Tabor’s Trinket Wins International Book Award!

Tabor IPPY Award

Happy Birthday to me!  (actually in 2 weeks, but this wonderful surprise came early!)  Tabor’s Trinket, Book One in the Coin Forest series set in 15th century England, won the international IPPY award in the Romance category!  IPPY is the Independent Publisher Book Awards, the world’s largest book awards competition, and it drew 6,000 entries this year from USA, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and Europe!  Awards celebration party in New York on May 27.  I’m doing my Serena Williams’ “just-won-a-major-title” dance!  I’m honored, because with thousands of entries, I know there were some very worthy titles out there, and I’m grateful.  And very, very happy!


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Emerald Silk Cover Reveal!

Cover 10 15 2014 no underwireJalena Penaligon has done it again! She far surpassed my hopes and created a stunning cover for EMERALD SILK, the second novel in my COIN FOREST series!  Kadriya appeared in Book One of the series as a young girl, spirited, determined, and loyal to Sharai, the girl who took her in as an infant. They grew up together, becoming closer than sisters, and faced death-defying moments together. But Kadriya is half English, half Gypsy, searching her heart to learn on which ethnic shore she belongs. This cover captures her determination and spirit.

John Wynter is a tortured soul. He delivers Kadriya’s Gypsy fiancé to the gallows for theft of a ceremonial  chalice. Long-ago fears have hardened to hatred and Sir John loathes foreigners. His bigotry blinds him, and if this fierce knight cannot overcome it, he may fail in his duty. In a single bell’s toll, their life and happiness rest on finding the power of love—and one elusive chalice.  His inner struggle is laid bare in this cover.

EMERALD SILK releases in just four days!! You can read more and order at

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Tabor’s Trinket earns Amazon Best Seller status!

Amazon Best Seller w Nos 6 in wide copyI was half-heartedly checking sales of Tabor’s Trinket last night, and found this!  I was stunned and so pleasantly surprised! Okay, okay, I admit it– I was screaming and jumping around like Serena Williams.  Tabor’s Trinket is an Amazon Best-seller in three categories!  I’m smiling so much, my face hurts! Thanks to all my dear family and friends for your support during my venture into the Kindle world! Thanks for buying my book, and for believing in me!!

To all of my author friends and blog friends who have been following this saga, you know I resisted offering my novels for sale on Kindle. You know how many years I hemmed and hawed and wondered if I should try this.  And here I am, sharing this news with you.  I’m in a delightful state of shock!


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Cover Reveal: Tabor’s Trinket!

TT4 1.5 inches 9 24 14

It brings me great joy to share the new cover of Tabor’s Trinket, my historical romance set in 15th century England.  It’s now available through Kindle.

The story, book one in the four-volume Coin Forest series, is set in a unique period in history when Gypsies were welcomed, their travels even financed by the nobility in the countries in which they traveled. Dubbed the Gypsy social honeymoon period, it lasted for just a few decades as the Gypsies ventured into Western Europe. It has been described by some of my readers as a Pretty Woman meets Pride and Prejudice because of the themes of survival under pressure, preconceptions and discrimination. You can read more of the plotline and order a copy at

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Self-publishing-Courage on Steroids!

Fran commented on my previous post, sharing that she, too, had taken the self-publishing path.

What kind of fears do we suffer when we take this big step in our careers? We don’t have the shelter of a big New York publishing house — we lack the stamp of approval that comes from a big publisher’s editor.

I’ve come to realize there *are* traits and talents we *do* possess, though. With traditional publishing, I assumed I would get publicity, but in hindsight, I see that I did the lion’s share of promotion– a massive amount of publicity and advertising. Being our book’s best advocate is challenging, and yes, exhausting!  I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about it.  What have I missed? What can be done more thoroughly? How can I best reach the readers who will love my book?

Doubts needle at the oddest times.  What if my book is given a scathing review? What if my friends read it and–after all my excited conversations about writing, they read it, grimace and think, “So this is what she’s so excited about?”  We don’t have an editor or an agent reassuring us along the way.  We are, from the beginning, in charge of nurturing our Positive Mental Attitude (PMA), and funding all of our promotional activities.

It’s daunting, but we’re not in this alone.  There are hundreds of thousands like us.  Networking helps. Let’s keep clutching our COURAGE cards and following our dreams!  Go ye forth. Believe. Promote. And write more wonderful books!  –Janet


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Courage – we could all use a shot of it

P1020362My good friend, Robin Owens, let me select one of her self-care inspiration cards by Cheryl Richardson, and I picked COURAGE. This is a time in my life when I need it. I’ve discussed e-publishing several times here, wondering if it’s right for me, wondering if I can navigate my way through the dark, meandering caves of this challenging, new digital world. The artwork is beautiful, isn’t it? On the reverse side, it says, “Take the leap. Your courage will see you through.”

I’m leaping! :-)  …are you?


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Critique Comments – When to Heed, When to Weed

There’s an interesting discussion unfolding on the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s member group. It involves deciding which of your critique partner’s comments don’t apply to your work, and which comments should be heeded and acted upon.

There’s a fine line to walk with critique comments. On one side, you may strengthen your writing by heeding them; on the other side, you may stray from your vision of the story or dilute the effectiveness of your prose if you change your story every time someone makes a negative comment.

Protect your writing by giving careful thought to each comment. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. For example, if you encounter a comment like, “You have too many characters,” probe for more specifics. Possible questions might be:

Have I confused the reader? If it’s a group discussion scene, is each voice made distinctive and identified (perhaps by the quality of the voice, the language used, familiar gestures, or distinctive item of clothing), or does the reader wonder who’s on stage and who’s saying what?

Are there too many similar characters, or characters with similar functions? In a car repair scene, for example, if the alternator is shot and need replacing, which complicates things for the protagonist, do you need more than one mechanic to complete the scene? Or if you have three sisters as sidekicks, can they be combined in one with no loss of plot?

Is there one particular character you’d like to see gone? Maybe a supporting character is offensive and distracts the reader in a negative way. If so, is the character necessary? I once had a character who smoked, and it bothered the reader way out of proportion to the usefulness of having her smoke, so voila! Instant recovered smoker and she could go on to perform her plot functions.

I’m not suggesting that you question your critique person to exhaustion — limit yourself to one or two succinct questions, and never defend or explain your work — but with a couple of well thought out questions, it’s possible to learn something useful in cases of general statements such as, “You have too many characters.”

Have you suffered through nightmare critiques? What did you do?  Please share, if you have the time today, and happy writing!  –Janet

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