Posts Tagged: Katie Freeman

Cover Art

Who knew the process of publishing a book was so involved?  When I started this dream, I thought, “Hmmm, I’ll just write and put it out there.” Wow, was that ever wrong! There’s writing, revising, editing, sending it to beta readers and an editor…and that’s just the book. Then there’s the website, social media, and book covers. Whew, it can be exhausting.

Now, there are several sites out there that offer pre-made book covers, and some of them are pretty good. But I happened to have a friend who is a really talented photographer and graphic artist. I can describe to him exactly what I have in mind and he makes it 100% better than I could have imagined. And then there are the times he just creates a masterpiece from his own thoughts.

church

FtoK thumbnailFree to Kill in the Katie Freeman series was the first book I completed and published. It was also the first time I had to actually think of what to do for a cover. Michelle (my social media guru), Ryan and I sat down to begin brainstorming. I gave them a pretty in depth description of the book and what I had in mind. Ryan asked what the church I envisioned looked like, so I started searching online. I found a church in a small town in Kentucky that was PERFECT! But who had the time or money to go to Kentucky? So I started looking for similar architecture in Tennessee. I found the church on the cover of Free to Kill in downtown Nashville – and BONUS! it even had the red door!! The only problem was that it was on a weird street corner with traffic all around and electrical wires obscuring every view. But Ryan took his camera and somehow made the church look like it was in the rural setting from the story. It was the first time I realized what a master he was behind the lens.

From that time on, we have worked to build a theme between the books in a series. This was something I didn’t really think about in the beginning. Take a second to go look at the covers of your favorite book series. Do you see a similarity? That’s called Branding – and it’s vitally important. Who knew!?

With this information, Katie Freeman covers had a color scheme and a main attraction – that was always red. In Free to Kill, it was the door. In Free to Deceive, it was the fountain. In Free to Live, it was the front door of the house (Ryan actually had this cover designed before I published book 2, but it was so perfect for book 3, that we held off on using it). I can’t wait to see what it is in Free to Believe – book four (no release date yet, but shooting for June…).

The same theory applied to the Devil Mountain Shifters books that I released in October. They all had the same mountains in the background and the same physical look.

The Tip of the Spear series was a little trickier. I said from the beginning that I wanted the large spear on the cover with the main image in the center. Ryan still argues with me to change that, and one day I might let him win. But changing that now would mean redoing all the covers so that they are consistent. I think both he and I struggle more with the Tip covers than any other. He sends me beautiful first drafts that would be sufficient if I used them. But there’s just something that doesn’t hit right. He’s become a mind reader when I say “there’s just something not right about it.” One thing I’ve learned is to actually tell him when something doesn’t sit right. That’s a difficult thing to do for a person who hates to make waves. I’m one of those people who will never send food back in a restaurant, just because I don’t want to upset anyone. I’ve had to adjust that mentality for my books. After all, these are my babies. If I don’t speak up for them, who will?

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Goofing around during the photo shoot for the In The Wind cover.

Ryan Bukowski

Ryan Bukowski, my cover artist and photographer

 

Three Years and Counting…

My friend, Michelle, and I sat down three years ago and had a conversation about where we wanted to go with our careers. Both of us were in jobs that didn’t really call to us. They paid the bills and paid the bills and provided health benefits – you know, the things people want and need to feel secure. But the long-term prospects for those jobs just weren’t satisfying. Instead of letting this conversation become a ‘woe is me’ pity party, we decided to set goals – with time limits and action steps. My goal for that first year was to write and publish one book. Looking back, that was a very naïve and uninformed decision – good thing I’m adaptable.

During the first year, I went to two conferences, signed up for many courses on self-publishing, and started researching the success of some of my favorite authors. Not only did I learn how much more was involved in being a self-published author, I finished not one, but four books. I had headshots taken, got a website up and running, joined several social media platforms, and, yes, published my first book.

Year two brought some major changes to my personal life. I spent several months in transition between day jobs and finally ended up with a job that is perfect for accommodating my second career. I can now leave work at work and go home to spend my evenings and weekends writing.

The third year is coming to a close with my 40th birthday in June. My original goal wasn’t to become a successful, self-supporting author. It was to see if my books had gained traction and, more importantly, if I still enjoyed the process. I’ve worked in the professional world for over 20 years, and the last thing I want is to be pursuing something that doesn’t bring me joy. So, what have I decided, you ask? I love writing! It still fulfills me every time I sit down at a computer. I love dreaming up new stories. I’ve discovered that even something that I do for fun can strike a chord with a reader. Putting in humor has become easier. And, I’m almost over the embarrassment when my parents read an intimate scene that I’ve written…not sure that will ever go away completely!

