Meet Author Cindy Ervin Huff

Please help me welcome author Cindy Ervin Huff, friend and fellow writer for many years whose debut historical romance, Secrets & Charades, has won three awards. The most recent is the Serious Writer Medallion for 2018. Congratulations, Cindy!

Now how about giving us some insights and behind-the-scene peeks at your writing life and your newest release, New Duet?

Beth, I’m so excited to be your guest again. While I’m still writing historicals, I felt God telling me to write a story of broken people in a more modern setting. New Duet is a contemporary romance set in my hometown of Aurora, Illinois. It has a population of over 200,000 and lots of historical architecture. We also have a thriving art community which appeals to Isabella Wilson, my novel’s heroine. The veteran community in our city is very active as well. So, Dan Sweeney, New Duet’s wounded warrior hero, is getting all the help he needs after returning home. And of course, we have strong people of faith in our community. What better place to set a novel?

Book Blurb: Isabella Melinda Wilson has been squeezed into the music ministry model of her controlling husband’s making. Before she can leave him, he leaves her a guilt-ridden widow. Her mother-in-law is no comfort and presses the guilt button at every turn. Isabella flees to her sister’s home in search of her own identity and a new beginning.

Dan Sweeney has one goal. Be as normal as possible. After losing a leg, some fingers and his self-worth, he needs his service dog Brutus to help keep his PTSD at bay. Career-less and clueless about the future, he struggles to put his life back together.

Isabella isn’t looking for a new relationship and Dan feels unworthy of one. Can these two broken people heal into one whole love?

The idea for New Duet came while I served on a worship team. A writer’s mind can go to strange places! As I glanced over at the worship leader, I thought, what if he died? (No, I had no evil intent.) My characters tend to talk to me before I even get started on a novel. Isabella told me about her late husband, a worship leader, and her need to get away and find her art muse.

My son is a vet with PTSD which can take many forms and isn’t, as is often portrayed by Hollywood, a walking time bomb. Dan Sweeney has PTSD. He also has a prosthetic leg. Starting his life over after planning to make the Army a career is hard. He needs a service dog. Thus enters Brutus. This pitbull-shepherd mix was a delight to write.

Isabella Wilson goes from serving in the music ministry being remade by her husband to becoming a widow to discovering a new love who allows her to be herself. Thus the novel’s title, New Duet. And yes, some singing is involved.

I loved the opportunity to address domestic abuse within the Christian community and touch on what life is like for a disabled veteran. After all, God is the healer and restorer of the broken, and he gives us gifts we can use for his kingdom when we put him first.

In New Duet, readers will find lots of unique and fun characters who surprised me at times with their insights.

For me, the hardest part of writing any novel is editing. Man, I can miss the most obvious things! That’s why I rely on my hubby and my critique partners to point them out. I just was made aware of the audio app in Word. A monotone voice reads my manuscript. Wow! It is amazing what I see as I follow along. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about this app when I was writing New Duet. *sigh*

Anyway, I wrote the majority of New Duet during Speedbo, a NANOWRITMO month in March. I finished it in time for Write to Publish in June 2016 where I pitched it to my now agent Cyle Young. Then I continued editing it until it sold to Clean Reads.

Marketing is evil. I manage what I’m comfortable doing but hired a marketing person to do what I’m not comfortable with or good at. I’m doing more book signing this year. Some venues produce great sales, others are a bust, but if I relied only on online sales I might not build a fan base. Fans are the ones who buy books and tell their friends.

If I wasn’t confident God called me to write, I’d curl up into a ball and quit. His strength keeps me pressing forward. Authors kept saying. “Once you’re published the work is only beginning.” It’s kind of like labor. You don’t truly understand the pain until you go through it. Marketing and building a platform and fighting doubts about the quality of each new novel are a daily challenge.

