Is it Too Soon to Start Christmas?

2015-christmastreeYesterday I ran into one of those giant wholesale stores for a couple of things (crazy concept, right?) and I came out with a giant wreath and a barrel of Christmas tree ornaments. Aside from the fact that I need to work on my impulse control, I found the lure of the holiday with all its cheer and sparkle too irresistible to ignore.

Don’t get me wrong—I expressed my outrage to Myren, my chauffeur about the craziness of selling Christmas gift wrap and bows a full month before Halloween had even struck. As I pondered which set of gorgeous gift tags I should buy, I complained at the nerve of retailers for forcing me to fill my closets with trimmings months before I could use them.

Myren is a bah-humbug type (I know you’re shocked) so he rolled his eyes in a chaufferly manner and cleared people out of my way when called for. (Sometimes he takes his job too seriously and I wonder who he drove for before he came to work for me.)

But I drew the line at buying a tree. The stores stocked all manner of fake trees in all colors and state of dress, from bare to trimmed with lights to fully turned out. This is no time to ignore my tradition of having a real tree with its real intoxicating scent. BTW, those cans of Christmas tree scented spray do not work. I love walking in the door to a room filled with that special evergreen smell and twinkling lights glittering off sparkling ornaments and the music…

Pardon if I’m getting carried away. Part of the lure of the holiday for me is to compensate for the dreariness of dark at 6:30. Last night I was yawning and ready for bed by 8:30 and Myren told me to get a life. If this were July it would be light out until 9pm.

To answer the question, there is no answer. Christmas is a state of mind and celebrating however you do, whenever you do is up to you. I’m a fraction away from full-on holiday frenzy with Myren holding me back barely.lovechristmascover

In the meantime, it may be still too early to read the soon to be released boxed set of exclusive new romance novellas in Love, Christmas, but it’s not too soon to pre-order this sparkling set themed around the author’s favorite Christmas songs. Mine is Let it Snow. You can imagine.

When do you get sparked into celebrating the holidays?

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Facebook Event

Facebook events that celebrate new book releases are multiplying every day. In addition to being fun, these events allow direct interaction between authors and readers. The visiting readers receive prizes. The participating authors broaden their readership and garner reviews.

On Tuesday I will participate in a Facebook event in honor of a new box release, SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES 3.

Sweet Christmas Kisses 3: A Bundle of 17 Wholesome Holiday Romances – Kindle edition by Mona Risk, Christine Bush, Lyn Cote, Denise Devine, Raine English, Shanna Hatfield, Ciara Knight, Milou Koenings, Magdalena Scott, Roxanne Rustand, Alicia Street, Kristin Wallace, Merrillee Whren, Cindy Flores Martinez, Victoria Pinder, Josie Riviera, Pat Simmons.

Kobo Books
Google Play

In the two previous years, SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES 2 and SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES remained USA Today bestsellers for five weeks.

My contribution to Sweet Christmas Kisses 3, ON CHRISTMAS EVE, is a sweet Christmas story, and book 6 in the Holiday Babies Series.


Tiffany broke their engagement five years ago when she thought Matthew cheated on her. But fate keeps throwing him in her path. His tender gaze erases years of loneliness and her heart squeezes with longing. And then, she notices the two little girls in his arms. His daughters? Where is their mother?
Can Tiffany and Matthew forgive each other, live in the present, and create a new future?



A tireless traveler, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mona Risk writes contemporary romance, medical romance, and romantic suspense novels, all simmering with emotion. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visits— or in Florida, her paradise on earth.

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Never too late for change

This past Monday, my husband decided to make a change in our lives and close his architectural office to take a position as the Director of Project Development with a local construction contractor. He joked that it would be his third job since graduating college over thirty years ago. In the early 1980’s the economy went south and he decided to change his major from construction technology to architecture, but never gave up on the idea of someday going into construction. When the right opportunity came around, and after much soul searching, he took the bold move. jump-in-with-both-feetI too made a similar bold change several years ago when I decided not to practice law on a full-time basis so that I might follow my heart and concentrate on my writing. Family law is a very demanding discipline. The constant exposure to the pain and suffering of your clients wears you out and down.

Writing rejuvenates.


