Friday, April 25, 2014


Communication is the tool we use to make or keep contact with others. Certainly this blog is one way to communicate with fellow Five Star authors and readers. We keep in touch with our friends by communicating in many ways, on the phone, by email, and on Face book or other various social media networks. We used to write letters, and the decline of that form of communication  is an ongoing lament  which I've addressed in previous blogs, and still get comments about from my adult children to whom I write long emails occasionally.

I can honestly say that as my age creeps up, I have succumbed to brief ways of communication at times, out of necessity, but not to text ingNever to text ing.  That process of communication goes against the grain for me as a grammarian, a lover of words and as an author and a conversationalist.

Mary Higgins Clark has written over 50 books, is still writing, and she and I are the same age. When all else fails, books and writing become my personal way of communicating. A reviewer of one of my novels once wrote that my style of writing is similar to the style of Mary Higgins Clark.  I was elated at that comment; those kind of kudos keep me writing, and I imagine fellow authors feel the same way.

In her memoir, Anna Quindlen mused about herself and wrote "I hope she writes as often as she cares to, and there are still readers who resonate to her words." I embrace that thought. I still wait for a book out there in publisher land , but continue to write. In May I intend to take a little hiatus from blogging on Author Expressions on the fourth Friday. My health demands a little rest, so I shall wait until June to communicate 
with friends everywhere. Here's hoping you all have a delightful, rejuvenating spring.

Monday, April 21, 2014

"What if?"

I went to a home make-over meeting with my best friend, Maxine a few weeks back. I was able to try all sorts of interesting things, colors, shimmers, and the like. I felt very pretty when we were done. Of course, they handed out all sorts of forms and flyers then gave us the old "join the fun" sales schpeel, and that was when I nearly checked out. One of the flyers they gave us was entitled : What if? Those two words grabbed my attention and my imagination went into overdrive. 

This is a phrase every author asks themselves when creating a character, plot or scene. What if? That question leads to much more exciting possibilities than the normal, and this happened next routine.

Instead of going for a drive, what if the driver loses control and the car goes off the road and into a tree?

What if...

...the heroine falls deeply in love with the bad guy?
...there's a storm brewing outside at the same time there's a fight brewing inside the house?
...the poor old lady next door has a sale to raise money and someone returns a platinum piece of jewelry from her $5 box to the owner, rather than take advantage of the old woman?
...the noisy drunken neighbor turns out to be more than just loud and obnoxious, he's a serial killer, too?
...your boyfriend in high school turns out to be your father's child from an affair? hid $1,000,000.00 in your house rather than trust the banks and it catches fire and burns to the ground? get lost in the dark forest near your home and go back to a time centuries before you were born?'re in your twenties and you find out you have a heart defect they can't fix?
...your adult child curses and hits you when they are drinking?
...your husband of five years dies in his sleep?
...your toddler hides in the clothing racks at a side-walk sale and you can't find her, because someone snatched her out from under it and walked away? won the lottery and were hit by a truck on the way to collect?
...your hip length hair gets caught in a boat motor and rips it out of your head?
...your funny uncle touches you in a private place?
...your weird aunt seduces your teenager?

See what I mean, your imagination goes all over the place with the possibilities. That's what authors do every time we write. What if it is winter instead of summer when the heroine gets lost in the mountains? It goes on and on and least, it can if you will let it.

The next time you're stuck or feel like the story is moving to slow, think about What if...and let the imagination soar. Brainstorm ideas, no matter how weird, one of them will work, you just have to find it.

Enjoy the ride, my author friends. 

Patchwork Family, the second book in the feisty family series came out in March. You can get it wherever books and ebooks are sold. Visit for more information about the author, novels, reviews and events.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Holiday Thoughts by Jacqueline Seewald

First, I want to mention that the winner of the last print advance review copy of my Regency romance TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS has been contacted and the book mailed. In a few weeks, I’ll make the same offer for my newly published mystery novel THE BAD WIFE.

This being both Passover and Good Friday, my thoughts dwell on the holidays, not on writing per se. These are special days that we share with family and friends. 

It occurs to me that the internet community provides us with the opportunity to extend our number of friendships. Whether fellow writers or fellow readers, I feel I have made some wonderful new friends from all over the USA and all over the world because of social networking. I am in contact with people in Australia. I am in contact with people in Canada, the U.K. and even China. This is both wonderful and amazing!

So on this special day, dear friends, I have the pleasure of reaching out to wish you the happiest and healthiest of holidays, wherever you happen to be in the world.

