Tag Archive | lily george

Release Day for Healing the Soldier’s Heart!

Yay, it’s finally here! Release day for Healing the Soldier’s Heart!

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As you know, this is my third and final installment of the Brides of Waterloo series. This book is all about Sophie’s best friend Lucy Williams, who works as a governess for Lord Bradbury’s two daughters. Lucy is one of those people who has lived by he wits all her life. She had to, for she was orphaned when she was very young. By sheer intelligence and determination, she has made a life for herself from nothing. And at the same time, she expects very little from life. After all, romance is for women of means. She cannot afford to dream.

Lucy meets Ensign James Rowland through Sophie and her fiance, Captain Cantrill. Rowland also served at Waterloo, and though he was not gravely injured in the battle, his soul is scarred forever. One moment of cowardice on the battlefield has cost him the gift of speech, and he struggles in a meaningless, friendless existence. His quick temper masks a man in torment. And only Lucy’s sweet, impulsive friendship can bring him out of his shell.

I really loved writing this book–maybe it’s that it’s the third in my series, but I felt I knew the characters so well. They became old, dear friends. You can join my Goodreads giveaway to get your own free copy, or comment below for a chance to win an autographed bundle of all the August 2013 LIH releases! US residents only, please.

Writing Wednesday: In Which Lily Got Hacked and Talks Money

OK, so you may not have noticed, but I have been gone for a few weeks. Why? I didn’t
actually go anywhere, and my online presence has been as ubiquitous as ever, but I
haven’t been blogging. Why? It’s simple. My website got hacked.

Why anyone would want to hack me is a mystery, but they did it well and good. I mean,
I am a sweet Christian writer, right? So boring! So bland! Why hack me? Well, whatever
the reason they did it so well, in fact, that parts of my website needed a significant rebuild.
So I gave up and switched to a straight-up blog. Easy. Free. Moving on!

It’s November, and that’s royalty time for many authors. So let’s talk money.

Big Question #3: How Much Do Authors Get Paid?

Not much. At all. And very infrequently. Don’t let that discourage you, but you should
remember this quote from Mickey Spillane, “Authors don’t get paid. Writers get paid.”
When I was writing non-fiction, I was definitely an author. I wrote one book that took 6
years of research. When I got accepted by a publisher, I received no advance. And my
first royalty check was for $50.00. I am not joking when I say I sat down and cried after
that. For days. After all the work I did, I really expected to make—I don’t know what, but
certainly more than $50.

The royalties trickled in slowly after that, but at least on a quarterly basis. However, the
most I’ve ever received in a quarter is $200. With that publisher, I make 20% royalties.
With other publishers, you might make less.

When I moved to fiction writing, I did have the joy of an advance, but your advance
comes in pieces too. I am also realizing that royalties take forever to come in. My
publisher, Love Inspired, pays out royalties twice a year. There is some talk of moving
to a quarterly system, but it has not yet happened. My first book, Captain of Her Heart,
was released this past January, and I just got my royalty statement for that book. I
haven’t received a statement for The Temporary Betrothal, since royalty periods run from
January through June, and July through December.

As of yet, I haven’t earned out my advance, but nearly half of my sales were kept “in
reserve,” in case people returned my book in droves. (As if!) Those reserves should
be “released” the next time they do royalties, but I don’t know how many of the reserves
were actual returns. So I still don’t know if there will be any money in my next check.

There is no set answer to this question, because it varies so greatly depending on your
genre, your publisher, and how many books you have out at any given time. I will say
that doing a little research can help you know what to expect. I guess my biggest stress
has been earning enough to justify the continuation of my writing career. As you know, I
got a day job at a law firm to help alleviate that stress. If I am earning a little steadily in the form of a paycheck, then it’s OK if my books take over a year to pay out.

The life of a writer is feast or famine. Some day you might get a check for thousands
of dollars. Six months later, you haven’t made a dime. It’s feast or famine with your
emotions, too. You might be thrilled one day because you got THE CALL or a fan wrote
an email to you. And then you’ll be devastated because someone wrote a negative review
on Amazon, or a new book proposal got rejected.

