McIntosh Book Shoppe

Many thanks to Beaufort, S.C’s Wilson McIntosh and his staff, Ellen and Lolita for helping me with three wonderful book signings in the past few weeks. All totaled, we sold over 80 copies of The Cast Net and Catherine’s Cross. I was thrilled to have readers ask me when my next book is coming out! (Of Sun and Rain is finished and is the second book in The Cast Net trilogy.)

I’m excited to be invited back to this wonderful book store! Thank you, Wilson!


PubSmart Dynamics

I entitled this article PubSmart Dynamics, because I view the PubSmart Conference I just attended in Charleston, South Carolina, a force that emerging authors should embrace. I gained insights into the world of publishing that I didn’t have before. Author, Hugh Howey, has proven that writers’ can use forms of publishing outside the traditional model and achieve great success. There were experts from all realms of the publishing and book marketing industry that spoke during the event. For you writers who couldn’t attend this time, here are a few of the most valuable points I took away from the conference.

Writers: Get to know your local Arts and Humanities Councils to see what grants, events and opportunities are available.

Discovery of writers’ work: 80% is word of mouth, 20% comes from social media, check out booksilove for recommending titles along with goodreads.

Branding: Your brand is a promise. What is the reader going to get from interacting with my book? Your brand is your most important marketing tool. What makes your work compelling? How do readers thing about my book?

Foundation: The voice you use on social media should be the voice you use when you write.

Launching a book: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself during the launch phase. You’re running a marathon, not a sprint. As my publicist, Lynda Bouchard points out: run your own race, don’t compare yourself to other writers.

Adjacent Readers: You want to turn readers into fans. For instance, if your book takes place in the Low Country of South Carolina, search the communities in that area for groups and organizations you can introduce your work to. They don’t have to be book clubs.

Many thanks to the PubSmart team for putting together such a wonderful conference. It’s always great to learn new ideas!

Support independent book stores!

In support of independent book stores, this video was produced by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. Please check it out!

Something You’d Never Guess About Me!

I’ll go back to the earliest thing that I believe influenced my thinking. (For Life) Would you believe that it was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon? When I was about five years old, an action/ adventure series came on television. I think it was 1965. The name of the show was The Adventures of Jonny Quest.

In the series, Jonny and his friend Hadji, travel with his father, Dr. Benton Quest to far away countries for scientific adventures. Dr. Quest sometimes works for the United States Secret Service, and has a body guard by the name of Race Bannon. I experienced my first crush at age five on Race Bannon.

As I grew older, I found that I had a love for travel and exploring rural areas. I think this is exhibited by the locations I write about in my novels (So far, I have visited the places that I have written about.)

There was also my infatuation with Race’s piloting skills. In my early twenties, I became a commercial and instrument rated pilot, eventually earning the Airline Transport Pilot Rating while I was a captain at Sunbird Airlines. My last full time flying job was with United Parcel Service. After my daughter, Whitney, was born, I stopped flying full time and went into real estate.

Advice for authors: The power of the bookmark!

For sixteen years, I worked in the real estate business; eight of those years I ran my own company, Portfolio Real Estate. I specialized in properties on Lake Murray which has over six hundred miles of shoreline and is located northwest of Columbia, SC. During my real estate days, I learned that promotional items are key to maintaining a successful business. I developed a buyers’ guide to Lake Murray called the Lake Murray Portfolio, where I previewed and photographed lake houses that were for sale. I advertised in my local newspaper, and with the help of an advertising company, created a brochure about my business that was distinctive, memorable, and brought me sales. I took these lessons learned from real estate into my business as an author.

When I do a book signing, I am armed with several hundred bookmarks that were designed by the talented man, Robin Krauss, who creates the book covers for my publishing house, Boutique of Quality Books, Atlanta, Georgia. The book marks are eye catching and provide information to help customers learn about, and purchase my novels, The Cast Net and Catherine’s Cross. I have found that people who take a bookmark from me sometimes later purchase my books, or download them in an ebook format.

Another important rule to having a successful book promotion is to schedule your signing alongside a community event that will bring foot traffic in front of your table. This past Memorial Day weekend, I signed copies of my novels at McIntosh Book Shoppe, on Bay Street in downtown Beaufort, South Carolina. Since both of my novels are set in the Low Country of South Carolina, a couple of weeks before the book signing, I made a tour of the Low Country of South Carolina visiting newspapers and book stores along the coast. I visited over fifteen venues, but heard back from one very important news source, The Hilton Head Island Packet. A reporter for this newspaper called and interviewed me about my novels and wrote about them preceding the scheduled book signing. His article was outstanding. Not only did I benefit from the foot traffic that was in Beaufort for the Saturday before Memorial Day, but I had customers who had read the article and came especially to purchase my novels. I had a wonderful signing event and sold thirty copies of my novels. This broke my old record of twenty-six books that I sold last summer during an annual celebration that takes place in Beaufort.

