Author Archive

The Sting of the Scorpion is much like Publishing

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life

 

 

Yesterday we had a bit of excitement in our house. Having just moved two weeks ago, we are still unpacking and organizing. In exchange for a tank of gas, I set my teen on getting rid of a few more boxes. Only minutes after starting to unpack one, she screamed for me to come.

When I arrived at her side, I was horrified to see a scorpion trapped in a bowl she’d removed from a box. At first I thought the scorpion was dead, but was unpleasantly surprised to find just a short time later that it wasn’t. We weren’t stung, through no competence of ours. We were just lucky. But for the rest of the day I was jumpy, jittery, and dropping my pants at every imagined tickle. Finally, I decided to google scorpions in South Carolina, just to see what I was up against if I was indeed stung later.

I found out that though I might wish I could, I wouldn’t die from a sting. I read articles that walked me through the symptoms and processes of a sting from start to healing, and I’ll say it was therapeutic for me. Though I was squeamish reading the stories of others who had been stung, I was no longer terrified of what may come because I had educated myself as to what to expect.

Considering publishing your first book is sort of like the unknown and uneducated sting of a scorpion. Just in the last three days I’ve had four people write to ask me about the publishing process. I can sense their fear and trepidation. What I can honestly say is that yes, it is terrifying to think maybe everyone will hate your work, tell you that you can’t write, insist a third-grader wrote it, and might even start a flame-throwing party over your latest release. But now that I’m close to publishing my 7th and 8th titles, I at least know what to expect if things go well, and what to expect if they don’t.

That takes the terror out of it for me.

I’ll admit, I’ll still get nervous before the release of each book. I’ll still say a million prayers that my readers will like my story and more importantly, ‘get’ my story and what I am trying to say within the context of the tale I weave. But those days of walking around petrified of the unknown no longer exist. I’ll put my sweat and tears into it, then let it go, and it will be what it will be.

The publishing scorpion has lost it’s sting.

And I sure won’t be dropping my pants over it. Can I get an amen on that?

Kay Bratt’s Birthday Bash Giveaway!

Written by Kay on . Posted in Contests and Give-A-Ways

 

UPDATE: WINNERS CHOSEN AND LISTED AT BOTTOM OF POST!

A few (okay, more than a few..) years ago on a beautiful March day (the 19th), I came into this world all smiley and curious. Well, maybe screaming and totally ticked off, but still… I’ve got three main prizes to give away for my birthday!

Follow the prompts and use the comment box below to enter.

The drawing will be on Friday, March 22 and there will be 15 winners!

You may not know this but unless you are Hugh Howey or John Grisham, writers these days have pretty much a zero to nothing budget for marketing our titles. So we must depend on our readers to help get our books out there and noticed! I’ve always been very lucky that my sales have continually increased due to pleased readers and the magic of word of mouth. For my birthday (thank you very much) and this giveaway, I’m hoping that we can together improve the ranking and visibility of my latest novel, A Thread Unbroken. So here goes… and I hope you win something!

Grandparents Day is coming up. Do you know a grandparent or elderly person in your life that you’d like to read my memoir, Silent Tears? To be entered to win one of 5 signed copies given away of the first edition (larger print) Silent Tears; A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage, post this Amazon link to A Thread Unbroken on your blog or Facebook, then comment below that you’ve done it and who you want to be entered to win the Silent Tears first edition larger print book.

To be entered to win one of 5 copies given away of Silent Tears MP3-Audio, post this Amazon link to A Thread Unbroken on your blog or Facebook, then comment below that you’ve done it and want to be entered to win the Silent Tears audio version.

 

To be entered to win one of 5 copies given away of A Thread Unbroken MP3-Audio, post this Amazon link to A Thread Unbroken on your blog or Facebook, then comment below that you’ve done it and want to be entered to win the Thread Unbroken audio version.

 

 The winners have been drawn. If you didn’t win a first edition of Silent Tears, I’ll be doing another giveaway for it before my next book release, so be sure to sign up for my Kay Bratt newsletter to get first notification! (Go to home page and sign up is on left hand upper corner)

If you are a winner listed below, use the contact tab to send me where you’d like your prize sent to, and who to sign it to if it is a book. Or you can reach me on Facebook!

