A Montana Bound Christmas – by Linda Bradley

Introducing Linda:

I’m Linda Bradley, author of the Montana Bound Series.  After receiving reader requests for A Montana Bound Christmas, this merry band of misfits is together once again. Like warm cocoa and your favorite pair of slippers, I hope ho, ho, home for the holidays! warms your heart.

A little about myself…When I’m not writing or plotting my next Women’s Fiction book, you can find me teaching second grade, reading, dabbling with my art supplies, baking, walking my beautiful rescue dog, Maisey or traveling.

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Linda’s Books:


 

A Montana Bound Christmas:

 

Blurb: 

Chloe and John McIntyre await Maggie Abernathy’s arrival at the 617 Ranch, but snowfall has halted flights from Michigan to Montana. While Maggie and her mother prepare for a delayed departure, eight-year-old Chloe prepares for disappointment by inviting her Hollywood mother to the ranch in hopes of filling the void. Brook’s unexpected acceptance raises the stakes for John who longs for the perfect Christmas. This cast of misfits bands together in true Montana Bound style when unexpected guests arrive and a curious dog goes missing.

 

Buy Linkhttp://amzn.to/2bakz7T  

 

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

John

“DAD, WHEN’S MAGGIE going to get here?” Chloe’s breath fogged up the picture window. Her gaze scanned the snowy Montana mountains. “I hope she makes it in time for Christmas.”
Ruffling Chloe’s dishwater-blond mane, I prayed like hell Maggie and her mother, Glad, would get here soon. Traveling had come to a halt across the country thanks to the winter storm, but at least Maggie and Glad were safe at home and not sleeping on some airport floor like the many interviewed on the news.

Feeling anxious, I massaged my temples. Wrapping my arms around Maggie and kissing her lips were the only Christmas presents I needed.

“Not sure, Pumpkin. Depends on the flights.”

Crossing paths with Maggie the summer before last was like finding a rose bush on top of a mountain while searching for gold. As much as she resisted, her heart finally won. We all won. Acquiring Glad in the deal was a bonus. Without hesitation, she’d taken a special liking to Chloe. They’d bonded instantly through their love of mischief. Glad was like the grandmother Chloe never had, and her sense of humor cut to the quick. Glad wore her heart on her sleeve and was the only one capable of giving Maggie a run for her money when Maggie needed a challenge. Glad was Maggie’s mother first and foremost, but their relationship—built on sarcastic wit, middle-naming, and genuine love—was most unique.

“Maggie has to get here.” Chloe drew a heart in the moisture on the frosty glass pane. She wrote her initials above Maggie’s, then she added a plus sign. “The snow is so thick you can barely see through it.” Chloe hummed a holiday tune between thoughts. “Just think, Dad, next year at this time, I’ll be nine and Maggie will have been here a whole year.”

Nudging the hat back from my brow, I thought about the woman who’d stolen my heart. I never dreamed in a million years I’d fall head over heels for my Michigan neighbor lady, Maggie Abernathy. Living in Grosse Pointe hadn’t been on my agenda originally, but the picture was crystal clear why I’d established residency in the Great Lake State before coming back to Montana. If I didn’t believe in fate before, I did now, and I wanted Maggie to get here as much as Chloe. We had big plans of starting a life together and this was only the beginning.

“Why couldn’t Maggie and Glad come earlier?” When Chloe spoke, deep lines appeared along the bridge of her nose.

“I told you, Chloe, Maggie’s settling things with her house. Remember when we sold our house in Grosse Pointe? It takes time. Papers have to be signed, things need to be packed, and besides Maggie wanted to spend some extra time with her momma. You can understand that, right? When Christmas is over, Glad’ll fly home. I don’t think Maggie has ever really been apart from her momma.”

I lifted Chloe’s chin with my index finger. My daughter’s soul shimmered behind her green stare. Hope should’ve been Chloe’s middle name because my girl never gave up when the chips were down.
“Glad’s house is where Maggie grew up. Maggie’s saying her last goodbye.”

Chloe’s expression tugged at my heart like the snap of a lasso when wrangling a wild pony.

“I know what you mean. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten used to being apart from my momma, but maybe that’ll change someday. Hollywood sure is a far way away.”

Chloe’s momma was nothing like Maggie, and I wondered if I’d ever shed the guilt from our failed marriage that had left my daughter living with her old man. Chloe longed for a normal household, whatever that was in this day and age. Smiling at Chloe, I wished she’d see the well of hope I carried myself.

“I guess so, but I want Maggie to be here. It’s almost Christmas. We have so much to do.”

