Newsletter For Readers and Writers

August 2010

Welcome and thank you for sharing your time with me. Those of you who signed up for my newsletter since last month, thank you for subscribing.

Jo HuddlestonThis month ...

Guest Gab: An interview with Deborah Vogts, author of Seeds of Summer.

Writing Wisdom: Dana Lynn Smith with links book marketing tips. 

In What Am I Reading?: Announcement of the winner of last month's book and I  have two other books you could win. I review Back on Murder by Mark Bertrand.

In Book Buzzings: Highlight of two recent novels, one by Gail Sattler and another by Max Elliot Anderson.

Check Inspirational Insights to read my thoughts on making someone's day better.

Share this newsletter with your friends and if you have any comments or suggestions about this newsletter, please email me.  
You can take a look at earlier newsletters by clicking the Archive button on my websiteAlways remember: I value your presence here and the time you share with me.

Quality Quote

"What do we live for, if not to make the world less difficult for each other?" -George Eliot

BuzzingsBook Buzzings
Yours and Mine
If you'd like to share your five favorite books and their authors, please email them to me and I'll list them here. Use your first name and/or last name.


This month I highlight The Narrow Path by Gail Sattler and also Lost Island Smugglers by Max Elliot Anderson. Below is information about these books.

Narrow PathTitle: The Narrow Path

Author: Gail Sattler

Genre: Mennonite Romance

Publisher: Abingdon Press

Release Date:May 2010

Gail's website

Available at,,, barnes and noble

Miranda feels transported back to Little House On The Prairie, and Ted's head spins when Miranda reads the Bible on her cell phone. Yet they must find a way to make peace and meet their common goal to open Ted's Old Order Mennonite church and community. Will they find love in the process?

Lost IslandTitle: Lost Island Smugglers
Author: Max Elliot Anderson
Genre: Middle Grade - Readers 8-13                      Action- Adventure Mystery
Publisher: Port Yonder Press - SharksFinn               imprint
Release Date: August 2010
Max's website
Available here

Sam, Tony, and Tyler took scuba lessons together. They decided to try their new skills in the ocean without permission. A gigantic storm blew up from out of nowhere, and they found themselves stranded on Lost Island. If they thought the worst had happened they were wrong.


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 GuestGab Guest Gab
Interview with Deborah Vogts
Author of Seeds of Summer

This month I'm interviewing Deborah Vogts author of  Seeds of Summer, Book Two in the Seasons of the Tallgrass Series. Deborah has given me a copy of her book and one of you readers will win it in this month's drawing.

JO: Please tell us a little about yourself.


VogtsDEBORAH:  My husband and I have three daughters and live in Southeast Kansas. As a student at Emporia State University studying English and journalism, I developed a love for the Flint Hills that has never faded. In writing this series, I hope to share my passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God's great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.

JO: What do you enjoying doing when you're not writing?


DEBORAH: I like to take walks with our two golden retrievers or dig in the dirt in my flower beds or garden. I also enjoy playing the piano, baking something, sewing or scrapbooking!


JO: Can you tell us any fun thing about you that might surprise our readers?


DEBORAH: I am weird in that I LIKE to mow. We have a large yard, so it takes me about two hours on an industrial-sized mower, but I enjoy this time to just think or sing. LOL. Yes, I sometimes sing when I mow. It's also a good time for me to pray or to plot out scenes in my current writing project.


JO: How did you get involved in writing?


DEBORAH: I began writing my Great American Novel as a junior in high school--Splendor of the Sun. That earned me an A++ in Senior English. I studied English and journalism in college, but it wasn't until 2002 that I began taking serious steps to be published.


JO: Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?


DEBORAH: I used to write in my kitchen but in recent years, I moved my office to our bedroom where I can shut the door on noise. I have allotted 1/3 of this room to my office with a comfy chair as well as a desk and shelves, file cabinet, etc. All I need for working. When I'm really trying to get my word count in, I'll work on my NEO by Alphasmart, which has a small screen and allows me to write without editing. Some days I'll take my Neo and work outside under our awning.


