When Bronze is Gold

Posted in Uncategorized on September 1st, 2014 by author — Be the first to comment!

Many months ago I entered the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards contest with Woman of Flames. I was informed last night that the novel received a bronze medal in the Fiction- Historical – Personage category.

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I’m thrilled for two reasons. First, the judges considered my book worthy for recognition as a historical work. Throughout the writing process, I prayed this story would appeal to more than people of faith. I’d hoped that someone without knowledge of the Torah or the Bible would appreciate Deborah’s courage and strength. This award is proof that this prayer was answered. Secondly, Throughout the past months, I’ve been part of a Facebook group of other nominees for this award. Their support, ideas, and wisdom have been a great help to me. It’s been wonderful, in a world that values cut-throat competition, to be a member of such a supportive community. I congratulate all the finalists for their fine work and for being such outstanding people!

 

Finally!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29th, 2014 by author — Be the first to comment!

So, after some four years, I’m finally ready to put Winter Trees up for publication. It’s been quite a journey. Most of the story has remained the same since the first draft made it to the semi-finals of the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest four years ago. I’ve tweaked it, sent it out to be professionally copyedited, and then tweaked it some more. It’s a sweet story, with lots of humor, drama, and romance. To celebrate the publication in another week, I’m offering 10 free copies on Goodreads:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Winter Trees by Kim Stokely

Winter Trees

by Kim Stokely

Giveaway ends September 21, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Good luck, everyone! Hope you win!

What’s New, Puppy Dog?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 17th, 2014 by author — Comments Off

I know, I know, it’s supposed to be “Pussy Cat,” but I’m not Tom Jones, and I’m more fond of dogs than cats. I mean, come on, look at my puppies!

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I realized I hadn’t posted in a while and thought I should keep y’all up to date on what’s going on. The summer has been spent running around the country for various reasons. It’s been fun, but exhausting. I’ve submitted several stories, some short, some long, and am waiting to hear back from editors to see if they want to see more of my work (or pay me for what I submitted!)

I’ve been using any free time I have to research Jerusalem during the 1st century B.C. What a tumultuous period, full of political intrigue, massacres and assassinations. I hope to use Anna, the prophetess, as an eye witness to this fascinating time. I plan on researching this month, then begin writing in August. I’ve set a goal of 20,000 words for the months of August, September and October. This will be tough, as I’ll be preparing for another book/performance tour in Connecticut for October as well.

In addition to all this, I’ve set a goal of getting Winter Trees out in September. The copyediting is done, now I just need to format it and get a cover. I am writer! Here me roar!

So, that’s my update for now. I’ll let you know if anything new comes up!

A New Blog Tour!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12th, 2014 by author — 2 Comments

What could I do? One of my best writing buddies, Heather Trent Beers, asked me to participate in a Blog Tour with her. Please check out her fabulous blog at http://www.heathertrentbeers.blogspot.com/. Heather writes with humor and wisdom. Unfortunately, she wanted me to answer the same four questions I answered just 2 months ago. So, if you’re new to my page and have a burning desire to know what I’m working on, take a look at :http://www.kimstokely.com/?p=672

I’ll wait here while you do…

For those of you who’ve already read that blog. Here’s a pretty picture from my recent trip to Connecticut.

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This is Hammonassett State Park. One of my favorite places in the world. I love to go there and refresh my soul.

Okay…is everybody back now?

Instead of reiterating what I’m writing now, I’d like to talk about 4 things I’ve learned about marketing this past month. Here goes:

1. It doesn’t pay to be an introvert. As much as the writing life suits me because I can stay in the safety of my house and not have to talk to strangers, if I want people to read my novel, I have to be willing to step outside my comfort zone. Toot my own horn. Tell people about my work. This includes calling up book store owners and asking if I can do a book signing. And once we’ve agreed on a date, I need to make sure others know about it. I can’t rely on Facebook to do all the work. Posters need to be placed in the store and around town. Press releases need to be sent to local papers. It’s hard to brag about yourself, but if you believe in your work, you have to do it.

2. Marketing costs money, but it’s worth the effort. I’ve done book signings where I just had my books and a sign. I’ve done book signings where I had my books, a sign, a bowl of candy, pamphlets and giveaways. Guess which signings were more successful? People will stop and talk if there’s a non-threatening freebie like candy or mints. If they stop to talk, you have the opportunity to tell them about your book. I’ve also been giving away copies of devotionals and anthologies in which I’m published. Even if they don’t buy my novel at the signing, they may be tempted to take a look on Amazon when they get home, if they’ve won a prize.

