POD codes on the final page of your book matter.
To the everyday reader, they may mean little, if anything, but to the discerning bookseller, it may determine the extent of your relationship with them. There’s a growing swell of pushback with book retailers against Amazon/KDP. That attractive royalty rate from Amazon/KDP may, in fact, cost you lots of potential sales. Choose wisely, whether self-publishing or through a small press that takes advantage of POD production. There are two prevalent POS print options, Amazon/KDP or Ingram SPark/LSI.
Working with Ingram is necessary for selling through bookstores, which, more often than not, will not order books from Amazon/KDP. Amazon/KDP will not allow bookstores to return unsold books, something the trade has accepted for a long time and is a crucial option to independent bookstore owners. Without going too deep into the micro-economic considerations of a book retail business, floating the enormous expense of a book inventory forces book retailers to be acutely attuned to Amazon’s less than favorable retailer program. Under the best circumstances, it is not easy to make a profit in the retail bookstore marketplace. Authors should not promote their books with a blind eye to the plight of the book retailers today, thanks to Amazon.
“Learn the printing codes on the inside final page of your books for Kindle and Ingram. They are usually there, but they can be blank, making the printing source agnostic. Don’t accidentally walk into a bookstore with consignment books that show some Kindle-manufactured volumes, as marked on the final page. We wouldn’t want a homicide to occur.” (An excerpt from The Book Designer)
Your author-income depends upon not just the royalty rate but also the sales reach (volume of books sold). After you have decided upon where to publish your book, knowing how your printed book arrives on the market is now even more imperative. POD book production had gotten to be a most welcome, cost-effective means to get books printed. Quality has vastly improved and certainly reduces your upfront costs and associated risks of investing in and maintaining a book inventory. Know your publisher’s and/or your marketing strategy for getting books to readers. Convenience can cost you far more than you are led to believe.
My two-cents on the subject of POD sources
Consider Amazon as a necessary book retailer, but a retailer none-the-less. If you desire to engage the retail reach of brick-and-mortar bookstores, then understanding their profitability is paramount to building a win-win relationship. Would you walk into two competing book retailers in the same town and expect a warm reception from both store owners? Probably not. Well, Amazon is every book retailer’s primary competitor. And, Amazon/KDP printed books offer less profit for the book retailer and do not allow the retailer a book return option. Thus, if you, as the author, agree to a consignment arrangement on the backside of an author event at the store, your book will not find prime shelf space after you are long gone.
“Penny-wise, dollar foolish.”
You may have written a well-written, compelling story, and even have an eye-catching, well-conceived book cover, but no book sells itself. How you plan to promote and bring your book to market is paramount to your book’s ultimate success. What may appear upfront as profitable may more than likely prove very costly? Treat Amazon as the retailer you cannot ignore, but don’t ignore your other retail outlets and consider them as less important. Unless you have built up a huge name as an author with an enormous audience panting for your next book, your books will not sell themselves while you are glued to the world-wide-web and stuck in your comfortable chair at home.
News flash: Authors must invest in and actively engage in the marketing of their books to be successful.
POD book production is a gamechanger
I repeat–POD book production is a gamechanger and is here to stay, but do not overlook which POD printer you choose to use for your books. Amazon is a profit eating leviathan and plays both book printer/publisher and retailer, which for some may be convenient, and that is fine if that meets your book’s expectation. But, they have stirred up a lot of animosity by their voracious greed. Do not expect their retail competitors to provide you with a warm welcome if you carry into their store books printed by their most lethal competitor.
What about the reading audience? Should the reading audience care
To all those you avid book-lovers whose money is spent in exchange for all the books that are behind this discussion: Please realize your pivotal role in this mortal competition. I hope you’ll patronize your locally owned bookstore and use online retailers only when necessary. Convenience costs more than you might think. Internet convenience influence affects so many others in your own community. Besides, your local bookstore should offer you an irreplaceable experience that engages all your senses whenever you walk into their brick-and-mortar confines. They should also help you discover new bestsellers in the making for your reading enjoyment.
T. M. Brown, Southern Author
On Facebook visit TMBrownAuthor
Why Are Southern Novels Borderless and Timeless?
How is it Margaret Mitchell, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, William Faulkner, Robert Penn Warren, Erskine Caldwell, James Dickey, Pat Conroy and the legacy of so many other great Southern authors have endured long after they left us? And, today Southern authors like Fannie Flagg, Alice Walker, Kathryn Stockett, Jeswyn Ward, Charles Frazier, Greg Iles, Charles Martin, Rick Bragg, and even John Grisham are still securing their legacy for future generations.
Let’s not forget the endless stream of fresh literary voices beckoning us with new Southern-laced literary works that supply the timeless and borderless demand for memorable flawed heroes, victims, and villains depicted in colorful Southern settings dealing with 21st-Century challenges and changes.
What constitutes a great Southern story?
First of all, truth be told, I don’t know how to write the next best-selling Southern Novel. Of course, if I did happen to know how, I’d be too busy writing it and more than likely have my eyes cast on writing at least three. Three best-selling Southern novels would leave the kind of legacy that any writer would only dream about. But at least I know one when I see one. That’s because really great best-selling Southern novels are discovered, not written. In fact, none of the aforementioned authors began writing the next great Southern novel. They merely wrote what resided within them to write.
