I've also released a boxed set of all 3 full-length novels, which includes He Loves Me Not, Don't Look Back, and Love At Last. If you've only read He Loves Me Not, you may want to purchase the box set, as it is less expensive than buying each book individually.
I hope everyone's December is going well! I'm finally ready to start my Christmas shopping. I've been putting it off because I've been working hard writing the final book in the Lily's Story saga. The title is Love At Last, and it will be released on January 17, 2014! I'm super excited for everyone who loves the Lily Story series to read it!
If you have yet to buy Imprisoned, the second book in the Parallel Trilogy, you may want to just purchase the box set, which contains all 3 full-length novels (Gone, Imprisoned, and Hunted). The box set, called Parallel Trilogy: The Complete Story is available for the reduced price of $4.99 until November 15th, then it will go up to its regular price of $6.99.
Now that I'm writing full-time (YAY), I can better plan my upcoming books. My plan is to release a new book every 3 months. Below is my planned release schedule for the next year or so.
November 11, 2013Huntedas well as the Boxed Set of The Complete Trilogy February, 2014Book 3 of Lily's Story (I don't have an official title yet)
May, 2014 and August, 2014: Two additional books related to the Parallel Trilogy. This is due to overwhelming requests by the beta readers of Hunted, who want to know MORE about the characters and where things go in their lives. I don't want to give a hint about the subject of the books as that might give too much away for those who have yet to read Hunted.
November, 2014sequel to Over You
I'm so excited to write these books, as well as other books that I've already started writing. I appreciate all of my readers SO MUCH and am SO GRATEFUL to each and every one of you who have bought my books!
Now that Hunted has been sent to the first group of beta readers, I can give a firm release date. Hunted will be released on Monday, November 11!
On that same date I will release a boxed set of the Parallel Trilogy. It will include all three books in the Parallel Trilogy. Here is the cover of the eBook boxed set:
After taking your suggestions into account, here is an updated cover for Hunted. What do you think?
I'll be done with the first draft in the next day or two and then I'll work on revisions. After that I will give the book to beta readers for feedback. (This should happen in the next week or two.) I have several beta readers that I use, but I'd like to have more input. If you are interested in being a beta reader for Hunted, please email me at: christinekersey at hotmail.com
If I get a lot of responses, I'll limit it to the first ten people who respond.
If you would like to be a beta reader, here is what I need from you (and be aware that you will receive the manuscript as a pdf file):
You need to have read the first two books in the Parallel Trilogy.
You need to commit to reading Hunted and filling out the questionnaire within one week of receiving the pdf file of the manuscript.
You need to promise to not send the pdf file to anyone else.
If you are so inclined, once the book has been released, a review on Amazon would be much appreciated.
What you get from me:
You get to be one of the first people to read Hunted.
I will give you a free eBook of Hunted after all editing has been completed. This would be either an epub or mobi file.
If I find your comments helpful, I may use you again for other books (if you would like me to).
I'll give you a questionnaire so you know what kind of input I'm looking for.
There's no better feedback for me than from those who read my books, so it is a great favor to me if you're willing to read an early copy of Hunted and give me honest feedback.
I'd love everyone's opinion on the cover for Hunted, the final book in the Parallel Trilogy. What do you all think? By the way, I'm almost done writing the book. It will be done by the end of this week. The way it's going, it will be released in mid-November. I'll announce a specific release date once I finish revisions.
There are times when big changes happen in our lives, and for me, this is one of those. I'm so grateful to each and every one of you who have bought my books!! Because of you, I have been able to quit my day job and write full-time! This is something I've dreamed of doing for the last sixteen years as I've written on and off.
I started writing in 1997 when my baby was three years old. I fit my writing time around taking care of her and her three older siblings. I wrote two novels over the next few years: No Way Out and Suspicions. Then, when that baby girl went to first grade, I went back to school and spent four years as a full-time student.
I graduated with a B.S. degree in Information Technology in 2004. Shortly after graduation I found a job and began working full-time outside of the home. That was really hard for me as I'd been a stay-at-home mom for eighteen years and really loved that role. I remember as I drove to work each day, I would pretend I was just on my way to run errands--trying to trick myself into forgetting I would be away from home all day.