All I can say is that if you are meant to be a writer, you will be. None of these issues
will dissuade you from writing, if that’s what you’re meant to do. But this is a question I
am asked often, and I feel it’s one that merits a response. You should get paid for doing
what you love. And if you are writer, you will. But you won’t be able to give up your day
job…unless you are J.K. Rowling and hit the jackpot.

Writing Wednesday: How I Chose Inspirational Fiction…Or How It Chose Me

I don’t like to write a lot about CRAFT, because it makes me feel self-conscious and like I’m taking myself way too seriously. But a lot of people have written to me or asked me questions about writing, and I realize that there are a lot of questions about the industry that maybe I can answer. Or at least contribute to the conversation. I’ll try to address some of these questions by posting on Writing Wednesdays. Monday is now my weight loss blogging day, and Friday is still my frugal day. Are we good with the change-up? Great. Away we go…

Big Question #1: What is Inspirational Romance and Why Do You Write It?

Inspirational romance is a subgenre of romance fiction, in which the spiritual journey of the hero and heroine is as important to the development of the story as their romantic attraction. Inspirational romance can be contemporary, historical, suspenseful, or any combination of the above. Inspirational romance does not have overt sexual scenes, drinking, gambling, or anything else that might be considered offensive. Think of it as PG-rated, but also remember that there are some truly awesome films that are rated PG.

I started trying to write romantic fiction when I was at my local library and I saw just how much room was devoted to the romance novels. I always loved reading historical romance but never thought I could write it. I started researching he industry on a lark and thought I’d give it a whirl. I joined a critique group and they were amazing at helping me to improve my writing skills, which were woefully underdone at that point.

I realized that I simply wasn’t comfortable writing secular romance and felt stuck on what to do with my career. At the time, we were living in eastern North Carolina, and to clear my mind, I went for a drive. I stopped at a Salvation Army thrift store in Bayboro. If you read this blog, you know I cannot resist a thrift store, and this one always yielded treasures.

As I strolled around, I felt something calling out to me. I wandered around, and the feeling of being pulled grew ever stronger. I finally whirled around and spied what had been calling out to me–a shelf full of Grace Livingston Hill and Janette Oke books. The Hill books were beautifully bound in hardcover; the Oke books were the same trade paperbacks I had read so carefully as a girl in my mother’s bookstore. They were only 10 cents each, so I bought 2 shelves’ full. And that’s when I had my career epiphany–to write inspirational historical fiction.

These books and these authors brought me so much joy as a young girl–I wanted to perpetuate that joy and share that feeling with others.

And that’s why Lily George writes inspy romance–it all stems from a chance encounter with some dusty books at a Salvation Army thrift store.

 

Frugal Friday: In Which I Try the Ogle School

Full disclosure: for a long time, I’ve not had a regular hairdresser. I have a dear friend who lives in Rowlett who does hair, and another who is still a student in stylist school in Austin. To visit one, it’s an hour’s drive. The other is three hours away. While I feel strongly about supporting both, a major commute to do my hair just can’t happen right now, especially while I am working full-time. My weekends are spent playing catch-up with household chores and errands; I can’t spend all day Saturday driving to and from a salon.

But I am also at an age where I need to have a regular salon. My bangs need biweekly trimming or else I look like a Shetland pony. My hair color needs brightening. And my ends need to be trimmed free of the split ends. So I noticed that there is an Ogle school practically across the street from my daughter’s school. Supporting other students seemed like an excellent idea when I can’t always support my friends who are stylists. So, I made an appointment last Wednesday night for a color and cut. I figured I would try it once and see how it went.

