Friday, May 19, 2017

Steena Holmes - An Author Interview at the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on NY Times & USA Today Author Steena Holmes. She is the author of the Stillwater Bay Series, the Love So Sweet Series, the Halfway Series, and the Finding Emma series.

Author: Steena Holmes

Author Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Ebooks

Website: Steena Holmes
Author's Blog: Steena Holmes
Twitter: @Steenaholmes
E-Mail: steena@steenaholmes.com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Amazon Author Profile



Author Description:
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author!

With her passion for storytelling, Steena Holmes took her dream of being a full-time writer and made it a reality, writing her first novel while working as a receptionist. Her novels have won awards, such as: 2012 NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE BOOK Award for her bestselling novel Finding Emma

2015 USA BOOK NEWS Award for The Word Game,

2015 USA BOOK NEWS finalist for The Memory Child.

Now both a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, with over a million copies sold, Steena continues to write stories that touch every parents heart in one way or another.


SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Charmed by Chocolate. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I actually just finished my next book in the Love at the Chocolate Shop series - Captured by Chocolate. This will be out in August and it’s the story about two soul mates who placed everything and everyone ahead of their own relationship. Right now, I’m working on a story called Forgotten Ones which will be out in the new year and I’m enjoying how tangled secrets can become within a family.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?

I love how connected I can be with readers/book lovers via social media. Building my readership is never ending and it feels like I’m constantly needing to adjust how I do things every few months or so but one thing hasn’t changed since I started - connecting with readers and building relationships with them via relatable experiences.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I’ll be in Surrey, BC this October for a conference and I’m doing a book club discussion here in Calgary this summer. Other than that - I love to chat with readers online via Facebook and Twitter or through my newsletter. All my information is on my website - www.steenaholmes.com


Many of your novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience for you? How important has Audio Books been to your success? Do you recommend new authors going this route to get more exposure?

I'm still growing within the audio world but more and more I’m finding new readers this way. In fact, I’m finding my own love for audio books and listening to them more and more. I would recommend this to new readers once they have a full series with a steady income since it can be costly for new authors.

You have written many novellas. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work? Do you feel short reads are a product of our email and smart phone age?

I love writing novellas especially when they are within a series. These are perfect to write when I don’t feel there’s enough story for a full length novel but there’s still a story to be told and it’s something my readers love. I was always told that novellas don’t work within women’s fiction but I disagree, for obvious reasons. They’re fun to write and fast to read, which is great for voracious readers.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. You have put together several sets of your novels. What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your novels?

I bundled novels together for those readers who want to read all the books in one sitting and get a great deal in the process. Everyone has different buying and reading habits and my goal was just to provide a product for those readers.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I have two books that I give away for free, one is by joining my newsletter and one is free for everyone. I’ve done a few giveaways with other authors in the past and the goal is always to benefit readers.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

You are very kind! I’m actually in the middle of rebranding/rebuilding my website and blog so that it’s more focused. Right now I feel like I’m pulled in too many directions and that’s my own fault. Where do I find the time? I have no idea! LOL. My primary goal of my blog is to interact with readers in ways that works for them while sharing a part of my life with them. It’s why I share recipes I love, when my books are on sale and things from my heart

You have published several of your books in German. How is your audience abroad? Does marketing online help in this situation?

I love my German readers! I don’t do much in terms of marketing for Germany but I’ve been there twice now and have met with a few readers, which is always fun! I love that my audience there is growing and can’t wait to have more books released

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I rely on my readers to provide the reviews - I want real and honest feedback. My publisher also works with reviewers to help spread the word but in all honestly, I have the best readers out there!



Author's Book List
Charmed by Chocolate - Love at the Chocolate Shop
When Leah ran off to Southern California, she hoped to leave freezing cold winters and unrequited love behind. She was never meant for a small town life and the timing with her longtime best friend–and secret soul mate–was always hopelessly off.

But after a mishap on the hit reality show Charming, Leah declares her love for Wade nationwide and is publicly dubbed "Lonely Leah." She returns to Marietta to hide at her family's home–from the media who wants to turn her into a human interest story, from the townspeople upset with her blunder, and most of all, from Wade, who wants to talk.