The indelible mark of Southern Author
Being reared in the South leaves an indelible mark on one’s soul where inspiration and motivation sprouts from fertile memories, the good and the bad, to write compelling stories. Aspiring writers with souls stained and strained growing up in the South cannot write anything else worthwhile. Southern stories are written experientially. An author might learn the mechanics of creative writing, but no classroom can replicate growing up and experiencing life in the South. There’s no better fodder for storytelling than lending an ear to the tall-tales of folks spinning yarns in the South. Such tales may be heard eating dinner, attending church, getting a haircut at a local barbershop, or at a beauty parlor for the women-folk, but let’s not neglect sitting on a neighbor’s porch.
The Southern Author Is Too Polite to Name Names
I have learned one thing in my sixty-eight years, fiction is just the truth and reality wearing a mask and being stretched a might to be more palatable, and often more plausible. You see, more than not, the truth just ain’t as believable as the tall-tales that follow.
Now there are certain trademarks of any Southern story, they revolve around food, family, friendships, faith, and football. Right off, if any story fails to mention the sipping, swallowing, or gulping of sweet tea, consider it suspect right away. Also, in the South, a coke may not mean a Coca-Cola, and whiskey didn’t originate here, but it was perfected here. In fact, the tales of Cooter Brown’s perpetual drunkenness is a Southern-rooted legend.
Grits, gravy, and greens are menu staples, morning, noon and night. Anything else worth eating is also usually fried. Peaches, pecans, and peanuts are the foundation of many epic desserts too.
In the South, Change Arrives Reluctantly
It may be the 21st-Century, however, “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” are not derisive retorts but words of respect to our elders. Boys and grown men instinctively grab the door for a woman or young lady. Now, that’s not saying Southern gals don’t have spunk. Lord, just rile a Southern girl and you’ll learn right quick they invented sass. They also know, you know, you likely deserved it.
The 21st-Century Southern woman exited the confines of the kitchen and no longer remains in the shadows cast by men. She forges her own identity in society and dares men to catch up to her.
Some Traditions Linger
Of course, when someone approaches on a backroad, there will be a casual exchange of raised fingers atop their respective steering wheels. It’s an evolution of the tradition that declares in the South no one stays a stranger for long. Handshakes and howdies transform strangers into friends whether visiting or just passing through. What has changed is the inclusion of women in those customary exchanges.
But Some Traditions Remain Steadfast in the South
Last but not least, it’s downright hard to distinguish faith from football conversations. They both can offer the same fervor. In the South, the Lord’s Day is Sunday and everyone agrees that God graces every church, small or large, but Saturday, God sports our team colors, sits on our side of the field and favors our victories.
Now there’s a heap more we could wrangle back and forth about on this subject, but I reckon you’ve got the gist. We may not always be able to plainly define it, but we sure know when we have read a great Southern novel. When we come to the last page and close the book we feel sad because it ended.
T. M. Brown
Coming May 5, 2020, Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest, book three in the Shiloh Mystery Series. Watch for more news about book three in the coming weeks. But I can tell you, Theo just can’t seem to avoid being in the middle of the threats to the peace and tranquility of lil’ ol’ Shiloh. Some family trees get shaken and familiar characters face life and death decisions in the next story.
September kicks off a busy Fall season of author events. My wife and I will be touring not only various venues in the Greater Atlanta area but also returning for a two-day author event with The Book Loft in Fernandina Beach and then back to my friends at The Bookshelf in Thomasville in the coming weeks. In the midst of it all, Hometown Novel Nights allows me to enjoy introducing and talking with new local authors before a growing curious audience in Hogansville and Newnan, Georgia. I also will be teaming up with my author-friend, Roger Johns in November for a discussion about “Our Enduring Fascination with Mystery & Suspense” at the new Story on the Square Bookstore in McDonough, Georgia.
My newest bookstore addition is right in my hometown of Newnan, Georgia with Southern Fried Books. and I’ll be signing books there September 20th during the Newnan Fall Art Walk. They have the largest inventory of my books too… Well, they are my exclusive hometown bookstore too. You can order signed copies from them to mailed to you as well.
Here’s my updated and latest schedule of Fall Author Events which gets fast and furious from here until Christmas.
2019 Fall T. M. Brown Author’s Events
Aug 31 – Sep 1, 2019
Sep 7, 2019
Sep 14, 2019
Sep 15, 2019
Sep 19, 2019
Sep 20, 2019
Sep 21-22, 2019
12:00 PM ATLANTA, GA, Cobb Galleria Center – Broadleaf Writers Conference
Oct 5, 2019
9:30 AM Canton, GA, Canton Farmers Market – Inkling Creative Expressions
Oct 10, 2019
Oct 12, 2019
Oct 19, 2019
October 24, 2019
6:00 PM McDonough, GA, Southern Crescent Literature & Libations, Story on the Square
Oct 26, 2019
5:00 PM Newnan, GA, Artisans Heritage Guhttps://www.facebook.com/events/810254069369201/ild – Halloween Fundraiser Bazaar
Nov 8, 2019
Nov 9, 2019
Nov 14, 2019
Nov 21, 2019
7:00 PM Hogansville, GA, Rogers Barbecue Banquet Room – Hometown Novel Night – Hogansville Holidays Book Panel with Mark Wallace Maguire, Tim Miller, Laurs Johnson, T. M. Brown, Moderator
Nov 23, 2019
Dec 7, 2019
Dec 12, 2019
Are you ready to join the hundreds of others who are eagerly waiting for book three?