“I want Maggie here, too, Peanut, but it is what it is.” Resting my hands on Chloe’s thin shoulders, I prayed for the skies to clear so our Maggie’s arrival was sooner than later.

“Maggie promised she’d make cookies with me. Christmas will be here before you know it. This is our first Montana Christmas, and I want it to be perfect.” Chloe leaned her forehead against the window, closed her eyes then whispered in the sweetest of voices, “Please Lord, it’s me, Chloe. I know I can be kind of a pain, but can you please help Maggie and Glad get here, and fast?”

“Come here, Peanut.” Opening my arms, I scooped my little girl up. My cheek grazed hers. Nothing compared to her soft touch when pangs of disappointment bristled.

On the outside, my daughter was as tough as they come, but on the inside, she was soft and cuddly. Chloe rested her head against my shoulder, her warm breath like butterfly kisses upon my neck.
“Are you going to marry Maggie?”

“Without a doubt.” My heart pounded as I imagined sharing life with the woman I loved. “Don’t you worry.”

“Good,” Chloe whispered. “I can feel your heartbeat against mine. I think we both love her.”

“This is where Maggie needs to be, Peanut.” Holding my daughter tight, I breathed her in. She was a wee one, but something told me the years would pass in a blink of an eye if I wasn’t careful.

“I love you, Daddy.”
“I love you, too, Munchkin.”
Outside, heaping mounds of snow grew deeper
with each passing hour. If Maggie and Glad couldn’t get to the 617 Ranch before Christmas morning this was going to be some Montana-bound holiday.

 

Buy Link: http://amzn.to/2bakz7T  

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7 Tips to Help Promote Your First Self-Published Book – by Gloria Kopp…

On The Story Reading Ape’s blog I found an interesting and very useful guest post, written by Gloria Kopp. She gives us 7 helpful tips to promote our self published book. Thank you, Gloria!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Sitting down and writing a novel is a huge achievement and one you should be proud of. The same goes for a non-fiction book – producing work like that takes a lot of time and effort, and it’s something that not many people pull off in their lifetime. However, once your book is written, you have the added pressure of needing to sell it. A lot of writers make the mistake of thinking that dumping their book online is all they need to do to sell their novel, however if you want any sort of commercial success, you’ll need to promote your work. Fortunately, self-promotion is simple when you follow the 7 tips below.

  1. Have a ‘.com’ Domain

If you want to be seen as a professional writer and author then you’ll need a fully-fledged website. People rarely want to spend their money on amateur work as there’s a risk…

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Self-publishing for Beginners by Patty Jansen

Patty Jansen provides writing newbies with an excellent article about self publishing. Thank you Patty.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

selfpub

I get asked quite a lot of questions by people who want to self-publish but have no idea where to begin. Here is a list of some points to consider:

Self-publishing for Beginners

1. Educate yourself. No, don’t google “self-publishing” because you’ll come up with a lot of mis-information spread by people who want to make money off you. There is one major place where you find out the latest about self-publishing. It’s the Writers’ Cafe at the Kindleboards (membership free and open, members: about 60,000).

2. Put on your snark and distrust. Especially of people who come to you volunteering advice, and “yes of course we can do formatting, cover and marketing for you. It will cost you $8000. All you need to do is watch the money roll in”. Do not believe them. Better still, tell them to go perform an anatomically impossible act on themselves. You have…

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Getting the Most Out of Guest Blog Post – by Yecheilyah Ysrayl…

Yecheilyah Ysrayl wrote a very useful post about guest posts and how to get the most out I them. Thank you for this informative guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Peace and welcome,

Today, I’d like to talk about guest blogging. After all, that is what I am here for. So, let’s chat.

Why is it worth it to Guest Post? Why is it beneficial to write articles on someone else’s blog? Can’t you just write it on your own blog? Surely, the people will flock to you, right?

Your blog home is equivalent to your real home. It is your house, your rules and you can pretty much do what you want. Well, I hope you aren’t getting crazy (we’re still on the World Wide Web) but it is your domain. Naturally, you are going to behave differently on your own blog.

On the other hand, writing articles on other blogs, preferably ones more established than yours, gives you the chance to showcase your work on a larger scale. Whether you are writing an article, an inspiring post, or…

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Our Jogger – Guest Post by Emily Gmitter (by kind permission from Zoe)…

A guest post by Emily Gmitter on The Story Reading Ape’s blog. It touched me in a very unique and special way. So I decided to re-blog it – in memoriam of Geoffrey.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

profile-pic_my-name-is-zoe

Zoe here, I’m on a break, so I’m going to let my human have my spot this month, but I WILL be BACK.