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION!

Winners Are:

Thread Unbroken Audio MP3

Brenda @ March 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm |

Krista Dolan March 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm |

Jacqui March 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm |

Pam Raspante  March 20, 2013 at 12:43 am

Valerie A. March 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm |

Silent Tears Audio MP3

Jacqui March 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Traci Golden March 19, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Margaret Stalcup March 20, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Karen R March 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Tanya March 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Silent Tears First Edition in Print

Rett Foster March 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm | #

Kathy mansk Billehus March 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm | #

Beth Hubbard March 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm | #

Linda somerton March 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm | #

Mellissa Pipitone-Tallacksen March 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm | #

Kendra Allen March 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm |

Kay Bratt Giveaway of ‘Let Me Paint Your Profile’ package!

Written by Kay on . Posted in Contests and Give-A-Ways

Tanya does awesome work with her watercolors. And now, she’s also able to make them into a profile pic for Facebook. Why would we want these? Here’s a few reasons:

  • It’s so cool
  • Great for kids so they don’t have to put their ‘real’ photo
  • Love how hobbies or pets can be included (see my pets and my books?)
  • Use it to advertise ‘who’ you are (see the Orphan’s Wish logo bird?)
  • Give them as a shower gift for new baby or wedding shower

So…now that you see my logic….

Do you want to win one! It’s so easy. Just go to Tanya’s “Let Me Paint Your Profile” Facebook page. Find my painting and comment on it…then LIKE the page. The drawing will be this coming Saturday and you might win!

Gorgeous. Outrageous. Sexy. = Not Kay

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life

What do these outrageously sexy shoes make you think of?

My first and foremost thought was I’d never wear them in a million years. Why? Not because I don’t like them…I think they are awesome….more due to the fact that they just don’t fit the profile of The Me I have molded over the years.
Here are a few scattering thoughts as I stare at the picture of these fabulous shoes:
1. I wish they fit my personality—just for a day—but they don’t and as Popeye would say, “I Am What I Yam…”
2. They make me think about the sad reality that I never went to a school dance or prom
3. I am too tall to wear high heels and no, they would not make me look like a model I would just look like an Amazon dork
4. My husband would probably like me to wear these just once for about an hour, but Oh…that fantasy will never happen
5. If I wore them, I’d also need to learn how to giggle which I never do and these shoes absolutely go with a giggly girl and I don’t giggle and giggly grown-up women get on my nerves
6. They’d look cool with a pair of jeans and that is one compliment I can claim, that I can still wear jeans from the teen department
7. I love the interior pattern of these rockin’ shoes!
8. My big size 8.5’s would never go in them and I’d look like Cinderella’s wicked stepsister trying to squeeze my gangly feet into them
9. I should have more pure hot-pink-fun moments in my life
10. My little sister would wear these and look great in them but then again, she IS a foot shorter than me and only 30 years old [update, she’s now older! Haha!]
11. I am aging too fast and have not yet met all my goals [I’ve met a few more since this posted, including getting a 3-book publishing deal!]
12. I never went to a high school or college football game and I don’t know why the shoes make me think of that and don’t know why I even care
13. I want to do something unpredictable before it’s too late!
14. If I forced myself to wear them I would be in agony the next day because my fms does not like uncomfy shoes
15. The shoes could very well double as a weapon in a pinch
16. I don’t own a single fashion item that is pink and I don’t want to
17. They might scratch my hardwood floors and that would totally freak me out
18. If I wore them, I’d need to carry around a Cosmopolitan cocktail to complete the look …and I have been known to drink a few eight of those in one evening—okay, it happened once. No more details on that and I’d rather be snuggled up with a good book than at a party any day
19. Who wears this stuff in real life? [besides Gwen Stefani] [Update: and now Lady Ga Ga]
20. A Sex In The City commercial just popped through my head
21. I daydream too much and it’s time to do something more productive which is what I am wired to do and will continue to do until I drop from exhaustion which might be any day now and I might even welcome the respite
22. I wish I was 21 again—thought of that cuz I am on #22—and actually, no I don’t because 21 was a hard time for me and now my life is just peaches [Sort of. Glass half full answer]
Would YOU wear the shoes? Be honest…
Disclaimer: [This posting was published on my old blog several years ago and I stumbled upon it and realized not much has changed]

More of a Marathon than a Race

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life

To the many Indie authors out there struggling to find that right combination of word count, plot, and characters to finally jump onto the bestseller list you so crave, don’t get in such a hurry! We can’t all be immediate success stories. (Though some of us might!)