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3. Non-fiction writers often have a platform that they use to promote their books, fiction writers can benefit from the same strategy. My novel, Woman of Flames, is based on the Old Testament prophet, Deborah. I resurrected a one-woman show I used to perform for churches and retreats about women in the Bible and have been sending out pamphlets to various churches and venues. In Connecticut, I performed a show for my mother’s Assisted Living facility and sold my books afterward.

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Several family members also attended and I’ve gotten leads for possible performances in the fall. I hope to release Winter Trees this autumn. As it’s a story set in an Assisted Living facility, I plan on contacting the Alzheimer’s Association to see if there are any events that I could set up a book signing table if I’m willing to share some of my profits with them.

4. For the Indy Author, word of mouth is still the best advertising. As such, get yourself on Facebook, Goodreads and any blogs you can. Put up an author page on Amazon and use their marketing tools. I recently did a 2 day free download promotion and had over 2,6oo people download my book. Sure, I don’t get money from those, but I think of it as having put a billboard throughout the globe! Not all those people are going to read it, but if only 10 % do, that’s 260 people that will hopefully like my work and spread the word about it.

Now, I’d like to introduce you to 3 of my writing friends, please be kind and take a look at their sites and leave a comment to let them know you were there!

Gina M. Barlean is a suspense writer with several novels to check out. Her latest is,  Thorns of Rosewood. http://www.gmbarlean.com/ or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GMBarlean

Angela Welch Prusia is a Young Adult writer with 2 wonderful Coming-of-Age novels available in print and on Kindle. The newest is Late Summer Monarch.www.angelawelchprusia.com

Janet Nitsick’s newest work, Bride by Arrangement, is an anthology with best-selling romance author, Ruth Ann Nordin. http://www.janetsyasnitsick.com/

Easter Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20th, 2014 by author — 5 Comments

We’ve had two nice days in a row, I hesitate to claim spring has finally arrived, but I’ll rejoice in the signs I’m seeing! After all, this was the view of my deck just 6 mornings ago: 1975205_10203547979208872_5088690361069318098_n

Oy vey!

And the flowers my husband had so optimistically planted last weekend? Take a look:

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But you know what? My husband isn’t just an optimist, he has faith. Rather than throwing the frozen pansies out, he sat them in the sun.

Now take a look:

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These flowers are an example of how I’ve felt the past few months.

The cold/flu/crud threatened to take me out for weeks.

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But during that time, I sat myself in the Son.

I read my Bible. I renewed my prayer time.

I had faith that this season would pass.

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And it has.

Today Christians everywhere will celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus.

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But we really should be celebrating that joy each and every day!

His triumph over the grave gives us new life!

This winter has been a hard one for many of us, whether we’ve been sick, suffered a loss,

or been just plain cold.

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As spring slowly fights its way back through the last stronghold of winter,

I’d like to remind you to not only enjoy some time in the sun,

But spend some time with the Son.

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Renew your strength in the warmth of His love and the power of His word!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

An Easter Giveaway!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2nd, 2014 by author — Comments Off

As my Easter gift to 5 lucky people, I’m giving away copies of my book through GoodReads! Click on the link below and enter!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Woman of Flames by Kim Stokely

Woman of Flames

by Kim Stokely

Giveaway ends April 13, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Another Blog Hop

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24th, 2014 by author — 2 Comments

So my friend and brilliantly funny writer, Rhonda Hall, invited me to participate in a blog hop. Since I’m working on some new things, I thought it would be fun. Check out Rhonda’s blog at http://rhondamhall.wordpress.com/. And keep an eye out for her name. I’ve never met an author with such a gift for humor. Her characters are so realistic and her dialogue leaves you crying from laughter.

Okay, here are this “hop’s” questions and my (hopefully) brilliant answers.

1. What are you working on? I’ve got several irons in the proverbial fire. I’m sending my contemporary Christian novel, Winter Trees, out to get copyedited. Once that’s done, I’ll be putting it up through Createspace and Amazon. I’d like to finish my NaNoWriMo novel even though it’s a little darker than I usually write. I like the protagonist, a grieving teen named Leia, with a lot of family and school turmoil to overcome. I may never publish that one, but I need to finish it so I know what happens to her! Next, I’ve got to finish my YA trilogy, The Portals of Ayden. I’m stuck in the third novel, not wanting write out the mega-battle I know has to take place. I think I’m afraid because I know characters have to die and I don’t want to let them go. And finally, I want to start a novella on the prophetess, Anna. All this is between a spring marketing push for Woman of Flames.