Blue TempestWhat about my friend Michelle? Well, she too has made adjustments to her day job. She’s expanded her art to several retail spaces around town, started her own social media campaign (in addition to running mine…), and sold several paintings/mixed media art pieces. If you’d like to see her talent, take a look at the photo attached to this blog – it’s one of many of her pieces I’ve purchased.

We might not be successful by society’s definition, but we made it! We’ve set out to do what we outlined. And we’re going to continue to grow and expand and adapt and learn. Most importantly, we’re going to keep creating. Because that’s what brings joy.

Sicker than a Dog…

cup-779284_1280Ever wonder where certain phrases come from? I often wonder this, and this past week I’ve had more time than normal to think of such random things. I’ve been down with Strep throat and a sinus infection and had to take a few days off from my day job. It’s rare that I get sick, but when I do, it wipes me out. I spent three whole days doing nothing but sitting in my recliner, snuggling with my dogs. Not a bad way to spend a few days – if only I hadn’t felt so miserable.

To me, the worst possible form of being sick is having a stuffy nose. I can handle chills, fever, sore throat – but not being able to breathe has got to be the worst feeling in the world. So there I was, swaddled in my recliner, a dog on each side of me, and too exhausted to hold a book. I tried to prop my e-reader up on it little stand, but then my eyes revolted. My eyeballs hurt and my eyelids refused to stay open. I ended up having a tv marathon – Pitch Perfect, Magic Mike, Fast and Furious. It’s a very rare thing for me to spend so much time watching television – and so little time reading.

One of the good things to come out of so much downtime was that I got to brainstorm on the next Katie Freeman book. I already had an idea of where this book was going, but I really got to put some ideas together. Now I have to make up for the lost writing time.

Free to Live: Cover Reveal!

KF cover revealI am so excited for the release of the third installment in the Katie Freeman Mysteries: Free to Live. For all of you who have followed this series from the beginning, get ready to find out what happened to Charlene Stephens. You first met Charlene in the prologue of Free to Kill, book one. You’ve gotten glimpses of her story throughout both book one and book two. Who is she? Did she kill her husband? How will these answers impact Katie? I hope you are as excited to find the answers as I was go write them for you!
Just to get you ready, I’m giving you the first look at the cover for this book, coming out one week from today. My fantastic cover artist, Ryan Bukowski, outdid himself this time. So, get ready to step through the door into the past, but keep an eye out for all the ramifications that will ricochet through the characters lives today.

Free to Live debuts December 29, 2016. If you missed the first two novels, check out Free to Kill and Free to Deceive available on Amazon.com.

 

Sneak Peek: Free to Live

It’s almost time for Katie Freeman #3! Only two more weeks. I’ve had so much fun writing this one. This past week has been a busy one for me, so instead of blathering on in this blog post, I thought I’d share a little sneak peek of Free to Live. Here you go…

Enjoy!

Free to Live

sunset-blog post sneak peek

It was the end of August and Sarah wasn’t doing much. The heat zapped any energy she had and her feet were so swollen they felt like clubs. Patty constantly fussed over her, refusing to let her get up for anything but to use the bathroom.

Months earlier, Sarah had made Patty find a midwife that would come to the ranch to check up on the baby. She refused to leave the ranch, even to go to the hospital. Unless there was something wrong, she was determined to have Katherine right here at home. She had arranged everything legally so that Patty would have custody, should anything happen to her. Patty also had a power of attorney to make decisions on Sarah’s behalf. Of course, she hadn’t told Patty any of that.

All day, Sarah had been extra achy and tired, but she refused to say anything about it. The other woman had been fretting over Sarah’s flushed cheeks enough as it was. Now, it was the middle of the night and, once again, her bladder was waking her up. If she could just find a comfortable position to lay, she could get a good night’s sleep.

Dragging herself to her feet, Sarah made her way to the bathroom located between her bedroom and Patty’s. They had put in a nightlight a few months ago so that Sarah didn’t have to turn on the lights in the middle of the night when she needs to pee. It still didn’t matter, every time she went into the bathroom, Patty would wake up. She was as excited for the baby’s arrival as Sarah was.

Sarah sat down and relieved herself, but as she pushed herself to her feet, she felt a flood of liquid run down her legs. She immediately knew Katherine was on her way.

Not bothering to yell, knowing full well that Patty was awake, she said, “You might want to call the midwife. My water just broke.”

