THE LAST APRIL winner of the 2017 Self-Publishing Review Award!

I’m happy to announce that my latest book, The Last April, was announced the winner of the 2017 SPR Award. I would guess hundreds of books apply to this contest since the Self-Publishing Review (SPR) is a well-known and highly-valued resource for book reviews and editorial services.

SPR has been highlighted by The Guardian, The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes, and Writer’s Digest as a reputable venue for vetting your work.

I am beyond honored and humbled by this award. As the first prize winner, I receive:

  • A GOLD Amazon Reviews Package (30+ Verified Customer Reviews)
  • A Lead Story Editorial Review on SPR
  • An author interview, shared with almost a quarter of a million readers
  • A virtual book tour of 1 week, with 15+ blogs
  • A Category and Keyword analysis for Amazon
  • Rosette artwork for the ebook and paperback book
  • And more!

Thank you so much to everyone who supported and contributed to the journey of The Last April, including my writer’s group at Wild Goose Creative, my beta readers, Ali and John, my editor, Cindy from Second Set of Eyes, and my cover artist, Jenny from Seedlings Design Studio. Most especially, my husband, who reminded me when to go to sleep when I burned the candle from both ends to meet my (self-imposed) deadline.

Stay tuned for updates on my first ever author fair experience, hosted by the Marion County Public Library in Central Ohio!

Happy reading,
Belinda

Howl-O-Ween Giveaway featuring The Last April & Haunting Miss Trentwood

This year, I’m giving away digital copies of Haunting Miss Trentwood and The Last April! Keeping it simple this year, you can tweet a message, visit my Facebook page, or post a comment below to win copies of my popular eBooks.

Thanks to The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island blogs for hosting this giveaway hop! If you’ve never done one of these, I’m part of a bunch of bloggers who all signed up to give away prizes. At the end of this post is the full list of bloggers giving away prizes.

1865 Civil War (2017)
YA Sweet Drama

1887 Victorian England (2010)
YA Gothic Comedy

I’m always looking for bloggers to review, so if you do happen to win, I’d love to see your thoughts on your blog, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble!

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Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway: THE LAST APRIL book box

Happy official launch day for THE LAST APRIL! I’m so excited to share this book with friends, family, and co-workers at my Columbus book launch party on April 15th. For those of you unable to attend in person to enter the event raffle and potentially win a copy of the book, continue reading.

1865 Civil War (2017)
YA Sweet Drama

One lucky contestant will win a book box that includes a free print copy of THE LAST APRIL as part of my participation in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza giveaway blog hop. The Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza blog hop is a great opportunity to win prizes by hopping between author / reader blogs and entering their contests.

To win a free book box complete with a signed print copy of THE LAST APRIL, please enter using the Rafflecopter below on April 15th – 30th. Not sure you want to enter this giveaway?

Here is the back cover blurb:

Spontaneous, fifteen-year-old Gretchen vows to help heal the nation from the recently ended Civil War. On the morning of President Lincoln’s death, Gretchen finds an amnesiac Confederate in her garden and believes this is her chance for civic goodwill.

But reconciliation is not as simple as Gretchen assumed. When her mother returns from the market with news that a Confederate murdered the president, Gretchen wonders if she caught the killer. Tensions between her aunt and mother rise as Gretchen nurses her Confederate prisoner, revealing secrets from their past that make Gretchen question everything she knows about loyalty, honor, and trust.

The Last April is an entertaining, thoughtful novella of Ohio after the Civil War, meant to encourage readers to reflect on themes of fear and hope in uncertain political times.

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If you want another chance to win a print copy, you may also enter the Goodreads Giveaway for THE LAST APRIL.

Spooktacular Giveaway: New Cover for Haunting Miss Trentwood!

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This time last year, I had been married a month. As such, I forgot it was Haunting Miss Trentwood’s five year publication anniversary! Sad face. This year, I contacted a local cover designer for my belated celebration of this book making its way into the world. Next month, I’ll talk about how the process went with a new cover designer.

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Three lucky winners will win book boxes that include free print copies of the gorgeous new cover as part of my participation in the Spooktacular giveaway blog hop. The Spooktacular blog hop is a great opportunity to win prizes by hopping between author / reader blogs and entering their contests.

