Saturday, August 30, 2014

Early Release of Kindle Pre-Orders

This week I received a summons for jury duty selection. I am to show up in the county seat, which is 100 miles away, on the day I had appointed for the Kindle pre-orders of Gone for a Soldier to be sent to buyers.

Because of this, I've changed that release day to Tuesday, September 2. I hope you enjoy reading Gone for a Soldier sooner than you had expected.

Authors work many hundreds of hours in isolation to write novels they believe will be satisfying to their readers. When the book is released, they often never hear any feedback, and can only guess through sales numbers how it has been received. That guestimation isn't fool-proof. A purchase does not equal a satisfied reader.

For this reason, I'm putting out a couple of pleas:

1) Once you have had a chance to read Gone for a Soldier, if you enjoyed it, please consider encouraging me by putting a review of the book on, Goodreads, your blog, or mentioning it on Twitter or Facebook. Your enthusiastic mentions help other readers become aware of books that YOU enjoyed, and might help them decide to make a purchase, too.

2) If you think Gone for a Soldier is a work of quality, please consider nominating it for a Whitney Award. This is a high honor for the book and author, but it depends on readers to make a start.

"The Whitney Awards were founded in 2007 by Robison Wells with the object of honoring the best fiction written each year by Latter-day Saints (Mormons). The program has grown from five genre categories to eight and from two overall awards to three. A three-tiered system—with input from readers, judges, and a large academy of publishing professionals—is used to determine the finalists and winners."

"The Whitney Awards are solely for novels. Eligible titles for any year’s awards must be released between January 1 and December 31 of the calendar year and must be at least 50,000 words in the adult categories and at least 20,000 words for the youth categories. In addition, the author must be a Latter-day Saint."

Gone for a Soldier meets the three tests of eligibility: release window, length, and author's religious affiliation. The first step in the three-tiered system is where YOU come in:

Tier I: Nomination
"Any reader who has no financial interest in a book (e.g. the author or employee of the publisher), and who is at least twelve years old, may nominate it for a Whitney Award. Nominations are sent in via the web form found HERE."

"When a book has received five reader nominations, the Whitney Committee contacts the author to confirm the book’s eligibility. The book is then placed into the category in which the author has deemed his or her book best fits."

Of course, the novel has to work its way through the other two tiers in order to be a winner, but the beginning belongs to you, the reader.

Thank you for your support now and in the past. I hope to continue writing novels with heart and grit for many more years.

Marsha Ward

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fresh Book Friday - Gone for a Soldier

Title: Gone for a Soldier
Author: Marsha Ward
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: WestWard Books
Date of Publication: August 2014

Rulon Owen loves two things more than life—his country and Mary Hilbrands.

When Virginia secedes from the Union, Rulon enlists, and finds himself fighting foes both in battle and in his own camp. He struggles to stay alive against all odds, with a knife-wielding tent-mate and a Union army that seems impossible to defeat. It will take every ounce of vigilance he has to survive and, with a little luck, he might make it home to his wife and the son he's never seen.

Forced to live with her parents for the duration, Mary faces a battle for independence. With a mother whispering that her husband won't come home to her and a son who needs her to be both father and mother, Mary has to dig deep for strength to overcome her overwhelming loneliness and the unknown future ahead.

Separated by war and circumstance, Rulon and Mary discover that not all enemies wear the Union blue.

Rulon awoke to the touch of a pinching hand over his mouth and the prick of a knife to his throat under one ear.

"Get outta yore cot, sissy boy. We're packin' up to move outta here."

Rulon scarcely breathed. The knife's tip moved fractionally. Then it lifted a bit, but still made contact with his skin as it traced a line across his neck toward his other ear. Lovell hadn't been joking about the danger of this man.

"Von! Leave the man be!" Lovell's voice barked. "Put that hog-sticker away and prepare to strike the tent."

The man named Von growled an obscenity and removed the knife. "He's not our kind. Look at that damned feather," he said, but backed away, left the tent, and made his noises outside.