My favorite things to do when I’m not writing are walking with my husband Charley and reading. I do lots of book reviews because I know how important they are for writers. I also love going to the theater to see super hero and Star Trek flicks. What can I say? I’m a geek at heart. Oh, and I love Hallmark movies. My hubby rolls his eyes at those. Hey, who doesn’t like a feel-good movie.

What am I writing now? I’ve just finished a novella for a Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas historical romance collection, The Cowboys. It will release in August 2019, and I’m happy to share the byline with Linda Yezak, Jennifer Hough Uhlarik and Sandra Merville Hart. Since I’m an 80,000-word gal, it was a real challenge to produce a complete story in only 22,000 words. Learned a lot. So excited for my fans to read the collection.

I’ve some other projects on my plate and a novel at the pub board, but nothing else to announce.

Thanks for letting me talk about New Duet, Beth.

Your’e welcome, Cindy. Was great having you visit. All the best to you and your books.

Readers, here’ s little more about Cindy and how to stay in touch with her:

Cindy Ervin Huff is a multi-published writer, and her debut novel, Secret’s and Charades, won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2014 and placed third in the Maxwell Awards in 2017 and took a first place Serious Writer Medal in 2018. Her contemporary romance, New Duet, released in May 2018. She has been featured in numerous periodicals over the last thirty years. Cindy is a member of ACFW and founding member of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers. Although she has been creating stories in her head since childhood, it wasn’t until high school those imaginary characters began appearing on paper. After raising her family, she began her novel writing adventures. Cindy loves to encourage new writers on their journey. She and her husband make their home in Aurora, Illinois. They have five children and six grandchildren.

Visit Cindy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cindyehuff, follow her on twitter @CindyErvinHuff, or check out her blog at www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com.

Facebook Author Page: https ://www.facebook.com/author.huff11/
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/cindyervinhuff
Google+:https://plus.google.com/u/0/117599590227912410637
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8029703-cindy-ervin-huff
Twitter: https:// twitter.com/CindyErvinHuff

Links for Cindy’s books:

Amazon Buy link for Secrets & Charadeshttps://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016144/
Amazon Buy link for New Duet: https://www.amazon.com/New-Duet-Cindy-Ervin-Huff-ebook/dp/B07CRV or https://www.amazon.com/New-Duet-Cindy-Ervin-Huff/dp/1621357635

For those of you who would like a taste of New Duet, here’s the first page. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Bitterness and Guilt

Isabella Melinda Marklin scurried ahead of her husband Ron. She reached the driver’s side door of the red Dodge Durango first. Ron closed the gap between. His breath brushed across the top of her head, “I’m driving.”
She faced him feeling for the handle and pulling the door open.
Anger flashed in his dark brown eyes. Melinda stood her ground. “You have one of your migraines. I’ll drive.” She climbed in before he could grab her arm.
“Fine.” Ron moved to the passenger’s side, slammed the door, and leaned back on the gray leather headrest. “It’s so bright.” His forearm covered his face.
“Here’s your sunglasses.” Melinda took them from the visor before gazing into the rear view mirror. The gravel driveway flowed beneath the tires. Her chest tightened and her hand shook as the gears shifted into drive.
Ron adjusted the sunglasses. “Can you drive a little faster?”
“No.” A tremble escaped her lips. White knuckles gripped the steering wheel. Fear wrestled her confident tone. “We’ve got time.”
“You’d better be right.” Ron massaged his temples with his index fingers. “If we’re late, it’s all on you.”
Typical.
Everything always seemed on her lately. Always her fault, always her problem. Blame had been the morning focus.

Advertisements

It’s Official! Second Novel Scheduled for Release

You asked, so I’m happy to announce: It’s official. Her Deadly Reunion, the novel you’ve been waiting for, releases November 15.

