Tag Archives: book release

Announcing Saints & Spies!

It’s here! After SEVEN! LONG! YEARS!, I’m finally ready to share this story, and on its actual seventh birthday, no less:


SaintsSpies_CVR_MEDWhen she finds her priest murdered, Molly Malone, secretary of their Catholic parish, vows to never let it happen again. She’ll use the full force of her Irish will, and her previous stint on the Irish police force, to protect the new priest from the congregation’s rumors of criminal activity.

Falling in love wasn’t part of her plan. However, young, handsome and — dare she even think it? — flirtatious, Father Tim O’Rourke is nothing she expected. But Father Tim is also nothing like he seems to Molly: he’s Special Agent Zach Saint, an LDS FBI agent undercover to root out the mob that’s hiding in the parish.

And Molly isn’t helping: every time Zach gets close to the mob, Molly manages to get in the way. Falling for her is the last thing he needs. Now Zach must find the murderer and catch the mobsters before his feelings for Molly blow his cover and add another murder or two to the mobsters’ docket.

Buy now | About the book | Excerpt

And if you buy Saints & Spies this week, your ebook will include over 80 pages of bonus features, from recipes to character profiles to deleted scenes & alternate versions!

But you MUST purchase the book by Saturday to get this exclusive content. Some of these features will NEVER be shared again!

To celebrate the release of Saints & Spies (can I say that again?!), I’m giving away a reader prize pack!


In the pack, one lucky winner will get to curl up with hot cocoa (don’t worry, I’ll ship it as powder), a reading-themed mug (I like “Reading is my super power”), ALL SIX BOOKS OF THE SPY ANOTHER DAY SERIES (Kindle or ePub format), and cozy handknit socks (women’s mediumish, ankle height, reversible, knit by yours truly!).

Okay, I’m crazy excited about these socks. The name of the yarn color is “Molly.” AND the sock pattern’s designer was actually my Irish consultant on the novel. She’s awesome! And I decided to make them ankle high, and then I remembered this scene:


Even if he could cover his gun before she found him, Zach would look really suspect—and really stupid—hiding under her desk. He tried to force himself further into the shadows. Good thing she had a deep desk, and she hadn’t bothered to switch on the lights, either.

But wouldn’t any normal person with a legitimate reason to be in their own office after hours switch on the lights first thing? Was she here for something illegal? . . .

In the silence, Molly shifted her weight from one attractive ankle to the other—he’d never realized ankles could be pretty. . . .

He waited until he was sure Molly would be gone before he returned to the parish house. As he walked through the parking lot, he took note of the maroon sedan parked across the street. But he was more worried about the owner of a pair of pretty ankles.

Okay, I love these things. And cocoa. And reading mugs. And my books. And I’m giving them to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Physical prizes shipped to US addresses only. Entries must be received by October 24, 2015. No purchase necessary.

Hot cocoa photo by meg

Marketing 101: When do I start?

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Marketing 101

So, now that we’ve established that we’re designing marketing strategies instead of aimlessly using disparate tactics and touting the emotional benefits of our novels, let’s talk about when we need to start marketing. The answer is pretty simple: today. And also tomorrow.

Before you sell a book

Before you sell your first book, you can begin marketing. A lot of that marketing will be in the form of query letters, pitches and other interactions with publishing professionals. But once you’re ready to query, you’re ready to market the one thing you do have: yourself.

While I do know people who have had editors approach them based on the excerpts on their websites/blogs, most of our audience before we have a book (or a deal) won’t be agents and editors. You definitely need to make your online presence professional, especially if you mention your site in your query or email signature—but you also want to keep in mind your audience, often other writers.

One way to do this, obviously, is a blog. You do NOT have to blog about writing unless you really want to (I did and I do). But when you’re ready to enter publishing, a blog is a great way to start putting yourself out there, making yourself known. We’ll be talking more about blogging soon, but one more note before we change the subject: I also recommend approaching blogging before a book deal as a way of networking. Make friends with other writers! Aside from not feeling like a lonely schizoid, you can help and get help from writer friends in strengthening writing craft, finding critique partners, researching and just having fun.

If you feel your writing is ready to submit to agents and editors, then it’s probably ready to put a sample up on your site, too. Because that’s what it’s all about, right? However, you don’t have to treat your blog audience as potential book buyers. They may or may not be—and before you have a book, they won’t be.

When you have a book!

Whether you’re going with a traditional publisher or self-publishing, marketing a book falls pretty heavily on the author’s shoulders.

Naturally, once you have a book in the works, you want to start working on promotional plans. Of course, with a traditional publisher, you will probably have a long lead time—and even you will probably get tired of hearing about your book by the time it comes out if you spend a year or two in hard sell mode. It’s a weird state of limbo—and where I find myself now. My biggest marketing activity right now is polishing up my strategies and tactics for sometime next year. But whenever I can share some good news about the process—a release date, turning in edits, a cover—of course you know I will!

But as your real live release date gets closer, you’ll want to start putting your bigger plans in action. A couple years ago at the LDStorymakers writing conference, author Heather B. Moore recommended this timeline for marketing an upcoming release:

6 months before release: get endorsements—blurbs on the book and on your website (yes, even before the book comes out)

4–6 months before release: line up newspaper reviewers and prominent blog reviewers for a national release and get those ARCs out ASAP

3 months before release: line up reviewers—newspapers and blogs—for regional releases

1-2 months before release: schedule launch events and book signings

Also prepare your marketing materials (bookmarks, fliers, postcards, etc.) well in advance! Check on your printer’s schedule and allow plenty of lead time to have your materials in your hands (or in bookstores) when your book gets there, or a few weeks before.

When your book releases:

  • Get books to remaining reviewers (some don’t want ARCs)
  • Hold a book launch at bookstore, library or other location that is related to your book
  • Issue a press release (you MUST hit on something unique and interesting—AKA a hook—to have any hope of getting this published) or a news item—line up writer friends to feature your announcement in their newsletters
  • Schedule future book signings—talk to store owners

Now, this timeline is built for a traditional publishing schedule. If you’re self-publishing, you don’t necessarily have to wait 6 months to drum up interest first—but starting your marketing 3-4 months before your release (a bare minimum of one month) is definitely a good idea to help get your name and your book out there.

You don’t want to pour too much promotion effort into a book that might not ever see the light of day, and you don’t want to overwhelm the good information and content on your blog with self-promotion—but there’s most lkely something for you to market right now, whether that’s yourself or your upcoming release.

What do you think? When did or will you start your marketing?

Photo credits: handshake—Lea Hernandez; calendar—Tanakawho