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To win a free book box complete with a signed print copy of the newly redesigned Haunting Miss Trentwood, please enter using the Rafflecopter below. Not sure you want to enter this giveaway?

Here is the newly updated back cover blurb:

Witty, secluded Mary is reeling after her father, Trentwood, passes away and returns in ghostly form. Despite the ghost’s constant prodding, Mary lives in their aging English countryside manor house with only her aunt and their servants for company.

But their quiet home carries secrets even from Mary and Trentwood. When Hartwell, a London lawyer, arrives at their doorstep claiming someone is blackmailing his sister, Mary stumbles into a mystery that forces her to revisit memories and rethink her future.

As Mary and Hartwell seek the blackmailer, each learns about the importance of opening one’s heart to trust and betrayal. Haunting Miss Trentwood is a light gothic tale (think Legend of Sleepy Hollow meets Casper the Friendly Ghost) written from varied perspectives. Readers will be entertained by bright dialogue and encouraged to reflect on the universal themes of dealing with parents and disappointing relationships, and learning to love again.

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Spooktacular Giveaway featuring Haunting Miss Trentwood

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Welcome everyone, and happy Halloween season! This year we’re participating in the Spooktacular giveaway blog hop, where you can win prizes by hopping between author / reader blogs and entering their contests.

To enter to win a free print copy of Haunting Miss Trentwood, the eBook version, and a copy of the eChapter “The Seance,” please enter using the Rafflecopter below. Not sure you want to enter this giveaway? Read the first chapter of my gothic comedy via the Booktrack sample embedded in this post!

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Jump to the other blogs for a chance to win more prizes!

8 Writing Truths I Learned from the Berenstain Bears

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Apartment Therapy wrote this great blog post about home organization using the Berenstain Bears, which inspired me to write a similar post, but about writing. First off, the Berenstain Bears was a favorite of mine. I loved that the little sister got to do everything the little brother did, and listening to my mother read about the spooky old tree. Let’s take a look at the eight things Apartment Therapy mentioned and see how they apply to writing.

  1. “You really can’t have fun or relax in a room that’s such a terrible mess.” No one likes a messy story. No one can understand a messy story. Take time to put your ducks in a row; know who the characters are, their motivations, and how these motivations conflict against each other to create the plot. Make sure to tie up those loose ends at the end (something I need to work on), and your readers will walk away feeling at peace with your work.
  2. Sometimes, it’s good to get rid of things. Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck had a good thing going for them: they believed in “less is more.” Now, as a historical fiction writer, I do need to go into detail about clothing, furniture, food, etc, to help my reader lose themselves in the era. What’s important about this is knowing which detail is important enough to capture. And when capturing, I need to make certain I’m using the exact descriptive word, rather than relying on weak adverbs.
  3. A place for everything… Don’t throw out a coincidental event simply because the writing is excellent and so you want to keep it in the work. This works in conjunction with #2… it might be a lovely paragraph, but if it’s a deus ex machina, or just doesn’t fit in, then make the tough call and get rid of it. Or save it for another piece.
  4. Make it pretty. This is in regards to self-publishing. Make that interior layout look like the Big-6-published books. Hire a cover designer who takes your work seriously and gives you something that markets your work properly.
  5. Label everything. It drives me nuts when people don’t label who is speaking, and if they do, use descriptors every time. Sometimes, people just say things. “Blah blah blah,” my character said. The word “said” is practically invisible to readers, just like the word “the.” It is appropriate to use and should be used unless it is necessary to point out the character is whispering, crying, or something else.
  6. Pegboards are totally boss. Well, pegboards, pin boards, folders, binders, whatever you use to collect your inspiration. The point is to keep an inspiration file so when you get burned out, or are lost in the weeds, you have something to refresh you and get you back on track.
  7. Have a ‘stuff’ box. I like to keep a file of paragraph snippets that have been cut across my different works. Sometimes I’ll read through it and realize a particular paragraph can be repurposed in a different story. I’ve just cut my work in half!
  8. “A little organization, and a few rules.” When you write a story, you are creating a microcosm that has rules. Stick to them! Don’t let your reader stop and wonder what century they are in by using a modern word when your story is set in 1867 (also guilty of this at times).