It took Leah leaving town to wake Wade Burns up to the reality that he's head over heels in love with his best friend. But now that she's back home, she's giving him the cold shoulder. With chocolate and a grand gesture, can Wade charm his way back into Leah’s heart?


Order the Book From:
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KOBO Store
iTunes Store


Abby's Journey
A young woman in fragile health travels to Europe to learn about the mother she never knew.

Twenty-year-old Abigail Turner has only known her mother, Claire—who died shortly after she was born—through letters, videos, postcards, and journals. Abby’s father, Josh, has raised his precious daughter himself, but his overprotectiveness has become stifling. Abby longs to forge out on her own and see the world after a childhood trapped indoors: she suffers from bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which means a case of the sniffles can rapidly escalate into life-threatening pneumonia.

But when Abby’s doctor declares her healthy—for now—her grandmother Millie whisks her away to Europe to visit the Christmas markets that her mother cherished and chronicled in her travel journals. Despite her father’s objections, Abby and Millie embark on a journey of discovery in which Abby will learn secrets that force her to reevaluate her image of her mother and come to a more mature understanding of a parent-child bond that transcends death.


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Audible


Saving Abby
All children’s book illustrator Claire Turner ever wanted was to be a mother. After six years of trying to conceive, she and her husband, Josh, have finally accepted that she will never be pregnant with a child of their own.

Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, the soon-to-be mother goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. Since any treatment could put their unborn baby’s life at risk, the Turners must carefully weigh their limited options. And as her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?


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Audible


Stillwater Deep - Stillwater Bay Series Book 4
Hidden truths are unspoken lies.

Or what others might call secrets.

Everyone knows nothing good ever comes from keeping secrets. And yet, that's exactly what Charlotte Stone is doing. Or trying to.

It doesn't help that the secret she's trying to keep is slowly destroying everyone and everything around her. Her marriage, her town, her friendships...even herself.

Months ago, her tiny town of Stillwater Bay was rocked with a tragedy. One of their own had gone into a local elementary school with a gun and too many lives were lost.

The secret Charlotte is keeping is this: she knows why Gabriel Berry went into the school with a gun and it's all her husband's fault.

While Charlotte is trying to remain strong, her husband is slowly falling apart. The secret Jordan's keeping is too much to carry and he needs to confess - but Charlotte won't let him. If he tells the truth it would destroy their town and all those they consider friends.

Control-focused Charlotte Stone, mayor of Stillwater Bay, unravels little by little as the secrets become too much for her to carry. Is the truth worth the cost? Charlotte isn't so sure.

Stillwater Tides focuses on members of the small knit community as they learn to heal.


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iTunes Store



Stillwater Tides - Stillwater Bay Series Book 3
Fans of Jodi Picoult and Elin Hilderbrand will fall in love with this novella set in the town of Stillwater Bay, a continuation of Steena Holmes heart-touching series of the devastating aftermath of a small town school shooting.

What kind of life can you live when you know you should be dead? What happens when all your dreams fall apart and it’s a struggle just to get through each day?

Grace Bryar is only alive because she called in sick to work and convinced her best friend to go in her place. She was alive when her friend was dead. That kind of guilt doesn’t go away and in fact, it holds the power to destroy lives.

Camille Bloomin struggles to give her sister time to grieve while keeping their business afloat. Every day she wonders if today is the final straw for Paige and if she’ll walk away – leaving Camille alone. Ever since their parents death, Camille’s focus has been on the family business and her sister – she’s not sure how to change, especially now.

Rocked by the tragedy in their small town, both women discovers that amidst the pain of living with loss, dreams still can come true.


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Amazon
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KOBO Store
iTunes Store


Stillwater Rising - Stillwater Bay Series Book 2
After losing her son in an elementary school shooting that devastates the tight-knit community of Stillwater Bay, Jennifer Crowne finds herself unable to settle back into her role of perfect stay-at-home mom and committee organizer. Meanwhile, her best friend, Mayor Charlotte Stone, struggles to keep the town together, and Charlotte’s husband, the school principal, may not be the hero everyone thinks him to be.