Your order will be shipped postage free and both books will be signed and delivered to the address requested. Please allow 5-10 days to receive order via USPS delivery.
You may also visit Southern Fried Books, 29 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA to purchase both books at this special holiday price. Just tell them Mike sent you!
This special pricing will be available during all of the upcoming author events and at participating independent bookstores in your area as well. Go to my author event schedule to see if I will be visiting your local area in the coming weeks. Thanks, Mike
Before you leave please make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, and stay up to date on the release of book three in the Shiloh Mystery series, coming by Summer 2020. There also will be exciting news from T. M. Brown about his entire Shiloh Mystery Series. In addition to paperback and eBook versions, watch for news about audiobook launches of all three books in the coming months. Email Mike directly with other inquiries and comments. Thank you.
Merry Christmas! I look forward to sharing book three in the series in the coming months along with added versions of all three books. Watch for great news!
Sanctuary also was a Finalist for the 2017 Book of the Year Award with Interviews and Reviews.
|Aug 8, 2019 |
6:30 PM Newnan, GA Newnan Carnegie Library Hometown Novel Night – Newnan Carnegie Library with Paul Sinor, Angie Gallion, and Toby Nix, TM Brown, Moderator
Aug 31 – Sep 1, 2019
Noon – 2 PM, Decatur, GA – Decatur Book Festival, Atlanta Writers Club Tent Book SIgning; Sep 1 Labor Day Weekend. Moderator of Non-Fiction Author Panel (T.B…
Sep 7, 2019
12:00 PM, Atlanta, GA Ponce City Market – Posman Books – Author Book Signing
Sep 14, 2019
1:00 PM, Woodstock, GA Book Warehouse – Author book signing
Sep 15, 2019
3:00 PM, Canton, GA R. T. Jones Memorial Library – Inklings, Creative Expressions – Greet and Eat Fall Event Author Book Discussion and Signings
Sep 19, 2019
7:00 PM Hogansville, GA, Rogers Barbeque Banquet Room – Hometown Novel Night – Hogansville. Melba Moon/MJ Flournoy, Chellie Woodham Phillips, Ann Rhodes, Mary Marvella, T. M. Brown, Moderator
Sep 20, 2019
5:00 PM Newnan, GA, Southern Fried Books – Author Book Signing – Newnan Fall Art Walk
Sep 21-22, 2019
12:00 PM ATLANTA, GA, Cobb Galleria Center – Broadleaf Writers Conference
Sep 28, 2019
10:00 AM – Harrison (OH) Craft Show
Oct 4, 2019
5:00 PM Newnan, GA, Southern Fried Books – Octoberfest
Oct 5, 2019
9:30 AM Canton, GA, Canton Farmers Market – Inkling Creative Expressions
Oct 10, 2019
6:30 PM Newnan, GA, Newnan Carnegie Library Auditorium – Hometown Novel Nights – Newnan, Roger Johns, Kim Sullivan, D. K. Marley, T. M. Brown, Moderator
Oct 12, 2019
12:00 PM McDonough, GA, Story on the Square Bookstore – Author Book Discussion & Signing
Oct 19, 2019
12:00 PM Carrollton, GA, Horton’s Books & Gifts – Book signing at Georgia’s oldest bookstore. My favorite local bookstore venue.
Oct 26, 2019
4:00 PM Newnan, Ga, Artisans Heritage Guild Fall Bazaar & Pumpkin Toss, 1st Ave Park
Nov 2, 2019
Noon Sale City GA Fall Festival, Book Signing at Lost Creek Resturant
Nov 8, 2019
2:00 PM Fernandina Beach, FL, The Book Loft – Christmas in Shiloh Book signing
Nov 9, 2019
12:00 PM Fernandina Beach, FL, The Book Loft – Christmas in Shiloh Book Signing
Nov 14, 2019
6:00 PM McDonough, GA, Story on the Square Bookstore – An Evening with Two Georgia Mystery Authors: Our Enduring Fascination with Mystery & Suspense, Roger Johns & T. M. Brown
Nov 21, 2019
7:00 PM Hogansville, GA, Rogers Barbeque Banquet Room – Hometown Novel Night – Hogansville Holidays Book Panel with Mark Wallace Maguire, Tim Miller, Laurs Johnson, T. M. Brown, Moderator
Nov 23, 2019
2:00 PM Thomasville, GA, The Bookshelf – Christmas in Shiloh Holiday book signing
Dec 7, 2019
12:00 PM Atlanta, GA, Ponce City Market – Posman Books – Author Book Signing – Christmas in Shiloh
Dec 12, 2019
6:30 PM Newnan, GA, Newnan Carnegie Library – Hometown Novel Nights Christmas Celebration – Larissa Reinhart, Jedwin Smith, and T. M. Brown. Sponsored by Southern Fried Books
Schedule updated regularly, stop back for updates or email T. M. Brown for information.