Friday, April 11, 2014

How Book Promotions Benefit Readers by Jacqueline Seewald

If you enjoy reading, start checking out book promotions. These days publishers are doing less to promote their authors. So it’s up to writers to go to the time, trouble and expense to promote their own books. With the number of physical bookstores diminishing, authors must get creative in finding a readership. This is all to the benefit of readers.

Check out Goodreads where authors post free giveaways of their soon to be released books. Put in for one of these giveaways and you may score an advance review copy or even a hardcover edition. Also, check out author and reviewer blogs and websites where free books are often offered to introduce an author to a larger readership.

If you have an e-book reader, check out free book offers on Amazon for instance. A great many writers and publishers provide free book days to readers. If you have favorite authors, sign up for their newsletters. There are sometimes offers made in author newsletters directly to readers.

This week, I am offering my last original print ARC for TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS, a sensual historical romance. This novel was first published in a hardcover print edition by Five Star/Gale/Cengage. It was later published in a hardcover large print edition by Thorndike. The current newly re-edited e-book edition is from Australian publisher SteameReads which brought out my award-winning historical romance THE CHEVALIER a few months ago. The publisher sells these novels in all e-book formats:

Here’s what Jayne Ann Krentz had to say about TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS: "Jacqueline Seewald's Tea Leaves and Tarot Cards delivers an unusual and intriguing heroine together with fast-paced historical romantic-suspense. Seewald is very much at home in her early 19th century setting."
- Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)                                          

Tea Leaves and Tarot Cards

Here are some blurbs from other reviews:

 “TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS is rich in secondary characters across the spectrum of society...TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS has a lot to offer with its original characters and imaginative plot.” Romance Reviews Today

“It is clear that Seewald's goal is to offer a deeply felt, emotional romance.” Library Journal

“This is a delightful lighthearted regency frolic.” Genre Go Round Reviews

Can you think of other ways in which author promotions could benefit readers? Hope you’ll drop a comment. If you’d like to be included in my book drawing, leave an e-mail address.

Friday, April 4, 2014

ARCs, ARCs, and More ARCs

At a recent workshop a member of the audience asked the three writers on the panel on marketing what they did with their ARCs. One writer answered, “Dust them.” The audience laughed. For many it was a laugh of recognition. As I drove home I thought about the question again. Like many others, I assume everyone else already knows the answer, has accomplished this or that particular goal, and I’m the only one racing to catch up. Perhaps. Perhaps not. On the off chance that other writers are wondering what to do with a box of ARCs, I’ll tell you what I did with mine.

After eight books, I still get excited when a box of ARCs arrives. When the copies of my most recent Anita Ray mystery showed up, I grabbed a knife and slit the tape along the sides, and opened the top. The cover was gorgeous. The box held five ARCs, but I didn’t think about that because I was so taken with the cover. I love the cover.  And then I thought, only five? Okay. I can work with five. The next day another box arrived—a much larger box.

Granted, I’m not very good with numbers but I think I counted 50 ARCs. Fifty? Egads! What do you do with 50 proof copies? I don’t even know fifty people. Well, for a couple of weeks I did nothing. I stared at the box sitting on the floor, and then I got busy.

First, I went over the list of reviewers my publisher included, to make sure I didn’t duplicate her efforts. My editor sent out 22 review copies to the major review and crime magazines and review sites. Some of the individuals I contacted about reviewing replied that they would request a copy from one of the places they wrote for. I didn’t include these individuals in my list of reviewers approached.

I have no foolproof way to find people willing to read and review a book, but I bless the day Goodreads and other sites were born. Most online reviewers are deluged with books to review, and most are titles they haven’t requested. Sending them one more to consider is simply a waste of paper and postage. I try to focus on people who want the ARC and are most likely to post a review. I can’t require a review, but I can certainly indicate that this is a goal, and then I hope for the best.

Second, I planned a number of giveaways. I gave away 10 books on Goodreads. I gave away 10 books on LibraryThing. I gave away 7 books on DorothyL (plus a PDF of the novel). I took 6 books to India and gave them away to friends, who may or may not post a review, and including one friend who has a lending library. I gave away 4 books to friends who are also reviewers who asked for them. I sent out 2 to professional reviewers I do not know personally. I sent 2 to my alma maters. I asked 5 friends to review the ARC. I have 3 left to give away, and I’m keeping 1 for myself.

I mailed almost all these copies, and the woman at the post office thinks I’m something special. I handed her the last batch of mailers, and promised her the packages did not contain . . . . for the last time. Their zip codes straggled from the East Coast to Hawaii. “You have quite a long reach,” she said. I smiled. Really, I was quite chuffed by that. We writers have to get our strokes where they can.

And that’s what I do with my ARCs. What do you do? I have three left. They can go anywhere.

I'll send one ARC to one person who comments, picked at random, tomorrow morning.