I loved my coworkers and enjoyed my job, but I really missed being at home--I'm a homebody at heart. By then my oldest had just graduated from high school and my other children were 16, 14, and 10. Fortunately my husband got home from work in the late afternoon, so he was there to keep an eye on things until I got home, but it wasn't the same as being there myself.
Around this same time I was offered a publishing contract with a small regional publisher, which was something I'd worked toward for quite a while. Though thrilled, I knew I wouldn't earn enough money to quit my job. They published No Way Out in 2005 and it sold reasonably well, but I only earned a few thousand dollars. It was nice to have the extra money, but certainly not enough to quit my job!
I thought I was on my way--of course they would publish everything I wrote--but it was not to be. They turned down Suspicions and then He Loves Me Not. As you can imagine, I was extremely discouraged and basically stopped writing. What was the point of taking time away from my family if all my hard work wasn't going to go anywhere? So I put aside my writing and focused on living my life.
At this point it was late in 2006. My second child had graduated from high school and the other two were 16 and 12. It wasn't until four years later, in late 2010, that I learned about the possibilities inherent in eBooks. It was as if the passion for writing that had been down to a flicker suddenly burst into a bright flame. I could write what I wanted and publish it, and readers could decide for themselves if they liked it! The possibilities seemed infinite and suddenly my desire to write reignited.
I got the rights to No Way Out back from my publisher and made it available on Amazon. Suspicions soon followed. I made revisions to He Loves Me Not and put that up in 2011. I wrote the sequel, Don't Look Back, and published that a few months later. Sales were slow at first and I would get so excited each and every time I sold a book, but I was still working full-time and my family still needed a lot of my attention, so it took a little while before I released my next book. Over You didn't come out until the summer of 2012.
Sales started picking up in 2012, which helped to stoke the flame of writing passion and I got busy writing Gone, which I released early this year. Imprisoned followed a few months later, and Hunted, which I'm writing now, will be out by December 1st.
I've been pleasantly surprised by how much people have enjoyed Lily's Story (He Loves Me Not and Don't Look Back). I've had a number of people request a third book telling what happens to Lily next, so after I'm done with Hunted, I'll write a third book in Lily's Story, which I'll release early next year.
All this great news leads to the best news of all, which is that I'm selling enough books now that I've been able to quit my day job and now I'll be able to focus full-time on writing! It's so strange to have so much time each day to devote to writing and other writing tasks, but it's fantastic!
My baby girl, who was only three years old when I started writing, is now in her second year of college, so it's pretty quiet at my house. During the day it's just me and my two cats, Cooper and Nala, who can be such troublemakers. I miss having my children around, but I relish being able to spend so much time on writing.
I have lots of plans now, like making all of my books available as print books as well as audio books. I never had time to do that before as I only had a couple of hours a day to devote to writing and that time had to be used to write.
I should also be able to get more writing in each day, which will help me produce more books. My goal is to release four books per year.
Again, I want to thank each and every one of you who have bought my books. It's only because of your support that I'm able to transition to writing full-time, which will allow me to write more books!
I'm working hard on finishing book 2 of the Parallel Trilogy. The title is "Imprisoned". Here is the cover:
My goal is to have it available for purchase by July 1st. I'm almost done with the first draft. After revisions it will go to my beta readers, then my editor. If you liked "Gone", I think you'll really like "Imprisoned"!
Wow! I stay away from my blog for a few months and everything changes. I've been busy working at my day job and squeezing in writing time whenever I can, so I haven't had much time to spend on my blog. Today I went in there to do some updates and the interface had completely changed.
Anyway, I wanted to share my excitement. In the next week I'll be releasing the first book in a new trilogy. The first book is called Gone. It's a YA dystopian, sci-fi-ish novel. Here is the cover.
I love dystopian stories and read them whenever I can spare a few minutes. You can see the books I've read over on Goodreads.
Here is what Gone is about:
What if everything you knew was suddenly gone?
Sixteen-year-old Morgan Campbell runs away from home and when she returns the next day her world is turned upside-down. Not only is her family missing, but another family is living in her house and claims to have lived there for weeks. As Morgan desperately works to figure out what has happened, she finds society has become obsessed with weight in a way she has never seen before. The more she searches for answers, the more she begins to wonder if she has somehow ended up in another world—a world she doesn't want to be a part of.
Can she survive in this world until she can get home?