When I write, my characters take on lives of their own. I write strong characters that are not afraid to take chances and jump in with both feet. Whether it is a college professor undertaking studies abroad (Rhia in SECOND CHANCES), a billionaire who opens his heart to love again (Jordon in SPARRING PARTNERS), or a petite young lady willing to fight to the death for her beliefs (Daisy in DEFENDING DESTINY), I find great interest in characters that follow their hearts and forge ahead with their lives.

Do you take chances to follow your dreams?

Have you made life-changes recently?

 I’d love to hear what changes you may have made to your lives to follow your dreams.



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A Baby for New Year’s

The long-awaited book two in my Holiday Bundles of Joy series is now available for pre-order!

A Baby for Christmas has been my bestselling romance since its publication in 2013, and I’m delighted to release A Baby for New Year’s just in time for the holiday season this year.

If you’d like to read it for free, here’s your chance. Comment below with your email address (and file type you prefer) and I’ll send you a free preview ebook in exchange for an honest review on Amazon. When the book goes live October 1, I’ll send you a link to post your review.

New Years cover.indd After an emotionally destructive marriage, Meg has settled into a quiet life as a single mother. When her pregnant teenage niece arrives at her door, seeking shelter, Meg finds herself caught in a family drama between the girl’s parents. She hasn’t seen her estranged sister Kelly or her former brother-in-law Evan in years, but she hasn’t forgotten her secret crush on him when they were teenagers. Now that he’s single again, he still makes Meg weak in the knees. As the New Year brings complications she never thought she wanted, should she listen to her heart and take a chance on love?

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The Well Guarded Secrets of Success in Book Publishing

We often talk about success and we do so in BIG ways! But for those of us who have kicked around in this business, we know that success is actually quite small. Many a good book is ignored and will fall through the cracks before it’s even had a chance in the world. Plenty more need to fall through those cracks! But way too many people think that if they write this one book, it’s going to be so terrific that everyone will want to read it, and they will achieve overnight success, be chosen for Oprah’s book club, and they will make a few million dollars. And all the seasoned authors are either nodding their heads or are laughing, because we know better!

So what happens when someone who has no experience with publishing or indie publishing writes a book and turns it loose into the big ocean? Virtually nothing. Last month I received a note from someone with whom I am acquainted because she’s written notes to me several times over the last few years. We have a mutual friend. The gist of her email was a plea to help her make her book a super seller. She was looking for that insider information. I’m certain that she figured I was going to tell her the industry’s deepest well-guarded secrets to making a best seller. I had to answer her letter, except I didn’t want to write what needed to be written.  There are no super deep secrets to succeeding in this industry.

We all know toreading write a really great book, have it well edited, and obtain a super cover. But probably the only real secret to success is to have lots of friends! It really helps if you have lots of money to pay for advertisements. I think it was James Patterson who bought 25,000 copies of his first book before it was released, and another successful indie author hocked everything she and hubby had to raise $90,000 for advertisements. That book catapulted her into the limelight. So maybe there are some tricks to creating a best seller. Most of us, we plod along!

So if you plan to write a book or are writing one, here are a few words of advice.

  • Write an awesome book!
  • Don’t wait until it’s written to start promoting. Do it now! Create a web presence. Join Facebook or Twitter or some someplace and begin to make friends.
  • If people know you and like you, they will buy your book.
  • Find your target audience! When you figure out that one, please tell me how you did it! I’ve only stumbled into mine.
  • Take as many writing workshops as possible.
  • Take classes in grammar!
  • Join local writing groups and online ones.
  • Find groups on Yahoo that are targeted to your genre.
  • Create a newsletter or join a group where you can contribute to that newsletter. Have you joined the AoMS newsletter? HINT! Why do you think we do what we do?
  • Blog! Create your own and offer to guest blog to other bloggers in your genre.
  • Do whatever you can to create exposure for what you are writing.
  • Make certain you write that really compelling story.
  • Make certain it is well-edited by using professional editors!
  • Have a great cover!
  • Read others who have written in the same genre or subject.
  • Learn everything you can about the publishing industry.
  • Miracles don’t just happen – they are made!

Just remember tossing a book with no marketing behind it into the ocean filled with millions of books is not going to assure instant fame. It’s more apt to sink to the bottom of the heap and be chewed up by the bottom feeders. Resurrecting that book is almost impossible.