Patty was up and on the phone before Sarah finished speaking.

It was two in the morning before the midwife arrived, and though they tried to keep quiet, several of the women staying with them came down to see if they could help. They small study that was located beside Sarah’s room had been turned into a nursery, so the women went in and made sure the bed had fresh sheets on it and that everything was ready for the new arrival.

As first baby’s go, it was an easy labor, lasting only four hours, though that’s because the midwife suspected Sarah’s discomfort the day before was actually labor pains. At six in the morning, the midwife handed a squalling little girl into the arms of her mother. Patty sat on the bed beside Sarah looking down into the round, red face.

“What are you going to name her?” the midwife asked.

“Katherine the Great,” both women replied at the same time as the dark haired baby cried on.

“That’s an awfully big name to live up to,” she replied.

The two women looked at each other. They had never considered that when they picked the name.

“Katie,” Patty whispered.

“Perfect,” Sarah replied.

One year and counting…..

book covers blog image

 

Oh my goodness! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I published my first book. This has been a rollercoaster ride of fun, stress, learning, and frustration, but has been overall rewarding. I started 2014 with two goals: write one novel, and publish one novel. I started 2015 with the goal to publish four books. So far, I have published three books and three novellas. My fourth book will be released at the end of the month!

Katie Freeman is going to make an appearance in her third book, Free to Live, December 29.

Special Agent Katie Freeman has a secret, one she has only shared with her partner, Michael Powell. While looking at the files of a cold case, Katie discovered a possible personal connection. Is her mother the woman who disappeared twenty-six years ago? And did she kill Katie’s father? 

If her mother is the missing woman, how will that affect Katie’s career with the FBI? And, now that she has dragged her partner into this mess, will the calls come tumbling down on him, too? Adding to the stress is Katie’s new relationship with a fellow FBI agent. She is keeping secrets from him that impedes their ability to move their relationship forward. 

Can Katie resolve this situation before she loses everything she has worked for?

For all of you who have fallen in love with Katie and Michael, I hope you enjoy their newest adventure.

Thank you for sticking with me as I have explored the self-publishing world. I look forward to giving you many more books in the future!

Giving Thanks

In America, this week is for giving thanks. That is sometimes difficult to do, especially with all that is going on in the world. The recent terrorist attacks show us a dark side of humanity. Instead of dwelling on all the negative things going on in the world this week, take a minute to hug your family and pull them close.

I was fortunate this past weekend to have Thanksgiving lunch with my grandmother and all my aunts, uncles, and extended family on my mother’s side. I spent an entire day over the stove – baking, roasting, cooking, mashing, and all that comes with making a huge meal. But I was able to do it one more time for my grandmother, and that makes it worth it.

My grandmother taught me to bake and make a meal large enough for an army. We spent several years in a row in her kitchen while I cooked and she supervised. Sure, after the first year I could have done it by myself – but where was the fun in that? My grandmother has been in failing health for several years, and this past year she was diagnosed with stomach cancer. We honestly didn’t think she would be with us for another holiday season. So when it came time to celebrate with the family, I was more than happy to be able to cook her a meal.

IMG_0027There were five generations present at lunch this year. The picture here is of the oldest and youngest of the generations. I am so thankful to have family to hold close.

This year has been full of changes. New job, new friends, new house. It has also brought sadness. The loss of some people I held dear. Through it all, I had family and friends that never stopped supporting me. I was able to publish six books this year, with a seventh coming in December. I have also reached a larger number of fans than I could have anticipated.

All of this to say THANK YOU! Thank you to all of you who have purchased and read my books, whether it was Katie Freeman, Tip of the Spear, or Devil Mountain Shifters. I started this journey to let the characters in my head have a voice and you all have surpassed my expectations with the response to my books.

So even if you are not in America, take the opportunity this week to express your thanks or appreciation to those who make your life whole. Then curl up with a good book and celebrate all you have accomplished in 2015!

Colder weather…hotter scenes…

treesWell, it’s that time of year again – the time when it gets dark outside earlier; the sweatshirts come out of the closet; fragrant stews are on the stove; fireplaces are lit. Most important of all? There’s more time to snuggle with a good book! I’ve had a lot of time to write lately and have big plans for 2016.

DMS websiteBut first, I need to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all the readers who have read the new Devil Mountain Shifters series. October was a really busy month for me with the release of the trilogy and the results were better than I could have predicted. It was such a fun series to write and I am ecstatic to see it so well received.