And thank you so much for your words of encouragement. They kept me going as I worked long and hard on the sequel to Her Deadly Inheritance. Your words like:

  • I plan on watching for whatever Beth offers to us in the future!
  • An author whose works I will read promptly after release.
  • Looking forward to reading more from this talented author.
  • I’m hooked. Hurry up with that second book.
  • Hope these characters return in another book!
  • Hope another book by Beth is on the way.
  • Looking forward to the next book!
  • Can’t wait for her next book.
  • Can’t wait for the sequels!
  • Cannot wait for the next novel !!!!!!
  • When is your next novel coming out, Ms. Ziarnik? I want it!!!
  • Loved the book and wish there were more by Beth.
  • This debut novel knocked my socks off. I look forward to her next book.
  • Hope there will be another story with Jill and Clay. Theirs is an adventure I would love to follow.

To answer some of your comments: Yes, you will see two more books about Jill and Clay. While preparing for Her Deadly Reunion‘s launch, I’ll be writing Her Deadly Vows. In the meantime …

Where is Her Deadly Reunion in its preparations for release? The interior design elements (what the pages and type face look like) are in place.

The book cover design team at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas have the novel’s back cover copy (story blurb), the new author photo, and a document of details they will consider as they work. By the end of summer, we should have a beautiful new cover for the second book.

I can’t wait to see it. And when I do, you will, too!

Until then …Thank you for accompanying me on this writer’s journey. You make it all worthwhile.

Announcing New Novel’s Release Date with Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone! What a great day to count the many blessings God showers on us. And you–family and friends who love and take time to show you care–are chief among them.

  • Today I’m thanking God for my son Bret who volunteered to make the Thanksgiving dinner and bring it and his family here to celebrate. He visits most weeks to help with the yard, have a meal with me, and play boards games as we catch up on each others news.
  • I’m also thanking God for my son Rick who does so much for me throughout the year. All I have to do is call and say, “We have a problem!” He’s quick to fix whatever needs attention and lend advice as his dad might have while he was still alive. He also takes care of our hunting land, and Tuesday he brought over some lovely venison from the deer he harvested last weekend–roast, tenderloins, and steaks.Oven roasted venison stew, here we come!
  • An especially big thank you both to you family, friends, fans, and the staff at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and to the Lord who graciously answered your faithful prayers as I wrote my second novel. Lighthouse accepted its latest version on November 14.

I can now officially announce: the sequel to Her Deadly Inheritance releases next year on December 1. A great choice because Jill and Clay meet her birth father and confront more romantic suspense adventures over the Christmas holidays.

Now that I’ve shared a few things I’m thankful for this year …
What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day?

Missing in Action?

Missing in action? Yes, the last time you saw a post was the end of May, and I truly apologize. You are important to me.

But, sometimes life takes us by the hair and drags us wherever it wants. Have you ever felt that way? Well, that’s exactly what happened over the last two months while I was mysteriously ill. Finally, this past Sunday, whatever-it-was let go.

And I’m so glad to be back with you once again!

You all amaze me with your wonderful support. Within the past twenty-four hours, another five-star review of Her Deadly Inheritance appeared on Amazon: “Loved this book! The opening line to the last line keep you turning the page.”

What encouragement as I’m now physically able to work on the edits requested for the second novel by my editor at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Darla Crass. Once those edits are approved, LPC will set a release date for this novel. When that happens, I’ll be sure to answer your frequent question, “When is your next novel coming out?”

In the meantime, thank you so much for making Her Deadly inheritance a top-selling novel on Amazon since it came out last year, I’m so grateful to you and to the Lord.

Contract Signed for sequel to Her Deadly Inheritance

“When is your next novel coming out?” Bless you, dear readers, you’ve been asking that question since Her Deadly Inheritance released in January last year.

Good news! We will soon know the answer!

Today I signed the contract for the sequel to Her Deadly Inheritance. According to the U.S. mail, publisher Eddie Jones at Lighthouse of the Carolinas will receive the three copies in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, May 30.

As soon as managing editor Darla Crass lets me know the new novel’s projected release date, I will pass that happy information on to you!

Thank you for your continued interest. You are great encouragers.