The road to where I am now has been a bit bumpy but maybe sharing it will inspire some of you to keep plodding along.

Back in 2003, my career in the corporate world was interrupted when my husband took us all to China to live for almost five years. I didn’t mind—I was excited to get off the American fast track for a while and I planned to use that time to fulfill a few goals.

  1. Learn the language
  2. Work in an orphanage
  3. Write a children’s book

What I didn’t plan on was that working with abandoned children would rock my world and shake my soul to the core. My life became wrapped around my obsession of making their little lives a bit better. The children’s story I was writing was put on the backburner and I spent that time journaling about life in the orphanage and the kids who were stealing my heart.

Later, those journal entries were put together in a memoir, titled Silent Tears; A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage.

I self-pubbed it in 2008 and it sold thousands right out of the gate. Amazon approached me and offered a contract, and I became one of their first AmazonEncore authors. The book was re-launched in 2010 and HMH even picked up print rights in 2011. The book hit 50,000 sales this year and still holds a fair ranking with currently 222 (5) Star reviews on Amazon.

In the meantime, we had returned to the states and I was struggling physically and psychologically from all that I had witnessed in China. My health took a bad turn with intense neurological pain, back pain, insomnia, etc.. Even though I didn’t want to, I took a very stressful job as an executive assistant in another Human Resource department and went back to my old life.

Sort of.

With the success of my memoir, I realized how much I loved writing and would like to do it forever. I used my free time to promote the memoir and build my platform by getting very involved in the online community of people interested in China. I also did many speaking events to talk about my work and how to do something different in life.

Despite the continued success of the book, I was still unhappy until I figured out that in order for me to feel at peace with myself, I needed to get back to volunteer work. I joined an organization and returned to advocating for children in any small way I could find, while continuing to fine tune my craft of writing by participating in online writing communities and taking Creative Writing courses.

I also buckled down and wrote a novel titled Chasing China. I submitted it to my agent and she wasn’t thrilled with it, but she sent it on to Amazon. They declined it. I was shattered. But then I pulled up my bootstraps, sent it through an editor (Red Adept) and self-pubbed it myself in November 2011. With a huge boost from using the KDP free days that gave away 30k copies and pushed it up into the rankings, as well as a few well-placed advertisements and a blog tour, that book has sold over 10k copies.

Consecutively with the Chasing China project, I worked with an artist in Budapest and put together my first children’s book. It published a month or so after Chasing China, titled Mei Li and the Wise Laoshi. While it has not been a huge income provider, the story filled a need in me to write something to help children deal with the issues of adoption and bullying. With each book that goes out, (and I’ve given away 25,000 free ones!), it just feels good.

So I was doing okay but I was determined to prove I could write something else. Something better. Something that Amazon Publishing would want! I found myself interested in the travesty of trafficked children as child brides in China, so I wrote A Thread Unbroken. I’d lost confidence in my ability to attract a publisher, so thought it would be another self-pubbed title. I worked with Red Adept again, and let Streetlight Graphics design a beautiful cover. But then I remembered I needed to at least let Amazon take a look. This time I bypassed my agent and sent it directly to my Amazon editor. He immediately offered a contract. It was published last month and is doing fair. (Oh, and they let me keep my SG cover because it was so pretty!)

I also took the time to expand a short story to a novella and published The Bridge. It did very well!

 

With what I was bringing in monthly in royalties from those five titles as an incentive, I once again left the corporate world to focus full-time on volunteer work and writing. With all the success I’d read about short stories and novellas to fill the gaps for writers, I decided to write another novella. I spent two months just writing 17,000 words and then per my Amazon contract, ran it by my editor so he could say no and allow me to self-pub it. While he was reviewing it, I worked with PhatPuppy Art for a cover and secured a slot with a copyeditor.