I hope you enjoy this book! I'm working on the sequel now and plan on publishing it this summer.
Over You is my latest novel. This one is a romantic suspense story. Here's what it's about:
When Jessica Stevens temporarily moves in with her elderly aunt to help care for her, she plans to use the time to heal from a recent break-up. But when her aunt decides to do some remodeling on the old house, Jessica is dismayed to discover that the contractor is her ex-fiance, a man who dumped her several years before. Helping distract her from her troubles are mysterious fifty-year old letters she finds in her aunt's attic. The contents of the letters spur Jessica to do some digging, but as the truth of the past begins to be revealed, Jessica regrets ever finding the letters.
This week's guest post is by Indie Chick Melissa A. Smith.
Writing Out the Grief
Melissa A. Smith
A common question people ask a writer is what made
them decide to sit down and start writing in the first place. For me, it was
While in high school, I wrote. I had taken journalism
and the teacher loved my writings. Two pieces of my work had been published in two
different school publications. I was also asked to join the staff for the
school paper, but declined. I just didn’t like writing the things wanted for a
paper. I liked creating stories to take you places. Inventing new worlds and
people to live in them. I stopped writing after getting out of school and
didn’t start again for several long years.
December 2008 had started like any other December
before it. I was out shopping for those perfect gifts for each member of my
family, and loving every minute of it. By my side was my shopping partner. My
mom. My best friend. This year was a little different, as we made our rounds
trying to get most of her shopping done earlier than her normal pace of slow
(she was known to be out shopping as late as Christmas Eve), because she was
set to have her final knee replacement surgery on the 19th. That day
was also the last day of work I had before school let out for Christmas Break.
We had almost done everything she’d wanted to have
done, done. But there were still a few things to gather, like stocking stuffers
and things of that nature. She went in for her surgery and everything went
great! The last time she’d been in the hospital, for the first knee 6 months
prior, she’d contracted hospital-acquired pneumonia. Her doctor, wanting her to be healthy for
the rigorous knee therapy that follows two days after surgery, released her the
following day. The 20th.
Wanting to forgo giving you all the details, I received a phone call
early on the 21st. A phone call no one wants to get. My father,
who’d awoken to find his partner for the past 34 years gone, couldn’t make that
call. The responding police officer had to do it for him. Pneumonia had taken
her from us.
So started my decent into grief.
We were supposed to do some shopping before I took her to physical
therapy that day. We were supposed to do a lot of things during my break,
because she too had it off for recovery.
Instead, I had to help my dad organize a funeral.
During the year and a half that followed, I read over
230 books. All while working full time and tending to a family.
It was the start of summer vacation in 2010 when I’d
run out of books to read. I dove into spending time with my boys and vegging at
the pool daily. I thought it had been long enough, and maybe the grief wouldn’t
be so sharp. I was wrong. Without having someplace for my mind to wander, to
live in, I was a mess of tears.
It was then I’d woke up in the middle of the night, leaving
a dream that made my brain buzz. I tried to shake it off, leave it where I
found it. In my dreams. But it wanted to be let out. So I sat down in secret
and started writing.
At first when my family noticed my switch from books
to the computer and all my constant typing, they asked what I was doing. I
lied. I told them I was writing to my sister who lives in Texas. At first they
bought it, but as the typing went on, they were puzzled as to why I didn’t just
call her and talk to her. Again, I lied. But this time I said she’d asked me to
write down some things about our mom.
While they still were puzzled by all the clicking
going on at the keyboard, they left me alone.
While writing started out as therapy for a grieving
soul, it is now something I must do to keep all the exciting characters quiet.
I love it! I only wish it could have developed without such dark beginnings,
but nonetheless, my mother would be proud.
This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25
Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon
and Barnes & Noble
for the wonderfully low price of Free! To
read all of the stories, grab your copy today!
Also included are sneak peeks into 25
My young adult paranormal romance, Cloud
Nine is one of the novels featured.
This week's guest post is by Indie Chick Michelle Muto.
The Magic Within and the Little Book That Could
That's what I've been calling The Book of Lost Souls, the book that started my path to publication. I’ve always loved to write. I’ve always loved the way imagination and words blend on a page, the way they transport a reader to faraway worlds, or right next door, where witches live. From the time I was very young, books were an amazing world to me. There was no greater joy than going to the library with my mother whose love of books knew no measure. When I was very young, my mother read to me every night. As I grew older, we’d talk about the books we were reading.