Let me tell you now, the Ogle school will be my go-to salon, and here’s why:

  • The students really looked at my hair, the shape of my face, where my “occipital bone” started and ended, and they really listened to what I wanted. The result? Color and cut that looks amazing. It looks like me and like what I envisioned. The 5 minute consultation makes the appointment run long, but wow if it doesn’t make a huge difference in how you collaborate with the stylist.
  • They had two students working on my hair at the same time. I have a lot of hair, people. A LOT. One of the students called it “deceptively thick” while the other joked that I have “Disney princess hair.” Even with two students working together, it took a good 2.5 hours to cut, color, and style my hair. But I loved having two people working at the same time–they chatted with each other, they chatted with me–there was none of that awkward “so…do you have kids?” kind of conversation that makes it difficult for an introvert like me to relax at the salon.
  • The instructor didn’t hover, but he did stick around enough to make me feel like I was in good hands. If you ever read Beezus and Ramona when you were a kid, then, like me, you probably grew up wondering if a student could do a good job on your hair. I wanted to be Ramona, not Beezus. And sure enough, with that teacher wandering by at intervals, I knew nothing would happen to my hair that couldn’t be fixed.
  • The price was UH-MAY-ZING, which is why this is a frugal Friday post. They were running a special–cut, highlights, and style–for $20 with purchase of 1 product. Which was like $8. So for $28 I had services that normally would have run closer to $100 or more. No guilt attached. I mean, normally I worry about getting my hair done and how much it costs and then I put it off and put it off–not any more. I can totally afford to get all the bells and whistles without worrying that I am depriving my family of a vacation fund or something. PLUS, I ended up tipping both girls as much as the service, so even with tips and product, I was still way under budget. And it felt great to be able to tip that big–honestly, I felt like I hit a gold mine or something.

I already have my November follow-up scheduled. I am so excited that I found the Ogle School. What a great way to celebrate Frugal Friday!

 

Weight Loss Wednesday: Cubicle Life Is Hard on the Diet

Since starting my new job, I found myself gaining weight again. I fell off my Medifast wagon–hard–and for about 2 weeks I was pretty much stress eating whatever I wanted. While I was in school, I resisted the temptation to cheat by avoiding the break room and the foods people brought to share with the class. Later, as my goal became apparent to my classmates, they cheered me on and went out of their way to show support.

In fact, on my birthday, my classmates gifted me with a beautiful miniature rose bush instead of the usual homemade cupcakes–and I was so touched that a) they remembered my special day and b) they were considerate enough to respect my diet.

Fast forward to cube life, where, just as in school, temptation abounds. The break room has a vending machine with Zingers in it, people. Zingers are my favorite junk food EVER, especially the vanilla kind with vanilla icing. The law firm is situated on the west side of Fort Worth, which abounds in restaurants, bakeries, and tea rooms. In fact, the law firm shares a parking lot with a barbecue restaurant that smells heavenly at all times of day, and then the other side of the firm backs up to a Whataburger. Seriously, the level of temptation is so high, it’s like when I used to go to the Weight Watchers meetings in Arlington, and the Weight Watchers was between a Chinese takeout and a donut shop. It was like–you’re kidding, right?

Anyway, stress eating and also feeling like I “deserved” treats took its toll. Sitting in a cube all day also made me HUNGRY. Like, I just ran a marathon after starving for a week hungry. My back started killing me from sitting, too. I was hunched over my keyboard all day, hoping none of my cube mates could hear my tummy growling, and then I would devour anything delicious and full of empty calories at any moment.

I got back on track this week because I ordered a new shipment of Medifast. When I get down to the same old shakes and the soups, it’s hard to stay motivated. This time, I ordered the cinnamon pretzels, the caramel nut maintenance bars (which I love so much I will still eat them as my go-to chocolate bar, even after I reach my goal) and the new cereal. Wonderful. I also, unlike most bloggers, really like the oatmeal and since I can prepare oatmeal really quickly in the break room (they have that spigot on the coffee maker that spits out hot water) I can resist the temptation of the vending machine.

I also started doing Pilates again, and it was amazing how quickly my back pain responded. I should just know that I will need to do Pilates every day for the rest of my life. My body needs it like water or sunlight or air. I started doing Pilates a few years ago when we were living in North Carolina; I was scared to start classes because I was afraid it would be a lot of superfit, superchic stay at home moms in matching velour tracksuits.