"Whew!" Lovell expelled a gusty sigh. "I couldn't be sure he would obey me," he said, approaching to eye Rulon's neck.

By this time, Rulon had arisen and was dressing in haste.

"He didn't leave you any permanent damage," his new friend observed. "The sooner we can put him on a patrol against the Yankees, the sooner he'll be able to do what he loves best."

"What's that?" asked Rulon, dreading the answer as he struggled to recover his dignity.

"Killin' folks."

Buy Links:
Print: Amazon | ebooks: Smashwords all formats | Kindle (preorder: delivered Sept 2)| nook | iTunes Bookstore 

Author Bio:
Marsha Ward was born in the sleepy little town of Phoenix, Arizona, in the southwestern United States; and grew up with chickens, citrus trees, and lots of room to roam. She became a storyteller at an early age, regaling her neighborhood friends with her fanciful tales during after-school snacks. Her love of the 19th Century Western era was reinforced by visits to her cousins on their ranch, and listening to her father's stories of homesteading in Old Mexico and in the southern part of Arizona.

Over the years, Marsha became an award-winning poet, writer and editor, with over 900 pieces of published work, including her acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, and a member of Western Writers of America and Women Writing the West. A workshop presenter and writing teacher, Marsha makes her home in a tiny forest hamlet in Arizona. When she is not writing, she loves to spoil her grandchildren, travel, give talks, meet readers, and sign books.

Find Marsha:


Author Blog: 
Character Blog: 
Newsletter signup:

This is my book. What can I say but buy it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sample Saturday - August 23, 2014

Welcome back to Sample Saturday. I've been posting snippets and scenes from Gone for a Soldier for over a year, but it appears I've never posted the opening. I'll remedy that now.

Rulon — April 19, 1861

Rulon Owen hadn’t intended that crisp Friday in April to be momentous.

In fact, when he’d saddled his horse in order to do an errand in Mount Jackson for his ma, he hadn’t given much thought to anything but stealing a few moments to see Mary Hilbrands.

She was only a little bit of a thing, a girl with dark hair and eyes that shone like... well, they kind of smoldered nowadays whenever she looked his way. Those smoky dark eyes gave him a shaky feeling that spun his head in circles and tied his gut into knots that...

“Whew.” Rulon realized he’d let the horse slow to a walk while he’d been off in a reverie, somewhere not in Shenandoah County, as far as he could tell. He got the horse loping again, and wished it was already a year from now. Mayhap folks wouldn’t get their tails in a twist about them keeping company once Mary turned sixteen in May next year. He was almighty tired of Ben and Peter, and especially of Pa, accusing him of trying to rob the cradle because he’d taken such a shine to the girl. Yes. He’d concede that she was young, but when she spoke his name, his knees felt like they was composed of apple jelly.

Ma sides with me, he thought. Pa was the true cradle-robber of the family when the two of them wed. Him twenty-four. Ma barely sixteen.

He wasn’t likely to throw his opinion on that subject in his father’s face any day soon. Firm. Formidable. The entire county used those words to describe his father. Rulon shook his head. Receiving back-sass from his offspring did not sit well with Roderick Owen. But at age twenty, Rulon hadn’t taken a lickin’ for a long spell. Maybe Pa’s gone soft in his old age. That’s likely, now that he has nigh onto forty-five years pressing him down.

Rulon rode on, wondering what to do to get his father off his back on the subject of Mary Hilbrands. It’s time I ask Ma to say a word to Pa, he determined at last. She won’t let him ride me once I begin to court Mary in earnest.

He slowed the horse to a walk as he entered the town. Ahead, he spotted his brother Ben pulling sacks of grain out of a wagon parked in front of the mill where he’d taken employment over the winter. Glancing up, Ben saw Rulon, and stopped to raise his hand in greeting, a big grin splitting his face.

Rulon drew rein and halted. “Brother Ben.” He clasped the outstretched hand. “What makes you so happy today?”

“I am put in a smilin’ mood from seein’ you with that enraptured look on your face. Can’t wait to thrust your hand into the cookie jar, huh?”

Rulon snorted at Ben’s fancy.