That is what I learned from the Berenstain Bears. Do you have any children’s books that inspire you to think again about your writing and publishing process?

Best, Belinda

P.S. Don’t forget about the Belinda’s Birthday Giveaway! 27 free ebooks and audio books as prizes to celebrate my 27th birthday. Not interested? That’s all right, we here at Worderella would appreciate you spreading the word for us. Deadline is midnight on my birthday, August 10.

Belinda’s B-Day Giveaway

Dear Reader,

I was going to write  a big post in response to Chuck Wendig wanting us writers to care less. It’s a great post; I love his irreverence and I mean to pick up his books soon because I think I need a good laugh and his blog always makes me chuckle.

But then I looked at the calendar and realized my 27th birthday is eleven days away! Huzzah. I think.

I want to do something special for you guys. I’m not receiving gifts this year, but I figure someone should! Why am I not receiving gifts? Well, I’ve been trying to purge, I don’t need more stuff!

There are 27 gifts (seven audio books, twenty ebooks) that you can win in a multitude of ways:

  • Answer the question “why do you read historical romances?”
  • Like the Belinda Kroll fans page on Facebook
  • Follow @worderella on Twitter
  • Easy entry for fans of  this blog post
  • Tweet this giveaway

Submit your entry today! The giveaway submission window will run from August 1 to August 10 (my birthday). I’ll be dancing on my birthday, so give me 72 hours after the submission window closes for me to announce and contact the winners.

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Wielding the Red Pen of Doom (i.e. Editing)

Dear Reader,

This week I’d like to talk about what I look for when I pull out the Red Pen of Doom on my shitty first draft. But first, a sketch of Tempest Granville, the main character of The Rebel’s Hero, that I drew during a boring meeting at work…

She has wild hair because she is a tomboy. She is frowning because her dad wants to marry her to someone she doesn’t like. And then there’s the whole kidnapping escapade. That definitely brought a frown to her face.

Wielding the Red Pen of Doom

When I pull out the Red Pen of Doom, especially in the early chapters when I haven’t written the remainder of the book, I look for three main things:

  1. Is the heroine’s goal clear?
  2. Is the hero’s goal clear?
  3. Does the combination of their goals make for an interesting and intelligible story?

Notice I’m not too concerned about characterization or setting yet. That comes with the draft that is between the Shitty First Draft and the Reader Worthy First Draft. I like to call that draft, the one that is interesting and intelligible but lacking the meaty descriptions and emotions, Shitty First Draft B.

I use the Red Pen of Doom to remind me that I must be brutal to the Shitty First Draft. This is no time to hold onto my darlings. They aren’t my darlings yet, I haven’t lived with them long enough. This is my best opportunity to make goals of characters crystal clear. I consolidate unnecessary characters and plot lines, simplifying them so I can explore backstories and emotions fully in later drafts.

I ask the three questions I listed above on every page. If I don’t have an answer in seconds, then goodbye you lovely paragraph that was a study of beauteous grammar, but you are dead weight and you must go.

I tend to do this sort of editing when I’ve had a good day. I’m more objective when I’m in a neutral/good mood rather than when I’ve had a crappy day and want to punch everyone’s face in for even thinking of looking at me.

Writing. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

Best,

Belinda

P.S. If you’re here because of the Back to Books Giveaway Hop, welcome! This is a simple giveaway. Subscribe to my newsletter below to get half-off my book Haunting Miss Trentwood. You should receive your discount code upon confirmation of your subscription.

 

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Bloghop!

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Dear Reader,

Glad you made it here! This post is part of the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway bloghop. I’m keeping this bloghop pretty simple: when you sign up for my newsletter, you will receive a free eBook copy of my upcoming book, The Rebel’s Hero.

Never fear, I rarely send emails via the newsletter, it’s more for general updates, such as book releases. How do you know if you’re interested in The Rebel’s Hero? Well, below I’ve included the back cover blurb. Again, to get a free copy of the book when it’s released, just sign up for the newsletter!

Dear Reader,

I began The Rebel’s Hero as a rewrite of my high school senior thesis, a Civil War romance called Catching the Rose. The original was written with all the innocence and energy of a seventeen-year-old. I was flattered and gratified that so many readers picked up Catching the Rose, not expecting a book by a teenager, but a first serious attempt at being an author.