Even as a young child, I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. But, writing wasn’t what paid the bills. I got a regular job and life went on, although I still dreamed of writing. My father always told me to believe in myself and to never give up on what I firmly believed in. A few years after his death, I took up writing again. My mother, who was now ill and who had moved in with my husband and me, was happy to read what I wrote, or to set the table in order to give me a few more minutes of writing time.
And so I wrote and edited and revised. Just before the book was ready to send to agents, my mother died. I set the book aside. Writing was too painful, too full of memories.
But, the stories in my head wouldn’t let up, and so after a few years I started writing again. This time, I wrote about a teen witch named Ivy and her life in a small town, and I quickly fell in love with the story and the eclectic group of characters. I think of it as Buffy meets Harry Potter. When I typed the last line, I actually felt a pang of sorrow—I didn't want to say goodbye. Ivy and her story became The Book of Lost Souls, and after polishing it up, I sent it off to agents. Plenty were interested and requested the full manuscript. Unfortunately, most of them thought the book was too light. Too cute. Too Disney. They offered to read whatever else I had, as long as it was darker. Darker sells! Or so they said.
So, after two revisions for two separate agents that eventually didn't pan out (they said the book still had a lighthearted feel to it that wouldn't appeal to publishing houses), I set The Book of Lost Souls aside and started working on an outline for a much darker book.
It was around this time that the economy began to collapse—hard—and I was given the pink slip on Friday the 13th, right after I had completed a project that saved the company $400,000 annually. Say goodbye to eighteen years of loyal service! Suddenly, writing a darker, more dystopian book about the afterlife on top of losing my job seemed too much to take. Still, I recalled my father’s wisdom of believing in myself even when no one else did. I wrote and finished the next book, Don’t Fear the Reaper, in about seven months.
Still unemployed despite literally hundreds of applications, I began to worry we would lose our home or deplete our savings before I found a job. My career in IT was gone—off shored as they call it. I also wondered if I’d ever see any of my books published. I was so close to getting an agent so many times. Agents wrote back: You’re a strong writer. Or, The Book of Lost Souls is a great story and is well-written, but it’s not for me.
Nearly every morning, my inbox was filled with rejection letters from jobs and agents, yet I tried to stay positive. I kept repeating my father’s words to believe, to never give up. For every rejection, I sent out twice as many applications, twice as many query letters. I just tried harder.
I had been querying Reaper for about three months when I got an editorial letter from one of New York’s biggest literary agencies who'd had The Book of Lost Souls for nearly a year. A year! But, the letter was so enthusiastic about the story and my writing that I sat down and made every last revision they suggested. I turned it in and waited. Months went by. In the end, they rejected the story—not because they didn't love it, but because in the year and change they’d had the manuscript, another client had submitted a proposal for a story about a teen witch. Conflict of interest, they called it.
And that was that. My novel, the book that was finished, was dumped for someone else’s book that hadn't yet been written. Somewhat angry and depressed, I set The Book of Lost Souls aside. Again. By now, I was at the end of my rope. I was still unemployed and out of unemployment benefits. The only work I could find was the occasional short-term computer job, some tech writing gigs, or dog-sitting. Nothing full-time, and certainly nothing we could count on.
If the near-miss with Super Agency wasn’t enough, I found myself running into similar situations with Don't Fear the Reaper. Now, agents were saying, Too dark! But, you're a talented writer and we'd love to see other work. Or, You’re capable of incredibly incisive scenes—the opener is still one of the best things I read all year. And, my personal favorite, In this economy...
It was then that I learned about self-published authors such as Karen McQuestion and Amanda Hocking. I decided to go indie as well, starting with The Book of Lost Souls. What did I have to lose? A lot if I didn’t figure out a way for our household to stop hemorrhaging money. The only problem? I had no idea where to start. I sent an email to Ms. McQuestion, in the hopes she could point me in the right direction. She was so incredibly kind! Not only did she reply, she sent me a wealth of information on self-publishing. Today, she shares all that information on her blog. I’m incredibly grateful to her.
I got a cover I could afford with the help of another indie, Sam Torode. Two editor friends went over my work. Finally, I formatted the book and the rest is history. I uploaded The Book of Lost Souls in early March, and it’s been getting consistently great reviews ever since. As for being too lighthearted? I receive emails all the time from people who love that the book is funny, upbeat, and clean.
