hornet's nest #2 tomorrow.)


Newly Posted LDS Fiction

This week's new titles over on the LDS Fiction blog:

Flashback by J. Michael Hunter

Did we miss any? If we did, let me know.

We've also posted the next contest and the winner of last week's contest.

And speaking of contest winners.
Rachelle and LY won prizes for last month's contest and haven't sent me their mailing addresses yet. If you want your prize, get me your address by the end of next week or I'll give your books to someone else.


Prologues and Epilogues

What do you think of prologues? Epilogues?
If they're done well, I love them. If they're not done, you're better off without them.

I found a site that talks about prologues, and I agree. So go here and read it.

Also, prologues work better in some genres than others. Fantasy and suspense prologues are generally better than say, romance prologues.


Experts as Writers

Do you expect your non-fiction authors to be recognized experts on their topic?

They either need to be experts by study and profession, or experts due to life experience. Sometimes personal experience makes a better book.


Newly Posted LDS Fiction

This week's new titles over on the LDS Fiction blog:

Pillage by Obert Skye

Stop Me by Brenda Novak

Servant to a King by Sariah S. Wilson

Did we miss any? If we did, let me know.

We've also posted the next contest and the winner of last week's contest.


What Topics Do I Want to See?

What kinds of issues would you like to see explored in a novel? What kinds of non-fiction topics would you like to see?
You're going to get slightly different answers from each publisher. But. . .

Anything that we, as people alive on this planet, have to deal with is a good topic. It's not so much the topic, as the treatment of the topic that often gets books rejected. I think you can find books from LDS publishers that deal with just about everything, although sometimes not as honestly and straightforwardly as some of us might wish.

I'd like to see YA books dealing with peer pressure, living in the real world without succumbing to its negative influences, maintaining hope and faith despite the crushing blows that life can send your way. But they can't be preachy or have simplistic answers, and they can't sound like they were written by an adult as a way to teach the youth how to live a better life.

I'd also like to see some just plain old fun genre books with LDS characters, but no one trying to convert anyone else.


Platforms for Novels

A platform for a non-fiction title makes sense, but is there such a thing as a platform for a novel?

Yes, although it's sometimes harder to define. A platform is a topic or area of expertise that is used to market your book. Instead of just saying, "Go buy my book because it doesn't stink," you can talk about a topic of interest to everyone (or lots of people) that is dealt with in your book. It gives you a toe in the door to radio and TV interviews, newspaper coverage, school visits, and other public appearances that simply hawking your books for sale doesn't allow.

A few examples off the top of my head:
  • Josi Kilpack established a platform for her book, Sheep's Clothing, researching and discussing how to keep your children safe from online predators. This was something she could talk about that would hook people into reading her book. It was a way to get media interest. When she was on Good Things Utah, most of the interview was spent on safety issues, and then, "oh by the way, I've written a book that deals with this topic..." Josi is doing the same thing with her upcoming book, Her Good Name, with a platform on stolen identities.

  • Julie Coulter Bellon's new book, All's Fair, is set in Iraq. Her platform is supporting our troops. She's promoting a charity drive to send care packages to our military men and women.

  • J. Scott Savage's Farworld: Water Keep, has the platform of finding the magic within yourself. Another could be overcoming disabilities. Either of these platforms will get him speaking engagements in schools and youth organizations.

Many other LDS books have good solid platforms. If you're an author, please feel free to post info about your book and your platform in the comments section.


Pen Names for Various Markets

Do you think it's wise to use different names for the LDS market and the national market?
There is no hard and fast rule about this. A lot of it depends on how firmly established you are in either market and how much alike or different your books for each market will be. This is something that you and your agent and/or publisher should discuss and weigh the various pros and cons, then make your decision.

Read more about this here, here, here, and here.


Newly Posted LDS Fiction

This week's new titles over on the LDS Fiction blog:

Angel Falling Softly by Eugene Woodbury

Emma: Woman of Faith by Anita Stansfield

All's Fair by Julie Coulter Bellon

The Journey by J. Adams

Did we miss any? If we did, let me know.

We've also posted the next contest and the winner of last week's contest.


Author Promo

After publication, what's the most important thing an author can do to market his book?
1) Establish an internet presence that includes book cover, blurb, links to online stores, author photo and author bio. Keeping that presence fresh and new with contests, blot or whatever, also helps.

2) Get business cards with your book cover on it and give it to everyone you meet. Tell EVERYONE you know when the book is released.

3) Do public appearances—book signings, book clubs, school visits, firesides, workshops, etc.


June 2008 Comment Contest Winners

Yesterday I posted July's sponsors, then logged off with something nagging at my brain. I was forgetting something but I couldn't put my finger on it...DUH! I forgot to post June's contest winners. Where, oh, where has my mind gone? Oh yes, I know. It's all tied up in knots getting ARCs and posters and all that jazz ready for LDS Booksellers next month. [Deep breath. Sigh.]


Here are the winners of the June Comment Contest, randomly selected from comments made during the month of June.

Thanks again to our sponsors. Please take a moment to read their bio info here.

Delicious Conversation

by Jennifer Stewart Griffith

Winner: Danyelle Ferguson

Commenting on June 2008 Sponsors

Brother Brigham

by D. Michael Martindale

Winner: Rachelle

Commenting on Where Do I Find an LDS Editor?

