You may already be a winner: April Fool!

Welcome to the IndieBRAG April Fools Day Contest: APRIL-FOOLS-POSTER I

Happy April Fools Day, Dear Readers,

I know some of you think the real April Fool’s Day falls on April 15, but that’s a discussion for another day. Today you are being put to the test to see how well you remember what you read (or is this a test of how memorable my characters are? Oh dear, the prank may be on me!).

Oh well, to carry on, below you will find a scene from one of the books in my Bunny Elder Adventures series of thrillers and mysteries. OR IS IT? That is the test.

After reading the scene, respond with a comment of TRUE or FALSE. Correct answers will be eligible to win a copy of my book. 

I will read your comment and let you know if the scene is really from one of my books. If not, and you guessed True, or if it is an authentic scene and you guess False, my reply will be “April Fool!”   If you guess correctly, my response will be, “Happy reading, and best of luck in the drawing!” If you wish to enter to win a copy of my award-winning ebook Vain Pursuits please email me at jbhawker@jbhawker.com with your preferred format (Kindle or epub) before midnight PDT April 4). The winner will be announced on this blog on April 5.3D Vain BRAG

IMPORTANT NOTE: In order for you to be included in the drawing for my book, we will need an email address to send the book file. If you would also like to be added to my newsletter email list, please indicate that in your comment. If not, I promise you will not be added, and if you chose to be added, you may opt out at any time. I don’t spam or share your email address.

You do not need to answer correctly to be entered to win the $50 Amazon gift certificate. Simply go to the indieBRAG event website to enter.

Thanks for participating.

Scene:

The severely blonde flight attendant wrestled impatiently with her serving cart while making halting progress along the narrow aisle between banks of cramped gray seats in a Lufthansa Airbus high above the Atlantic Ocean. Turning from side to side she grimly dealt out pre-packaged dinner trays to the restless passengers. Although her icy pale hair and crisp blue uniform remained unruffled, the stewardess was obviously near the end of her tether from long hours of forced congeniality with the fretful mass of economy-class passengers assigned to her care.

A creased and crumpled, though still dignified, elderly man, inching back to his seat from a thoroughly disheartening visit to the claustrophobic restroom, inadvertently blocked the attendant’s forward progress. Peremptorily rapping the old fellow’s shoulder, she hissed sharply with Prussian authority, “You must not block the aisles! Return to your seat, immediately.”

With a gasp, the man recoiled, stumbled and landed without ceremony in the soft lap of a petite middle-aged woman. Mortified, he attempted to scramble to his feet, but the serving cart bumped him back onto his startled seat mate.

The old gentleman creaked stiffly to his feet as soon after the flight attendant’s passing as possible, trembling with humiliation and repressed rage.

“Please excuse me, madam. I am so terribly sorry. Have I injured you?” the man addressed his fellow victim in very slightly accented English as he attempted to regain his composure.

“Oh, no, not at all. I’m fine. Really. Don’t worry about it. That certainly wasn’t your fault. Brünnhildes assault would have done in a lesser man, I assure you. You are lucky to have survived,” Bunny Elder replied with a wry smile, as she straightened her khaki skirt and pushed a lock of graying blonde hair back into place behind one ear.

“Yes, well, it would appear there are reasons why this particular airline was never touted as part of the ‘friendly skies’.”

Official rules:

Prize & Giveaway

Prize and book giveaway starts April 1st. The winner of the $50.00 Amazon Gift Card will be announced on April 5th on the indieBRAG  website.

Click on the indieBRAG Website starting April 1st and comment to enter for a chance to win a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card!

Each author is providing a print copy or e-book in the book giveaways. Be sure to visit their websites and comment on their post to enter a chance to win a copy of their book.

Rules:

–         The chance to enter for the prize and giveaways ends April 4th. The winner of the Amazon gift certificate prize will be announced on the indieBRAG  Website on April 5th. And each author will announce the winner for their giveaways on their sites at the date they choose.

–         You must be 18 years or older to participate in the prize & giveaway.

–         Giveaway is open internationally.

–         Winner has 48 hours to claim prize and giveaway or a new winner is chosen.

Visit all these great blogs to have more chances to win the $50:

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Character Sketch: Naidenne Grinager Davidson

Naidenne was most requested to be featured as this month’s Character Sketch.

If you want to know more about the background of a character in any of my books, be sure to leave your request in a comment. I will be featuring one character sketch on this blog each month, as long as there is interest.

Character Name:  Born Naidenne Grinager. (Introduced in Seadrift) Married Rev. Scott Davidson (…and Something Blue)

Role in Story: Naidenne is Bunny Elder’s first friend when she moves to Bannoch, OR (Seadrift, Something Blue). She is the main character in The First Ladies Club, the first book of that series.

Occupation: Real estate agent/owner of property management company. Also runs a local crafts boutique in a corner of her real estate office.

dream-of-curlsPhysical Description: Naidenne, in her early forties, is almost six feet tall, slim and attractive, with riotous curly red-gold hair she struggles to tame.  Until meeting Bunny and getting a little help with her style, Naidenne dressed as inconspicuously as possible in a uniform of straight dark skirts and business-like shirts and jackets. She tried to control her frustratingly independent hair by skewering it into a knot on the top of her head. Once Bunny convinced Naidenne of her model-like beauty, she discovered her own sense of style, shook out her glorious hair and left the dowdy wardrobe behind. These changes soon caught the attention of Scott and resulted in their marriage.