I would like to say more in regards to giving away bookmarks. It is a nonthreatening way of introducing yourself to passersby. As people go by my signing table, I ask them if they’d like a bookmark. Usually, the answer is yes. When a person comes forward to receive the bookmark, I tell them that I’m signing my novels, and I give a brief synopsis of the stories. I find that this works in a positive fashion, and then I close on the sale. I don’t sell everyone a book, but I have a good success rate. If you think about it, I signed books for three hours and sold thirty books. That’s a book sale every six minutes!

All right authors—get those bookmarks ready! Don’t be afraid to make eye contact with passersby at your signings, hand them out, and smile!

Please check out these links. The first one is the article written about me in The Hilton Head Island Packet:

This link is to Southern Writer’s Magazine. Catherine’s Cross was recently the must read of the week:

My website:

Upcoming Events

I will be signing my novels, Catherine’s Cross and The Cast Net, at the following locations. Thanks to all my hosts for having me!

July 13th  The Book Dispensary, 710-C Gracern Road, Columbia SC, 29210  1:00 PM until 3:00 PM

July 20th  Hair Perfections,  130 Amick’s Ferry Road, Chapin SC, 29036 from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM

July 27th  McIntosh Book Shoppe, 917 Bay Street, Beaufort, SC 29902 from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM

August 3rd  Barnes and Noble, 278-A Harbison Blvd, Columbia, SC 29210 from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM


Virtual tour of Catherine’s Cross

Hi everyone! Please visit the virtual tour of Catherine’s Cross this week. Here’s the schedule:

June 24:  Andi’s Book Reviews
June 25:  Just Jeannie’s Books and Bling
June 26:  Book ‘Em North Carolina
June 26:  Long and Short Reviews 
June 27:  Writers and Authors
June 28:  It’s Raining Books


Where do ideas come from?

My novels, The Cast Net and Catherine’s Cross are set in the Low Country of South Carolina. As I was working on The Cast Net, which was my first novel, I read at least twenty-five books on the history of South Carolina. I tried to gain as much knowledge about the area, the people, and the history of our culture and customs. I am a native South Carolinian and many of my ideas come from historical research.

While reading about the Low Country, I came across interesting facts that I used in my novels. For instance, I have a fictitious point of land on one of the rivers near Beaufort, South Carolina, in Catherine’s Cross. I named the point, Nairne Point after Indian agent, Thomas Nairne, who was tortured to death by Yemassee Indians in 1715, during an Indian uprising. The point becomes ominous when a character’s, (he betrayed his Gullah family over their ancestral land) sapphire blue Cadillac is found submerged after a fisherman catches the hood ornament with a fish hook. His body was never recovered, and a relative, Meta Jane, hoped he had a visit with a shark.

From researching the Civil War period, I created the fictitious Catherine’s Cross. The crucifix was stolen from Miss Iris Elliott, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner in the Beaufort area by Union soldiers. In truth, the Federal navy captured the Beaufort, Hilton Head, and Port Royal communities in late 1861. Their naval base would remain in the Beaufort area throughout the Civil War. During this period, properties were looted including wealthy plantations homes. The white planters fled the area.

Catherine’s Cross was from the collection of Catherine the Great. Iris Elliott’s father had purchased it while on a tour of Europe in the 1850’s. The cross was stolen from the Elliott plantation and stowed on a Union ship bound for a northern destination. A fire breaks out on board, and the boat sinks in waters off the South Carolina coast. The cross becomes a long lost prize sought after by treasure hunting divers.

Diving for artifacts in the waterways around Beaufort is a hobby of sport divers. In the years after Beaufort’s founding in 1711, there were numerous taverns located along the rivers. After beer or wine was consumed, the bottles often ended up at the bottom of the rivers. I have seen these ancient bottles for sale in Low Country antique stores. At the beginning of Catherine’s Cross, the heroine, Jenks’s twin sister Gigi, accidentally drowns while diving for artifacts with her

McIntosh Book Shoppe

Hi all! I will be signing Catherine’s Cross and The Cast Net this Saturday, May 25th at the McIntosh Book Shoppe, 919 Bay Street, Beaufort, SC starting at 1:00 PM. Please come by for a personalized copy! Check out this link:

Debut of Catherine’s Cross

Hi all! My second novel, Catherine’s Cross, will debut in May of 2013-just a couple of months away! Like my first novel, The Cast Net, Catherine’s Cross, is a mystery / suspense novel with a love story.

Here’s a short description: When Jenks Ellington experiences a sudden, alarming sense of panic about her identical twin sister Gigi, she has to wait until nearly midnight before learning the reason her her unease: Gigi has drowned while diving for artifacts in a Low Country river near Beaufort, South Carolina. Although Beaufort County detective Seth Mason is suspicious of Gigi’s diving partner, there is no evidence of foul play. But, when Gigi’s Port Royal home is broken into and ransacked, Jenks discovers two clues–one on which leads to a Gullah medium.

In a painstaking search for answers, Jenks delves more deeply into her twin’s life. Along the way, her bond with Detective Mason reaches unexpected depths. And what secrets could medium Meta Jane be holding? Was Gigi’s death really an accident?

Preorder Catherine’s Cross at: