New Book FAQ

Well, it’s more like a FAQIAPWAM (Frequently Asked Questions I Assume People Would Ask Me). I haven’t had anybody ask me all these questions, so I made some up.

Q. Why did you choose to write short stories?

A. Because I thought they’d be easier than a novel. (Pause for overwrought laughter.)

Q. Do they involve the same characters as in your novel?

A. No, they feature new characters in new settings.

Q. I loved your novel…

A. Thank you!

Q. … but its subject matter is a little heavy. Do you tackle the same issues in your stories?

A. No, the stories are much lighter. Substantial enough to make a good read, but without the difficult moments in my novel.

Q. What are the stories about?

A. They’re about ordinary people in ordinary life, making decisions that affect the outcome of their day—or their whole lives.

Q. So, not to be offensive, but ordinary people aren’t very exciting.

A. I’m not offended. After all, you’re pretty boring. Haha, just joking! The fact is, ordinary people aren’t boring; we’re all a complex mix of good and bad, wise and foolish. These are sympathetic and funny stories about people you feel like you know.

Q. I’m not convinced. Tell me about some of these ordinary people who aren’t boring.

A. Well, there’s McKee and Cheryl, who take a wrong turn in an unfamiliar town and unknowingly leave a very lasting impression. Or there’s Makayla, whose husband Hunter drives a big expensive truck even though all they can afford to live in is a trailer—plus she’s got a few issues from her first marriage that she hasn’t exactly fixed up. And you’ll want to hang out with Paige Parker—wife, stay-at-home mother of four, superspy, music tycoon, and fantasy wizard warrioress. Other stories involve discovering love in a canoe, Uncle Bobby laid out on the porch, and five pizza recipes.

Q. Hm, you’re right, sounds intriguing.

A. I thought you’d think so. For my longtime “knew-me-back-when” readers, the final story has a distinct Tales from the Creekbank flavor. You’ll like it.

Q. Will it be available in print as well as ebook, like your novel is?

A. As an independent author, I pay for everything. So I’m selling it as an ebook first, and will release it in print when funds allow.

Q. When is the release date?

A. I’m still wrapping up details, so for now it’s “November.”

Q. Will this make a good Christmas gift?

A. Absolutely. Amazon allows you to give an ebook as a gift. If you need a different format, I sell those too.

Q. I bet it would make a good birthday gift, too. Or just a friendship gift. Or maybe an inexpensive splurge on myself!

A. It’s like you’re reading my mind!

Q. So what about the dromedaries who can’t behave? What are the titles of the stories?

A. Oh, come on. You know what I’m going to say.

Q. I have to get the book and see for myself, right?

A. Enjoy! (I really think you will.)

New eBook Release

Confession: my announcement actually has nothing to do with criminal camels. I bet you already knew that.

I’m just puzzled dromedaries can’t behave is the mnemonic device I use to remember the titles in my new short story collection.

That’s my real announcement.

I’m launching a new ebook next month.

Six original short stories that will make you laugh, probably won’t make you cry, and will remind you of your own world.

I’ll be posting Frequently Asked Questions to talk more about it. But you’ll definitely want to get a copy, trust me.

Dear Cindy

Today I contacted the local newspaper about a press release announcing my novel. The email exchange progressed like this:

Dear Ms. Ames,
I’m a local author. Included is a press release announcing the publication of my new novel. Thank you!
— Sara R. Jones

*
Dear Sara,
Do you have any book signings scheduled for the near future that we could include in the article?
— Cynthia G. Ames, editor

*
Dear Cynthia,
I have one scheduled:

Book Signing
Friday, December 4
Patrick Henry College, Barbara Hodel Center
Purcellville, Virginia
5:30-7:00 pm

There will be others, but they aren’t yet confirmed.
— Sara.

*
Dear Sara,
That’s fine! I’ll put you on the list to call you and set up a time to talk to you and get some pictures.
— Cindy

*
Dear Cindy,
Sounds great! Your new BFF,
— Sara.

*
Okay, no, I didn’t actually say that last part. But we did go from formal titles to casual nicknames within five emails. If we’d kept going, I might have been invited to the family Christmas dinner and possibly asked to be in her daughter’s wedding.

As mentioned, I am signing books tomorrow. Follow me on Facebook (Sara Roberts Jones Author) to keep up to date.

(Note: actual names and actual emails altered. Consider this a fictionalized version. It’s what I do.)

Launch Day!

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It’s November 13!

Launch Day!

Free-Book-Giveaway Day!

Probably-Get-a-Chocolate-Martini Day!

(I mean, I’ll get the martini. You can get the drink of your choice. We’ll toast each other.)

The Fellowship is officially available in print and Kindle format. Click on over to get your copy.

Already bought one? Leave me a review!

Want to know who won the free-book-giveaway?

I bet you do.

Well, one of you does.

The rest of you can stick around for more chances to win more books and/or other cool stuff. Because, you know, I do cool stuff. Even though I, like Bekah, am actually kind of a dork because I don’t know half of the pop culture references you make.

Anyway, the one person who really, really wants to know the winner of this giveaway is…

Gretchen! (despite the fact that she said my modest swimsuit was “star-spangled spanks”).

(Gretchen, I’ll also tag you on my author page)

I’m pretty happy to be giving a copy to her, actually. Not only is she a local friend, but she and I grew up in the same “Fellowship” culture. We didn’t meet one another until Facebook dawned and hundreds of us were able to compare notes and discover just how warped our shared culture was.

(If you’re curious about exactly what my personal story is, I’ll be posting that in the next few days. Meanwhile, read the novel so you know what I’m talking about. Ha! That was subtle.)

Thanks for hanging around. I love to hear from you, so feel free to comment or email.

Now, if you don’t mind, this published author has a chocolate martini waiting.

*****

Order your copy of The Fellowshipnow available.

Q&A

Cover - FlowersWith the official launch of my novel this Friday, I was glad to (pretend) to sit down to an (imaginary) interview with the good folks at SuperExcellent Book Interviews. SEBI is, of course, a totally fake entity; the link takes you to my Amazon page.

I wrote the interview and answered my own questions.

Seriously? Who even does that?

*glances over both shoulders* Um, me, apparently.

*****

We at SuperExcellent Book Interviews were super excited to have Sara Roberts Jones join us for a little chat about her novel, The Fellowship.

Q: Sara, your book will be released on Kindle this Friday, November 13. I understand it’s already available in print?
A: Yes. Thanks to the Amazon gods whose ways are very mysterious.

Q: Are you planning anything special for this week, in honor of the officially “all the way released” day?
A: Yes! I’ll be drawing names for a free book on Friday. Anyone who won my giveaways or commented on my swimsuit picture is eligible for the drawing. Meaning there’s still time to get your name in, if you click on the link and comment. Go on, it opens in another window so you can go ahead and do it and not even lose your place here.

Q: And is that the end of your fun posts-with-prizes?
A: Funny you should ask that! No, in fact, I’m lining up at least two more giveaways of pretty spectacular items, in time for Christmas shopping. For a glimpse of what they’ll involve, check out Red Pen Travel Notebooks and J.A.’s letter art.

Q: You’ve gotten some feedback from your first readers, with comments like,

“I identified with the main character in ways I can’t express.”

“The protagonists aren’t all good, and the villains aren’t all bad… There’s a surprising amount of humor throughout, subtle and otherwise.”

“I seriously took the morning off work to finish this book.”

“This book changed my life. I don’t even need a Bible anymore. My only regret is that I didn’t meet a brown-eyed country boy earlier in life.”

Q: Wait, are you sure these are all authentic reviews?
A: Well, most of them are.

Q: Although initial reactions to your novel have been favorable, some readers say that the work is triggering and difficult to read. Would you say that’s accurate?
A: Well, sure, it’s story of a young woman who lets herself be manipulated by her “authorities.” She submits to a system that says she’s flawed just because of who she is. It’s also the story of a young woman whose passion to help others and find God ends up inspiring a huge, shattering reaction in her church.

