Thursday, September 5, 2013

8 Hour Ebook Challenge - results

I took part in this challenge from Joe Konrath:  Basically, if you haven't seen it, you write, edit, format, create cover art, and publish a story all in the space of eight hours.

I created this:

The Sword, the Dragon, and the Lie, by Alice M. Roelke

I felt it was a big success, because it gave me the courage to write a story I wanted to.  I spent time writing and editing, not just second-guessing myself, the story turned out well.  At least, I was happy with it.  :)

I set free promotion for five days, and 219 people downloaded copies.  One of them has now reviewed it (4 stars!!).  :) 

I probably would never have written this without the challenge to give me a little push, even though it was an idea I wanted to play with.  I enjoyed myself, and the story kept surprising me.

Someone has started a regular, off-shoot challenge:
I'd love to participate again, but to be honest, I don't know when I will!  Probably not this week.  :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Three August ebook releases~!

Ellie's Advice, by Alice M. Roelke

All her life, Ellie's poor health has held her back. But not anymore. She's going for the job she longs to have, as an advice columnist for a local paper.

Shel Silverberg is a widower who's promised himself he'll never marry again. His arranged marriage was a kind of torture, and he'll never sign up for another. Then he meets the beautiful and sweet-natured Ellie. As her editor, he has to remain professional—but he can't stop thinking about the gorgeous redhead. 

She can't stop thinking about him, either. When they accidentally meet in the park and end up rescuing some puppies together, their lives will never be the same. 

A sweet, gentle romance set in the 1950s. - Approximately 32,000 words 

From the author: 
This is a gentle romance that I wrote for a cover from that I really liked.  It's a sweet, slow-paced romance with gentle characters that I really had fun writing.  The main characters are Jewish.  I think there should be more Jewish characters in fiction.  We have lots of romance with Christian characters, why not some with Jewish characters?  Of course, since I'm not Jewish myself I didn't try to focus heavily on religion, mostly stuck with the romance angle. 


The Sword, the Dragon, and the Lie, by Alice M. Roelke

All her life, Lisbet's red hair has held her back. Unlucky red hair was enough to keep any man from wanting to marry her. Now it's enough to make the people in the next village try to throw her to a dragon. But Lisbet isn't about to go without a fight--and she may just learn something about herself and her heritage along the way. Including that she had a relative she never knew about.

14,000 + words - Fantasy - dragons

Free on Amazon from August 30 - Sept. 3, 2013

From the author:This story was written and published in eight hours for Joe Konrath's ebook writing challenge. Boy, did I have fun with it!  It was amazing to see just how much I could write in a limited time, and to see a story come together from just an image I liked and a vague idea.  I actually really love this story, too.  I may go back and re-edit it or tweak some of it at a later date, but I do love the idea of the purity and speed of this challenge, and may leave it untouched.  


The Contestant, by Alice M. Roelke

Luckiest kid in the world? 

Tim wins a chance to be on Kids' World, his favorite virtual reality TV show. Then he learns he's replacing a boy who disappeared mysteriously inside the game. Tim makes friends and enemies and participates in challenges that mix sports, fantasy, and video games. It's the most fun he's ever had. But if he can't solve the mystery of Kids' World, he just might be the next to disappear…

Genres: Children's / science fiction / mystery / adventure - Length: 50,000 words

From the author:
This is a story I wrote several years ago.  I was happy with how it turned out, but never managed to sell it.  However, I decided this year to work on it some more and self-publish it.  I sprang for a cover from Charlotte Volnek, who did one of my covers at MuseItUp that I particularly liked.  I don't know if there is a market for this story, but I'm very pleased to have it 'out there.'  I think when an author really believes in her story, she should just go ahead and 'do it!'  Maybe other people will like it, but either way I have the satisfaction of following through on a dream.  :)

Haha, I just noticed that two of my blurbs start with "All her life!"  That's funny!

Monday, August 12, 2013

coming soon

Ellie's Advice, my new romance, will be available as an ebook from soon!  I had a lot of fun writing this one.  I'm even enjoying the editing!  This is a sweet retro romance with a gentle hero and kindhearted heroine.  I'll post more about it soon.  :)

Also, from August 18th to the 31st, my sweet Regency romance Laurie's Painter will be on sale for 99 cents.

And I'm pleased to report that edits are moving forward with Watch Over Me, so it should be out shortly from MuseItUp as well!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

How wrong can we get? Gay "vs" Christian attitudes

I am not going to lie.  This post is difficult for me to write.  1) I hate controversy.  Like, I really really find it stressful.  I hate arguing with people and debating, etc.  It's just not who I was made to be.  I also hate sticking my neck out.  2) I know it could impinge on my writing career.  I have, after all, written Christian fiction and may write more in the future.