Within my first five weeks of self-publishing, I hit three best seller lists on Amazon. Me. An indie author without a publicist or a big agency or publisher behind them. Just me, my computer, my loving husband, and the devotion of two dogs at my feet.
I’ve been asked if there will be a sequel to The Book of Lost Souls. The answer is yes. Two more books, maybe a third. I just haven't thought that far out yet.
And the other, darker book? After some revisions, Don't Fear the Reaper debuted in late September 2011. On its first day, the book reached lucky #13 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases, Children’s Fiction, Spine-Tingling Horror.
I’m only sorry that my parents aren’t here to see this. I took my father’s advice and my mother’s faith and reinvented myself. I still dog-sit and take on small computer jobs and tech writing gigs to help keep us afloat financially. But one day, I hope that my hard work will pay even more of the bills. Until then, I’m at peace with the way things are.
I’d like to dedicate my section of this anthology to readers everywhere—words alone cannot express how much I appreciate you believing in me. You’re every bit as much a part of the magic as Ivy herself.
So, thank you, Dear Reader. Sincerely. Because, every author with a story to tell writes with you in mind.
This week's guest post is by Indie Chick Talia Jager.
Paper, Pen, and Chocolate
by Talia Jager
“Mom!” a voice yelled from the other room. “Make her stop!”
“I didn’t do anything!” another voice yelled before I could even get up to see what was going on.
I sighed and struggled to get off the couch where I had just started writing a scene. Four months pregnant with our sixth child and the varicose veins were already causing problems for me. I wondered where my husband was hiding that he couldn’t handle this.
Fortunately, the yelling quieted down. Instead of checking on them, I made an Executive Decision. I snuck into my closet, grabbed some Hershey’s chocolate from my stash, and slipped into the bathroom where I ate it with the lights turned off. Nobody would find me there.
Flicking on my flashlight, I took out the notepad and pen I had stashed in the magazine rack and wrote down some thoughts on the scene I had been writing.
The quiet lasted 3.5 minutes. Then my time in the bathroom was up. I crept back out to the living room where I settled a new argument, secretly wishing I could go back to the bathroom.
Now, you may ask…Married with how many kids? And you write books? WHY? HOW? Let me tell you.
From the time I was a little girl, I have had two dreams. One: To have a large family. Two: To be an author. There was a time not long ago when it seemed neither would come true.
Maybe it was being an only child that allowed my imagination to run wild and my mind to create stories; it definitely made me wish for a big family of my own. It’s lonely to grow up without a sibling.
In school, writing was my passion. I wrote constantly. I’d slip my story under a notebook in class and when I was supposed to be taking notes, I’d really be writing my story. At night when I was supposed to be asleep, I’d hide under the covers in bed with a flashlight, pen, and paper.
Time went on, and although I had many stories written, I was too chicken to do anything with them. So, they sat. When I fell in love and started a family, writing got pushed to the side. Sure, I still loved it, but I never had time. Deep down, I was mad at myself for not at least trying to do something with them. But, at the time, I felt I couldn’t. Family came first.
My dream of having a large family wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it had begun to come true. We had two beautiful little girls and wanted more. Unfortunately, I suffered through many miscarriages over the years. After having a number of tests done, I was diagnosed with a blood disorder so complicated that I have no idea what it actually is except that it can cause miscarriages. Getting pregnant had never been an issue; staying pregnant was. When I didn’t get and stay pregnant for over a year, the depression got worse.
Losing a baby is a devastating thing to go through; losing six is downright depressing. There’s no amount of crying, begging, negotiating, or praying that brings them back. Believe me, I tried it all. It didn’t matter how many people told me it wasn’t my fault–I blamed myself anyway. Finding out that it was due to a blood disorder made my guilt that much worse. It was my fault. My body’s fault anyway. Then I started asking myself: Why do some of my babies live and others don’t? What did I do different? I had children before I started medication for the disorder, and I’ve had miscarriages since getting on the medication. None of it makes sense and it’s still something I struggle to understand. I was in such a deep depression; it was like my creative button had been turned off. I had no desire to write.
When we finally “gave up” and decided that we’d be a family of six, we found out I was pregnant again with our fifth daughter.