Ride to Raton

by Marsha Ward

Winner: LY

Commenting on Self-Editing Errors

To claim your prize, you must e-mail your mailing address to me by Wednesday, July 9, 2008.

(Unclaimed prizes will be up for grabs on Thursday, July 10th.)

Click here to learn how you can win a copy of one of our sponsoring books.

Blog Tours

Do you think blog tours help sell books?

IF the stops along the blog tour have loyal readers who trust the judgment of the reviewer and the reviewer gives you a positive, well-written review. AND if there are easy links from the blog stop to a place to purchase the book online.

Anyone done a blog tour that wants to chime in?

Related to blog tours, any type of internet promo is usually a good thing. For example, Traitor by Sandra Grey has a post over on the LDS Fiction blog. As of this posting, that book had the most positive comments about it. I bought it and put it on my Summer Book Trek Reading list for that very reason. (Although I haven't read it yet.)


July 2008 Sponsors

Please take a moment to learn more about our wonderfully generous sponsors.

A Modest Proposal
by Michele Ashman Bell

All my life I had dreamed of changing the ordinary girl’s world of fashion by designing modest formal gowns—ones that you’d actually want to wear. With my super-hero stitching I would save you mothers and daughters crying in dressing rooms over yet another “the straps are just too small” prom dress. Don’t worry, I even thought of a catchy tagline for my brand: “Modest Is Hottest.” I told you I was good!

So I moved to New York and am finally living that dream ... well, almost. I am at one of the top fashion companies, and my designs are definitely modest—but let’s face it, when it comes to outerwear, would you want to buy a skimpy trench coat? Didn’t think so.

Even though I don’t have my dream job, my family is a mess, and my love life stinks, I have a feeling things are going to change. I mean, they have to soon, or I’ll be forced to marry Jace. I did promise to become his wife only if I turned thirty and was still single, but I honestly didn’t think it was possible. Now twenty-nine, I’m cutting it way too close. Right now I’m flying back to Utah for our Butterfly Girls reunion. And since it is the Mormon Mecca, I might find myself a modest proposal. Utah engagements can take mere weeks. Never mind, I’m not that desperate. Really.

But maybe the girls can help. We’ve been best friends since high school. We Butterfly Girls are not the typical Pink Ladies, although we’ve definitely had our share of drama. We’ll laugh and cry over memories, from pageant glory to tragic endings, but the ones stored inside our butterfly box will surprise you most. We only open it when we’re all together, and our lives never seem the same after.

Michele Ashman Bell: What can I say, I'm a middle-aged mother of four, who, after ten years of hard work, perserverance and a lot of rejection letters, finally got a book published.

I grew up in St. George, Utah, where a lot of my family still lives, but now reside with my husband and family in the Salt Lake City area. My favorite thing to do is support my kids in their many interests. Between basketball, ballet and piano lessons we squeeze a lot into a week, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Freshman for President by Ally Condie

Fifteen-year-old Milo J. Wright and his best friend, Eden, are crazy to even consider participating in the election for President of the United States of America, aren't they?

Never mind that Milo is twenty years too young. Never mind the fact that he'll have to balance the election with school, his lawn-mowing job, soccer practice, and trying to understand girls. There are times in life when you just have to go for something, no matter how impossible, and this is one of those times. Not only does he have to redefine who Milo J. Wright really is, but he also has to decide what winning and losing really mean.

Allyson Braithwaite Condie received a degree in English teaching from Brigham Young University. She went on to teach high school in Utah and New York for several years. She loved her job because it combined two of her favorite things—working with students and reading great books.

Currently, however, she is employed by her two little boys, who keep her busy playing trucks and going to the park. They also like to help her type and are very good at drawing on manuscripts with red crayon. In addition to spending time with them and with her husband, she loves reading, running, eating, and traveling.

Angel Falling Softly by Eugene Woodbury

Over the past six months, Rachel Forsythe's perfect life has descended from the ideal to the tragic. The younger of her two daughters is dying of cancer. Despite her standing as the wife of a respected Mormon bishop, neither God nor medical science has blessed her with a cure. Or has He?

Milada Daranyi, chief investment officer at Daranyi Enterprises International, has come to Utah to finalize the takeover of a Salt Lake City-based medical technology company. Bored with her downtown hotel accommodations, she rents a house in the Sandy suburbs.

And then the welcome wagon shows up. Her neighbors perceive her to be a beautiful, intelligent, and daunting young woman. But Rachel senses something about Milada that leads her in a completely different—and very dangerous—direction.

Rachel's suspicions are right: Milada is homo lamia. A vampire. Fallen. And possibly the only person in the world who can save Rachel's daughter. Uncovering Milada's secrets, Rachel becomes convinced that, as Milton writes, "all this good of evil shall produce."

As the two women push against every moral boundary in order to protect their families, the price of redemption will prove higher than either of them could have possibly imagined.

Eugene Woodbury was born and raised in the upstate New York community of Scotia-Glenville. After serving for two years in the Tokyo South Mission, he graduated from Brigham Young University with degrees in Japanese and TESOL.

His stories have appeared in the New Era, Sunstone, Cricket, American Gardener, and Clubhouse. He has twice been a Utah Original Writing Competition finalist and is a recipient of the Sunstone Foundation Moonstone Award for short fiction.

He lives in Orem, Utah, where he works as a freelance writer and translator. He can be reached via his website at www.eugenewoodbury.com.

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