BENT TREE BRIDE by Denise Weimer - 5 Bits of Writing Advice and Excerpt
We're thrilled to welcome Denise Weimer, author of the historical Christian romance novel Bent Tree Bride, on her tour hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
Bent Tree Bride
Caught between who she is…and who she was.
Susanna Moore can’t get him out of her mind—the learned lieutenant who delivered the commission from Andrew Jackson making her father colonel of the Cherokee Regiment. But the next time she sees Lieutenant Sam Hicks, he’s leading a string of prisoners into a frontier fort, and he’s wearing the garb of a Cherokee scout rather than the suit of a white gentleman.
As both Susanna’s father and Sam’s commanding officer, Colonel Moore couldn’t have made his directive to stay away from his daughter clearer to Sam. He wants a better match for Susanna—like the stuffy doctor who escorted her to Creek Territory. Then a suspected spy forces Moore to rely on Sam for military intelligence and Susanna’s protection, making it impossible for either to guard their heart.
"The Five Best Bits of Writing Advice I Can Give"
from Denise Weimer
When I started out as a bright-eyed writer clutching my journalism degree with a minor in history, many surprises awaited me, not all of them pleasant. Now, a dozen traditionally published novels and several novellas later and serving as a managing/substantive editor myself, I wish I could go back and give my newbie self some advice. I never could have imagined how much the publishing industry would change over twenty years—or that every time I reached a goal, a dose of reality simply reset the bar.
Thinking of writing a novel? Maybe you’ll find some of my tips helpful.
1. Research what’s trending in publishing. When I first started writing, literary-style historical fiction with a narrator’s voice and many points of view was popular. The reader could expect lots of speaker tags like “he said,” “she gasped,” etc., and phrases such as “she wondered/thought/felt.” For standard fiction today, most publishers are looking for deep point of view, where you write as though you are in the character’s head. You can only think and sense what that character does in that moment. I’d advise getting a book on writing deep point of view or attending a conference or class.
2. Get other eyes on your project—and not just your mom or best friend. After you’ve written your story and edited it at least once yourself, run it by an experienced critique partner or beta readers before sending it to an editor or agent. What should you and your beta readers be looking for? Check out this list at https://www.deniseweimerbooks.com/freelance-editing.
3. Build an online presence before pitching your story. Publishing is so competitive these days, most credible houses expect a debut author to have built an online presence with a web site and a large social media following on at least two platforms. You can do this even before publication by blogging about your research and writing journey or reviewing books or hosting guest blogs by other writers. If you self-publish, you can build this more gradually, as you gain new readers, but if you ever approach a traditional publisher, they will still expect those numbers plus good sales for your indie titles. A poorly edited and poorly marketed title can haunt you forever.
4. Don’t be afraid to start small or to collaborate. My first published novella cost me more money than it made me but garnered a historical mentor whose generosity opened the door for the writing and publication of my first historical fiction series. I also eventually realized I needed to start with a regional publisher rather than my big dream publisher. Other great ideas? Join a MAP—Multiple Author Project—or a novella collection. You can learn so much from other authors, and joint projects also expand your readership. Big surprise—the most important open doors in my career have come from other authors.
5. Don’t compare your writing journey to someone else’s. It’s just plain hard and confusing to see your friends, or newer writers, get contracts or bigger contracts when you’ve been stuck for years. You might want to bang your head against your computer when a similar book sells as though it’s the last title available on earth while your sales barely cover printing costs. And the reviews? Don’t even get me started. But don’t go down the comparison rabbit hole. It will only hurt you. God has us each on a unique journey in life. There is more than one valid publishing path. Sometimes our writing may stall or even be completely dormant for a season when He wants us to focus on other things. Wherever you are, He has you there for a reason. Seek the reason and embrace it, and you’ll find that growth will come in unexpected ways and moments.
Enjoy an Excerpt from
Bent Tree Bride
In this excerpt, Lieutenant Sam Hicks of the Cherokee Regiment has been assigned by his colonel to guard the colonel’s daughter and son while they are at Fort Strother in hostile Creek Territory. Susanna and George have talked Sam into demonstrating tomahawk and knife throwing at the practice range.
“What is your other requirement?”
“What?” Sam snatched his gaze from Susanna’s lips to her eyes.
Her cheeks, already rosy in the cold, darkened another shade. “For letting me throw your little bitty knife.”
“My little bitty knife?” Indignation laced his repetition of her words. “Let there be no doubt, this dagger could gut a man.”
“Very well. Your lethal weapon, although you seem to think I can’t handle the larger one, much less the tomahawk.”
“Why do you care about throwing a knife or a tomahawk or any weapon when your father would order his entire regiment to fight to protect you?”
Susanna released a gusty sigh. “Because as much as I would like to think he will always be there, he may not. What if I lose him in battle? What if this lung sickness returns when he goes out on the next campaign and Polly can’t save him? Then what will I have left?”
For one, Dr. Hawkins would rush to the rescue, although Sam would be wiser to bite his tongue than suggest that when she was this betwattled.
Thankfully, she continued without pausing to solicit any answers. “I should at least be able to defend myself. The lessons at finishing school may have taught me how to speak French and snare a husband, but they are useless out here.”
“You know he will send you home at the first opportunity.” As much as the thought pained him. Fort Strother would seem a cheerless place without Susanna Moore.
“But that’s just it. I shouldn’t have to leave.” She balled her hands into fists at her sides. “I want to show him I am as strong as Polly. That I can survive, and not only survive, but be helpful on the frontier. I don’t have to have Cherokee blood to do that, do I?”
The yearning for acceptance in Susanna’s words echoed a similar longing in Sam’s heart. She searched his eyes as she had earlier, but this time, he didn’t close his soul. If she needed strength, and he could help give it to her, what cause had he to deny her?
End of Excerpt
Excerpt Copyright ©Denise Weimer. Shared with permission.
(1) winner will receive a print copy of Bent Tree Bride and related story, The Witness Tree (2019), a pair of silver feather earrings, and a $20 Amazon gift card! (retail value $60)
Giveaway began at midnight April 20, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on April 27, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. This giveaway is sponsored by the author and organized by JustRead Tours.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense, mostly set in her home state of Georgia. She’s authored a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas. As a managing editor for the historical imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, she also helps others reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.
Title: Bent Tree Bride
Author: Denise Weimer
Publisher: Smitten Historical Romance
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Genre: Historical Christian Romance
Content Note: 1 Heart
Author's Note on Content: "Romance (just kisses) and some violence. Even though I tried not to describe the scenes in excessive detail, battles are part of the plot of a novel set during the War of 1812 and on the frontier where three people groups clashed."
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