After publishing my second book, Haunting Miss Trentwood, my thoughts drifted to Catching the Rose. I itched to begin it again, this time with a tighter plot structure and deeper character motivations. Out of that reworking came The Rebel’s Hero.

When Tempest Granville’s step-father announced he was marrying her off in between slurps of soup at dinner, she knew right then that her home was no longer a safe haven from the impending war between the states.

The night of a successful slave smuggling mission leaves Daniel Ritter exhausted, but jubilant. When a bedraggled Tempest appears on his doorstep, her presence does more than spark alarm. Suddenly Daniel is having visions of his past, the very past he has struggled to reclaim memories of for nine years.

Join Tempest and Daniel as romance flares, the war begins, and urgency builds as they realize Daniel’s missing memory is the key to a wicked and heartbreaking family secret.

Happy reading,

Belinda Kroll

Intrigued? Then submit your email below to join the newsletter for updates about The Rebel’s Hero!

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Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. There’s a guest author giveaway where you only need to comment on the post to enter to win a free Treasure Hunters book. Check it out after you sign up for the newsletter!

How to have a Successful Book Festival, Treasure Hunters Giveaway

Dear Reader,

Today we have Sean McCartney, who I highlighted before in an interview and when I met him in person at the Ohioana Book Festival. He agreed to share his experience at the book festival, and is giving away a copy of one of his Treasure Hunters books! Read on, dear reader, read on.

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I want to thank Belinda for having me here today. I’d like to introduce myself again. My name is Sean McCartney and I am the author of The Treasure Hunters Club book series. The second book, Breaking the Beale Code, was released on May 7th of this year. Belinda and I met face-to-face at the Ohioana Book Festival and she asked me to talk about my experience there.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement. When someone asked me who my protagonists were, not only did I not remember what a protagonist was, I forgot I was even an author. I’d never been to one of these before as an author or a patron.

I almost talked myself out of going with a deluge of excuses but as I look back on the festival I am glad I was there.

When I walked into building 110, where all of the authors were selling their books, I found my name tag and set up my treasure chest of books. I was sharing a table with another great young adult author. The area was not very large. In fact I felt like I was at the “kids” table for Thanksgiving Dinner.

After I was set-up I stood and waited for people to come in. I watched the other authors and wondered if they felt like I did. They seemed much more confident.

I have to say that, aside from selling a bunch of books, I was able to meet and talk with two terrific authors and people. Kristina McBride, author of The Tension of Opposites and Erin McCahan, author of I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, provided great laughs throughout the day and was a source of tremendous knowledge and information.

The festival held interviews and book readings by many authors. I was not chosen to do any of that which turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. I was able to stand by my treasure chest and meet readers who bought my books. When I went to the representative from Barnes and Noble and told her my sales, I think she was surprised and stunned.

Overall I can’t wait to go back. I have been looking into other festivals because for an author like myself working with a small publisher, I need to be out there meeting people.

Though the day was long (two hour drive to Columbus and back) and I was on my feet for the entire event, I wouldn’t have missed it. I am looking forward to next year and the continued success of the Treasure Hunters Club series.

Thanks again for having me and please visit my web site at treasurehuntersclubbook.com and drop me a line.

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Belinda here! So some takeaways from Sean’s experience, compared to other authors I’ve learned from, is that having a display catered to your book genre grabs the attention of passers-by.

Having the author standing and smiling, ready to engage? Also a huge plus. Not leaving your post is a great way to make sure you don’t miss readers, and the fact that Sean avoided looking tired I’m sure kept people coming to his spot until the end of the day.

I saw other authors there who sat behind their table reading a book. I did not visit them. I might have grabbed a postcard if they had one and it looked pretty. When you see someone talking to an author, you want to talk to that author as well.

I don’t remember if Sean had a pitch about his books, but his display was so fun-looking that I had to stop by. It was then that I realized I knew this guy! So having a gimmick, as it were, helps. It shows you put thought into your time at the festival, which tells readers that you really care.

If you’d like to win a copy of one of the Treasure Hunters books, leave a comment. We will use a random number generator to determine the winner.

Best,

Belinda