Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Marketing – Setting up your Amazon Author Page by Sally Cronin

Do you have an updated and useful Amazon Author’s Page? If not, you should check out this helpful post by Sally Cronin on her Smorgasbord blog. Great suggestions here, some of which I hadn’t thought of adding to my own Author’s Page. Check out her post, and be sure to pass it along, thanks. And as always, thanks to Sally for another great one! 🙂

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I began promoting authors and their books back in 2001 and then it was all about splashy book launches, press releases and getting local coverage. Indie authors had it tough in those days trying to break into the establishment and get the attention of national press, but could do very well locally.

It is very different today in many respects, but certainly you can still make a big splash in your own local area, especially if our books are relevant to the history of the area. Press releases and going door to door to established businesses such as bookshops, cafes, art galleries and holding book signings can certainly launch a book and possibly get the attention of a wider audience and the national press.

Six years ago I began promoting my own books (particularly Ebooks as I tend to still go local for my print books) and a handful of…

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#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed – Here is Our Winner & The Answer to Today’s Quiz!

Thank so much to everyone who racked their brains over today’s #FirstLineFriday opening line. I had no idea this one would be quite so challenging, but I hope you all agree that as first lines go, it’s amazing. Not having read the book myself, I didn’t recognize it either, but now that I’ve studied the wonderfully creative wording, I will soon be rectifying that. Not sure how I’ve missed it this long, anyway.

Before I announce today’s winner, I just want to remind you that half of the fun of this quiz (at least for some of us) is taking a moment to study the sheer genius behind some of the greatest opening lines in literature. This one was on almost every list I looked at, and as soon as I read it, I saw why. I hope it resonates with you as much as it did with me, and you read the book, if you haven’t already.

Now about that winner. We only have one today, and she slid in as the last seconds were ticking by. Further, she wasn’t even trying to compete. She’s a friend I met on the river tour some years ago, and she just wanted to let me know this was her favorite book. I don’t think she expects a prize, but I’m by-golly gonna be sure SOMEONE gets a prize today, and Anne is it! So to my friend, known around these parts as The Purple Lady (for her favorite wardrobe color), congratulations! 

Now, here’s the answer to today’s quiz:

“My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.” is the brilliant opening to Pat Conroy’s  The Prince of Tides. 

The 1986 book is focused on the destruction that results from keeping an unspeakable family secret. It was made into a 1991 award-winning movie starring Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand.  

Buy The Prince of Tides HERE

Tom Wingo has lost his job, and is on the verge of losing his marriage, when he learns that his twin sister, Savannah, has attempted suicide again. At the behest of Savannah’s psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Lowenstein, Tom reluctantly leaves his home in South Carolina to travel to New York City and aid in his sister’s therapy.
As Tom’s relationship with Susan deepens, he reveals to her the turbulent history of the Wingo family, and exposes the truth behind the fateful day that changed their lives forever.
Drawing richly from the author’s own troubled upbringing, The Prince of Tides is a sweeping, powerful novel of unlocking the past to overcome the darkest of personal demons—it’s Pat Conroy at his very best.

And that takes care of this week’s quiz. I’m sorry we didn’t have more winners, but the good news is, you have a brand new chance next week, and I’m pretty sure you might even have a bonus book among your choice of prizes. Set those alarm clocks now! And thanks for playing! 😀 ❤


#FirstLineFriday – #GiveawayContest – #FreeBooks

Here it is Friday again, and time for another chance to study an amazing opening line from a well-known book. This time, in addition to seeing if you recognize the line, read it out loud a time or two. Think about how it’s put together, and whether or not it would have pulled you into this book, as a good first line should. And then, have a go at the quiz. You can only enter once each week, but if the line doesn’t ring a bell, feel free to take your best guess. Nothing to lose, and who knows? You might be right.

The rules are simple:

  1. Be one of the first five people to email me before the game ends at noon, with the title and author of the correct book. 
  2. Do not reply here on the blog. Email only:
  3. Honor System applies. No Googling, please.
  4. Submissions end at noon, or when I receive 5 correct answers,whichever comes first.
  5. Winners who live in the U.S. may request a free download of any of my books for themselves or someone of their choice. OR, if they’ve read all of my books, they may request a free download of my next publication.
  6. Winners who live elsewhere may request a PDF or Mobi file of the same books.

Got your thinking caps on? Then without further ado, here’s today’s #FirstLineFriday poser:

“My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.”

Good luck!


#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – That Darkest Place by Marcia Meara

I’m sure you’ve all noticed that when I have an afternoon opening in my #ShareAReviewDay schedule, I fill the spot with a review of one of my own books. Guess what? Yep, it happened again today, so I’m sharing a wonderful review of my 3rd Riverbend novel, That Darkest Place. Hope you’ll enjoy it and will pass it  along to  all your friends on social media. The Painter brothers will thank you for it, and so will I. ❤


Alex Craigie rated a book 5 Stars
Goodreads Review

That Darkest Place is the third of Marcia Meara’s books in the Riverbend series.  I recommend reading them in published order so as not to come across spoilers – and I’m pretty confident that once you’ve read one, like me you’ll want to read the others!