As they try to heal from this irrevocable trauma, Jenn and Charlotte find themselves at a crossroads—within the town and within their friendship. For Jenn, broken and grieving, there is no going back, and she demands that the school be closed so that she can bury the past. Yet Charlotte is equally desperate to hold the town together, fighting the school closure and helping the shooter’s mother regain her place in the community. Jenn and Charlotte’s relationship is put to the ultimate test as each weighs her own interests against the bonds of their friendship.


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Amazon
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Stillwater Shores - Stillwater Bay Series Book 1
5 women.

Five women bonded by friendship, there for each other no matter the storms that came.

Five women who had no idea their lives were about to be destroyed.

Five women bonded by friendship...until they weren't.

Before the first shots are fired within the walls of Stillwater Elementary School, life went on as normal for five women who were close friends. Their monthly girls' night was coming up and they couldn't wait to get together. They all needed this night to run away and be carefree - from their husbands, their children, their church - with no expectations, no responsibilities, where they weren't mothers or wives.

No one expected their lives to be torn apart, their friendships tested in one short minute when their town is rocked by a danger lurking in their tight-knit community.

This story gives you a glimpse into the town of Stillwater Bay and its residents. You will see what their lives were like BEFORE the storm that rocked their little community descended upon them.

This is the prequel to Stillwater Rising.

NOTE: This story was originally titled BEFORE THE STORM.


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KOBO Store


The Word Game
For overprotective parent Alyson Ward, any time her daughter, Lyla, is out of sight is reason to panic. So it’s a big step for her when she lets Lyla attend a sleepover at her cousin’s house. Comforted by the knowledge that her sister, Tricia, is the chaperone, Alyson does the one thing she never thought possible: she lets go and trusts that her daughter will be safe.

But Alyson’s sense of peace is short lived. When Lyla comes home the next morning, she reveals something that could tear apart not only their family but also the entire community. Now, Alyson and Tricia must confront their painful shared past as they come together to help a little girl who they fear might be harboring terrible secrets similar to their own. Will the sisters be strong enough to face their demons in order to protect the child, even if it means telling their most private truths?


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Audible


Sweet Retreat - Love So Sweet Series Book 4
Knowing what she wants and how to get it is Kerrie’s specialty.

She is after a lawyer. But the game plan changes when it comes to men. Losing control is never an option, so when her blind date disregards her long list of "wooing" requirements and does what he pleases, she discovers it's not only exactly what she's always desired, but also what she's always needed.


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KOBO Store
iTunes Store
Audible


Sweet Return - Love So Sweet Series Book 3
Every once in a while, it’s time to put yourself first…right? Except in her family she always comes last.

Lauren Summers is the stable sister, the one who runs the family company while her sisters take off and travel the world. One weekend a year she hides herself away and mourns a love she lost six years ago.

That weekend is now, except she’s being whisked away to a mysterious island despite her protests. After being pampered with luxury, massages and the best chocolate a girl could taste, she starts to realize that its time she left the past behind and moved forward with life, and maybe with love.

Sounds like a good idea, right?

What she doesn’t know, is that someone from her past has other ideas…


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iTunes Store
Audible


Sweet Dreams - Love So Sweet Series Book 2
Since chocolate couldn’t cure her broken heart, creating the finest macarons and croissants this side of Paris would have to do. Who needed love anyways?

Opening up Sweet Treats could have been the answer to all her problems - except all the problems she’d ran away from in Paris followed after her, via a first class ticket and wore rugged jeans. It didn’t help he made the best chocolates she’d ever tasted, either.

What’s a girl to do when the only man she’d ever loved was willing to give their love another try - even when she’d been the one to betray their love by keeping a secret from him that could destroy all their future dreams?


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KOBO Store
iTunes Store


Sweet Memories - Love So Sweet Series Book 1
Happily-ever-after only happens once in a lifetime, right? But what if Prince Charming runs for the hills at the first sign of trouble and leaves you to pick up the pieces.