Personality: Modest and unassuming. Although capable and assertive in her business life, Naidenne’s childhood left her scarred and emotionally insecure. Meeting and marrying Scott has changed that. She has blossomed into a confident and kind wife and mother.

Habits/Mannerisms: Unusually for such a tall woman, Naidenne has excellent posture. She is invariably kind and compassionate.

Background: Naidenne, an only child, was raised in various small towns in Oklahoma by parents who were both Pentecostal preachers. She enjoyed a life centered on the rousing church services until she was thirteen, when a painful experience with the visiting evangelist during a revival meeting turned her away from the church and made her distrust all clergy. Because of their lack of support at this time, she is now estranged from her parents. Meeting Bunny, and falling in love with Scott, allowed her to get over her earlier trauma and begin to find her way back to God.

Internal Conflicts: She has residual issues of confidence and trust from that early episode. Being the tallest girl in school made her want to disappear in social settings, but she has overcome those feelings, for the most part. It is important to Naidenne to raise her small daughter, Talitha Joy, with a healthy self-image, so she strives to model that.

External Conflicts: Naidenne is kidnapped and assaulted in The First Ladies Club. She must escape from her attacker, an escaped convict. In the other books where she appears she has only normal relationship issues with her sister-in-law, Rosamund, church members, and the other wives in the First Ladies Club, but thanks to her generous nature, these never grow to the level of conflicts.

October means Halloween. Halloween means “Hollow” promotions

Hollow is free in digital format all month long in October. I have scheduled promotions on a variety of ebook sites/newsletters being sent to readers during the month.
J.B. Hawker on StoryFindsIs featuring Hollow from October 2 – 8, and you may see it featured on other sites throughout the month.

If you have read and enjoyed Hollow, but haven’t had time to post a review (Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, or B&N), I would love it, if you would post one today.

Many of the promotion sites require a certain number of reviews or a certain star ranking to include a book, so every single good review helps.

Thank you, again, for all your support and encouragement.

Reader Reviews: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Since setting the digital edition of Hollow, the first book in my first series, as free, it has had a gratifying number of daily downloads. I’ve noticed during previous free promos of my books that readers tend to be harsher critics of books they’ve downloaded for free. This phenomenon was brought to mind this week when the first freebie reviews of Hollow were posted on Amazon.

I think my fellow writers will agree that receiving a negative review of their work is as painful to us as it is for a mother to be told she has an ugly baby. So, why do we continue to offer our precious creations up to the two-edged sword of public opinion?

I remember the elation I felt upon reading my first good review from a stranger. What validation! What joy! …and what a let-down when the first critical comments were posted.

Some writers avoid this emotional roller coaster by refusing to read their reviews. They only want to know how many reviews and how many stars. Others, like me, cannot resist the temptation to read every new word, in the hope of once again experiencing the affirmation of a rave review.

With Hollow I was lucky to receive only good reviews in the early days after publication. I was well into my second book before the first negative review arrived. That reader complained because I had not listed the book as a Christian Mystery. She felt I’d tricked her into reading it by calling it a Mystery/Thriller. Shortly after that, a reader took the book to task for “too much religious content,” although the book description clearly states the lead character is a pastor’s wife. Taking these comments to heart, and following marketing advice to narrow my metadata to improve my sales rank, I changed the category for my books to Christian Suspense.

In the years since Hollow was published, I’ve received numbers of good reviews from Christians, pastors’ wives and others, appreciating the book’s portrayal of a flesh and blood, flawed, though sincere, Christian woman.

The first negative comment in the latest batch of reviews complained about aspects of the plot which weren’t actually in the plot…that’s the sort of critique I consider a “bad” review. There’s nothing helpful when the comments seem to be about a different book. I was surprised later in the week by this terse one-star review: “Trash. NOT a Christian book.”

That grim denouncement was followed this morning with five stars from an obviously discerning and thoroughly admirable reader, “Loved this book— kept me in suspense the whole time, I could not put it down!!! I bought the rest of the series, can’t wait to read them!”

Go figure.

Hollow, Book One in the Bunny Elder Adventure Series

Hollow, my debut novel, began as a random comment to my youngest son one October day while we were taking a walk.

Observing the grisly Halloween decorations in the neighborhood, I remarked that if I were a serial killer getting rid of the bodies in October would be easy. I’d just tuck them into the holiday displays like the ones we saw.

“You should write a book about that, Mom,” he said.

I began toying with the idea and only six years later, Hollow was available in print and on Kindle at Amazon.com.

Having been a pastor’s wife for twenty-five years, the decision to make my protagonist a pastor’s wife was easy.

Although many of the characters in my books have personalities borrowed from people I’ve known, the stories and characters are pure fiction.

Hollow is a cozy mystery with a bit of bite. Some readers find a scene or two “too gruesome” while other reviews comment on the “delightfully gruesome” scenes.

One thing I’ve learned as a writer, the book I write is not necessarily the one you read. Just as an author puts something of herself into every book, the reader adds their own personality to the story. The more the book catches their imagination, the more the reader contributes.

Hollow takes place in rural Northern California, in an imaginary community not far from  the foothill towns where I grew up.

When I was encouraged to write more adventures of Bunny and Max, I took them to other locations where I’ve traveled or lived.