TWO CHANCES TO WIN!!!

The last of my WWII series will be available August 1. The title is SAFE HAVEN and the story is based on the true (but little known) historical event of almost 1000 refugees brought to the USA toward the end of the war as “guests” of then President Roosevelt. Because of political conflicts these war-weary (and sometimes tortured concentration camp escapees) men, women and children had no legal status in America. They had signed a paper agreeing that once the war ended they would leave America and return to wherever their homes had been (even though in most cases those homes no longer existed or were occupied by others). They were housed in a fort in upstate New York for 18 months, were model citizens who played by the rules and who in many cases had less freedom that Nazi POWs who had been brought here to work on farms and in factories while our young men fought on two fronts.

SAFE HAVEN brings to a close The Peacemakers series and ties together character stories from the first two novels: ALL GOD’S CHILDREN and SIMPLE FAITH. Now here’s the good news: YOU could win autographed copies of all three books by entering the contest on my website (www.booksbyanna.com) or the giveaway at goodreads.com. And whether you are one of the lucky winners or you just decide to buy the book, please let me know what you thought by posting a review at amazon.com or writing me via my website. AND if you happen to be in the Oswego NY area (or nearby Syracuse) take time to visit Fort Ontario and the wonderful museum dedicated to the memory and courage of these incredible people.

It’s about art…

Just saw the film Words and Pictures–a romantic comedy about two teachers in a private school who are struggling with their own demons as artists while teaching honors students. The old adage about ‘those who can, do and those who cannot, teach.’ I recommend it for its messages about art of all kinds and its role in our lives and how it can inspire our young people.

I’m going shopping for one lucky reader…in France!!!

Hi all,

Quick note to remind you that when I go to Normandy (and in celebration of the release of Book 2 of the Peacemakers series – SIMPLE FAITH)  I plan to shop for a special gift that one of you could win. Complete the contact form o9n my website at booksbyanna.com to enter your name in the drawing and then watch for announcement of winner in mid-April!  All best, Anna

Between Books…

I finished revisions and edits for the final book of my PEACEMAKERS series a few weeks ago. Now I am coming to terms with the fact that for the first time in several years I have no projects on the horizon. There are proposals out under consideration but nothing definite. It is times like these that a writer faces the possibility that her “career” has run its course. The question of “What if there are no offers?” raises its mocking head.

Whenever I teach a workshop for writers, I always find a way to work into the content my mantra: The only reason to write is because you cannot NOT write. It is something that has carried me through a number of droughts in my career–times when I could not give away a story idea much less sell one. In those times I would wallow in self-doubt for some time and then I would get so anxious to write something–anything–that I would go in search of a possible new path. Those forays into new territory such as screenwriting and thriller/suspense conferences paid off every time. I found new energy for my stories, new possibilities for my characters and renewed energy to keep writing.

This last year and a half has been a time of major changes for me in my personal life. In so many ways I realize now that within those changes lies the renewal of my focus and energy for story-telling. Because of the challenges I have had to face and find my way through, I have a whole new understanding of what my characters face as they traverse their life challenges. In short life has made me a better storyteller.

So perhaps soon there will be a call from my agent with an offer on one of those proposals–or not. Perhaps I will need to put those ideas aside in favor of something different. I’ve done it before.  And perhaps I will be led down new paths–another screenplay…a play for the stage…a collection of short stories…a children’s book… There are options and choices–always. And so to my fellow writers who struggle with their desire to share their work, I encourage you to consider new avenues and possibilities–think outside the box that is traditional publishing or even traditional story-telling. Write–not because the endgame must be publication or praise or awards. Write because you are a writer/storyteller–and that’s what you do!!!

Where does the time go?

Okay here it is the middle of January and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that a New Year has begun! Of course that means new projects and it also means TAXES!! My late husband was always in charge of that particular beast. He was organized. I am of the throw everything in a shoebox and sort it out as needed variety. So here it is time to sort!!!

I suppose one of the good things about starting a new year is that one is inclined to set goals and make resolutions.  What I find as a writer is that it’s difficult to do that. Oh, I used to make all kinds of goal/resolutions–this year I am going to publish three books; this year I am going to win a major award; this year I am going to make a bestseller list; etc.

The problem with those goals/re3solutions was that I had no way to achieve them–they were dependent on outside forces. The only thing I had any control over at all was writing the very best book that I could and establishing my “brand” as someone whose characters touch hearts in a very real and human way.  Having been in this business for a number of years now and having made most of the rookie mistakes writers tend to make I have “Zen-ed” into a frame of mind that allows me to let go of the need to “prove” myself with awards and lists.

These days I do the one thing I teach whenever I deliver a talk or workshop–in those settings I always tell my audience of writers (usually) that the ONLY reason to write and tell stories is because I can’t NOT write and tell stories. It’s in my DNA and double negative or not that is the bottom line. So goal for this New Year: write the best stories I can and whether they sell or win awards or not, move on to writing the next story and the next and…

Oh yeah, and get more organized about filing those receipts and papers I’m going to need for preparing taxes!!!

 

Market research, demographics and other bits…A message to readers!!!

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a reader with a common complaint: why are there no romance novels (or very few) where the lead character is legitimately struggling with her weight or physical appearance? She has a point–one that I as an author ith a non-perfect body or face–have longed to address. What if there were a story where the hero was hot and hunky and he fell for the heroine who was less than perfect and gorgeous? What if she struggled with her weight and had finally come to terms with her body only to have Mr. Perfect walk into her life? What if her first instinct was to lose the weight and remold herself into what she thought he would want? What if he loved her for other reasons–her quirky sense of humor, her love of children, her brain? And what if instead of wishing she could change how she looked on the outside, he loved her for the woman she was?

Talk about fantasy fiction!! The truth is that market research among the 18-34 yr. old demographic that publishers cherish seems to report that what women want from a romance is the hot hunky hero and the beautiful (although, of course, she doesn’t realize that she’s beautiful)quirky, sassy, fill-in-the-blank heroine.  So if you like the reader who wrote me are perhaps older than that 18-34 range and perhaps not cover girl material and you are a fan of romance who BUYS books and you would like a dose of real world when it comes to your characters, write to the publishers, not the authors. Authors have little power (unless they are Nora Roberts or Debbie Macomber). But YOU have enormous power–let the powers that be know what you want and back it up with stats that say how many books (e-books or print) you and as many friends as you can round up buy. Tell them what you want as well as what you are weary of in terms of characters and storylines. (Do you really truly want to read another book with a billionaire cowboy who needs to get married for reasons having nothing to do with love?)

Okay, stepping off the soapbox–your turn!!! Let me know what you’re thinking! Anna