I’ve taken on the task of organizing the spelling bee for my twins’ school.
I won the first grade spelling bee for my school, so I have a lifelong love of spelling, and think it’s a shame that some schools aren’t teaching it anymore because spellcheck fixes errors. However, as we all know, spellcheck doesn’t fix all errors, and autocorrect can create even more problems :)
What about you? Did you ever participate in a spelling bee? How’d you do?
That path was long and winding and involved more than a few tears. It included four years of writing and rewriting, a year of subbing, several workshops, a fun and exciting online contest, and lots and lots of rejections.
The part I want to talk about here, though, was one of the most painful parts of the process: a dreaded agent break-up.
For about five years, I’d had an agent. She was a fantastic agent, with one of the top children’s and young adult literary agencies in the business, and she represented some of my all-time favorite authors. Prior to THE FUNERAL SINGER, she’d signed with me for a middle grade mystery that went out on submission but never sold.
I was so nervous to send her THE FUNERAL SINGER. I hadn’t sent her anything in years. Would she like it? Would she want revisions? How extensive?
My heart pounded when I saw her name pop up in my email. I’ll never forget it. I was sitting at a stoplight on my way to work. I opened the email … and my heart dropped. She thanked me for sending the manuscript but indicated she did not plan to send it out. I was welcome to submit future work.
That was it? After four years of writing and re-writing, I was supposed to put it in a drawer and start the next one?
(An aside for all of you who work in an office: You know when your receptionist tells you she thinks you should go home, you were crying a little too loudly in your office. Yes, I cried. A lot.)
What would I do? I didn’t want to let my manuscript die based on one person’s opinion. It deserved better than that. But, this was a person whose opinion I respected. And as much as I hated to admit it, I knew my pride would take a blow. I loved having such a respected agent. For years I’d been able to take encouragement in knowing she’d picked me, out of all the writers out there, to represent. I was so proud to tell people she was my agent.
Now it would be back to square one. Quite a humbling moment.
But I did it. I exchanged some emails and had a great phone call with her, and ultimately made the decision to move on and try to find another home for THE FUNERAL SINGER.
As soon as I made the decision, I felt a sense of relief and hope. I didn’t know where, how, or even if my manuscript would find a home, but I was going to give it the chance it deserved.
One year, one major revision, and one contest later, I got another email. Again, my heart pounded. I opened it expecting yet another rejection, but the first line of the email made my head spin. I had to read again. And again. Then I had to read it to my husband to make sure it meant what I thought it meant.
“Hello, Linda. Thanks so much for sending us THE FUNERAL SINGER! We loved it and think it would make a wonderful addition to our list at Swoon Romance.”
Sometimes you have to swallow your pride, step off your cloud, and take a risk. And sometimes you find your happily ever after.
Seventeen-year-old Melanie Martin has witnessed her share of lame eulogies and uninspired epitaphs while singing part-time at her dad’s funeral home. She’s determined to be more than a funeral singer, more than just someone’s “beloved wife” or “loving mother.”
When Mel’s impromptu rendition of “Amazing Grace” at a local rock star’s graveside service goes viral on YouTube, she becomes an Internet sensation, gains thousands of fans and followers, and snags a hot rock star boyfriend–Zed Logan, bass player for The Grime.
But instant fame isn’t easy—and neither is love. Especially when Mel realizes she’s falling for another guy—one who may just want her heart more than her voice.
Buy Links for The Funeral Singer
I live in Northern Virginia with my amazing husband, Joe, and our feisty chihuahua, Demitria (also known as Dee Dee, The Puppy, and Killer).
I grew up in a tiny town called West Grove, in southeastern Pennsylvania. In the second grade, I announced to my parents that I wanted to be a “Paperback Writer,” just like in the Beatles song. I majored in journalism in college and now work in marketing and communications.
I’m a sucker for romance and reality TV and have been known to turn off my phone’s ringer when watching “The Bachelor.”
My favorite flower is the daisy, my favorite food is chocolate, and my favorite song is “Amazing Grace.”
Social Media Links:
Margo Kelly is one of my critique partners and her first book, titled Who RU Really, will debut later this year. You’ll be hearing a LOT about this book in the coming months because it’s amazing! (Yep, I was her critique partner for this book :) )
Kristin Wallace is a fellow Astraea Press author who writes inspirational romance and women’s fiction filled with love, laughter and a leap of faith. Her debut novel MARRY ME released in October 2013 from Astraea Press. Look for the next two books in the Covington Falls Chronicles April 22 and July 1.
Thank you, Margo and Kristin! Now, I’ll answer a few questions about my writing process.
1) What am I working on?
Currently I’m working on the sequel to my debut novel, Along the Way Home.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
While many romance novels feature pages and pages of highly descriptive sex, my publisher, Astraea Press, specializes in “sweet” novels, which means there is no swearing and no “pink parts” in any of their books.
During a 2011 interview, Six Questions for Stephanie Taylor, the owner of Astraea Press made the following statement: “I also believe that in general the public is getting sick of all the sex in books today, the lack of plot and bad writing, and I think everything will come full circle.”
In this same interview she also stated: “…Astraea offers a safe haven for good books where the focus is on the STORY and not the sex”.
Bottom line, I’m proud to have my book published with Astraea Press!
(Click HERE to read the interview I quoted from)
3) Why do I write what I do?
The Oregon Trail is an important part of America’s history, and this fictionalized tale of travelers who were willing to abandon all they’d ever known for the promise of a better life gives the reader a historically accurate glimpse into our country’s past.