This book picked up from where the second left off and tells the story of the two older Painter brothers, Jackson and Forrest. There’s intrigue and danger running through it but the biggest and greatest part of the plotline for me concerns the relationships between the characters. Marcia has a special talent for revealing the uncertainties and inner feelings of her protagonists in a way with which her readers can readily identify.

At the heart of the book is the subject of how people move on after tragedy strikes and the often dangerous, ill-considered assumptions made by those around them. Two of the characters have suffered severe physical and emotional damage that has left them feeling unable to interact socially. Their powerful portrayal creates such real and believable personas that you’re swept along with them, feeling their suffering and praying that they’ll overcome the obstacles before them.

Marcia has done her homework and the medical and psychological backgrounds feel real and grounded; there’s no instant solution. However, the book isn’t doom and gloom at all. As always, there’s plenty of wit and humour running through the plotline – even in the tender love scenes which capture the spark of passion, the fear of rejection and the joy in finding a soulmate.

This book has all you need for a captivating read. Buy it!


In Book 3 of her popular Riverbend series, Marcia Meara, author of Wake-Robin Ridge, A Boy Named Rabbit,and Harbinger, takes another look at the lives of the Painter brothers—Jackson, Forrest, and Hunter. While Hunter is home again and on the mend, the same isn’t true for his oldest brother. Jackson’s battle has just begun.

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”
~Hunter Painter~

The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.

As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.

Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”

Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?

Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.

Buy That Darkest Place HERE

Author Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and one small dachshund. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard.

Marcia enjoys nature. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. She does, however, consider squirrels to be minions of Satan, sent to drive her mad. And she truly loathes spiders, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.

The one thing Marcia would like to pass along to each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish a book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?

The Write Stuff
Facebook Author Page
Facebook Personal Page
Twitter: @marciameara





#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Unknown Reasons by Joan Hall

Happy Tuesday, Everybody! This morning, we are getting the ball rolling with an excellent review of Unknown Reasons: Driscoll Lake Book Two, by Joan Hall. I know you’ll enjoy it and be glad to pass it along, too. Thanks so much! 


Review: Irene Aprile 5 out of 5 Stars
Goodreads Review
May 2, 2018

Back to Driscoll Lake

Ok, I have a problem. I’m officially in love with Brian Nichols, the main character in this novel. In a literary fashion, of course (not even him could take my husband’s place). But this is a problem because now I’ve finished reading Unknown Reasons, what am I to do with my reader-self? How am I going to move on and leave Driscoll Lake?

I’ve already been there once, thanks to Unseen Motives, and I was only too happy to be back for another story. Matt and Stephanie, main characters in the first novel of the series, here are minor characters since the story follows events related to Brian and Rachel, other inhabitants of Driscoll Lake.

I would have liked to read it all in one sitting. Unfortunately, I had to go to work (too bad). If mystery with a touch of romance, or romance with a touch of mystery, are your thing, carefully plan your reading time because, once you start reading, Unknown Reasons isn’t going to leave your mind until the end.

It’s fast-paced, full of suspense, and has the right amount of love and passion, angst and thrill. I loved the fact the villain has a point of view because it makes the story multifaceted and well-rounded.

As usual, Joan Hall has the ability to fully represent the pros and cons, ups and downs, of growing up and living in a small town, where everyone seems to know everything about everyone, privacy is a luxury, and gossips never rest.

I can’t wait, (can’t wait!) for the third title in the series. Really. Can’t. Wait.


If you can’t stand the heat…

Rachel Jackson hails from one of Driscoll Lake’s wealthiest families. Like her father, she became a doctor and is now a respected physician. But despite her successful career, Rachel feels something is missing from her life—until she crosses paths with Brian Nichols.

The son of a hard-working mother and alcoholic father, Brian acted out when he was young, earning a reputation as a troublemaker. As an adult, he’s worked hard to clean up his act and now owns a burgeoning construction company.

Rachel and Brian form an unlikely friendship which begins to blossom into something more. But a series of structure fires—determined to be arson—puts Brian in the hot seat. The properties are all associated with his work, making him the prime suspect. Toss in his juvenile history, and he finds himself the focus of a tenacious investigator. Even Rachel starts to have doubts.

Brian struggles to save his relationship, his company, and his reputation. But unless the real arsonist is caught before striking again, everything Brian holds dear may go up in smoke.

Buy Unknown Reasons: Driscoll Lake Book Two HERE

Author Joan Hall

Joan Hall likes to create character-driven fiction with strong, determined female leads and enigmatic male characters. She’s always enjoyed reading a good mystery or suspense story, so it’s only natural that’s her favorite writing genre. When she’s not writing, Joan likes to take nature walks, observe the night skies, and explore old cemeteries. She also likes ghost walks and learning local folklore. Joan and her husband live in Texas with their three cats.