But, I've learned some things in the last few years that I need to talk about openly and honestly somewhere.  Like, standing up about it, not just privately realizing I was wrong about some things in life.

Something I was wrong about?  How the Church and Christianity believes and acts toward gay people.  How I believed about gay people.

Basically, I grew up with an assumption that gay = all about sex and scary and evil.  And yes, we love the sinner and hate the sin, but really?  We were just creeped out and disgusted by the whole topic.  Because it was wrong, and of the devil, etc.

Here's a good link to read more on this topic, by the way:

But, what I've been learning and what God has been slowly teaching me... it's not OK to hate anybody.  To be disgusted by people.  To SAY we love the sinner but really just want to stay away from them because they're creepy and gross.

Jesus doesn't find people creepy and gross.  He just doesn't.

One book I found very helpful to understand some of these issues is Torn, by Justin Lee.  I love the way he talks, not so much about theology and who is right and wrong, but about how we treat each other.  Do we see each other as human beings and honestly love, or just want to preach and win arguments?

Guess what Christianity isn't?  A debate team.  A war game.  Something where you get points for proving the other side wrong.  And then saying you'll pray for them.

Truly following Jesus is about loving your enemies...not beating them into the ground with scripture.  That's when people truly ARE enemies...not saying we have to make people who disagree with us our enemies.

The older I get, the more I realize I've been wrong about lots of things, and had very little understanding at all about the grace of God.  It's been about rules.  And that's not what Jesus is about.  To be a real Christian, we really have to get to know Jesus and live as he lived (not the sandals but loving people) and follow his teachings about loving our enemies, loving each other, and loving God.

And... we are supposed to be able to disagree about theological issues without attacking each other and hating each other and degenerating into prideful and sneering creatures.  In the Bible, Paul talks about how the people who disagree about whether or not to eat meat sacrificed to idols need to handle it.  The one thing he never says it that they should beat each other up until the other side submits.  While that doesn't seem like an important issue to us anymore, it's a good template to handle theological debate.

There are areas where you can legitimately question things and have different theological beliefs.  I think we need to be open enough to say, "Well, if they're wrong, I can trust that God will show them that someday."  Instead of saying we have to be the ones to prove everyone wrong or else despise them forever.

I think we're all wrong about something.  I think I'm wrong about some things, and I may never know it as long as I live!  Scary!

But the thing the church needs to deal with is, Are we going to really follow Jesus and love people?  Even if we think they're wrong, or they're outside our experience and scary?

And you know what I see?  I have very, very rarely seen the church be open and loving towards gay people.  I've seen jokes and jabs and sermons and debates.  I've seen the assumption that being gay is the worst sin in the world.  That being gay is all about one certain sex act, which is the grossest thing ever, without any acknowledgement that 1) not all gay people have this or any sex, and 2) some straight people do.  I've seen little if any acknowledgement that some people identify as same-sex attracted but believe in following their church's teaching and being celibate.

A glimpse of what it's like to be a Christian who is gay or same-sex attracted but celibate:

I have some issues I need to work on.  But I don't hate, fear, despise, or "love the sinner but hate the sin" anymore toward gay people.  (Also, I now say "gay people" the same as I say "straight people."  I don't go around calling anyone "straights" so why would I call anyone "gays?")

I just wonder what took so long.  I've loved God for most of my life and tried to follow Him.  I've worked so hard to become a loving person, and I know I have a lot further to go. was this blind spot there?  How could I not see how damaging it is to be disgusted by certain people or think you have to convince people they're wrong?

It seems like the main Christian response sometime about gay people and Christianity is, well, you can't be gay and go to heaven.  So change and then maybe Jesus will have time for you.  (Because obviously you picked it, right?  Even though gay people are more likely to commit suicide, they must've wanted to become gay at some point, right?)  And if you can't change yourself?  If you don't pray hard enough or believe enough (just like some people feel about healing), well, sucks to be you!

That's not good enough anymore.  It's time to love people for real.  That means people who disagree with you about politics.  People who cut in front of you in traffic.  People who are gay.  People who disagree with you about theology.

It means following Jesus for real this time.

If anyone wants to see more about the debate thing, feel free to check out Justin Lee for some views.

Or this video, which shares some of the discussions and issues and sides going on, from a well researched young man:  or here: Even if you don't agree with his conclusions, you'll learn something.  (I did.)

I also highly recommend Justin Lee's book, wherever you stand on the issues, because he does such a good job of reminding us that it's not all about issues: it's about people, and how we treat others, and if we even see them as human.  It's about God and how he treats people and wants us to treat each other--with respect, dignity, and love.