It seemed the end of an era. I knelt beside the still body that was lying on the sidewalk in front of my house. I touched the back of my hand to his familiar face; it was cool to the touch. Not that I needed to do that; the thin skin on his face was a shade of bluish gray that indicated only one thing. I called 911 and waited for the paramedics to arrive.

Leaning against the stone wall in front of our home, I continued to stare at the body. I knew him, but I didn’t know him. Who were you?

In death, he did not seem as old as he had appeared when he was jogging through our neighborhood, which he did every day…

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It’s Writing You’re Worth – Guest Post by JannyC

Writing was not my first career choice. In fact, I avoided the career path like the plague. It was not a logical choice, or so I was told.  Being a writer is a dream.  What if being a writer is a destiny and sometimes there are some destines you cannot escape. Hello nice to meet you. Let me introduce myself I am a writer.

 

The Beginning

To be honest I have been telling stories since I was 4. They were all in my head acted out via Barbie’s, or She-Ra action figures or me with my friends outside on the playground. This made sense for my first step into the writing world was being a comic book script writer. Writing was a destiny I could not escape. I’ve been writing in this business off and on for nearly 8 years. Freelancing writing is the kind of job that is a side job not your main job to pay the bills with. “Writing” was a dream. I almost believed it. I had stopped writing when one day I got an email from a total stranger. They said they missed seeing my work. When was, my book coming out that I had mentioned I was writing? One person even offered me money to help with my writing career (I declined in case you are wondering.). Next day another email from a young girl who said I inspired her to write herself could I read a sample of her book. BAFLING!

 

Jump Starting

I decided to dive back into my writing taking a serious stab at freelancing writing as my career. I found jobs, but they were usually low paying, no recognition, plus they worked you like a mule job. Hey it was a job, right? You had to start at the bottom and you’re your way, up right? Problem was what I didn’t know was I was selling myself way below my worth. Add onto it these jobs were getting me nowhere. I was writing anonymously. I was not getting KNOWN. All the articles I wrote were basically ghostwritten. If I was to show someone my portfolio what did I have to show?

 

Writing You’re Worth

It took the help of my husband to finally convince me I was not writing my worth. I believed since I did not have the prestige like most writers do of going to college my experience did not count. I schooled myself actually learning first-hand the world of authors and publishers. One thing I learned was that when you are passionate about something you instantly possess that thicker layer of skin they talk about. The literary world can be brutal my friend, and the grammar police are very REAL.  I got truly convinced though when I wrote an article for my husband’s boss for his business and he paid $50.00 for my top-notch work. He loved the article saying to my husband his wife was a phenomenal writer. This made me think. Maybe I WAS not writing my worth.  I decided no more taking writing mill jobs. No more charging low prices because I am some little indie writer.

 

Discovering My Worth

So, what happened? I avoided the sent per word pricing. You can say I am at intermediate level so I just went with a flat rate. I do book promotions and each package includes a complementary book review that goes on Amazon and my blog as well as a promotion week of their book. I had 3 packages people could choose from. $10.00 for one book $20. If you had two books and $30. For 3 or more books. I was very cheap, thinking indie authors will love this. I am so affordable! I was only drawing in $30 to $40 bucks at the most. After discovering my worth I raised my prices to $15., $26, $60.  This seemed to draw more peoples interest in me. More orders started coming in. I had one client order $103.66 dollars ‘worth. It seemed I was doing better charging more that I was charging less! I also had the proof to back up my work via my blog and website I created.

 

If you feel like you’re struggling, ask yourself are you writing your worth?


dsc09294About our guest author JannyC:

JannyC is a published author (Writing under the pen name of Jan Marie.) and freelance writer. She currently writes at Indie Promotions where she helps writers and entertainers promote their work. follow her on

Twitter @ReviewerJannyC

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Indiebookpromotions/

Linkined: www.linkedin.com/in/janis-cramlett-a08b3673

Readers Can’t Find Your Book: Internet Marketing for Authors (Guest Post) By: Steven Capps

Steven Capps published a guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog that might help many of us with our internet marketing! Thank you Steven and Chris!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

awqqfkCC License, Image Source: Pexels 

According to UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) over two million books have been published this year. That does include everything written before or all of the books that will be published in the future. If I had a penny for every hundred books ever published, I’d certainly have a lot more pennies than I do now. While this statistic seems a bit detached, it is crucial for your success as an author. In order for a reader to find your book, you have worse than a one in two million chance.

There is one major problem with this statistic; launching a book isn’t the same as buying a lottery ticket. Luck might be a bit of a factor, but if you are not seeing sales, there is likely something you are doing wrong. I know this sounds harsh, and no…

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