Decatur Book Festival – Labor Day Weekend
Visit @TMBrownAuthor on Facebook to learn the latest news and schedule of upcoming book events as well. https://www.facebook.com/TMBrownauthor/
Sex, Violence and Vulgarity
According to recent statistics, novels replete with explicit sex, violence, and vulgarity continue to thrive as the flavor of the month in book sales. However, should authors kowtow to gratuitous content just to increase book numbers?
Good writers engage their audience so well, scenes calling for sex, violence, or vulgarity communicate through the actions and attitudes of the characters. This is the real show-don’t-tell opportunity for authors. Otherwise, allow the story to unfold without all the possible explicit sordid details.
I believe an author’s responsibility is not only to entertain but also engage readers, so they sense they are witnessing the story as it unfolds. Share enough details to activate and invigorate the reader’s imagination as they engage the story.
What images race through your mind that depicts anger and rage? Do you picture contorted faces and threatening gestures, or do you need to be explicitly told?
Excerpt from Sanctuary
Consider this scene from my book Sanctuary: Hank gritted his teeth as the veins on his neck swelled, and his eyes glared through me. “Well, I think you’re putting your nose into places you’ve no business being.” He uncrossed his arms and pointed at my chest. “I’m warning you. Stay away from me and my wife!”
“Hank, I’m sorry if I’ve said or done anything to upset you. Have you spoken to your father?”
“This is between you and me. Stay out of our lives.” Hank’s effort to be more composed fell apart.
… Hank pressed his finger into my sternum. “This is all I’m going to say to you about Jessie or John…” He thumped his finger against my chest adding emphasis to each word. “I’m truly sorry about what happened to Jessie, but John got what he deserved. And you can quote me on that. Now back off! I’m warning you.”
Pete stepped out from the shadows, unceremoniously interrupting Hank’s exchange with me.
“Mister P, is everything okay?” Pete asked as he glared at Hank. “Hank, who’re you warning about what?”
Hank surveyed Pete and the four remaining shadows just out of the light. His finger fell to his side, but his distended veins on his neck swelled even more. “Pete, this has nothing to do with you or any of you guys!”
…Pete extended his finger just shy of Hank’s chest. “How in the blue blazes do you know it don’t involve us? If you think you can flex your muscles and intimidate one of my friends, you just made it my business.” His stern warning and unflinching stare froze Hank.
Granted a few expletives could’ve been heard, but did the scene work anyway?
Don’t Take My Word on This…
John Grisham achieved his decades-long success capitalizing on his uncanny knack of drawing his audience’s attention upon his colorful characters and settings. Doing so, he exited scenes involving sex, violence or vulgarity using innuendo. In fact, Grisham’s Theodore Boone YA mysteries found a broad new audience without much of an adjustment in his storytelling to do so. Neither should we to reach a wider audience to sell more books.
What is your opinion on the matter?
I would love hearing back from you. What is your opinion regarding the portraying of sex, violence, and vulgarity in novels? When is enough, enough and it becomes gratuitous? Who are some of your favorite authors?
The First Page Matters in the Sensory Appeal Test
Right after a potential reader sets their eyes on your book cover, the next critical test to pique the interest of the reader is page one of the story. Does it beg the reader to read more?
For this reason, I begin and end writing and editing with the first page. Like in real life, “first impressions matter” in establishing relationships. We don’t often get many second chances. Neither do our books should the first impression fail to pique a curious reader’s interest.
As an independent author, my books do not have the advertising and promotional blitz advantage afforded by the top publishers hawking their stable of best-selling authors. T. M. Brown does not have the name recognition of best-selling authors, such as Grisham, Patterson, Baldacci, Karon, Blackstock, etc. Like the myriad of other new books published this year, the majority lacking the deep pockets and name recognition, success boils down to passing the sensory appeal test.
What is the sensory appeal test? Does the book cover stand out when on display amongst the notable NYC published best sellers, or does it shrink almost unnoticed, overshadowed by more noticeable book covers?
Maybe its the competitive nature within me, but I desire my books to compete among the notables, the best-sellers. I prefer my books to be on the eye level front shelves in the bookstore; not relegated to shelves set aside in the back of the store. Why is that important? Okay, T. M. Brown is not a household name in the literary world, but when my book covers are displayed beside notable names that readers seek, Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories and Testament, An Unexpected Return are exposed to more potential readers. BUT, now the sensory appeal test begins.
When either of my book covers catches the eye of a perusing reader and they pause to slide the book off the shelf for a closer look, the reader’s keen senses in the next few seconds decide the fate of my book. Without the notoriety of the more familiar author Dan Brown, it is the front cover which then earns an extended feel of the book.
My publisher utilizes heavier stock paper to print its books, and it is noticeable to the feel. The reader then flips to the back cover and peruses the carefully edited snippets about the book. If the book cover has passed the initial sensory appeal test the reader invests another critical moment and thumbs through the pages before eyeing the first page. Those first 200 or so words reign supreme over the next few seconds as the reader weighs the quality of the content of this interesting new author’s novel. Should by chance the reader flip the page or closes the book but runs their hand over the cover once again, chances are a decision is underway. In that brief moment, the weight of the first page matters.