Next up is Katie Freeman, coming December 2015. For all of you who have been following Katie, Free to Live will finally answer the questions from book one. Is Charlene Katie’s mother? Did Charlene kill Hank? I have been enjoying writing this book and winding together the story from 26 years ago and the investigation of the current cold case. It’s so much fun to see how this affects the relationship between Katie and Michael. Ryan Brewer also makes an appearance – and his relationship with Katie could be growing.

I’m not a fan of cold weather – never have been. Anything under 70* is entirely too cold. In the past, I’ve spent a lot of time reading, but this year I’m putting those multiple hours to work getting my own words on paper. I hope to share those words with you in the future. Until then, stay warm.

Meet Adala Reger

Four score and seven years ago…okay, not that long, but sometimes it sure feels that way.

Let’s try again.

Once upon a time…well, this isn’t a fairytale…unless you like people who turn into monsters…so maybe it is a fairytale.

Several years back I had four very good friends decide to have opinion on what I should read. Jenny pestered me to read this book she was finishing simply because I said, “I don’t like books with vampires and werewolves.” Boy was I wrong…

Over the last several years, I occasionally picked up other books involving vampires and werewolves, not together, of course. I have discovered that I still don’t like vampires…werewolves, on the other hand – definitely my thing.

full-moon-460314_1280I have discovered a love for shapeshifter romances. Who knew?! Bear shifters are my favorite and I now have several authors from whom I anxiously await new releases.

On a separate note, that I will connect back to this if you have patience through my rambling, I love anything related to WWII. Now, I was never a history buff. In fact, I hated anything to do with history, especially memorizing dates – ironic when you consider that my pay-the-bills profession is numbers related. But as I have grown older, I have discovered a sincere interest in the things that have happened in this world before me – just don’t ask me the dates they happened!

This past year marked the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust and I was addicted toany and all coverage that I could find. Such a travesty from those years. The waste of human life. The poisoning of generations. The effects of what happened there have trickled down.

That all got me thinking: we have several documentaries that have tracked what happened to the Jews who survived, but what about the Germans? Sure, those that were arrested and tried for crimes have been documented, but there were several others who played a part in the atrocities that were never convicted of wrong doing. But their evil remained.

So, just as a creative project, I decided to look at what happened to some of these people after the war and how it has impacted today’s generation. The result was a novella about shapeshifters. I let a friend read the story and she loved it. I have to say I had so much fun writing it that I decided to release it.

But then a second character stood up and howled (yes, he is a wolf) that he deserved attention too. So, now I am writing a second part of what I think (characters permitting) will be a trilogy of shapeshifter romance novellas.
The first book, tentatively titled Only Wolf will be arriving in September.

Adala Reger is searching for answers. Her parents were killed in an automobile accident that should have claimed her too. But somehow she survived. Now she is left on her own wondering how and why she turns into a wolf. To make matters worse, she is getting weaker. No longer able to work, and with the insurance money from her parents running out, she heads to Alaska – toward the only clue in her parents left her as to her real identity and destiny.

Dirk has taken over as the leader of the pack of shifters on the Seward peninsula in Northwest Alaska. Struggling to keep his clan safe is his number one priority, especially with the neighboring pack constantly threatening their borders. When Adala arrives, the last thing he expects is to find his mate.

Can they survive the invasions? Does Adala’s past hold answers to why the neighboring pack is attacking?

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. But never fear, Katie and Michael will be returning in December with the answers you have been waiting for concerning Katie’s past. And the crew from Tip of the Spear will be returning in September with Jeremy and Avery’s story. Look for inside peeks and previews in the weeks to come!

Julie

My first book!

I’m pleased to share with you the first book in my Katie Freeman series, Free to Kill.

Description:
FBI Agent Katie Freeman’s life has been upended. After being reassigned from Louisiana to middle Tennessee, her new bosses suspect that her reassignment is due to an indiscretion with her previous partner. Now, she and her new partner, Michael Powell, are asked to assist on the bewildering case of a woman who was kidnapped, tortured and left for dead on her own front porch. Before they can make any headway, a second woman disappears. As the number of missing women rises, Katie and Michael must work to figure out how the women are being abducted and where they are being held. Will they be too late to save the latest woman?

Complicating matters even further is a cold case left behind by Michael’s former partner. Who murdered Henry Stephens twenty-six years ago? What happened to Henry’s wife? And why does one of the suspects act like he knows Katie?

Kindle
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Paperback

If you’ve read Free to Kill, please consider leaving a review.

Thanks for being a part of my journey.
Julie