JO: When you wrote Seeds of Summer did you know the title before you wrote it or after you finished it? Do you come up with titles for all your stories this way?


DEBORAH: My original titlefor Snow Melts in Spring was Quarterback Cowboy, and for Seeds of Summer, The Rancher & The Preacher Man. My first agent wanted me to come up with different titles so Deborah Raney and I brainstormed titles for the series and came up with what I have today. Sometimes a title will come to me after the book is written. I think every instance can be different.


JO: Please tell us about Seeds of Summer.


Seeds SummerDEBORAH: Seeds of Summer is contemporary prairie romance and is the second book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series. A blurb for it is:  A heart-warming contemporary romance set in the Flint Hills of Kansas where a former rodeo queen abandons her dreams in order to care for her deceased father's ranch and her two half-siblings, only to realize with the help of a young new pastor that God can turn even the most dire circumstances into seeds of hope.


JO: What takeaway value do you hope readers receive after reading your novel?


DEBORAH: I'd like readers to remember how important family relations are and that we can get through our difficulties if we remember to love and forgive each other. I also hope to give my readers a taste of the Flint Hills and of how God's beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.

JO: Where did you get the idea for Seeds of Summer?


DEBORAH: My husband and I read lots of horse magazines at our house, so when he's finished with a magazine, I'll go through for possible story ideas. I'll tear out pages of articles, or even pictures for possible characters, and then I'll file those papers in an idea file. When I'm ready to write a new story, that's the first place I'll go, sifting through the articles and pictures.


So, for Seeds of Summer, many of the pictures I'd filed away happened to be of past Miss Rodeo America queens. From there, my imagination soared. I also knew that I wanted to include one story about a female rancher. Because we have three daughters who are spread out in age, I started wondering what it would be like if something happened to my husband and me, and our oldest daughter was left to care for her sisters. That's where the plot originated for Seeds of Summer.


JO: Did you need to do any research for this book?


DEBORAH: I learned a lot about the Miss Rodeo America organization and was surprised how much these young ladies must know for the interview portion of the pageant. Good grief! They are required to know EVERYTHING about the sport of rodeo, about the horse industry, about the sponsors for the horse industry...not only current information but from years past. I was also amazed at the amount of expertise required to complete the horsemanship events. Riding with confidence on an animal you've never rode before takes a LOT of skill and courage. And carrying those flags, and shining those boots (and blackening the bottoms of those heels). I greatly enjoyed viewing the various leather dresses--and imagining what Natalie would wear. So fun!


JO: How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?


DEBORAH: In 2002 I started taking serious steps to get published.I joined a local writer's group and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I also joined a critique group, started reading writing how-to's and attended writing conferences. I met my first agent at the ACFW Nashville Conference in 2005. We hit it off at our meeting, and she gave me some tips on making my book series "bigger." I did that and submitted my idea to her and she took me on. We shopped my Seasons of the Tallgrass series for a year and had a few bites (one of them Zondervan) but no sale. In the end, she released me, which was a real heart breaker. However, we don't always see the big picture like God does, and six months later I signed with agent, Rachelle Gardner with WordServe Literary, and we had an offer from Zondervan three months after that in May 2008.


JO: How do you find time to write?


DEBORAH: I've had to learn to be disciplined with my writing time--and I'm still trying to learn how to do better--and how to convince my family that my writing is a real job. I've been fortunate that my books have been slated a year apart, but with everything that goes into the writing process and then the marketing, the months go by so fast!


JO: What are you working on now?

DEBORAH: I'm currently finishing up the third book in this series, Blades of Autumn, which is the story about Clara, the owner of Clara's Café. (Available Summer 2011)

Blurb for Blades of Autumn: With a café to run and three children to raise, Clara Lambert doesn't have time for men or loneliness, despite what her heart might tell her. When two handsome cowboys vie for her attention, one of the brothers proves to be her soul mate, but at what cost? Will it tear the brothers' relationship apart or is blood really thicker than water?


