April Newsletter – Writing in the time of Coronavirus

I hope this newsletter finds you healthy and surviving our current “normal.” Please know that you are all in my prayers during this trying time. In particular, I thank God for all those on the front lines, putting their own lives at risk to ensure that we stay healthy and safe. Now that my own family is more into the groove of managing work, school, and a pandemic, I’ve had a little more time for writing.

Latest News

First thing’s first. Tomorrow, April 25, was supposed to be the official launch date for Broken Lines before Coronavirus swept in and changed plans. I’m still providing the first two chapters in a sneak peek sent directly to my email newsletter subscribers, so if you haven’t signed up yet, you can still do so today.

The paperback proof of Broken Lines arrived yesterday and well, the colors aren’t quite what I expected. Unfortunately, that tends to happen when the digital file is converted to ink on paper. In fact, I had to adjust the coloring for Twisted River three times before I landed on the correct combination. So, it’s back to Photoshop until I get this one right too. And speaking of ways to stay in the know, I’ve now joined Instagram. Make sure to follow me over there for updates, book recommendations, and more.

Lastly, I had a particularly productive month and finished my detailed outline for War Across Waters Book 2: Unsettled Shores. I’m super excited about the unexpected twists the plot line is taking and also a bit overwhelmed as they require a lot more research than I anticipated. So, that stack of library books I said I checked out last month? Well, that’s only going to be a drop in the ocean of information I need to learn. To give you a taste, my currently compiled list includes topics such as treatment of war-inflicted injuries, convalescent homes, spy rings, French culture, and WW1 German occupation.

Recommended Reads

71-29nCUOMLI had been looking forward to reading Veiled in Smoke ever since I saw the cover last fall. From the rose and grey colors to the woman’s gown to the smoke swirls encasing the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire, it’s a perfectly lovely combination. The story surrounds Meg and Sylvia Townsend, two Chicago bookshop owners whose father returned from the Civil War suffering from “soldier’s heart,” a 19th century version of PTSD. When fire sweeps through the city, he mistakes the resulting chaos for rebel invaders and, memory compromised, wakes the next morning accused of murder and locked in the city asylum. It’s now up to his daughters to discover what really happened the night of the fire and save their family from the ashes.

This is a wonderful intriguing book both inside and out. All of the characters were interesting in their own right, with the two sisters being distinct from each other, even though their day to day situations were often the same. The author transported me to several fantastic historical locations whose details painted a vivid picture without overloading the senses. One detail in particular that I liked was her accurate use of spectacles worn by the newspaper reporter, Nate. It may seem like a silly observation, but if you wear glasses, you probably understand the adjustments, cleaning, and tired eyes that can come with wearing them. I’ve found very few authors really nail that level of accuracy. Finally, as an author myself, I often see plot twists coming, but this story actually kept me guessing. Twice I thought I had it all figured out, then the author made me guess again, which I truly loved. I recommend reading her historical notes at the end which discuss her research for the story and distinguishing fact from fiction. She also includes a neat guide to real life locations on her website here. I believe there are two more books to this series and you can be sure I will be pre-ordering them.

 

The best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2020

March Newsletter – When One Series Becomes Two … and other news from quarantine

Fear not. Life isn’t finished with you yet.

~ From Broken Lines (War Across Waters #1)

Well, my readers, these are certainly crazy times we’re living in. We’re part of a historic moment and whether we consider that good or bad, it is certainly important. Our world has an opportunity before us, just as we do in any historic moment, to learn from what we’ve experienced and come out better for it. It may take time, and it may not be an easy road, but I believe in the end, we will indeed be better. Social media and the internet can be harmful in many ways, but in times like this, it also has the ability to unite us like no other time in history. Quarantine during the influenza of 1918 looked very different than quarantine now, and for that I am thankful. Have hope readers. Humanity is a beautiful species. We will prevail.

Latest News

In between seasonal allergies, homeschooling, and doing our part to social distance, I’m also managing to work on my writing each day. I always say that one hour a day will get the book done and that’s still my motto, even if that hour is broken into ten minute increments. During this time, I’ve been switching between administrative tasks for Broken Lines and outlining the next book, Unsettled Shores. Before the libraries closed, I also managed to check out a rather large stack of research material, which I aim to focus on in the next several months. And lastly, within all of these other tough decisions, I made one more: Hope or High Water is now officially two duologies.

Yes, you read that correctly. One world, two series. So, what exactly does that look like?

Series Outline

As shown above, Across Oceans and Twisted River are now under the series title, Over the Atlantic, while Broken Lines and the forthcoming Unsettled Shores will make up the series, War Across Waters. Based on reader feedback, these books can be read in any order, although several characters do follow through all four books. So, if Across Oceans’ Edwardian England just isn’t to your liking, start in St. Louis with Twisted River. Or if you prefer The Great War on the American home front, wait for Broken Lines, then read the first two as prequels. Take the journey any way you like!

And now is the best time to do so! From now until Easter (April 12), both books are on sale for 50% off ebooks and 25% off paperbacks. Get your copies here: Across Oceans and Twisted River.