I was surprised when my Amazon editor emailed and asked for a phone call. Most of our communication is done online but he wanted to talk. A few days later he told me he thought my novella was great, but there was just one problem; it was too short. I told him my plan was to make a series of novellas just to bring in some additional income. He said if I was interested in the book being picked up by Amazon, he wouldn’t promise anything but he wanted to see it again if I decided to lengthen it. He also gave me some insight into what in the book he’d like to see more of, etc..

Gone was my plan to publish the book as a novella and instead I concentrated on building it into a novel. The editor’s other idea was to add more historical facts, which took a lot of time to research. But over a few more months, I not only lengthened the book to 70k words, I also wrote the second book in the series (90k words) and an outline for book 3. I sent all of it to the editor and waited, holding my breath, for his feedback. I took those few weeks that he was considering it to write a novella, called Train To Nowhere, which I did self-pub.

The rest of the story is the kicker. My editor came back with positive feedback and a few weeks ago I signed a contract for a 3-book deal with Amazon Publishing. The first book in the trilogy will be released mid-2013! Of course you know we can’t give out details but let’s just say that I couldn’t be happier with the terms, making this one of the most amazing Christmas seasons my family has ever had.

The moral of the story is this. Never give up or cut corners. What was going to be a few novellas bringing in a few hundred each month has turned into an Amazon-Published trilogy with the possibility of being my most successful project yet.

So if I could leave you with any advice it would be to SET GOALS! I’ve learned that we aren’t here just to float along and wait for life to happen, we are supposed to go out and Make It Happen!

Good luck to you if you are on the publishing journey and if there are any questions I can answer, I’d be glad to share what I’ve learned. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

Happy Release Date to Kay Bratt! A Thread Unbroken is now available! (Winners Announced)

Written by Kay on . Posted in Contests and Give-A-Ways

I’m happy to say that finally, after a year of hard work, A Thread Unbroken is now available on Amazon.com. Get it now!

And as a celebration for the release, it’s also time for my annual Christmas giveaway. This year, the first prize winner will receive a Nischi doll, valued at over $100. (If an overseas winner is drawn, they must agree to pay shipping to receive.)

The second prize winner will receive signed print copies of Chasing China and A Thread Unbroken, autographed to the name of your choice so you can use them as Christmas gifts!

 

The fourth place winner will receive a signed print copy of Mei Li and the Wise Laoshi, autographed to the child of your choice!

And I even have something for last place! The final winner will recive a keychain with the Chinese characters for Daddy!

Now we get to the HOW TO WIN section! These are some great prizes, if I do say so myself. And I’m happy to do it because my readers mean everything to me. It’s with your help that I am able to market to a wider audience. Each time you read my books, write a review, post a link…you are doing me an amazing favor. So this giveaway is my thanks to you.

But I still need you! So here’s the rundown:

Do the following, then comment on this post that you’ve followed each step and to enter you into the drawing!

1. Go to my website home page and join my new release newsletter. I promise not to bombard you with emails or share your email address! The join box is in the top left side bar here. I’ll be sent a message that you joined and when future books are released, I’ll send out a news alert.

2. Since junior high we’ve all wanted to be liked, and facebook has given us an adult version of that cruel taunting. So, please LIKE me at my Kay Bratt page here!

3. Because A Thread Unbroken is brand new and I need all the help I can get, the last task is to post the Amazon link to it on your own wall or blog with some sort of short message like, “Kay Bratt’s new book just came out!” or whatever….as long as it’s friendly and it’s not something like, “Don’t read this because Kay Bratt is making me do this.”  *wink*

That’s it! Then come back and comment below that you’ve done the 3 tasks and want your name entered into the drawing. I’ll use random.org to draw winners on December 14, so I can get the prizes to you in time for Christmas. (Can’t guarantee!)

BONUS!

As promised, if you have written reviews for any of my books on Amazon.com, you will get your name in an extra time for each review. As you may not know, reviews are like gold to authors, and I appreciate the time you take to give your honest opinion on each title. Your words also help me improve! So note in your comment if you get bonus chances for reviews and again, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your world in some small way.