Thinking her marriage was over, Tessa was more than a little shocked to fall into the arms of her husband (literally) at a party she’d planned through her new company, Decadent Events. When he asks her out for coffee, she assumes it’s to sign the divorce papers he’d seen.

What’s a girl to do when her heart still goes pitter-patter for a man who ran out on her six months after they made their forever vows but comes back asking for another chance?


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KOBO Store
iTunes Store


Return to Sender - Invitation to Eden series
Lauren Summers is the stable sister, the one who runs the family company while her sisters take off and travel the world. One weekend a year she hides herself away and mourns a love she lost six years ago. That weekend is now, except she’s being whisked away to a mysterious island despite her protests. After being pampered with luxury, massages and the best chocolate a girl could taste, she starts to realize that its time she left the past behind and moved forward with life, and maybe with love. What she doesn’t know, is that someone from her past has other ideas…


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Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store


The Memory Child - The Memory Child Series Book 1
When Brian finds out that his wife, Diane, is pregnant, he is elated. He’s been patiently waiting for twelve years to become a father. But Diane has always been nervous about having children because of her family’s dark past. The timing of the pregnancy also isn’t ideal—Diane has just been promoted, and Brian is being called away to open a new London office for his company. Fast-forward one year: being a mother has brought Diane a sense of joy that she’d never imagined and she’s head over heels for her new baby, Grace. But things are far from perfect: Brian has still not returned from London, and Diane fears leaving the baby for even a moment. As unsettling changes in those around Diane began to emerge, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. A woman’s dark past collides head-on with her mysterious present in this surreal and gripping family drama.


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Megan's Hope - Finding Emma Series Book 5
What is normal when a kidnapped daughter returns home?

Emma is now home and Jack, the man Emma calls Papa is part of their family. Life should be good, right?

Except Jack is dying and no one is quite ready to say goodbye.

This novella follows the life of Jack and Emma throughout the past year and if you thought your heart had already broke while reading Finding Emma and Emma’s Secret - get ready.

You’ll need kleenex and lots of it.


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KOBO Store
iTunes Store


Emma's Secret - Finding Emma Series Book 2
For two years, Megan, Peter, and their two older daughters, Alexis and Hannah, dream of nothing but being reunited with the family’s youngest child, Emma, who was kidnapped just before her third birthday. When Emma is miraculously found living with an elderly couple just miles from the family’s home, they are hopeful that her return will heal the wounds her disappearance created.

But Emma is vastly different from the sunny toddler they remember. She barely remembers her parents or her older sisters. She is quiet and withdrawn, and, worst of all, longs for the very people who kidnapped her.

Megan is consumed with bitterness, while Peter works later and later nights in the company of his gorgeous business partner. And in the middle of everything, Megan’s best friend has become suddenly distant and secretive.

Then a chance encounter in town leads to a secret that changes everything again for Emma. And Peter must decide between the happiness of his youngest daughter and the trust of his family.


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Finding Emma - Finding Emma Series Book 1
A mother’s near-obsessive devotion to her missing daughter threatens to destroy more than one family.

Megan is the harried but happy stay-at-home mother of three little girls living in a small town. Her life implodes when her youngest daughter, Emma, disappears on her third birthday.

Two years later, Megan is preparing to commemorate Emma’s birthday and the anniversary of her kidnapping, compelled to keep her name alive in the minds of her community and her family. Her commitment to Emma, however, borderlines on obsession as she follows the families of little girls who look like the daughter she lost.

Her obsession with finding Emma has distanced Megan from both friends and family. Her two older daughters are resentful of her relentless and fruitless search for their sister, and her husband pleads with her to accept that Emma is gone so that the family can move on with their lives.

Meanwhile, in the same small town, Jack is beginning to question his wife’s secrecy about their adored granddaughter, Emmie. As Dottie slips into dementia and becomes increasingly protective over Emmie, he can’t help but wonder if there could be a dark secret that Dottie is keeping from him.