This pregnancy was much harder on my body than the others. I found myself on the couch most of the day with my legs up. It was around this time that some online friends found out that I loved to write and encouraged me to share my stories. I did so nervously and they loved them! I reached deep down and found the courage to start submitting queries to agents. Each time my hopes were smashed to pieces.
My husband started talking about eBooks and self-publishing. I wasn’t too sure about going that route. I wanted to see my books in print, so I could hold them in front of my face. I wanted to smell my book. But, as time went on, eReaders became more popular and I figured…why not?
So, here I am, with five children, trying to find the time to write, while juggling mom-duty, wife-duty, household chores, errands, and more. During the earlier part of this year, you could find me up until the wee hours of the morning writing. You see, that is the only time it’s quiet enough to get anything done. Three a.m. is the time when all little girls are sleeping, the husband is snoring away, and my mind is clear. I can throw myself into a character’s psyche and let my imagination flow. Everything was going perfectly. I was getting a lot of writing done and then we got a surprise. Baby #6 was on the way.
As happy as we were, this put a serious damper on staying up until three a.m. I just couldn’t do it. My one-year-old is at the age where she needs to be followed around and supervised constantly. If I don’t, I find my computer monitor has become a coloring book.
My four-year-old is in between the “play with me” stage and the “playing alone” stage. The older three are in school, which provides a break for me, but since my four year old adores her older sisters, it makes it hard. She’s constantly whining for them to come home.
It’s hard enough juggling the four younger ones, but throw in a hormonal teenager and chaos ensues. Dealing with her has made me positive that my mother cursed me for acting out as a teenager. Not a week goes by that I don’t find myself in tears over something she does or says. Like the time recently when I told her I was pregnant again, she made nasty comments accusing me of ruining her life. Or the time I had to punish her for kicking her sister, and she informed us that she could run away and be adopted by her friend’s parents.
I’m sure you find yourself wanting to ask how I get a minute to myself. Or how do I deal with no time alone? Or what if I get an idea during the day?
Remember that stash of chocolate in the closet? I simply get some, slip into the bathroom, and take a few minutes. Sometimes I just think. Sometimes I jot down a few ideas on that hidden notepad.
As crazy and chaotic as my life is, I wouldn’t change a thing. And it sure gives me plenty of things to write about.
So, when life hands you lemons…toss them out, grab your stash of chocolate, your writing materials, and head for the bathroom. You may just end up writing a book.
This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today.
This week's guest post is by Indie Chick Julia Crane.
Moving to the Middle East
Separation was normal in my marriage. My husband was in the military, and usually gone six months a year. We had adapted quite well to the schedule. Of course, we had the normal period of adjustment when he would return, but that was part of the lifestyle. We were looking forward to his retirement, and being able to spend more time together as a family. That didn’t work out quite as we expected. My husband was offered a job in Afghanistan that would set us up to really retire. The kicker? It would last a year. We thought the sacrifice would be worth it, so off he went. One year became a year and a half.
While he was gone I took care of our small business, running a gym. I loved it. It was very time-consuming, but it was also very rewarding. It started to wear on me only when my pre-teen children complained that I was always at the gym, and never had time for them. Finally, I told my husband that it was time for him to come home.
He put in his notice and started a stateside job. Though the new job still required him to be gone for six months of the year, the absences were in manageable blocks of two weeks. When he was home, he would take care of the gym and I would have time off. It was perfect.
Then he got a call from a friend, with a job offer that was just too good to turn down…in Dubai. We discussed it, and decided he should take the job, even though we had a new one-year-old.
Not long after my husband left for Dubai, I was at the breaking point. I felt trapped with the business, our teens, and a one-year-old always needing my attention. I had no personal space, and I’m a person that requires time alone, or else I get cranky.
As luck would have it, the new job offered to bring family members over to live in Dubai. My first thought about moving to the Middle East? “Yeah, right.” However, I researched Dubai and was surprised at what I found. The country seemed very modern, and the schools sounded good.
So I told my husband, “Ok, we’re coming.” While I was both nervous and excited, I was ready for a change, and moving to the Middle East sounded like just the adventure I needed.