*UPDATE TO ANNOUNCE WINNERS!*

Winner of Nischi Doll is Carly Parks, commented November 30, 2012 at 7:06 pm  

 Winner of (2) signed Kay Bratt novels is Erin Donaldson, Commented December 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm  

Winner of signed Mei Li book is Jennifer Ashford, Commented   

Winner of Baba Key Chain is Desiree Christopher, Commented

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you all for participating!

Winners, please contact me via the email link on my home page, left column.

The Bridge is FREE today and tomorrow!

Written by Kay on . Posted in Contests and Give-A-Ways

The Bridge is a FREE Kindle E-Book Today! Click HERE to download!

Out of everything I’ve written, The Bridge is still my favorite little story. It is like the little train that could…it just keeps going and going. I’ve tried to analyze why this book has gained such traction, but I think that O’Scarlett Reviews says it best:

It is a story of hope – where none existed or should have existed. Love – and giving of the little you have to make another persons life worth living. It is a picture of China – and the hopelessness for some, and the heart that still beats. O. Scarlett! Reviews

And I also love what an Amazon Reviewer had to say:

If you like chocolate, you’ll know the feeling of tasting an exquisite chocolate that pleases every taste bud in your mouth and has you pining for more once the flavour fades… The Bridge is like that, only with words. It is balanced and well written and is a delight to the senses. There is something beautifully symbolic about it that will give readers different experiences to take away, and they will find themselves reflecting on the meanings and the intent of the author…or maybe it was just a good telling of a story. A good book club contender for readers to enjoy and discuss. Lea Owens, Amazon Reviewer 

The book is featured on this site along with some other good free choices. Be sure to bookmark Free Kindle Books and Tips! And you can find them at Facebook, too!

Happy Reading and if you enjoy The Bridge, I would truly appreciate it if you would take the time to post a review on Amazon or GoodReads. Thank you!

If Your Child is Abducted and Trafficked in China, You’d better pray for a Miracle.

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life, China News & Tidbits

The above photo is of a mother in China. A mother who refused to give up. When her child was abducted and sold by her grandfather to child traffickers, the police refused to help her. She eventually found her child on her own but the couple who had bought it refused to give it back until she paid a sum of 350,000 rmb. (A Chinese fortune) Luckily, the public was outraged and the county officials have now gotten involved to get this mother and child reunited.

Thank you to All Girls Allowed for the story. Read more here.

[Chinese source here]

It’s is stories like that above that prompted me to write A Thread Unbroken. Researching other stories, I was soon even more captivated to know where the trafficked children end up. What sort of lives do they lead? Do they try to find their way home or come to terms with a new life? Those questions sparked my story of Chai and Josi. I hope it will also answer some of your questions.

Chai and Josi share a bond that transcends ordinary friendship. While Chai has always been Josi’s protector—ever since they were toddlers, growing up together in a small Chinese village—she finds herself helpless when they are both abducted from their families and sold to faraway strangers. In their new home, with the family of the fisherman who bought them, their old lives are torn away piece by piece. But Chai knows she must stay strong if they’re to have any chance of escaping.

That same tenacious hope guides Chai’s father, Jun, who fights to find the girls and bring them home, despite seemingly insurmountable odds and a corrupt legal system. The days since the girls were taken soon stretch to weeks and months, but Chai’s spirit remains unbroken and Jun’s resolve unwavering.

Set against the backdrop of modern day China, A Thread Unbroken is an inspiring story of remarkable courage, indefatigable hope, and the invisible ties that hold people together, even when everything around them is falling apart.

Silent Tears by Kay Bratt reaches a huge milestone in 50k copies sold! Thank you, Amazon Publishing!

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life

Today I heard a knock on the door. It being a writing day, meaning no makeup, hair in ponytail, and my comfy sweatpants attire, I ran to hide in the bathroom. When the uninvited visitor left, I tip-toed to the window and peeked out to see a small package sitting on my porch.

 I stealthly opened the door, grabbed the box and darted back in.