Ben kept on talking his nonsense. “Oh yes, indeed. You’re an enchanted man, spellbound and smitten, ready to do that girl’s bidding.”

“Speak for yourself, brother.”

Ben laughed and said, “Give my best to Miss Mary,” then smacked Rulon’s horse on the rump.

Note: Gone for a Soldier is available now for purchase in all ebook formats at

Thank you for visiting! Please stay tuned for information about the online launch party at Facebook for Gone for a Soldier on September 18. Use this Google Form to sign up, if you are a blogger interested in taking part in the Book Tour set for October 6-12.

Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foremen, in the Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Her last published book, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cover Reveal: Gone for a Soldier

How strange it seems that I have been posting snippets and scenes of Gone for a Soldier as I wrote it, for well over a year. The first mention that this book even needed to be written was over on The Characters in Marsha's Head blog on February 14, 2013, when Rulon Owen visited me to insist that I write his story. What a journey it has been!

Now the Launch Party for Gone for a Soldier has been set for September 18, the Blog Tour in October is getting participants signed up here, the ebook is available for pre-order at, and I'm waiting on a proof copy of the print book so I can approve it. All of this means that the reality of the book is so close at hand I can almost taste it!

This means I can reveal the front and back cover spread for Gone for a Soldier, and here it is:

Are you as excited as I am?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meet My Character Blog Tour

Debra Erfert, author of the newly released romantic suspense novel, Relative Evil, tagged me for the “Meet My Character Blog Tour.” This is kind of the never-endingblog tour, as it will go on as long as there are authors and aspiring authors to play along.

After raising two Eagle Scout sons, Debra now spends her time writing and shooing her polydactyl cat away from her keyboard. She is also an award-winning artist, who stays indoors as much as she can in the summertime, to avoid the 100-degree plus temperatures in her Southwestern desert city. RELATIVE EVIL was released July 25th and can be purchased through Amazon HERE, from Smashwords HERE, and for your Barnes & Noble Nook from HERE.

It's my turn to answer the six questions that are being passed from one author to the next in this blog tour. Then I can tag two others to play. What fun! I will tell about a character from my American Civil War novel, Gone for a Soldier, which will be released on September 18.

Where does your story take place?
A great deal of the Civil War was fought in Virginia, and that's the setting of Gone for a Soldier, both on the battlefields and on the home front of the Shenandoah Valley.

What is the name of your character? Is he historical or fictional?
My character is Rulon Owen, the twenty-year-old eldest son of Rod and Julia Owen of the Owen Family Saga novels. He is totally fictional, although he's been in my head for a very long time, and feels like a son to me. He has already been a character in several of the Saga novels. Now readers have a chance to get to know him and his story better.

What should we know about him?
Rulon is headstrong, physical rather than cerebral, and a hard worker on the family farm outside Mount Jackson, Virginia. He's a horseman like his father. The two loves of his life are Mary Hilbrands--whom he can hardly wait to marry someday--and his country, Virginia.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?
War erupts between the North and the South, the state of Virginia chooses to join the Confederacy, and Rulon wants to marry his sweetheart before he goes off to become a cavalry soldier, perhaps never to see her again. During the course of the war, he discovers that not all enemies wear the Union blue.

What is the personal goal of the character?
Rulon wants to defend his country, win the war, and get back home to Mary, despite the attacks of the Federal army, a lengthy bout with an illness that could rob him of virility, and a ruthless comrade who bears him a grudge.

When can we expect the book to be published?

The launch for Gone for a Soldier is September 18, but is taking pre-orders for the ebook here. Delivery will be made on September 10.

I’m tagging Betsy Love of, whose YA novel, The Penny Project will be officially launched September 6th; and Theresa Sneed of Theresa released her suspense novel, Escape, in July. Let's hear about your favorite characters, ladies!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sample Saturday - August 16, 2014

Welcome back to Sample Saturday. Last week I entirely blew off posting a sample. I'm sorry. I believe it's because I was so caught up in the problem of a friend's novel being stolen and plagiarized that I could think of nothing else. I also think I was a bit wary of that or any other person stealing my scenes. I have to undergo that risk, however, for the good of my readers.