When we got off the plane in October, the hot air hit my face and it felt like I had walked into a sauna. I thought, “Uh oh, what have I agreed to?” Yes, the heat is hard to handle, but you learn to live your life around it. We do most things early in the morning or after the sun sets. It is very much a nighttime culture. The city is beautiful and the Arabian Sea is breathtaking. I have grown comfortable living here, and easily call it my home. Though I can now see myself here for a few years, there are of course many things that I miss about America, and most of them involve food. Some things are just impossible to find: I’ve searched high and low for a Butterfinger, with no luck.
After a couple of months of enjoying my newfound free time, I eventually started to twiddle my thumbs. I was used to being busy, and with all the free time I needed to find something to fill the void. I saw an article that went into detail about how e-books had flung open many doors for writers. I thought that was interesting, and I mentioned it to my husband and he said he had also seen many articles saying much the same thing. I jokingly said that I was going to write a novel. My husband, who believes I can do anything, thought it was a great idea. I have always enjoyed writing even though I had not written much since having children. As a teen, I used to mail short stories to magazines and such, and like most avid readers, I always dreamed of someday writing a novel. Now I had my chance.
That same night I sat down to write, and the story quickly formed in my mind. I knew I wanted to write a young adult novel that would involve my Irish roots. The story just seemed to form itself: I would get ideas at random times and rush to write them down. It was frustrating at times, because I need relative quiet to focus. As you can imagine, with two teens and a two-year-old, finding quiet time is not easy. I wrote most of “Coexist” late at night when everyone was asleep. It took approximately three months to write the first draft, while the revision and editing process lasted longer than the initial writing.
A great part of the writing process for me has been interacting with other writers. I have met some amazing people from online writing groups and chat rooms. I learned a great deal in a short amount of time. I don’t think this undertaking would have been nearly as fun without the community I have found. Moving halfway across the world has allowed me to have both more time with family, and the ability to pursue a dream I’ve had since a child.
This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today.
Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels!
My paranormal romance novel, Coexist: Keegan’s Chronicles #1,
This week's guest post is by Indie Chick, Carol Davis Luce.
SELF-TAUGHT LATE BLOOMER
Carol Davis Luce
My motto is, “If I can do it, anyone can do it.” I wasn’t born to write. I didn’t aspire to be a writer from the time I could hold a Crayon. I could, however, draw, and make things take shape through form and color on paper and canvas, and that’s the path I traveled well into midlife. The artist’s life opened up my eyes and mind to expression and sometimes stories through composition on that blank eighteen by twenty-four inch stretched canvas. Then one day it changed.
As a voracious reader, I was content to read what others wrote. I admired those writers who had mastered the craft. I was happy to dwell in their world for 300 pages, to laugh, cry, and be enlightened and surprised. Until one day when I closed a book by my favorite author and felt something was missing. The novel was a mystery/suspense with elements of romance. The suspense was killer. The romance, however, was lacking, missing those subtleties that resonated with me. I wanted more. The promise of romance was there, but fizzled somewhere along the way. For me, it wasn’t about graphic sex. It was about sexual tension, passion, love. After searching unsuccessfully for novels to satisfy my romantic suspense fixation, looking for just the right balance, I realized I had to write the book myself.
Only I knew nothing about writing a novel, let alone a genre book with a sub-genre. So I went to the library and checked out a reference book titled, HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL. Easy enough, right? If dedication is easy, then it was easy because I was driven. My artist’s passion shifted to focus on the writer’s canvas. That canvas was structure, words, emotion, and truth. And the rest is history.
I burned up two electric typewriters before investing in a computer. I checked out every book on the “book writing” reference shelf, and many grammar and stylebooks, and two years later, my 800-page opus, NIGHT STALKER, was finished—
I learned about the important shaping process, without which most stories would be unreadable. Editing. The passion and pain of cutting and revising. Finding the jewels that lie buried in too many, or misguided, words. Three years and a dozen revisions later, 400 pages lighter, it found a home with a traditional publisher. Within the first few months of release, it went into three printings and became the flagship for the sub-genre "Woman in Jeopardy/Romantic Suspense" at Kensington Publishing.
Where it started. . .
I left school at sixteen to marry my high school sweetheart. Six years later, as a housewife and mother, I channeled my artistic talent into sketching and painting, selling my work at a local art gallery. A quarter century later, I traded in my paints and brushes to hit the keyboard. Our three sons, not much for novel reading, are waiting for my books to be made into movies. That childhood sweetheart I married a lifetime ago is now my soul mate of 50 plus years. His encouragement fueled me, and his support allowed me to pursue my goals.