Contact Info, Website, and Social Media Links:

Website   |  Goodreads  | Twitter   |  Facebook   |   Pinterest    | Instagram   |   BookBub

Week in Review

Joan Hall’s Week in Review post for this past Friday is one you should definitely check out. I was late getting there, but so glad I finally made it. Great photo (with story) and super links this week. Don’t forget to share, thanks, and thanks to Joan for putting it all together for us. 🙂

Joan Hall (Blog)

Hey, y’all. It’s Friday again. (Yeah!) That means it’s time for another weekly wrap up. I’m changing the format a little this week. Since I decided to add a Thursday Thoughts post, I’ll make Fridays simpler.

I’ve created a custom graphic for my Friday posts. But since I love to take photographs, especially of the beautiful outdoors, I’ll throw one in each week and include the story behind it.

Faulkner Park, August 2009

I pulled this photo from my archives. I took it with my first digital camera, a little 8 megapixel Sanyo back in 2009. This is a nearby park with a walking/jogging trail surrounding the lake.

Sound familiar? If you’ve read Unclear Purposes you know the opening scene of Chapter One is set in a similar location.

This is the place I envisioned when I wrote the first chapter. I’ve walked the lakeside trail many times and am…

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Friday Writing Question: Who?

Joan Hall asked an interesting question on Story Empire’s Friday Writing Question. Stop by and take a look. Check out the comments, too, and then pass it along for the others to enjoy. Thanks, and thanks for a great post, Joan! 🙂

Story Empire

Hey SE Readers. Joan with you today. It’s time for another writing question.

All of us have people who have impacted our lives. Most of the time, we think of people who have had a positive influence.

Yet other times, a person may have made negative remarks that we took to heart. Encouraging words can go a long way. Discouragement, if not overcome, lasts a lifetime.

For example, one of my best friends changed her college major because of negative remarks made by a professor. This “teacher” had the audacity to call my friend’s writing worthless in front of the entire class. “Ann” left that day with her tail tucked between her legs and changed to her major to math.

But the desire to write never left her. Years later, she began writing again.  She didn’t give up. Finally came the day came when a nationally published magazine accepted one…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jeanine Lunsford, Marcia Meara, Judy Penz Sheluk

What a lovely surprise to find The Emissary 1 included in Sally Cronin’s latest Author Update & Reviews post on her Smorgasbord blog! Please stop by and take a look! It’s always great to be in such stellar company, and to have a chance to share the post with others. Thanks for checking it out, and thanks to Sally for including The Emissary! Lovely!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the second of the update posts this week for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author is Jeanine Lunsford for her book Remembering First Love (The Rivera Sisters Series Book One)

About the book

20-year-old Carina Rivera is a prodigal daughter on her way back to her childhood relationship with God when she falls into the seductive trap set for her by her handsome supervisor, Aaron Mendoza.

“Remembering First Love” the first in the Rivera Sisters Series, takes the reader into Carina Rivera’s struggle to clean up the reputation she has acquired during her teen years as the “Bad Rivera sister”. Carina’s hopes of turning a new leaf are shattered when her mother loses her job and Carina becomes the sole breadwinner for her family.

When Carina is introduced to Aaron Mendoza, her handsome supervisor at the garment factory, she is captivated by his amazing…

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#FirstLineFriday – A Clarification

I have had a couple of people mention that they felt bad for winning more than one prize in our new #FirstLineFriday Trivia Quiz, and wondering if they should not play every week. Folks, to me, that would be like penalizing those who are well-read and have a good memory. NO ONE should feel guilty about winning multiple times. (Ask Ken Jennings!)  In fact, I’m thinking of having a Grand Prize Winner now and then just to reward those who do play often and well. 

You may enter only ONCE each week, of course–make your first guess a good one–but you may enter every single week for as long as we have this contest running. And I don’t care if you win every time you enter. It’s not like you’re stacking the deck in your favor, and we aren’t talking the Power Ball Lottery here, anyway. This is meant to be fun, and every person who enters has an equal chance of getting the correct answer. The earliest entries with the correct answer will win, but that just means you should all immediately start setting your alarms on Thursday night, so you can be ready at 8:00am sharp on Friday morning. 😀 😀 😀

Seriously, please do not feel “guilty” if you have won more than once. We’ve only had 2 Fridays when all five winning slots got filled, anyway, so it’s not like you’re keeping anyone else out of the running. The goal is to test your memory of great lines, AND to give everyone a chance, whether they recognize the line or not, to see some super examples of how to start a book.

I’ve gotten a wonderful response to this idea so far, and I would DEARLY LOVE to continue this game for some time yet. There are so many worthy opening lines out there, and this is a chance for us to focus on them, while digging deep into our memory banks for the answer. The free downloads are just meant as a way to thank you for playing.

So, let’s have no more worrying about whether you’re playing too often, or winning too many times. You aren’t. Just jump in and give it a try. Guess, if you want. There’s no penalty for being wrong. No one will even know but me, and I promise I won’t tell a soul! 😀 

Now, stay tuned for next week’s #FirstLineFriday. I might leap forward in time a bit with my selection. We’ll see. Hopefully everyone will play and we’ll have five happy, non-guilty feeling winners! 

Have a great weekend, everybody!