To my surprise, I was the youngest one in my class–by decades. Not that I was any better than the women in the class–many of them could turn into pretzels whereas I could not yet manage a decent roll-up–but there was a wonderful sense of acceptance and support in the room. And the instructor was flat-out amazing. I was an instant convert to Pilates and I should just know that it will be a major part of my life forever.

I feel much more “me” being back in the saddle with my diet and exercise. I’m still not accustomed to sitting at a desk all day, but it’s amazing how much more in control I feel once I adhere to my usual routine.

Manic Monday: Where’d You Go, Lily?

I took a hiatus from blogging, but the hiatus was taken without any planning on my part. To be specific, it was a forced hiatus. By which I mean outside force conspired to make blogging go kaput.

On the plus side, I got a job at a law firm. I have been working on my paralegal certification for the past year, so this was the natural culmination of that goal. I’d love to stay at home and write, but writing takes time. Royalties show up but twice a year; advances come at the whim of an editor. Most of my writing friends have day jobs. Plus there is a feeling of needing something to “fall back on.” My grandfather, who grew up during the Depression, felt that everyone should be certified in some profession. He always preached the benefit of having both a real estate license and a teaching certificate. But I figured that lawsuits are evergreen–this is a profession that will never die, and hence, the paralegal certification.

The problem is that I am having to adjust to life in a cubicle farm, and my family is having to adjust with me. After years of being a work at home mom, I am finding myself at the beck and call of another entity away from my daughter and husband. Our Internet at work is blocked by a firewall; my cell phone gets zero reception at my desk. So the friendly days of writing and chatting with friends, or checking in throughout the day with my husband, are now restricted to a few moments’ break, taken when I can have 10 minutes outside.

This also means that my family is having to adjust to me not being home all the time. As a consequence, I am not home to take care of little errands, school meetings, pet care, and housecleaning. You can only imagine the chaos that has ensued. My husband has done an admirable job of stepping up and handling the bulk of the errands and school appointments. But really, nothing can compare to having one person home during the day to handle the running of a household. This is a huge adjustment for me to handle, because I feel a gnawing sense of guilt when I see a pile of unfolded laundry, a stack of dishes, or an unswept floor.

I’ve been having to get used to someone else’s time table; the often petty and small-minded conversation of my colleagues (which cube life seems to foster) and the stress of commuting during traffic. None of this is new; none of this is special to anyone reading this blog; but when you’ve been at home for 6 years, it’s the equivalent of being dropped down a rabbit hole.

The problem is that most of this took place during a month in which my second book was released. I did more social media for The Temporary Betrothal than I ever did for Captain of Her Heart, but even that was, I am sure, not enough. I can’t help it. I hate book-flogging. I am no saleswoman; I am a writer. Poor Harriet! Poor Sophie! I will write your adventures, but I just can’t endlessly tweet about them.

On the plus side, the job is steady, the house will get clean, the stress will even out, and the writing will continue. As I type this blog, it’s actually Saturday morning. My daughter’s dogs are wrestling on the floor, my coffee is cooling beside me, and my daughter is still sleeping. My husband is taking his morning shower; soon we’ll get to spend the day together as a family. Working outside the home has taught me to make use of the moments I have and thus, my blogging will continue after this brief hiatus. There’s just too many cute modest dresses to swoon over, and too many Frugal Fridays to blog about!

Six Sentence Sunday: The Temporary Betrothal

I am so excited because the release date for The Temporary Betrothal is less than a month away! In this scene, Sophie is anticipating her next meeting with Lieutenant Cantrill:

Thursday morning dawned crisp and cool, but at least the rain had stopped. There was even a bit of watery sunshine peeping through the clouds. And since today was her day off Sophie could do exactly as she pleased. Not that she minded her work, of course. But there were some days when a girl just wanted to lounge in bed, even if she had the most wonderful job imaginable. Of course, her eagerness to enjoy the day had nothing whatsoever to do with meeting Charlie Cantrill.