So success in this business is measured in little increments. It’s done by gaining one reader at a time. For some that might mean your book has had enough sales to buy the family hamburgers and fries at your favorite fast-food stop, and for others it might be paying for a child’s orthodontics.

Most authors are thrilled to know that you’ve left them a great review! In fact, the smallest things make us so happy! Of course we want to hit the NY Times Best Seller list and stay there for a year, but most of us are super delighted to know that you love what we write, so drop us an email or join our newsletter! We love our readers! Especially those who love us!

How much do we love our readers? Drop us a note here on Main Street. We’ve got that handy little contact page up top, see it? And we’ll add you to our advance release program. You get early parole. ;-)  Just joking. What you will get are advance release copies of our books! That means you get to read them before anyone else and for free. We only ask that you write an honest review.

Okay, friends who have been in this industry, what can you think of that I have missed? As a reader, what do you look for in a great book? Leave it in the comments!

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Forget Christmas in July; It’s New Years in September

Maybe it’s the shadow of back-to-school still lingering over me. As a kid, celebrating my birthday in late August always meant my gifts revolved around school supplies and new fall clothes. I never really minded; it was a chance to change the old self, the old wardrobe, the old shoes, in favor of something new and exciting.

img_0591Maybe it’s the crisper weather and the changing colors of the leaves. As a visually creative person, I tend to absorb my environment and reflect what’s around me.

Whatever the reason, September always welcomes in changes for me–the type of changes normally reserved for New Years’ resolutions. I got married in September, moved into  my house in September, and usually make any big purchases (cars, appliances, home furnishings) in September. This September, I started a new day job, cutting my daily commute by 90%! Big difference.

My current work in progress had me excited to reach the end so I could get it to my editor (where it was looooong overdue). But on a whim, I pulled up an old story I had scrapped last year. I was two-thirds of the way through that story when I decided it sucked, it would never sell, and I buried it in my computer files, believing it should never see the light of day. But a year later, after re-reading it, I realized this was actually quite good. This story didn’t suck nearly as much as I thought.

This revelation has forced me to switch gears and try something else new, another shake-up of my routine. I’m now writing two stories at once, both for the same publishing house. It’s a fine line, dancing between two sets of characters, two settings, two plotlines. But I’m determined to give it a shot. Wish me luck!

Posted in Gina's Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Freebie Marketing Experiment


Last week, I decided to break out of my rut and try a marketing experiment. I mustered up some persistence  and engaged in some boring butt-in-the-chair type freebie marketing. Because in the past I’ve felt this sort of thing wasn’t worth my time, (I would much rather be writing) promised myself that anything my books earned over the previous week, I would spend….and so I did. Last week my books earned about 30% more than the week before.

So, here’s what I did. I contacted these free sites about promoting my perma-free, Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent. I have no idea how many will actually promote my book, or when, but all of these sites were free.!about/c186c  email them the details at:  FREE only. Scroll down on the site to see the form.  only non fiction, christian and children’s books.   FREE only.  Put the promo details under ‘details’.   click submit button to inform about promo. If you can’t see the ‘edit’ etc buttons, click X to delete the ad to the right!   Put in the ASIN and the dates and click submit.   FREE & KCD. Send message to advise of promo. Sign on screen is a WordPress screen. Then ‘visit site’, then click ‘register’. Add promo details. FREE only.     Go to ‘submit freebie’   Recommended but there’s a fee.     Choose category ‘free ebook updates’ and put promo dates on comments!   Choose category ‘ebooks’ and put promo dates on comments!        Recommended but there’s a fee  To guarantee a listing, use the paid option of hotzippy below. hotzippy page that submits book to pixelscroll, bargain ebook hunter & romance ebook deals. There’s a fee.        FREE & KCD.  Add promo dates on ‘topic’.  FREE & KCD. Email to send promo details.       FREE only      FREE only    Doesn’t accept submissions at the moment.     FREE only.     FREE only.     FREE only.  Email  see what info to email on the site – copy paste.      FREE only.       (One hundred free books)   FREE & KCD. Add promo dates and link in the last field.   FREE & KCD. Email  Attach book cover.  Same owner as GenrePulse. May be a fee.    FREE & KCD  Can also submit a book for a new launch. Use a very short blurb.  Once in 4 months only.   They send an email & you must click the link to finalize the submission.       FREE only. Ignore what it says about 7 days. You can submit earlier than that. Request a listing early.      FREE only. Scroll down the page to see the form.       FREE only. Email them to advise of promo.  or tweet them on the day.  FREE & KCD. You’ll need to take the pledge first, before you can submit.     FREE only. Posts on an FB page.      DIGITAL INK SPOT      FREE only.       FREE only.      FREE only.     leave a comment with free promo details.