You know, I didn't used to understand the part of the Bible where Jesus talks about separating the sheep from the goats.  You know, the people who think they did God's work but he says, "You never knew me?"  It sounds so harsh.  And the other people, who did His work, seemed sort of surprised, like they'd just been going about their lives, not thinking they were wonderful or anything, just trying to do the right thing and help people in need.

I sort of get it now.  If we fill our lives with correcting people and arguing about stuff and putting boxes around who is worthy of love and compassion and who isn't, well, we really don't know Jesus very well on a personal level.  If we actually help people in need and love others, then we're following Jesus.

I have so far to go, I know.  You don't need to tell me.  I really do know.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Laurie's Painter - free on Amazon

Briefly, my Regency romance is free on Amazon:

I also fiddled with the cover a bit.  (Yes, I broke down and used Amazon's cover creator!)

That's all, really.  Have a great weekend! :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

fortune cookie

I got this fortune cookie the other day.

"You are an outgoing and fun loving person."

My first thought?  "Shouldn't that be hyphenated?"

Fortune cookie fail.  :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My decision to self-publish a romance

My sweet Regency / historical romance, "Laurie's Painter," by Alice M. Roelke, is now live on Amazon.  It costs $2.99.  If anyone is interested in a review copy, I'll send you one right away. Just let me know what format & where to send it. :)

All right, with that out of the way, I'd like to talk about my decision to self-publish this story.

Part of it was very easy.  My publisher, MuseItUp Publishing, passed on this story.  So I set it aside and gave up on it.  But time passed, and I found I still liked and believed in this story.  So I worked on it further, and I think it's much better than it was.  I think it might possibly find a few readers, and the process of working on it and publishing it is helping me to get my courage up and keep growing as a writer.

It took a few tough decisions, including chopping off the beginning that I was very fond of, but just wasn't working for the story.  It involved reworking dialogue and wording and adding more scenes where necessary.  It was a high wire act of balancing creative decisions with editing decisions, and sometimes it was very stressful.  But it was also a great deal of fun.

My cover art decisions were also a balancing act.  I made my own cover using a stock photo.  It doesn't scream Regency (the dress is wrong for the era; I couldn't find one that was correct), but I think it does scream 'historical,' which is almost as good.  I could've chosen a more generic cover, such as an arrangement of flowers, but I liked this much better and decided to take the chance it would connect with readers.  It is a gamble, but a fun one.  It'll be interesting to see if I was right--or not.  

I don't know if this romance with succeed for anyone else, but it's already a success for me, because, instead of giving up on it like I generally have in the past if anyone else didn't like something I wrote (and even my mom didn't connect with this one at first!!), I eventually picked it up again, admitted to myself I still believed in it, and then did what I could to improve it and put it out there.  And for me, not giving up and getting a story out there?  That is a HUGE success!  :)

Basically, I loved taking a chance with my story, and it makes me very happy to see it on Amazon now.  :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

new ebooks

I decided to start self-publishing some of my previously published older works.

Message to Mars and other stories, by Alice M. Roelke - my Mars stories, previously published by Ray Gun Revival

Thief's Life and other stories - my previously published short Christian fiction, including three prize-winning stories

Dragon Bones - previously published science fiction story in a fantasy setting (sort of)

and this one:

The Runaway Case - a short story about a robot detective -  (Lucy Tingle is an old pen name of mine.  I used it because I wasn't feeling brave enough to publish under my own name at the time!  But I added my real name later.)  This is the only one that wasn't previously published.

Each of these short ebooks sells for 99 cents, though I'm trying to make use of the free days, too.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Girl and the Dragon - 4 1/2 star review!

My Christian YA fantasy was reviewed by Night Owl Reviews and given 4 1/2 stars!  Here is the review:

Yes, I'm tickled pink.  And yes, I know that's a cliche.  ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Interview with J. Q. Rose, author of "Girls Succeed"

Hi Alice. I am so pleased to be your guest today.

Who do you think would like your book? (Or alternately: Please tell
prospective readers why they’d like your book.)

The book is for middle grade girls. After sending the book to many girls’ focus groups, I know they liked learning about careers. I loved reading the feedback from them. Kids are so honest about their feelings.  One gal told me for one chapter to “spice it up a bit.” LOL..You can bet I re-wrote that one for sure!

What is your favorite thing about your story?

My book is not a fictional story, but it is a chapter book with each chapter being about a remarkable, contemporary woman who is successful in her career.  The book is filled with dreams and passion. The dream is to achieve success in a career the woman is passionate about and worked hard to make it come true. I share these stories so girls will see how it is possible to make a dream a reality.

Do you remember how long it took you to write? How about to edit and
find a publisher?