Jack and Megan’s worlds finally intersect at the town carnival, when Megan snaps a photograph of a little girl on her grandfather’s shoulders.


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Halfway to Christmas - Halfway Series Book 3
Christmas has always been one of the busiest times of the year for the women of Halfway, Montana, and this year is no exception.

It’s barely been a year since Nikki Landon and her son, Ryan returned to town. But a lot has happened in such a short time, and this year, with her new love by her side, the holidays are set to take on a whole new meaning.

Despite how busy Becky Jennings and her husband Matt are running their tree farm, Christmas has always been a time for love, laughter and…baking. Now, with a baby on the way, their lives are about to change—but is all the stress starting to take its toll?

Melissa Tait has spent the last nine years celebrating the holidays without her husband Wade. Now that he’s returned, the whole family has a lot of adjusting to do. But is it too much?

After ten years away, Nyah Henderson has finally returned to Halfway to take over her father’s medical practice. As happy as she is to be home, small town life can be tough. Maybe the holiday season is just what she needs to find her way?

Join the women of Halfway, Montana as they celebrate love, friendship and the benchmarks of life this holiday season while learning some hard life lessons along the way.


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Amazon


Halfway in Between - Halfway Series Book 2
Life hasn’t been easy for Melissa Tait-Rhodes — but then, how could it be since she's been living a lie for the past ten years. A lie that has completely changed her daughter’s life and affected Parker, her brother-in-law in ways neither of them imagined. As the only one in town who shares her secret, it was natural for Melissa to lean on him. After all—he’s family.

When Nikki Landon decided to say in her hometown of Halfway, Montana, things with her new boyfriend naturally became more serious. In fact, things might be getting t a lot more serious between them if it wasn’t for one thing—his all too involved sister-in-law getting in the way.

But there’s more to their relationship that anyone is admitting and when Parker finally comes clean with the truth, Melissa’s carefully constructed deception begins to crumble.

Secrets in a small town have a way of getting out, and if Melissa and Nikki aren’t careful, this is one secret that could destroy everything, including what they both want more than anything—to be with the one they love.


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Amazon


Halfway to Nowhere - Halfway Series Book 1
Nikki Landon walked away from her small town, Halfway, Montana, ten years ago, with no intentions of setting foot there again. But, when her mother dies unexpectedly, Nikki has no choice but to return, and this time with the child she was trying to hide—ten year old, Ryan.

Becky Jennings is living her happily-ever-after. She’s married to the man of her dreams and even though that means being the wife of a Christmas tree farmer, she’s happy. There’s only one thing missing from her fairy-tale life: a child to hold in her arms. After countless miscarriages, she’s struggling to accept that might be one dream that will never come true.

As teenagers, Nikki would have done anything to protect her best friend, Becky from heartache, which is why she left. But ten years later, there’s nowhere to hide in a small town where everyone can see the truth of the secret she can no longer keep.

Could Nikki’s son be the child Becky has always longed for? And if he is, can the already fragile bond between the two friends, withstand the heartache?


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Chocolate Reality
Not many women would be able to look on the bright side of things when they are left at standing at the front of a church, alone, in a white dress, with everyone blaming her for the groom’s cold feet.

Yet that’s exactly what Wynne does. When the only comfort she could find was in the form of chocolate, Wynne decided to open her own shop, called Chocolate Blessings.

With a not-so-secret passion for chocolate, Wynne focuses all her energy on making her passion a success. Which really isn’t all that hard, think about it – what woman doesn’t like chocolate? But, despite all this, Wynne can’t ignore those sweet and utterly delectable dreams of love that refuse to go away.

In her dreams, Wynne is dancing in the arms of a very strong and handsome man. But which man? Is it the one she turned away from years before out of fear, or the one who left her standing at the altar? Wynne has no sweet clue.

To the surprise of her best friends, Wynne finds herself knee-deep in planning her ex-fiancĂ©’s engagement party.

In the whirlwind that occurs, Wynne must decide which man she is still in love with – the one who walked away or the one in her dreams.


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Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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