Then I did something that I found really eye-opening and interesting. I went to my Amazon author page and looked up the information of readers who had in the past left positive reviews on my books. I was able to find, on average, contact information on about 20 percent of the reviewers. But even those who didn’t post contact info, left a trail, because I could see what else they had reviewed. Often, it was other books–which told me what they liked to read–but it was also other products, like anti-aging eye-cream, or diaper rash medicine, which provided clues to their age. I was surprised that most of the readers of my young adult books were retired. And the dudes! I have a number of stay at home dads and retired veterans who read and like my books! After compiling a list, I emailed them this:

Hi all,

Thanks for reading and reviewing MY OTHER BOOKS. Your kind words and reviews have inspired and lifted me. I want to offer a pay back: Every new release FREE.

 I’m sure you’ve seen this disclaimer before: “I received this ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.” 

Why do authors offer this?

Review street teams have been a standard practice used by the big publishing houses for decades to help launch a new title. Since I’m self-published, my readers are vital to helping people find my books. I don’t have the millions of dollars big publishing corporations have to put books on billboards, so I rely on my readers to help spread the word.

In a few weeks, my latest novel, Menagerie, will be available on Amazon. It’s currently up for pre-order for the discounted price of .99 cents. I’m offering it to a select few for FREE in exchange for an honest review. I’m sending the first two chapters of Menagerie to tempt you. If you’re interested, just email me at and I’ll send an arc copy.

There’s no obligation or commitment. But I hope that if you do enjoy it, you’ll take the time to review it on Amazon or other online retailers and chat it up with your neighbors and friends.The nicest thing you can do for an author you like is to give a five star review and share that author’s name not just with your immediate circle of family and friends but also on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media you use. Word of mouth is the most wonderful form of advertisement an author can have. And remember, a review doesn’t have to be a book report. It can be a simple, “Loved it!” “Made me laugh!” or “Couldn’t put it down!”

Thank you! I look forward to hearing from you.

I sent them my first chapter, cover image, and a buy link to the pre-order page.

Then I went to a New York Times Bestselling Author who writes in the same genre and looked up her reviewers. Interestingly, about 80% of her reviewers had contact information as most of hers were professional book bloggers (which suggested to me that her publisher most likely contacted them.) So, I also reached out to (some of) them. I sent this:


I read and liked your review of BESTSELLER and wondered if you’d like to read and review my soon to be released novel, Menagerie.  You can see it here.

If interested, please contact me at for a free copy.


I also sent them my first chapter, cover image, and a buy link to the pre-order page.

At the end of this week, I’ll be running a promotion on the third book in my Witch Ways series. I intend to contact all the free sites listed above, but this week, I’ll also include any sites that are less than $5. each. In the following weeks, I have lined up promotions with my favorites, Ereader News Today, Robin Reads, and Book Barbarian. Also, when Menagerie is released, my Bookbub and Amazon followers will be notified.

Why promote my perma-free, my Witch Ways book, and my soon to be released? Because I firmly believe that a rising tide lifts all ships. This means that if one book does well, the readers will spill over to my other books.

Since my book, Menagerie, will be released at the end of the month, I will email my own list (about 10,000) send out a Kindle Scout newsletter (where a bunch of other Kindle Scouters will also be promoting their books) and an Authors of Main Street newsletter (where anyone who would like to promote may do so. The more the merrier!) We’ve done this in the past with great success. The Authors of Main Street have a large following.

Want to participate? Just send your cover and buy link to:
by September 20th.
I’ll send out the email on September 28th, and ask everyone who participates to do the same.
Keep in mind, group promotions only work if everyone spreads the word through their own newsletter lists, blogs, and social media. Putting the newsletter together is a lot of work. If you want to thank me, please consider buying or sharing the link to my new release.




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