Sale Beach

Finally, in case you missed it, last week I released a statement related to COVID-19 and the postponed upcoming release of my third book, Broken Lines. Although this news may be disappointing, newsletter subscribers will still have the opportunity to read the first two chapters on its original release date, April 25. These chapters will not be posted on the website or social media, so make sure to subscribe in order to receive this sneak peek.

Recommended Reads

Looking to add more reading material to your quarantine list? This month, instead of reviewing a new book, I’m going to provide a list of books which I found to be either positive, humorous, and/or uplifting. Because we could all do with a bit of inspiration and a few laughs, could we not?

Also, one of my favorite locally owned independent bookstores, Main Street Books, is currently offering free shipping for all orders placed in the United States. I was not compensated by Main Street Books to endorse their services. I just really love promoting small businesses and the historic district this one is located in. To order from them, visit: https://mainstreetbooks.indielite.org/

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The best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2020

A Letter to My Readers in Response to COVID-19

Dear Readers,

It’s no secret that the Corona Virus has made substantial changes to our lives lately. For some of us, like those in the United States, major disruptions have been within the last week, while our European friends have had a bit more time to see the effects. Those farther East, even more time still. Many schools and businesses have shifted to working from home, leaving parents to not only maintain their daily job tasks, but ensure that their children are adjusting to a virtual learning environment, while still completing other day-to-day responsibilities. Add a sudden cold or bout of seasonal allergies to the mix and one’s schedule just became even more complicated.

This is the new normal that I’m trying to navigate with my own family. In addition, I’m continuing to work on my novels because I truly love writing, and it provides a great stress relief during an otherwise chaotic time. That said, I believe it is also important to provide readers with the highest quality product. While I am currently in final edits for Broken Lines, there are many tasks that come after the actual manuscript is completed which I am uncertain if I can now complete by April 25. In addition, book sales are being de-prioritized by many distributors in favor of more essential household items, a move that is smart and necessary, however, makes marketing a new release difficult. For these reasons, I have decided to postpone the release of Broken Lines until hopefully later this summer.

It pains me to bring this news as I have received so many wonderful comments from my readers about your excitement over Broken Lines. My beta readers also gave me incredible feedback and made the final story even better than I pictured. I truly cannot wait to share it with each and every one of you, and I thank you for your patience during this unexpected time.

To make up for this disappointment, I’m offering a few exclusives to my readers:

Discounted Books! If you haven’t read Across Oceans or Twisted River yet, there’s never been a better time. From now through Easter (April 12), I’m offering 50% off ebooks and 25% off paperbacks. Get your copies here: Across Oceans and Twisted River.

Sneak Peek! On April 25, the original release date for Broken Lines, I will be posting the first two chapters exclusively for newsletter subscribers. If you haven’t already signed up, make sure not to miss out. Simply enter your name and e-mail on the contact page.

Again, I thank you for your continued support!

Kelsey Gietl

January Newsletter – Off to Betas and Of Beast and Beauty

“You can do this, little girl,” he said. “You will be a good mother.”

“But how, Father? How can I be a mother when I’ve had no mother to guide me?”

With a kiss to her brow, he smiled. “Never say that. Always be thankful for your mother, even if all she taught you was who not to be.”

~ From Twisted River (Hope or High Water Book 2)

Latest News

The End

Yes, you read that right—Broken Lines is finished and off for beta reader review! But I’m not taking a break. This is the month to clear my mind so I can start final edits with fresh eyes on March 1. In the meantime, I am re-reading Across Oceans and Twisted River as a refresher, making notes of anything I might have overlooked while writing Broken Lines and tying up loose ends for the next and final book in the series. Continuity is key! I’m also starting the task of requesting library research materials and hopefully will get through another fictional read just for fun if time allows. In the coming months, I’m eagerly anticipating the opportunity to advance read new material from some of my favorite authors, and can’t wait to share my reviews with you all. So if you’re wondering why you don’t see me on social media as much, I simply don’t have a breath to spare! I promise I’ll always report on the important things though and if you ever have a question or comment, e-mail me. I check my messages nearly every day.

Recommended Reads

41HPUGypXBLSome people can’t stand retellings, but when done correctly, I think they’re wonderful. It’s always interesting to see a well known story with a different imagining. Chanda Hahn’s Of Beast and Beauty is the first in a series of fairytale retellings around Lady Eville, a literal witch of a mother who plans to use her magical daughters to extract revenge against the seven kingdoms. She sends her beautiful daughter, Rosalie, off to marry Xander, a beast of a prince, in order to take down his kingdom from within. Little do they know that no plan is without fault, secrets run deeper than the blood their truth can draw, and everyone is wearing a mask … but whose true colors will be revealed first? From the minute of Rosalie and Xander’s first meeting, I enjoyed that the author didn’t conceal that they were both up to no good. They each had their own selfish motives and I’m not sure she actually wrote their characters to be likeable. Yet it didn’t take long before I actually liked them both. The historical fantasy world Chanda Hahn creates is quite believable, and the banter between the characters kept me interested and sometimes guessing. Being a retelling, I assumed at some point everything would turn around, they would get their act together, and finally become honorable rulers. But did they? You’ll just have to read and find out. All I’ll say is the story definitely had a couple twists to the usual tale, and I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the series.