Now It’s Your Turn
Now it’s your turn. What do you think? How much time do you give to selecting out a good novel to read? Are you narrowly focused on tried and tested bestsellers? Are you a reader who more often than not feels dissatisfied by the novels being hyped and peddled by the big New York City publishing houses. Sadly, there is more and more pressure for the assembly production of novels by notable authors. They are easy to recognize because the author name takes up the top half of the front cover. They are promoting the author’s reputation, not the story inside.
So how do my books stack up? Do the first pages cause you to consider reading more?
To order either of these, if you are not able to find a copy at your local, go to TMBrownAuthor.com’s Bookstore Page
or follow the links below:
For Kindle editions, go to:
The following link is to an interview I enjoyed providing on WUTC with Dante’s Old South program last Fall. It includes a brief six-minute reading of the opening chapter of Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories.
The audible versions of both Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories and Testament, An Unexpected Return are in production for release this Summer for those who prefer to listen to their novels.
Are you ready to accept the Indie Author Challenge to never quit? Though Indie Authors must bear an enormous handicap to publish and then market in the growing sea of books on the market today, are you up to the challenge?
As an Indie-Author there are days when I feel like Brock from the movie, Facing the Giants. In this inspirational scene, Brock is challenged to bear crawl blindfolded toting a huge handicap on his back. Like Brock, I have no idea how far I must push myself to reach the goal line. I also share trying to heed the two voices screaming to determine my fate. There are the encourager’s persistent external urgings that compete to be heard above that inner voice screaming within my head, “I can’t do this! It’s too painful. It costs too much. I can’t possibly succeed.”
Then that encouraging voice pleads even louder, “Don’t quit! Don’t you quit! You can do it!”
Which voice will win the day within you? Do you believe in your heart that the goal line lies just beyond your grasp though you just can’t identify how much further it lies?
Are your ears attuned to those just like you who are being inspired by you and have piped in to cheer you on? Is it your tenacity and stubborn refusal to not give up …to not quit that has spurred them to your feet?
It is an undeniable fact: Indie Authors must carry a handicap to compete in the publishing world, and the amount of sacrifice and effort to reach the goal line is not always visible, BUT you gotta believe there are encouragers all along the way rallying you to not quit.
So for me, I will be like Brock and keep on, keeping on until I can’t go any further. And when I finally succumb and take off the blindfold, I pray the “blood, sweat, and tears” was worth it, and the goal line rested beneath my exhausted body. Because by overcoming the enormous handicap I began the Indie Author challenge carrying, others will be emboldened to accept the same challenge.
Can I count on you to encourage me and other Indie Authors to reach the goal line?
Patience, Persistence & Perseverance Pays Off!
What Will Be Your Author Legacy?
By T. M. Brown
Five years ago, my wife urged me to retire from the nine-to-five daily grind to write a novel that our grandchildren would enjoy reading. The first weeks entailed countless hours of investigating the basics — the what and how — of creative writing. Eventually, my inquiries led me to a God-sent relationship with a writing coach and editor, Kari Scare from Three Rivers, Michigan.
Thankfully, technology bridged the 900 miles that separated us. With Kari’s guidance and ample supply of red ink, I nurtured the original premise of a story. Word after word, page after page, revision after revision, Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories emerged thirty months later. Though a few painful bumps and bruises left their mark along the way, I now proudly enjoy sharing about my legacy of love to my grandchildren.
Of course, one book is never enough. Thanks to the insistence of my earliest readers and my new author-friends, a year after my first novel launched, Testament, An Unexpected Return, the sequel, continued the saga begun in Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories, and the third and presumably final installment is being written. Each features Theo Phillips, a recently retired publishing executive, and his wife, Liddy. Their journey began after they vacated their suburban home near Atlanta seeking to return to South Georgia, near their small-town roots. However, Theo and Liddy discovered their inquisitiveness, as they seek to settle into their Shiloh home, thrusts them into the midst of scandal and dark secrets surrounding a tragic death. In the sequel, Theo and Liddy become unlikely victims of a former resident’s mysterious return and reckless scheming.
Now what? Over the holidays as I began writing the third installment, I pursued a vital third question about crafting novels – why. An author must come to grips with the motivation and internal message that each story tells. After some soul-searching, I realized the events surrounding one of my characters had played out a true-to-life, relevant role within the main story.
Without revealing too much of the story, Megan succumbed to being coerced into making a choice only a woman can make, but she learns in the story choices have consequences, and most often unintended and far-reaching too. No matter how hard anyone buries such a dark secret, eventually it surfaces to the light. I tried throughout the story to reveal a truth we should all realize, God knows all our secrets. He knew we would make the decisions we did long before we created them. Megan comes to realize that one can compound a lousy choice with more poor decisions that hurt others, but more often than not, God exposes our secrets to begin the healing process of a broken and contrite heart.
So why did I write the stories I have written and likely will continue to write? To inspire my grandchildren and readers alike to examine their choices in life and how those choices have impacted their relationships with family, friends, and most importantly with God.
To emphasize this message, throughout February, all my royalties for books sold in Coweta County, GA — where the inspiration for Shiloh began — and on Amazon so others can participate, will benefit Coweta Pregnancy Services, Newnan, GA. The campaign is duly entitled, “Megan’s Pledge.” Below is a link to find out more should you wish to take part.