There’s no way to tell that story in a chick-lit pink kind of way. So yes, it’s frustrating and has a few disturbing moments. But a community like the Fellowship isn’t all bad. If you hesitate to get into the story, worried that it’s going to engulf you in despair and ugliness… it won’t. There’s laughter and warmth threaded throughout the story, and vindication in the end.

Q: Why is this novel timely for the Christian community?
A: There have always been, and always will be, authoritarian leaders who use and abuse their followers. But they always look so good on the outside. Many Christians admire these leaders, thinking that what they say is very solid and Biblical. But they just don’t know what really lurks behind that crisp, clean exterior.

The dark underbelly came painfully to light just this year on a national scale with the Duggar family scandals. This family (involved in the same cult I was in) believe in a heavily authoritarian, restrictive lifestyle. Their actions indicate that they believe it’s more important to protect the family name (and fortune) than to speak up for victims. We all know now that Josh Duggar cheated on his wife with random women, but Anna Duggar apparently has no plans to divorce him or leave the family. She can’t — women in systems like these have no real choice. No matter how much they smile.

My novel explores a world like that, sympathetically portraying the people who are trapped in that mindset. I really don’t think it could launch at a more fitting time.

Q: Would you say any scenes are inappropriate?
A: Sure, like entire passages of really sordid theology and injustice. Otherwise, nothing a reasonable adult would find uncomfortable.

Q: Who is your favorite Avenger?
A: Captain America. Hang on, what does that have to do with anything?
Q: Nothing. I just figured you’d enjoy thinking about Captain America.
A: I do, thanks.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about your novel before we close?
A: Go buy my book.
Q: Besides that.
A: It launches November 13.
Q: We’ve already said that, too.
A: There’s a shirtless guy on page 319.
Q: Yes, that’s definitely worth mentioning. Well, it’s time to wrap this up. Thank you for joining us and discussing your novel!
A: You’re so welcome. It’s like this whole interview was tailored for me.

*****

Click here to order (print version) or pre-order (Kindle version) of The Fellowship

Revealing (the) Outfit

My title made me laugh.

The pictures I posted in my previous post are — as many of you knew or guessed — a “modest” swimsuit. I suppose it would also work for an acrobat, Krisa. Tara, I would be delighted to get one for you for a hot anniversary celebration, if you want.

It’s very lightweight, and there are leg-loops and a bottom snap to keep the skirt from flying up. In more subdued colors, it might not even be such an assault on the eye. True, that is a knee-length skirt going on there, which just isn’t safe; but the swimsuit is pretty well-designed for its purpose.

It’s the purpose that I object to. I’m just fine with the fact that women have certain features that particularly appeal to men’s sexual appetites, and it’s a mark of respect to herself to cover them up for the general public. What I don’t like is the idea that a woman must obliterate the shape of her own body, or else she tempts men to lust and therefore sins.

But that’s everyday life for Bekah and her friends in the Fellowship. Their swimwear covers their bodies from neck to knees… but they still swim in a separate area from where the boys swim. You can’t be too careful.

Inspiring lust isn’t something that Bekah herself worries about much; she doesn’t see herself as especially beautiful. But her friend Meghan has all the right curves no matter how modestly she dresses. And as the story unfolds… that proves to be a real problem.

All of you who commented are entered into a drawing for the novel once it’s launched — congratulations!

Her Clothing is Spandex and Old Glory

The post title is taken from Proverbs 31:22. It’s the Modern American Version.

I was recently given this outfit by a friend who snickered a lot as I opened the box. I squeezed into the star-spangled suit — I think I need a size up — and we beheld my modest self with wonder.

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It would be much admired in the Fellowship, especially if a woman is a high enough level of virtuous womanhood to make it herself. Note how it smooths out most of those pesky female curves that are such a trial to men.

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But a woman can never be too guarded against immodesty. It lurks under every hem.

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Do you know what the outfit is?

Comment below (whether you know or not) and be entered into a drawing for a free copy of The Fellowship, which actually mentions one of these in passing.