In this sample, Ben Owen leaves for war.

Ben signed his name, then took the uniform that had been made by the ladies of the town especially for the men of the Mount Jackson Rifles, which they also named “Allen’s Infantry,” in honor of he who was their captain. Ella Ruth’s own cousin. He swallowed the bile that arose upon thinking of her name and their last encounter.

He went behind the church and found that he was not the only man in the company with the same idea for privacy. He chuckled wryly, then shucked his ordinary clothing and dressed himself in the finery befitting an infantryman. He stowed his regular clothes in a haversack that had been provided to him for the purpose of trucking some of his accoutrements about. After that, he went to find his mother.

“Don’t worry for my sake,” he told her, holding her hand and stroking it. “This won’t last long. The shine won’t be off our tent pegs before you’ll see us come marchin’ down that road and home.”

Ma seemed a bit assured by his joke and made a little noise he took for a laugh, but the sound was very faint among all the conversations going on in the square. She looked around.

“Did your girl come?”

Ben scowled. Up to just a few minutes ago, he had attempted not to think about Ella Ruth’s absence. Now Ma’s innocent question brought a flood of pain. “She won’t be comin’. She rejected my offer of marriage.” The words cut deep.

Ma squeezed his hand and said in a low voice, “I’m sorry, son.” Her face showed her deep concern as she tried to comfort him.

He tried to grin to reassure her that he didn’t care anymore. The grimace he produced hurt his lips. “Never mind, Ma.” He patted her hand. He’d tried so hard not to remember the gash in his soul as he had prepared for this day.

He inhaled and mentally shook himself. Never mind, indeed. He had much better things to occupy his thoughts from now on.

“You behave, now,” Ma said, emphasizing her statement by shaking on his hand. “Go to church services as often as you can. I hear Mr. Jackson is a godly man. You hold him for your example.”

“Old Jack?” Ben saw the question on his mother’s face. “I hear tell that’s what the men call the general, Ma. ‘Jack,’ from his surname, Jackson.”

“That’s a mite disrespectful, don’t you reckon?”

“If that’s the worst he’s called, he’ll be mighty lucky, Ma.” He turned as he heard a bugle call. “Hear that sound? I have to go now. Give my regards to Pa and the young’uns. Tell Peter his time will come, and not to hurry into anything.” He let go of her hand, gave her shoulders a quick squeeze, and moved away, forming up with his squad in a line.

Then they marched away, followed by a baggage wagon full of tents and the accoutrements they could not carry on their persons.


Thank you for visiting! Please stay tuned for information about the online launch party for GONE FOR A SOLDIER on September 18. Come back next Saturday for another sample of my writing.

Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foremen, in the Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Her last published book, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Plagiarism is a Crime!

A fellow author's life has been turned topsy-turvy this week. She was contacted by a total stranger, a book review blogger, who told her that her Christian novel, A Bid for Love (formerly entitled Love to the Highest Bidder), had possibly been plagiarized.

The author is Rachel Ann Nunes. Get her account of the bizarre events here.

When is it okay to copy/paste an author's work, change the point of view to First Person, add a lot of smut, send out tons of ARCs to get glowing reviews, and schedule the book to be published? Actually, I must qualify that to say "published in the US," because the fraudulent work was already for sale in the UK (See Rachel's blog post for evidence).

I answer: NEVER!

This is never okay.

Adapting an idea or a story from Shakespeare or Jane Austen to give it a contemporary update or to add a twist aka the mashup Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith, is totally different.

Stealing an author's work is criminal behavior. We must take a stand against such corruption. Author Danyelle Ferguson has posted avatars/buttons in her photo album "Awareness" that you may use on your Facebook profile and elsewhere. Many Facebook inhabitants and bloggers are spreading the word about this theft of intellectual property. I urge you to help in quashing malevolent tendencies and/or outright ignorance by sharing your opinions about plagiarism on your blogs, Facebook, or whatever social media you employ.

Thank you!

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