So, why do you write your stories?
I pray you may agree — “The testament of a man lies not in the magnitude of possessions and property left to his heirs, but the reach of his legacy long after his death.” Theo Phillips
T. M. Brown is a Southern boy at heart, although he’s lived and traveled in many states far removed from his beloved boyhood roots in Georgia and Florida. He returned to North Florida several years ago while his two sons were still in school and enjoyed traveling throughout the South for business. After his youngest son went off to college, he ventured to New Orleans to complete post-graduate studies. The last fifteen years, he has preached, taught and coached in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida until his wife and he relocated outside of Atlanta where they have since retired to write, travel, and spoil grandchildren.
Presenting author at 2017 & 2018 Decatur Book Festival, 2017 Milton Literary Festival, 2018 Dahlonega Literary Festival. Suspense Book 2017 finalist, Reviews & Interviews. Member of the Atlanta Writers Club, Georgia Writers Association, Chattahoochee Valley Writers Club, Georgia Writers Museum. and Broadleaf Writers Association (ATL). 2018 Best Book Award Finalist from AmericanBookFest.com for Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories. Shiloh Mystery Series: Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories (Jan 2018); Testament, An Unexpected Return (March 2018); Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest
For Immediate Release by Palmetto Publishing Group
2018 Best Book Awards Finalist for Religious Fiction by AmericanBookFest.com
Sanctuary: A Legacy of Memories by T. M. Brown
362 pages, paperback
Publication Date: January 19, 2018
Sanctuary: A Legacy of Memories introduces newly retired publishing executive Theo Phillips and his wife Liddy to the time- lost South Georgia town of Shiloh. They leave the shadows of Atlanta and move into a quaint home of notoriety. While making new friends, they discover twenty-first-century challenges threaten the town’s laid-back lifestyle. Theo’s interest in a memorial launches him into investigating tragic events that have left Shiloh unsettled. Retirement dreams face twists and turns that could unravel both them and the idyllic life they and many others look for in little old Shiloh.
This first novel in the series with the sequel, Testament: An Unexpected Return (ISBN 978-1-64111-084-6) published March 21, 2018, portrays God’s providential nudging of Theo into facing the reality that he and Liddy did not choose Shiloh, but Shiloh beckoned them to reveal the scandals and dark secrets haunting their community. And, “as those good ol’ boys like to say, things get curiouser and curiouser . . . ”
Sanctuary: A Legacy of Memories is available for purchase through local book retailers and online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and TMBrownAuthor.com.
About the Author
T. M. Brown embraces his Georgia heritage thanks to the paternal branches of his family tree. Retired since 2014 from the nine-to-five life, Brown and his wife, Connie, reside near Newnan, Georgia. When not writing or traveling, the couple enjoy sharing time with their two grown sons and their families.
MEDIA CONTACT: E-mail: email@example.com
REVIEW COPIES AND INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE
A Southern Novel Nearly Gone With the Wind
After a broken ankle immobilized her in 1926, Margaret Mitchell began developing a manuscript that would become Gone With the Wind, ultimately published in 1936. The success of Gone With the Wind made her an instant celebrity and earned a Pulitzer Prize for Margaret Mitchell, and the famed film adaptation released three years afterward. Over 30 million copies of Mitchell’s Civil War masterpiece have been sold and translated into 27 languages. Tragedy struck in 1949 when Mitchell was struck by a car, leaving Gone With the Wind as her only novel.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Mitchell experienced tragic twists and turns; with the loss of her mother in 1918 and then four years later and four months after her wedding, her first husband abandoned the marriage. She wrote nearly 130 articles for the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine during that troubled time. By 1925 with her first marriage officially annulled, Mitchell married John Robert Marsh who encouraged her writing during her recovery from a broken ankle in 1926. By 1929, she nearly finished her thousand page Civil War and Reconstruction era story – A romantic novel, written from a Southern woman’s point of view, steeped in the history of the South and the tragic outcome of
Rest of the story lies in what happened next…
However, the grand manuscript remained tucked away until 1935 until she reluctantly out of fear showed it to a traveling book editor, who visited Atlanta in search of new material, and the rest is history.
What motivated the book editor to leave his ivory-tower office in New York City?
Southern authors during the decades since earned a warmer reception from the dominant publishing houses as the appeal for Southern stories grew.
What Southern stories rest on your bookshelves at home as a testimony to their lasting imprint on our lives?
Sourced from Margaret Mitchell’s Biography.
Click the image to find the complete review at Publisher’s Weekly.