As for the lack of sex in my book and ones to come, I want my eight year old twins to eventually read my book(s), and when they do I want their focus to be on the storyline and the characters, rather than sexual interactions.
4) How does my writing process work?
Plot out the story using my storyboard method depicted in this picture.
Write the first draft.
Revise a minimum of ten times.
Send to one critique partner. (Margo Kelly)
Revise according to the suggestions I agree with.
Send to my other critique partner. (Artemis Grey)
Revise according to the suggestions I agree with.
Send to three Beta Readers.
Revise according to the suggestions I agree with.
Send to my publisher.
Also, I do this each and every day during the above process…
Thanks Margo Kelly and Kristin Wallace for the fun questions!
What about you? What’s your writing process?
Fellow Astraea Press author, Wendy Knight, has released another book! You’ll recall her from her previous times here on the blog (click HERE and HERE to read them), and now I’m thrilled to announce that she’s celebrating another release!
Hate can start a war, but a shattered heart can fuel it for centuries.
Everything Ada does is wrong. She’s the daughter of a Duke but she isn’t proper or formal. She prefers the company of her servants—particularly Christian, the boy she’s loved since she was six years old, and his sister, Charity, Ada’s very best friend in the entire world.
Ada isn’t just the daughter of a Duke. No, she’s the daughter of one of the most powerful Edren sorcerers alive, and no matter how strong she is, it isn’t strong enough. Ada will give up almost everything to earn her father’s pride.
Christian has loved Ada since the day his mother became her governess. But two societies are determined to keep them apart—the aristocracy who say a groom will never be good enough for a Duke’s beautiful daughter, and the sorcerers who say a Carules and an Edren can never be together. Christian will do anything to make Ada his—even drive himself to madness.
When Ada suspects her father of hurting Charity and Christian in his quest for knowledge, she is torn between loyalty to him, and a fierce determination to protect them. The division tears her soul and breaks her heart.
The pieces of her broken heart will start a war that can only be stopped by the death of the most powerful warrior alive by the hand of the boy who loves her.
**Bonus Story –Feudlings in Peace**Join Ari, Shane, Ada, Christian and everyone they love as they chase their happily ever after.
He sprinted down the path, into the forest, leaping over huge rocks and tree roots and through streams he couldn’t see but his magic told him were there. He had no idea where he was going, but there seemed to be a tether from his heart to hers — he always knew where Ada was. He ran straight to them, nearly colliding with her father’s guards as he raced through the thick trees.
“What happened to her?” he bellowed, jerking Ada out of Davis’s bloodstained arms.
“She was hit, saving me,” Harrison answered. “Can you help her?”
If there had been time, any time at all, Christian would have paused at that. How exactly had his tiny little Ada saved the giant Harrison? But there wasn’t time. He laid her on the thick grass, searching for the wound. But there was so much blood.
“There!” Davis snapped, jabbing the air above her stomach.
Flames roiled across Christian’s hands and he held them above her, letting the flames soothe the skin before he tried to touch it. They swirled through the air, seeping and mending the broken, charred skin.
“Does she breathe?” Harrison asked, crouching close to put his face next to her mouth.
Christian ignored him. He didn’t care if she breathed or not.
She would breathe, or he would die with her.
“She does.” Harrison sat back, relieved.
“Can you not heal at all? Stop the blood flow from her shoulder!” Christian snapped.
Harrison gaped at him. “We’re Edren. We don’t heal.”
“I’m Carules and I can throw a lirik if need be,” Christian muttered under his breath, but he couldn’t argue with them now.
They all froze in shock, and then redoubled their efforts. Davis jerked his shirt off and held it to her shoulder while Christian’s blue flames leaped and danced from his hands, fighting the poison eating through her body.
“Christian. I knew—” she whispered as her skin healed, leaving only pink burns behind.
“Shhh. Don’t speak. You’re still very weak.” He moved from her stomach to her shoulder, pushing Davis’ shirt out of the way. It was stiff with dried blood and she shrieked when he ripped it from the wound. “Forgive me, dear one,” he whispered, his mouth near her temple, kissing the pain away. “Forgive me.”
“I knew… you would come. I knew you… could heal me.” Her eyes fluttered open, dazed with pain, dark orbs barely reflecting the moonlight.
“Always, Ada. Forever.”
Wendy Knight is the bestselling author of the young adult series Fate on Fire and Riders of Paradesos. She was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, no touching the knives…you get the idea). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big—her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.
You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.
One of my favorite days of the year is fast approaching, April Fools Day!
Today I’m rerunning last year’s April Fools Day post for two reasons: my twins are on spring break so I don’t have a lot of time alone to concentrate on a new post, and after you read the following repost I’m wondering if you have any ideas of tricks to play?
I love April Fools Day and always have. This is due to my mom’s plethora of tricks she played on my brother and I each year; the two I recall best are dumping piles of uncooked rice between the mattress and the bottom sheet, and removing my dresser drawer and putting it back in upside down so all the clothes fall to the floor the next time it’s opened.
So now I’m following in her footsteps, and showing the Corbett twins what practical jokes are all about.
First, I did the nail polish trick and accused them both of the spill. It was all in good fun and they loved it!
So, then I proceeded on to the brownie trick.
Thankfully, I had some real brownies on hand so they weren’t too disappointed :D.
I also made them some special juice to go along with dinner (hint, it’s Jello! Thanks to Vanessa for the idea!)
And then I finished off the day with the classic trick, short-sheeting the bed.
How about you? Did you play any tricks? Get fooled by anyone?
Today I’m being interviewed by Susan Wingate as part of the Authors on the Air series.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Thank you everyone for your support!