JO: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?


DEBORAH: Write what is on your heart and don't be discouraged. Read LOTS of books (especially those in your genre), join a writing group and/or a critique group. Write, and continue learning the craft. Be open to criticism and helpful advice. Never give up.


JO: Please tell our readers where they can get Seeds of Summer.


DEBORAH:  At and

JO: Where can our readers find you?


DEBORAH: At my website or on my Country at Heart blog



Deborah, thanks for spending time with my readers and for the copy of Seeds of Summer, which one of them will receive from a drawing.




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WhatReadingWhat Am I Reading?

Let me know what you've read that really impressed you, tell why in about 100 words and I'll include it here. Giving your name is optional.


It's easy to forward this newsletter to your friends: at the end of this email click "Forward Email."


Someone asked how I select winners in my drawings. I use a computer program that randomly selects the winners. No pulling names out of a hat!!

If you're a winner, the rules are simple: email  me your mailing address by the 25th of the month in which you're a winner; if you don't, I'll draw another winner. You can win only once in a calendar year.

The winner of last month's copy of A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin is Megan ([email protected]).Congratulations! Please email me your mailing address by August 25 and I'll get the book to you.

If you didn't win this month, see below for news about two book giveaways.


This month on August 25th I'll draw a winner from all current subscribers for a copy of two books:  Seeds of Summer by Deborah Vogts and also a copy of Back on Murder by Mark Bertrand, the book I review below.


Back MurderI recently read Back on Murder by Mark Bertrand, Bethany House, 2010, 382 pages. A Detective Roland March mystery. If you like mysteries with multiple homicides, drug dealing, and dirty cops, you'll enjoy this book. It's full of twists, turns, dead ends, misplaced suspicions, and hate/love connections between the reader and some of the characters. An upbeat police procedural for the Christian market.


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WritingWisdomWriting Wisdom
Book Marketing Tips for Authors
by Dana Lynn Smith

DanaYou can find links and details for each of the items below on Savvy Book Marketing Tips for Authors Posted:01 May 2010 by Dana Lynn Smith

When submitting books to review journals, follow the submission instructions exactly.

For article and blog titles, make the first 3 words important keywords or begin with "how to" followed by keywords.

Most libraries order books through wholesalers like Baker & Taylor or Ingram.

Even if you're focusing on online marketing, you still need a monthly marketing budget. 

Make time every day to promote your book. Block out time on your schedule and just do it!  


Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter, visit Dana's blog at, and get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free newsletter at

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Clean Chuckle

joke carA young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss his use of the family car.

His father said to him, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your bible a little, and get your hair cut, then we will talk about it."

A month later the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss his use of the car.

His father said, "Son, I'm real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied your bible diligently, but you didn't get a hair cut!"

The young man waited a moment and replied, "You know dad, I've been thinking about that. You know Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair."

 His father replied, "Yes son, and they walked everywhere they went!"

InspThoughtsInspirational Insight
Making Someone's Day Better
by Jo Huddleston

Consider this question: What have I done lately for the single purpose of making another person's day better?


Like holding a door open for someone whose arms are full of packages or children.


Like allowing another vehicle to ease into backed-up traffic.


Like reading to somebody who can't; or, better yet, maybe helping them learn how.


Like writing a letter or note to let a person know they're remembered.


Even a phone call to a friend so they'll know someone thought about them. Sometimes sharing a smile will help brighten another's day.


Just how long would one of these helpful acts take? A short time out of the day for being nice, doing something good-natured.


Think what difference we could make if we adopted this thought from Henry David Thoreau: "Be not simply good; be good for something." Only a small portion of our life would be needed to show consideration, compassion, and generosity. What would it hurt to try?

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© 2010 Jo Huddleston. All rights reserved.

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