Hometown Novel Nights Schedule and List of Participating Authors
October 27 Monarch House
Angie Gallion, Scott Ludwig
November 12 WQEE Radio Show
November 21 Rogers BBQ Hogansville
Edwina Cowgil, Tim Miller, Laura Johnson
November 24 Monarch House
Chellie W. Phillis, Toby Nix
December 10 WQEE Radio Show
December 12 Carnegie Newnan – “Christmas Special”
Jedwin Smith, Larissa Reinhart, T. M. Brown (Scott Ludwig, Moderator)
December 22 Monarch House
Mike Nemeth, Holly Moulder
January 14 WQEE Radio Show
January 16 Southern Fried Books – “2020 Special Kick-Off”
George Weinstein, Steve McCondichie, T. M. Brown
(Author and Guests Gathering & Social Event)
January 26 Monarch House
Martha Boone, Tim Miller
February 11 WQEE Radio Show
February 20 Carnegie Newnan
Martha Boone, Angela McCrae, David Coppage
February 23 Monarch House
Angela McCrae, Alex McCrae
March 10 WQEE Radio Show
March 18 Rogers BBQ, Hogansville
Alex McCrae, Toby Nix, Carol James Marshall
March 22 Monarch House
Kim Williams, Doug Vinson
April 14 WQEE Radio Show
April 16 Carnegie Newnan
Mike Nemeth, Chellie W. Phillips, Christopher Swann*
April 26 Monarch House
Ane Mulligan, Tim Riordan
May 12 WQEE Radio Show
May 21 Southern Fried Books
(Proposed Author Gathering & Workshop)
May 24 Monarch House
Sharon Howard, Mark Maguire
June 5-7 NEWNAN LitFest (Mark Your Calendars)
June 9 WQEE Radio Show
June 18 Carnegie Newnan
George Weinstein, Tim Riordan, Holly Moulder
NO “HNN EVENTS” JULY
August 11 WQEE Radio Show
August 20 Carnegie Newnan
August 23 Monarch House
September 8 WQEE Radio Show
September 17 Rogers BBQ Hogansville
(Proposed Author Gathering & Network Opportunity)
September 27 Monarch House
October 13 WQEE Radio Show
October 15 Carnegie Newnan
October 17-18 HUMMINGBIRD FESTIVAL (Details coming for HNN Booth)
October 25 Monarch House
November 10 WQEE Radio Show
November 19 Southern Fried Books
November 22 Monarch House
December 8 WQEE Radio Show
December 17 Carnegie Newnan – “Christmas Special”
Community versus Convenience
Which sways your book purchasing? Your sense of community or does the convenience of online ordering and delivery to your door carry that much weight that you only visit the local bookstore when you happen to be in the vicinity and want to kill a little time snooping?
In today’s tsunami of newly published books, for better or worse, how do you determine what is really worth investing your money and time? The incalculable number of titles on Amazon is beyond comprehension. Are you ever swayed by their promotional blurbs about “books you might like” or “these titles are the latest and best”?
Or, are you the discriminating reader who enjoys wandering into the local bookstore in search of the next best books to add to your stack of “to-be-read” titles? Do you enjoy spotting the highlighted books on the tables as you walk into the store or the end of rack displays? Do you enjoy touching and then scanning the publisher’s well-chosen words about what’s between the front and back covers? Are you a fan of book clubs and author discussions at the bookstore? Do you enjoy looking for that next new book and nascent voice that will attract you long before either makes some best-seller list?
What is the name of your go-to bookstore?
What makes your local bookstore so special?
What kind of author engagement do you enjoy the most? An author book-signing, a book reading, a book discussion, or a panel discussion? None of the above?
Do you have a favorite author that you enjoy reading and purchase his or her books on a regular basis?
What are your thoughts on audio books? Do you like a single narrator or multiple character voices?
Thank you for sharing this survey. And one final question: Do you value community or convenience more? Why?
Enduring Faults in this World
Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
A prayer for all of us who struggle coping with this world: Lord, give me the wisdom to discern the things I can change in myself and others, and the things which I cannot, and thus need to patiently endure until your will be done. Without understanding this as the better way to walk through life our good deeds will not be enough.
Strive daily to be patient with what you deem as failures and weaknesses in others because we ourselves have our own share of shortcomings that must be endured by others. If we cannot be the kind of person we should be before others, how can we expect to be an influence to others?
Why should we expect perfection in others when we do not recognize and correct our own faults? We desire others be severely corrected when they stumble, yet we do not desire to be corrected for our faults.
Great freedom others seem to embrace and display displeases us, yet we will not have our own desires hampered. We support restraining the freedom of others, but we resist restraint of our freedom.
Who among us can claim perfection? Perfection may demand we endure suffering for the good of others. God decrees we should bear one another’s burdens, because none of us are without fault. None of us are free of burdens. None of us are sufficient to walk through life alone. None of us are wise enough to overcome on our own. We are created as social creatures. Thus, we should care for one another, comfort one another, help, instruct, and admonish one another.
When adversity comes, we should not retreat from it, rather reveal how strong we are when we help one another overcome. This world is full of faults. Some faults we carry within us, and some come our way as other people reveal their faults daily to us. However, God works even the faults in this world for the good of all in this world, no matter the source. Our responsibility before God and others is to endure the challenges that come before us and grow closer to God through those times in our life.
My daily prayer: Lord God, you alone know everything. Nothing catches you by surprise, especially our shortcomings. I open my heart, soul, mind, and spirit to you. Search me and reveal the faults that I must not only endure but be open to change within me. Help me to trust your handling of faults in others, and for me to face those faults. Father God, create a clean heart in me and use me for your kingdom purposes. Guard me against stumbling by judging others who stumble and fall. Help me to be more understanding and available to exalt them. Likewise, help me to share my burdens and help others bear theirs as well. May I learn to accept and endure the shortcomings in this world. Amen
Note: Shiloh Reflections are some of the devotional messages that aided Theo Phillips in the Shiloh Mystery Novels to face the challenges and conflicts he discovered in little old Shiloh.