I brought my tiny, mysterious package to the (secluded) back porch to sit in the sunshine and enjoy a small break, stretching out the anticipation of the mystery.

I opened the ugly cardboard box to find two small elegant boxes wrapped with a gold ribbon.

What could this be? Hurrying now, I untied the ribbon and found boxes of Frans luxurious chocolates, but no note! Who sent me chocolates? A secret admirer? A demented stalker? My husband sending an apologetic gift to be ready for the next time he’s in the doghouse?

I opened the first box of chocolates and much to my surprise, a note slipped out. This is what it read:

Silent Tears has surpassed 50K copies sold! Congratulations, Kay! 

Here’s a little something to complement that sweet taste of success. All the best, Jessica and your Encore team!

Wow. I knew I had an amazing publisher with Amazon Publishing, and a team that has been right on top of things for years, but this just confirms it all. I’m lucky to have been given the chance to take my book to a wider audience than I could have ever imagined. Thanks, team! And thank you, readers! Your support means the world to me. This little book is a story that needed to be told. Not for me, but for the children who are portrayed.

~Kay

Will You be a Dream Maker this Holiday Season?

Written by Kay on . Posted in How You Can Help A Child

Many of you know that I work with an amazing organization to support children in China.

Well, this holiday season, we would like to share with you the dreams of the children of….

An Orphan’s Wish.

Click on any image below to learn more about the dreams in our Holiday Catalog this year, or to give.

With each donation made, a card will be sent to you to let family, teachers and friends know you have honored them this season.

$15 donation to the General Fund for Pajamas, Sleepers and Blankets 

A gift of $15 to our General Fund can be used to purchase items like Pajamas, Sleepers and Blankets.  This Holiday season you can help ensure that our precious children like Chester are all snuggled in their beds with warm pajamas, sleepers and blankets. Their dreams will be so much cozier. (Click Here)

$25 donation to the General Fund – Holiday Celebration and Meal

   Your family can truly make our celebration come alive with a donation of $25 to our General Fund! Can you imagine how the kids will giggle as they help decorate the tree or when they give thanks for an extra-special meal? The memories of this joyful celebration are sure to fill their dreams with happiness and cheer. (Click Here)

$50 donation to the General Fund – Gifts for Christmas
   What child does not dream of opening presents on Christmas morning? Just imagine the joy of Teagan and her friends when they receive their special gifts. With your donation to the General Fund, we will make sure our children will receive safe, age-appropriate and fun toys that are sure to brighten their days and fill their nights with sweet dreams. (Click Here)
$105 3-Month Holiday Sponsorship
With a gift of $105, you are giving the gift of joy by becoming part of the AOW village. Our sponsors are our village – together we raise the children in our care and give them roots to grow and wings to fly! As a sponsor, you will receive for 3 months reports on our precious children and will be able to measure how your generosity has truly changed the lives of our children. This might just be the best gift of the year! Once we receive your donation, we will contact you via email to choose the child you would like to sponsor. (Click Here)

$250 donation to the General Fund – Teachers Training and Education Supplies
  Our children, despite their special needs and challenges, dream of what they will be when they grow up: doctors, teachers, policemen, firemen and of course the occasional ballerina or fairy! We strive to provide all of our children with an education. With your generous donation of $250 to our General Fund, we can continue to train our teachers, purchase many needed school supplies and allow our children to dream BIG for their future. (Click Here)
$500 Donaton to the Emergency Medical Fund
  Children sometimes arrive at An Orphan’s Wish in a life or death situation. Little Kirsten arrived this year in dramatic circumstances and in need of immediate life-saving surgeries. She was hospitalized several times after surgery to address life threatening complications. The doctors nicknamed her “Lucky” and lucky she was indeed to survive by the Grace of God and to have come to AOW when we had funding for her serious medical needs thanks to AOW’s generous donors. Would you please join us in replenishing our Emergency Medical Fund so that we can continue to provide critical medical help for our little ones?  (Click Here)
Again, I do hope you will choose the children of AOW to bless with your annual family holiday gift. To learn more about AOW, you can go to our website. And if I don’t say it enough, I am VERY thankful for you all! I hope you have an Amazing Christmas Season!

~Kay