Selah Award Winner: Her Deadly Inheritance

Tonight was a night to remember! Her Deadly Inheritance–the novel that had taken me years to write–won the Selah Award for “Fiction: First Novel.”

Though unable to attend the gala Awards night at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, I watched at home in Wisconsin through live-streaming, clapping for every recipient. It was such fun! I had plenty of friends who were up for awards. Suddenly I heard my name and jumped back in my office chair. Me? My novel?

It seemed too much to take in. Yet publisher Eddie Jones was running onstage in my absence to receive it. Yet I couldn’t help but remember of all who helped make this incredible honor possible.

My deepest gratitude to the One who makes all things possible. My thanks also to:

  • the hard-working the staff at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
  • coordinator Eva Marie Everson who organized the contest
  • contest judges who put in many hours
  • Eddie Jones at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
  • editors Rowena Kuo and J. Christine Richards
  • agent Jim Hart
  • my two critique groups
  • and my faithful prayer team

God bless you all!

Debut Novel: Preparing for Launch

Congratulations! You’ve sold your first (debut) novel to a publisher who loves it. But wait! Your work has only just begun. A long–and sometimes bewildering–road looms ahead as you and your managing editor and other staff prepare to present your novel to highwaythe public!

It’s sort of like the biblical story of Esther. Chosen along with other beautiful maidens in the empire, she endured a whole year of preparations–beauty treatments, etc.–before the person in charge considered her fit to present to King Ahasuerus. And that year was time well-spent.

Just as a year or preparation for your novel will be time well spent. May I share my story?

Preparing Her Deadly Inheritance for Publication

With the contract signed and a projected release date in place, I was suddenly thrust into edits. My managing editor, Rowena Kuo, assigned me to another editor, J. Christine Richards, to help professionally polish my novel. For the next three months, we sent my novel’s manuscript back and forth between us by e-mail. Chris pointed out problems and made suggestions. Then I reviewed them and decided which would work. I was smart enough to realize that at least 99% of them were necessary. I made the needed changes, and every one improved the book.

Next came the proofreader–another editor hired to help catch as many grammar mistakes as possible. Again the manuscript came back to me to approve each of those changes.

In the meantime, I also worked hard on improving my Internet presence–web site, Facebook, blog, and many others. How else would readers get to know me and realize I had a book coming out? Lots of study, trial and error, but I made steady progress. Though, actually, I’m still working on that. Well, and having fun because contact with readers is one of the best things about being an author.social-media

Back to the preparations. Every book needs a cover, and toward the end of summer cover design began in earnest. When asked, I suggested using my heroine and her house on the cover, and after a tweak or two, the design team came up with the most marvelous cover. I will always be grateful for their dedication and skill.

Next came the back cover copy. Color me totally embarrassed because my every try was a bust. Finally, my publisher threw it open to other LPC authors. Fortunately, one of them came up with the exciting copy we needed, I only had to tweak it a tiny bit to more nearly natch the story..

Another need for the back cover cropped up. I hired a local photographer, and we held a photo shoot in my backyard. Crystal did an amazing job, but then she photographs models. What a blessing to have a friend whose daughter has such talent.

Next came the beta readers. Friends–both writers and readers–agreed to read advance e-copies of my novel. They kindly pointed out other trouble spots. Some wrote endorsements while others wrote reviews ready to post  on my novel’s release date.

The pre-launch sale on Amazon opened in December–one month before the novel’s January 2 release date and the race was on to be ready for my novel’s debut to the public.

Crunch time during that last month. I scrambled to set up a blog tour, an online book launch party, and a local book launch party for January. My publisher gave me a lot of help through another staff member. Without my publisher’s help I don’t know what I would have done.

Preparations for a book’s release can overwhelm, but a good and caring publishing house like Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas can make all the difference.in your books success. As the old saying goes …

Many hands make light work!

***

Dear Reader, I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at book publishing. Next week I’ll share the tumult and excitement of releasing your first novel. Until then, may the Lord bless you!