I’m a little overwhelmed writing it all out. Think I’ll go get another cup of coffee…DSCN0110

 

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre? I’m really trying to walk a fine line between fiction that honors my faith, but will be enjoyed by people with no faith. I don’t want to preach to anyone, but I want my characters to serve as an example. I want someone who is hurting, who maybe has been hurt by organized religion, to still identify with my characters and their trials.

3) Why do I write what I do? To be honest, because I couldn’t find many novels whose characters were like me. I’m a mess. I have a lot of wonderful, messy friends. But we have a strong faith. Traditional Christian novels seem neater. There’s one “mess” and many “together” people. And then there’s a  section that hits me over the head with THE TRUTH. I don’t want to hammer a sermon into my readers’ brain. I see myself as planting seeds. What happens after my story is up to the reader and God.

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4) How does your writing process work? First I need to be inspired by a character or scene. Woman of Flames came about from the research I’d done when I performed a monologue about Deborah, the prophet. Other times, I’ll be free thinking (usually in the shower, go figure) and a scene will appear in my mind like a mini-movie. It’s usually some horribly traumatic scene–a woman grieving the loss of her fiancé (Winter Trees) or a modern teen thrown into a medieval jail (The Portals of Ayden trilogy.) The weirdest one was my contemporary YA. The opening line popped into my head one day, “If my father’s infidelity hadn’t already killed my mother, the endless rolling nothing of the Iowa landscape would have pushed her over the edge.” The line immediately drew me into this girl’s story.

After inspiration hits, it’s a process of sitting in front of my computer and spewing out the story. This involves a lot of coffee and my pajamas. I like to be comfy when I write and normal clothes constrict my creativity (don’t judge.) I don’t outline until the middle of story, until then, I free flow it. At some point however, I hit a wall and need to scratch out the bones of the ending.

Now for the next Blog Hop!

It’s my pleasure to introduce 3 authors I’m honored to call my friends. Steve Parlato’s YA novel, The Namesake, won the Tassy award. Chuck Grossart’s The Menegele Effect is a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and Angela Meyer’s novel, Where Hope Starts is a finalist in the 2013 Grace Awards. Check out their bio’s and follow their links below! Thanks!

SteveBookLaunchSteven Parlato is a writer, illustrator and Assistant Professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Connecticut. An occasional actor, he’s played roles including MacBeth, The Scarecrow and Bambi’s dad, the Great Prince of the Forest. Steve’s poetry appears in journals including MARGIE, Borderlands, Freshwater, CT River Review and Peregrine. His debut YA manuscript, JUNIOR, winner of the 2011 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices, was released January 18, 2013 by Merit Press as The Namesake. Recently, Kirkus called the novel a “memorable, disturbing story, carefully wrought.” Represented for fiction by Victoria Marini of Gelfman-Schneider Literary Agency, Steven is at work on his next YA novel. He’s a member of a YA author collective, Uncommon YA. You can also find him online at http://www.stevenparlato.com or on Twitter: @parlatowrites

387084_457579070940203_1670040779_nAngela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 22 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son who is now off to the Marines. She has taught Bible class for over 35 years and served for almost three years on the leadership team of her local Christian writers group. She loves God, her family, the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea.   www.facebook.com/AuthorAngelaDMeyer  www.angeladmeyer.com

1070041_680052482011377_1742231728_nChuck Grossart is a retired United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel originally from the Denver, Colorado area. After serving his country for twenty years as a missile launch officer, space operator and strike planner, he settled his family outside of Omaha, Nebraska, where he continues to serve as a strategic plans analyst for the Department of the Air Force. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Northern Colorado, and a MSHRM from Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. His first novel, THE COMING, was a quarter-finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) contest. His second novel, THE MENGELE EFFECT, was selected as a top-three finalist in Audio-ON’s 2013 Aspiring Authors Contest. Chuck is a member of the Nebraska Writers Guild, and the  Nebraska Writers Workshop. http://cvgrossart.wix.com/chuck-grossart

March Madness

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10th, 2014 by author — Comments Off

I had such high hopes for this month. I thought for sure I’d be over the crud that kept me down through February and yet…

Even with fighting this respiratory virus that mutates every other week, I am amazed at how many blessings God has poured out over my life. I have wonderful friends who continue to send encouraging notes or drop by with Chai tea to let me know I’m loved. My husband’s patience at having soup, yet again, for dinner. And I’ve been able to get ahead on the reviews I have to do this month.