Going back to my motto of, “if I can do it, anyone can.” There has never been a more opportunistic time to try your hand at writing a book. Or taking the plunge and self-publishing. My decision to self-publish my upcoming suspense novels came about when I hit the proverbial brick wall after five published books. With a stalled career, I had a choice. Teach, or see my stories in print again. I chose the latter. My first self-published book is the short story trilogy, BROKEN JUSTICE, followed by my suspense novel, NIGHT WIDOW.
Agents and editors think they know what readers want. They don’t always know. Readers know what readers want, and they’re expressing their wants by buying books written by indie authors. Give yourself a hardy pat on the back if you’ve completed a manuscript, but the big applause goes to our devoted fans and readers. Without them, we would be nothing.
I love to read and lose myself in a good story – forget all that is going on around me and be in the story with the characters. One day in 1997 I finished reading a novel by Joy Fielding and realized she hadn’t needed to be an expert in a particular field, like medicine or law, to write a good suspense story. This fact inspired me to try my hand at writing. It also didn’t hurt that we’d just gotten our first computer and I can type much faster than I can write longhand.
At this time in my life I was thirty-two and my youngest child was three. I also had three other children who were in elementary school. A stay-at-home mom, I was able to carve out some time to work on this project. At first I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. What if I couldn’t complete it? What if I failed? After a short time I told my husband, mother, and sister and they were supportive.
I kept working at it, day by day, until after about four weeks I’d finished a complete novel. At that point it was nowhere near ready to be published, but I’d proven to myself that I could write a novel with a beginning, middle, and end. I continued working on the story, then put it aside and began working on another.
I gathered the courage to have a few friends read it and they all said they loved it. Encouraged, I decided to attend a conference called Bouchercon , which is for fans of mysteries. At the conference I mingled with published writers and talked to an agent or two. Afterwards I sent queries to several agents, but none of them were interested in my completed novel.
Shortly afterwards I started working part-time and didn’t spend as much time writing as I had before. When my youngest child started first grade I decided to go back to college full-time and earn my degree. Over the next four years I did very little fiction writing and focused on getting my education.
As I approached my final semester my schedule wasn’t quite as heavy and I decided to do some revisions on one of my two completed novels. When I felt the story was ready, I submitted it to a small, regional publisher. In April, 2004 I graduated with a B.S. in Information Technology. That same week the publisher got back to me and said they were interested in publishing my book, but first they wanted me to do revisions. Though they hadn’t offered a contract yet, I did the revisions and resubmitted the manuscript. They were pleased, but wanted yet more revisions. In 2004 the job market was down and I was spending a lot of time job-hunting, but I did the revisions as requested.
In October of that year I finally found a full-time position and within two weeks of starting my new job, the publisher got back to me and offered a contract. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Seven and a half years after I’d written my first book and I was finally getting published!
I was assigned an editor and worked closely with her. The book hit bookstores in July, 2005. I thought I was on my way. I had one book published with a real publisher, so now I was set, right?
The book sold reasonably well, but when I submitted another manuscript, my publisher decided not to publish it. Discouraged, I focused on my family and my job and didn’t spend very much time writing. However, I still read as much as ever. In fact, when the nook eReader became available I bought one and started loading dozens of books onto it. I was in reader heaven.
I’d had my nook for nearly a year before I caught on to the possibilities indie publishing presented. The book I’d published with a traditional publisher had gone out of print and I was able to get the rights back. That book, No Way Out, was the first book I made available as an indie publisher. The first month it was available I sold exactly one copy. But that one sale was very exciting. Since then I’ve published three more novels and have sold thousands of copies. I love that I have complete control over what I publish. I also love to read the work of other indie authors. There are so many talented people that are now able to publish their work.
I’m glad I didn’t give up on my dream to be published and am so excited at the endless opportunities that are now available. One thing I’ve learned is that if you persist in following your dreams, eventually you will be able to accomplish what you’ve set out to do, whatever it may be.
That three-year-old child that sat near me as I began my writing career is now a senior in high school. Whether or not I had chosen to continue writing, time inexorably moved forward. It’s never too late to follow your dreams, but why wait?