Competence, Discretion & Confidence
Maintain [your] competence and discretion. My son, don’t lose sight of them. They will be life for you and adornment for your neck. Then you will go safely on your way; your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant. Don’t fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare.
Prov 3:21-26 (HCSB)
Those who are truly wise share common traits: Competence, Discretion, and Confidence.
The Importance of Competence
Being competent comes from not only knowing what one should know about any particular discipline, but as a key trait of a wise person, being competent means you know how to properly and rightly utilize the knowledge you have acquired. You want more than just knowledge but also the proper understanding to apply that knowledge in practical, everyday relationships and situations in life for the benefit of everyone, not just yourself.
The Importance of Discretion
A wise person understands the importance of Discretion which understands wisdom is more than just knowing how to do something right. A wise person also understands there is a right manner, right time, and right purpose to demonstrate Competence. Discretion prevents a wise person from taking advantage of others or doing something just because you know how to do something well. A discrete person considers the implications of their competence as it may affect others.
A Godly wise person considers relationships as more important than revelations of knowledge.
The Importance of Confidence
Beyond competence and discretion, one who has sought the wisdom that comes from God has an unshakable confidence about his or her life. Not only does a wise person know how (competence) and when to use (discretion) they also display the confidence to act in the right ways at the right time for the right purpose, even when their actions may prove dangerous to others. A wise person knows God is the source of his or hers confidence. A wise person acts without fear or reservation when they know they are using their godly wisdom for the right purposes, in the right manner, at the proper time, according to God’s wisdom, will and ways.
Competence + Discretion + Confidence = Godly Wise Person
A godly wise person knows there will be times when God uses them to confront and challenge the wrongs in this world for the good of others though that can come with a price. When a person has competence, discretion, and confidence, that person is a formidable force because, they know wisdom comes from God. They know there is nothing that a wise person cannot handle because God guides and directs all that a wise person does; the former fears and anxieties that held them back are gone. A godly wise person lives life with no reserve, no retreat, and no regret.
Is becoming a godly wise person what you desire? Seek after God’s will, way, and wisdom and you’ll discover the inseparable importance of competence, discretion, and confidence as God shapes you as a godly wise person.
Inside the Shiloh Mystery Stories, which character(s) demonstrate what it means to be a godly wise person?
Special Guest: Toni Striblin from Rogers Barbecue, Hogansville, GA
No lasting journey can be tackled without partners to encourage and inspire you. Toni
Here is also is the podcast from the September radio show on WQEE–Rock the Key, 99.1 in Newnan, GA. The radio show is sponsored by Southern Fried Books, 29 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA.
Hometown Novel Nights Monthly Radio Show – Second Tuesday of each month at 9:30 AM and rebroadcast throughout the month on WQEE.
October Broadcast Special Guest: Author Judah Knight, or as most folks in Coweta County know him, Dr. Tim Riordan, Pastor of SonRise Baptist Church, Newnan. He and I did the very first author event which pioneered what is now Hometown Novel Nights. Tune in on October 8th at 9:30 AM.
Our Circle of Friends Should Spur Not Spurn Others
And let us…spur one another on to love and good deeds, and let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another… Hebrew 10:24-25
In the hustle and bustle of life, we may discover, if we take the time, there is at least one person that is hanging around our circle of friends who is looking to be asked to join you and your friends.
Why? Maybe, they feel left out or are merely curious, or even a bit jealous. Either way, they do not know what they must do to join you and your circle of friends.
Could it be you never took notice and extended an invitation?
Shiloh Reflections will be a regular in my Southern Ponderings as I identify the collection of key devotional messages found in the Shiloh stories that
What motivates people to want to join your circle of friends?
It could be pride: They desire to have what you and your circle of friends possess because they do not have it.
It could be fear: They are afraid they could be wrong about you and your circle of friends.
It could be ignorance: They simply do not know why they want to join but feel drawn to know more about you and your circle of friends.
Whatever their motivation, should it matter?
The fact is they have a need ripe to be spurred on and encouraged. Inviting them regardless of their motivation provides the opportunity for them to discover that your relationship with God makes your circle of friends so inviting. They will realize sooner or later that it has nothing to do with anything you and your friends have but what you share. In the end, it should never be because of who we think we are but who we represent.
Therefore our motivation for offering the hand of friendship should never be based upon what will be in our best interest, but for the one seeking our friendship. God providentially grows our circle of friends as we unselfishly connect with others and then spur and encourage one another. Fellowship and friendship are gifts we receive from others, and are necessities to our social well-being in this life.
Remember what Jesus is quoted as saying on the matter.
“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give [mercy and forgiveness], and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:27-38
How inclusive is your circle of friends? Have you offered genuine invitations to others? Do you extend the hand of friendship with sincerity? Does your attitude toward other reflect the same mercy and forgiveness that others have extended to you?
Our daily walk was never intended to be a lonely, lifelong sojourn. Fellowship and friendship offer an eternal connection found in the many “one another” encounters we experience each day.
Remember this final point, we are not responsible for the actions and attitudes of others unless we are the cause. How would you define your circle of friends?