The puppies are finally settling down, a little anyway. And with the improving weather they’ve been able to frolic outside while I rest on the recliner. Of course, that leads to a number of impromptu baths in the kitchen sink because of the mud! Below is a picture of Maizey, looking very pleased with her adventures.

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And just when I succumbed to frustration that I wasn’t getting any writing done, God sent me two emails in one day. One was from an editor who wanted to buy a short humor piece I’d sent in on a whim. The other was for a piece I’d submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul ages ago. I’d honestly forgotten I’d even sent it!

home_sweet_homeThis new anthology will come out in May! I’ll keep you updated on the details!

I hope, the next time I blog, I’ll be able to tell you I’m up and healthy and busy with marketing Woman of Flames. If not, I’ll continue to praise God for His daily blessings of medicine, food, Kleenex and a warm bed! I would love to hear from you and how God has blessed you this month!

February Foibles

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized on February 16th, 2014 by author — 12 Comments

I remember in my twenties being warned by older women in my Bible study not to pray for patience. “Pray for it, and the Lord will keep sending you ways to test your patience. Traffic jams, cranky kids, being on hold with insurance companies…you name it, you’ll have to deal with it!”

I’ve learned that trying to practice thankfulness seems to have the same effect. For the new year I started a devotional by Ann Voskamp about finding God’s gifts throughout each day. I absolutely love the devotional, but since I started it, I’ve been plagued by one test after another. Puppies that poop throughout the house and don’t sleep through the night; temperatures below zero with wind chills that would scare a polar bear;  and coughs and flus that never leave. My family often finds me mumbling over my coffee as I try to focus my thoughts on God’s graces, rather than the pile of used tissues and cough drop wrappers threatening to overflow the trash can.

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But, not surprisingly, most days this incoherent chanting of mine does produce the desired effect. When I thank the Lord for my warm house, comfy jammies and the wonders of Kleenex, my mood brightens and I’m not quite so miserable.

So far, February has been spent working on practicing thankfulness and not much else. I hope to have Woman of Flames up on Smashwords soon, but with my foggy brain, it’s been a slow process. I’ve finished 1 book review, revised two humor pieces for submission to a new venue and am struggling to complete my NaNoWriMo novel. I’m also hoping to start work on a novella about Anna, the prophetess. Years ago I wrote a monologue about her and the more I think about it, the more I think it would make a great story. My plan is to offer it free on Smashwords. I may try and publish it in paperback as well.

So that’s my February update. I’m thankful this month for my chiropractor (who fixes the pinched nerve in my neck when I cough too hard,) a patient husband, understanding friends, and God’s unending mercies.

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Anyone else got something to be thankful for? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

The New Year Roars!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14th, 2014 by author — 2 Comments

I thought March was the month that comes in like a lion, but this January has pounced on me like a wild animal as well. And me, without a whip or chair to keep it under control.

My first indication chaos had arrived came with the addition of two new puppies to our family. Maizey and Ollie arrived shortly before Christmas and haven’t stopped moving since. I am completely outnumbered by adorable four-legged cuteness. Instead of being distracted by shiny things, I now find myself saying, “Look at the fluffy!”

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The pressure has started to market Woman of Flames. It’ s been difficult for my self-conscious personality to think of nice things to say about me. But I came up with several marketing pamphlets to hand out and have gotten my book on the shelves of the local Christian bookstore. I also participated in a local authors fair and had my first book signing.

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The Sump Library in LaVista, NE did an awesome job arranging this event which included a panel of authors discussing their experiences with self-publishing. I had a wonderful time meeting with new people and even sold 11 books! Now that my toes have been dipped into the proverbial water, I’m ready to book a couple more signings around town.

I’ve also got my work cut out for me, preparing to speak at a woman’s retreat this spring and starting to write a new Biblical short novella that I’ll offer free for eBooks. Not to mention the two YA novels I hope to finish soon as well. And then there’s still the puppies who demand my attention at all hours of the day or else they chew every shoe, sock, and chair into which they can sink their tiny teeth.

I’m guessing this is my new “normal” and I’ll just have to get used to the faster pace and spastic balls of fur. As crazy as this month has already been, I’m excited for the upcoming year and all that God has in store for me.