For more information on Chanda Hahn’s books, visit: https://www.chandahahn.com/

Upcoming Events

University City Library Local Author Event – February 25, 2020

Broken Lines Book Launch – April 25, 2020 – Location TBD

St. Charles City-County Library Local Author Fair – Spring 2020 – Date TBD

ACFW Conference Storyfest – September 18-19, 2020 (Please note, I will be attending this event as a reader and will not have a sale table. However, I would love to meet up with any readers on a one-off basis. Please send me a message.)

Do you know of an organization, book club, fair, coffee shop, book store, etc. that would be interested in hosting an author talk, book signing, or needs an event speaker? I would love to meet some new faces! If so, send me a note via the contact page.

Share the Book Love

Read it? Loved it? Tell others by writing a review!

Need a copy of either book in the Hope or High Water series? Click the photo below.

Website Books

The best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2020

December Newsletter – Cover Reveal, Pre-Order, and Juliet

After all, there is no better time to love again than Christmas.

~ From Twisted River (Hope or High Water Book 2)

Latest News

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I spent the past few weeks completing last minute shopping, spending time with all sides of our family (three days of craziness and fun!), and celebrating Christ’s birth at our church on Christmas day. We even had a wonderful surprise of nearly seventy degree weather, giving our family some much needed time outdoors including an energetic battle with cloth snowballs. I also presented about my books at the Stephens College Alumnae Club’s holiday luncheon, having the opportunity to meet and chat with so many wonderful women from my alma mater. Honestly, it’s been so busy that I haven’t had time any time for reading, let alone editing Broken Lines. But this weekend I plan to battle through at least ten more chapters, catching up to my planned timeline.

Speaking of which, in last month’s newsletter I announced that Broken Lines now has a publication date of April 25, 2020. Well, there’s even more good news this month—a cover reveal and pre-order link! This cover took far longer to design than the first two books, requiring several versions (and meticulous editing) before finally settling on the one you see below. In fact, I purchased, mocked up covers for, and returned three separate outfits before I finally located this maroon dress. Luckily, my perseverance paid off as the style fits the main character, Amara, perfectly. One of the advantages of being an indie author though is the ability to make changes, so I welcome your feedback on the current design.

Broken Lines Cover - Final 12-13-19

Ebooks are available for pre-order via this link, so make sure to grab yours today. Unfortunately, I am unable to mark the paperback for pre-order just yet, but there will definitely be one available. More details to come in future newsletters!

And if you’re visiting my newsletter for the first time, welcome! You can read the full description of my third novel here.

Recommended Reads

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This month’s recommended read is perfect for historical fiction and contemporary fiction lovers alike. Reminiscent of The DaVinci Code and National Treasure, Anne Fortier’s Juliet weaves a tale of intrigue that beautifully merges historical fact with fiction. Julie Jacobs, a no-name American with a love of Romeo and Juliet, receives a summons from her late aunt to go to Sienna, Italy and reclaim the contents of Julie’s mother’s safe deposit box. Inside she discovers that not only is Romeo and Juliet’s story true, but her given name is actually Guilietta Tolomei, directly descended from the house of Juliet. The family feud is still brewing, the curse is still upon both their houses, and only deciphering her family’s secret past can save her future. But if she’s Juliet, where is Romeo? And, when she finds him, will he be cast as the true hero or another cleverly disguised villain?

At first, I’ll admit I wasn’t completely convinced by this novel. The first two days I only made it through 70 pages. My eyes were blurring in an attempt to keep the abundance of Italian names straight. But then something magical happened around page 100 and I couldn’t put it down, finishing the remaining 340 pages in two days. You can tell the author spent a considerable amount of time researching this novel, and I recommend that readers not skip her end note acknowledgements. The writing contains some dense descriptions like scenes from Tolkien, yet lyrical using descriptors that I could only hope to dredge from my mind while writing. I loved the author’s ability to tell two different stories side by side (Julie in modern day and Guiletta in 1340) and hold the reader entranced in both worlds.

IMDB lists the cinematic version of this novel as “Pre-Production.” I hope they decide to move this to production soon; it would make for a wonderful film!

For more information on Anne’s books, visit http://www.annefortier.com/

Upcoming Events

University City Library Local Author Event – February 25, 2020

Broken Lines Book Launch – April 25, 2020 – Location TBD

St. Charles City-County Library Local Author Fair – Spring 2020 – Date TBD

ACFW Conference Storyfest – September 18-19, 2020 (Please note, I will be attending this event as a reader and will not have a sale table. However, I would love to meet up with any readers on a one-off basis. Please send me a message.)

Do you know of an organization, book club, fair, coffee shop, book store, etc. that would be interested in hosting an author talk, book signing, or needs an event speaker? I would love to meet some new faces! If so, send me a note via the contact page.

Share the Book Love

Read it? Loved it? Tell others by writing a review!

Need a copy of either book in the Hope or High Water series? Click the photo below.

Website Books

The best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2019