Shout Out to Book Clubs

Ricci Wolman, founder and CEO of Written Word Media, blogged about Top Ten Publishing Trends Every Author Needs to Know in 2018. Four predictions appeared most relevant to a recent discussion among Montana Women Writers:

  • Authors will continue to grow ebook share
  • More Indie authors will achieve success
  • Marketing will become more expensive
  • Authors must go ‘direct to reader’
brooke-cagle-195777

Photo: Brook Cagle via Unsplash

Each published author in our group goes directly to readers in one form or another:

  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
  • Blogs
  • Email newsletters and promotions
  • Book signings and readings
  • Speaking with book clubs

Obviously, social media is a godsend for authors like us who live in remote parts of the country. We do our best to connect in person with local book clubs and special interest groups, but we live in northwest Montana in a county the land size of Connecticut with a population of 100,000.

Our book club exposure is limited. Or so we thought.

Photo: Mike Coleman

We propose connecting with book club readers directly through social media. Skype and FaceTime will allow even those of us living in Montana to participate in discussions all over the world. Read one of our books, and then invite the author to your book club meeting.

Some of us have added book club discussion questions and personal contact information in the backs of our books. You can also find our individual author information on Montanawomenwriters.com, our individual author websites, or simply email me, and I’ll forward your request to the author you wish to contact.

Get to know us, and happy reading!

Ann Minnett MWW photo

Ann Minnett

Thinking About CASA

By Ann Minnett

I’m a CASA/GAL (Court Appointed Special Advocate/guardian ad litem).

Background about CASA:

  • Nearly 700,00 children experience abuse every year.
  • Over 1,000 CASA programs train and support 76,756 CASA volunteers. Volunteers get to know the child by talking with everyone in that child’s life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform judges and others of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them.
  • 250,323 abused and neglected children had a CASA volunteer speaking up for their interests in the last year. (452,000 are waiting for a volunteer empowered to find them a safe, permanent home)
  • Go to casaforchildren.org/ for information about how you could make a difference in children’s lives.

What does this have to do with writing?

Fellow CASA volunteers read my first book, Burden of Breath, because it deals with the long-lasting effects of childhood abuse. Our local executive director’s reaction to my writing surprised me. She said, “Lucky you, you can make up a happy ending.” She meant that my writing might ease my own concerns because child abuse cases, the courts, the foster care system, all of it, are often messy and sometimes end with us wondering… Were the children’s best interests served?

I set out to do just that—bend events into a happy resolution–in my manuscript inspired by the question, What if the estranged parent comes back? I concocted a gripping story with an end in mind. My critique group read the final twenty pages last week, and they would have none of it (the ending, that is). My main character behaved one way, but the all the secondary characters and my wise critique pals believed the main character would behave very differently.

I will change it.

The truth is that I can’t make a happy ending or a la-la-la outcome when the story doesn’t lead me there. This strange writing process is not to be controlled. Rather, I start by asking a question, apply my experiences, and hang on in amazement at what happens on the page.

Recently released Fifteen Years of Lies has nothing to do with CASA, but you might like it!

 

 

 

Self-Expression in Photography & Writing

By Ann Minnett

Have I mentioned what a joy it is to live in Montana? You’re likely tired of hearing it from me, if not from all of us in Montana Women Writers. It goes without saying, and today is no exception.

For the past week, my husband and I have witnessed a red-tailed hawk teach her fledgling to fly and hunt. The nest is in a dead tree trunk about a hundred yards from where I write from my porch most summer days. We try not to bother their progress, but here you see mom is not pleased.

Red-tail hawk

It’s becoming difficult to distinguish mother from child, and we expect they’ll soon move on.

A more relevant joy of living here is the feeling of peace and serenity that allows for self-expression and creativity–in my husband’s photography and my writing. I recently published a third novel, Fifteen Years of Lies (excerpted below), and anticipate the release of a fourth book in early 2018. I’ve been an author in search of a niche and finally found it in Domestic Suspense.

Fifteen Years of Lies FINAL EBOOK COVER

Two police cruisers pulled away from the lakeside mansion, leaving an insurance agent’s car alone on the circular drive. Lark reached for a cigarette but thought better of it, shifted into second gear, and lurched to the right and around back to the servant’s entrance. 

In the service vestibule, Lark kicked off her boots and dropped her bag inside the laundry room door. Upstairs in the kitchen, Jan Hensen and husband Jack vied for the agent’s attention. She padded toward the stairs, stocking feet sinking into the rec room’s plush carpet. She dreaded going up there.

Who’s the first person suspected of theft? The housekeeper, that’s who…

~ Ann

Burden of Breath Revised Cover 5-21-17

Burden of Breath (210 reviews, 4.3 stars) will be available for free download on July 29th!

 

This Really Happened

Ann Minnett MWW photoBy Ann Minnett

twitter-facebook-together-exchange-of-informationI have two Twitter accounts—one for the exchange of writing-related information
(@ann_minnett) and a new account I use to vent about politics and controversial topics with like-minded tweeters. I won’t share the name of the second for obvious reasons, but I swear I’m not too mean and rarely malign a part of someone’s anatomy, for example, or post mocking photos. Just saying.

A woman I admire and follow on the political account BLOCKED me over the weekend, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. The woman has thousands of followers while my political followers number in the double digits. She and I share beliefs, vocabularies, and passions, so why did she block me? Was it something I tweeted? I created the political account precisely not to annoy others but simply to express myself. I went back through my recent tweets to determine what I said to offend her. I found nothing. Next, I schemed ways to ask her why. I felt jilted.

Bottom line, she hurt my feelings.

It occurs to me (and you’re likely way ahead of me) that my thin-skinned sensitivities aren’t meant to be shared on social media. There’s a saying among my friends: Your opinion of me is none of my business, but my opinion of you could kill me.

twitter poster

Fine. To the woman who blocked me: I forgive your lapse in judgment about me, and I’m letting go of you and political Twitter to save my sanity. The fiery love affair between politics and social media is not for me.

I deleted my political rant twitter account today, but please follow me @ann_minnett, and I’ll return the follow.

 

 

 

Any Writer Can Thrive Here

Ann Minnett MWW photo Ann Minnett

The community of writers comes through again!

Christine Carbo, local author of the Glacier Mystery Series, is a busy woman. Her third book in the series, The Weight of Night, comes out this June, and she is set to write at least two more. She also owns a Pilates studio and has a family.

Montana Women Writers invited Christine to speak in December about her publishing experiences and how to capture an agent’s interest. Despite her busy schedule, she offered to help me with a (dreaded) query letter to agents. I took her up on the offer. I sent her drafts of my letter and synopsis for Don’t Tell Zane, and we met last week to discuss.

Her willingness to help another writer embodies the generosity among authors in the Flathead. Any writer can thrive in the environment of trust and support we enjoy here. We aren’t in competition. If I ever achieve a ‘place of prominence’ as a writer, I hope to share my knowledge just as generously.

Les DiaboliquesLes DiaboliquesLes Diaboliques

By the way, Christine’s the one who suggested my novels fit into the Domestic Suspense genre. I’ve read and enjoyed suspense novels for years, not knowing some were Domestic Suspense. My research proved her to be spot on, and I intend to market Don’t Tell Zane and my current WIP to those readers.

Thanks, Christine, and thank you to this amazing community of writers.

Ann

Burden of Breath Cover - Minnett            FINAL TURQUOISE FONT COVER