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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica’s #WritersDiary, Getting Ready to Ring in the New Year!

Ho, ho, hope you all enjoyed a fabulous, almost royal Christmas day! I’m still in a semi-food coma myself, the eggnog is depleted and just a few sugar cookies are left, so dreading trying to fit into my skinny jeans…#JustSayin #HoHoHo . December 26th is a bittersweet day for me—my favorite day is over and now it’s time to close out 2018 and prepare for a new year.

My year started off with a bang—turning the big 6-0 (snorkeling in Iceland); publishing the first two books in my series in February and March; diving into the social media scene; starting the blog; taking some great trips near and far; staying up all night to watch not one, but two royal weddings; and now, waiting for book three to be released very shortly, WOWZA 2018! Alas, that was then, this is now…it’s Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:

DeadlyReceptionsV6 red with black

So close now folks–I approved the final text proof last week and the cover should be finalized this week after a few changes. Once completed, the ebook version of Deadly Receptions; the Debut of Castlewood Manor will be out on ebook platforms everywhere (with hard copy print on demand versions available soon after), woo hoo! But as writers well know, this is just the beginning…

As I’ve mentioned before, I purchased the $399 marketing services pack from BookBaby to help develop a marketing plan for this release (with BookBaby’s partner, Smith Publicity). With this package, I filled out a questionnaire to identify the areas I want to focus on; sales, outreach efforts (social media, events, giveaways etc), getting more visibility and reviews for the books. Once the survey was completed and sent back to Smith Publicity, I was supposed to receive a one hour consultation to go over the recommendations for my situation.

I did not receive any info prior to my consultation call. During the call I verbally received some recommended websites to check out (BookBub, Net Galley), some #’s for groups in Goodreads that I should tie into, look for reviewers/influencers in my genre, and finally think of giveaways to do for the 3rd book release. I did receive an email listing these recommendations (after I asked for one) and was told if I wanted detailed promo services specific to me I could be put in touch with their business development team for services starting at $6000/month.

The recommendations were helpful, but I have to say that I would probably not purchase this service pack again. I have found much more detailed info for my situation  in Rachel Thompson’s book I mentioned last week ($7.99 Kindle version or free if you have Kindle Unlimited), and from other websites I found on my own. Moral of the #ammarketing story for me is to make sure I understand the scope and deliverables of any future services purchased so that expectations and deliverables are in synch.

a young girl reading fragonard 1771

I had the great pleasure of reading two more books this past week by the fabulous writers of Twitter!

Author Patricia Earnest Suter’s The Face of a Monster, America’s Frankenstein, 5 STARS

What drives a person to become a monster? A psychological question that has been studied and analyzed for centuries. Author Suter does a masterful job of delving into the history of one of the early mass murderer’s in American history, detailing the story of Anton Probst, a German immigrant who brutally slaughters an entire family. She innovatively compares and contrasts his story and environment with the life and writings of Mary Shelley on the 200th anniversary of her classic tale Frankenstein (The Modern Prometheus), a monster physically created, that ultimately turns evil due to the environmental influences of its surroundings and lack of empathy and care by its creator and others around it.

Ms. Suter leaves no stone unturned as we learn about the murderer, his upbringing, and the life choices (or lack there of due to societal constraints) that drove him to his evil acts.  Contrast that to the history of his victims, and their fateful decision to hire him which ultimately led to their deaths. Finally, learn about the personal and environmental turmoil in Mary Shelley’s life that led to her writing her classic horror tale and the comparisons and parallels to this real life tragedy.

Author Suter’s detailed, historical, compare/contrast narrative makes for a fascinating read into the human psyche and its environmental and societal influencers, both fictional and non-fiction. What makes us choose what we choose? Do we really have any control? Will we learn from history, or are we doomed to repeat past mistakes? Her research is very detailed and gives the reader insights and parallels that will make you ponder the many what ifs in our lives that ultimately determine our destiny. A very informative read, one that leads to many more questions!

Author Jessie Cahalin’s You Can’t Go It Alone (Sunflower Book 1) 5 STARS

All is not ideal in the charming Welsh village of Delfryn. Author Cahalin weaves a heartwarming, true to life, bittersweet tale centered around the lives of a few of the village inhabitants as they deal with IVF struggles, income difficulties, lost loves and new love, and loads of personal and family secrets that impact the old, the young and everyone in between. I really enjoyed the vignette view into the characters’ situations and challenges in the story. As a reader, I felt their sorrow, hopes, and joys as they faced major life issues, made decisions that would influence their future, and learned of the past actions that impacted their present.

This was a delightful read highlighting the sometimes tangled and complex relationship web of family and friends that make you laugh, shout, and cry at times. I’m once again reminded that we are all connected by our experiences, and by helping one another we ultimately help ourselves. An inspirational tale just in time for the new year, highly recommended!

Next in the reading queue:

A Look Back at 2018, Some of My Favorite Pictures 🙂

Iceland, snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure, 23 degrees air temp, 35 degree water temp:


Biltmore Estate–Castle #InspirationResearch, Ashville, NC:

Beautiful Catalina Island:

Amtrak Coastline Train Trip, Orange County to San Francisco:

London and the Castle Tour:

New York City pre-Christmas:

Welcome to my writer’s world. I wish you and yours a very wonderful, productive, abundant, Happy New Year!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. Enjoy your 2019 New Year! Lots happening at Cherrywood Hall this new year, #JustSayin…Gemma would approve 🙂

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