In 2006 I began my quest for women who would be outstanding role models by researching at the library. I made a list in Word Excel of all the areas I would like to include like arts, entertainment, science, business, athletics, and so on and filled in the spreadsheet with their names and mailing addresses. I designed a really cute letterhead, if I say so myself, and toiled over writing a cover letter that would stir them to want to be included in the project. I was thrilled when the postcards began returning to me in the mail with checkmarks in the boxes for “interested in participating in the project.” I immediately sent the respondents a page of questions to return to me and then I called each one for an interview. Yes, complete strangers who were in the project simply because they wanted to inspire and empower girls. Amazing.

It took me two years to finish interviews and polish enough to send to publishers. I soon
learned 2008 was not the time to try and find a publisher for non-fiction children’s books. The economy was crushing the publishing business. Many doors closed and those who stayed open severely limited their book lists. After contacting more than twenty publishers and receiving rejections, I decided the climate was not right for this book.

I kept working on improving the book after receiving helpful feedback from some of the publishers. I was delighted to add a woman scientist who wanted to join in the project.

When I envisioned this project in 2006, I designed it to include resources for girls to learn more about careers which interested them. Not only did I want to include books, magazines, and articles, I also wanted to include live links to websites on the Internet with updated information just a click away for the reader. Unfortunately I was a bit ahead of my time…!! Now my dream has come true to include live links in my indie e-book, so the reader has access to loads of resources for them to learn all about the woman interviewed and her career.

What is your favorite type of book to read? Do you have any favorite
books or authors?

I enjoy all kinds of books to read…easing into werewolves and science fiction stories, but prefer mysteries. Sue Grafton of the M is for Murder series about Kinsey Milhone is what inspired me to actually write mysteries. My latest favorite novel is Water for Elephants…beautifully written with an amazing story line.

Anything interesting in your past you’d care to share? Like have you
ever worked as a rodeo clown, for instance? :)

It was my past job at a girl’s summer residence camp that inspired me to write this book. I worked with so many great young women who were counselors and I loved the girls who were campers. Seeing so much potential in their futures, I wanted to inspire them to reach for their dreams. I was the business director but I did a LOT more than that during camp such as helping to create a fiery torch from sanitary napkins wrapped around a dead tree branch, preparing food in a commercial kitchen for 20-100 guests, transporting campers, food shopping, along with the office work, and anything else necessary to help keep camp running smoothly. I loved this job.

What’s your favorite movie or TV show?

Favorite movie—It’s Complicated
TV Show—Hart of Dixie and Hot in Cleveland

Can readers contact you?

I would love to say hi to readers. My email addy is jqrose02 at gmail dot com

If you were alive in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc., did you have any
hairstyles that now make you cringe?

I remember spending an hour “ratting” my hair—now called backcombing. It took lots of hair spray and time to look like that, but it never looked as good as my friend Pamela’s hair!!

Please share a synopsis or blurb, and a brief excerpt from your book.


An interactive e-book filled with dreams and passion to inspire, entertain, and empower girls. Fifteen remarkable career women in a variety of occupations share their stories about their work and the path they took to become successful in their careers. Learn about contemporary women who have discovered cures to stamp out disease, made people laugh, earned Olympic and Paralympic gold medals, and crossed the country in the cab of an eighteen wheeler.

Excerpt from Chapter 15—Professional Clown, Brenda Marshall

Brenda Marshall in China

A Big Red Nose
Her first clowning “gig” or job was for the summer Vacation Bible School at her home church.  She borrowed a homemade clown suit that had been a Halloween costume and found some large-sized shoes at the Goodwill store.  She stuck a flower in her four-year-old daughter’s Easter hat and secured it to her head to complete her first costume.  Brenda didn’t have much experience in clown make up, so she just applied the white face paint and drew on her face.  She was a hit.  The children loved her. She was thrilled with the experience. She was bitten by the “clown bug.”
“I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing, but I knew it felt right,” Brenda said with a twinkle in her eyes.

BOOK LINKS: To download a sample which includes the Table of Contents or purchase Girls Succeed, please use these links.
Smashwords Link
Amazon Link
Kobo Link
Barnes and Noble Link
Sony Link
A Study Guide to accompany the book is now available at and
Connect with J.Q. Rose online at
Girls Succeed blog
J.Q. Rose blog
Author website
J. Q.  Rose Amazon Author Page

TAG LINE: Inspiring and empowering girls to achieve success in their dream careers.

BIO: After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction writing with her first published novella, Sunshine Boulevard, released by MuseItUp Publishing in 2011. With Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women she returns to her first love, writing about real people.  Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. Spending winters in Florida with her husband allows Janet the opportunity to enjoy the life of a snowbird. Summer finds her camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.