About christicorbett

Writer traveling the path to publication.

Rachel Magee’s Path to Publication

Today I’m excited to have Rachel Magee here, sharing her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s Rachel…

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Rachel Magee author photoIt’s hard to say when I started writing because I don’t remember not writing. As early as elementary school I was scribbling stories on notebooks in my free time. I wrote my first novel length book when I was twelve and entered it in a contest for young writers. I would make my friends plot out stories with me and spent hours curled up with my favorite pen and trusty spiral notebook.

But never during any of that time did I ever consider being a published author. To me, published authors were superheroes, the rare elite who were predestined to be famous and possessed special super writing powers. I was just me. My stories weren’t special. I wrote them because I couldn’t not write them, because my happy place was in front of a computer making characters come alive.

Then, one day my husband was transferring files to my new computer and asked if I ever thought about trying to get them published. I told him my superhero theory, to which he responded with a simple sentence that changed the way I thought about my writing.

“Every published author started out unpublished.”

Huh. So I decided to give it a shot. That week, when I was at the public library with my kids, I checked out three books on how to write and publish a novel. There were so many words I didn’t know it made my head spin. Critique partner, beta readers, query letters, synopsis writing. I had a lot to learn!

About a year after that, I sent out my first query letter. Daily, I checked my email in eager anticipation of my future as a published author. It should come as no surprise to anyone in the writing community that the answer to that first query was no. Along with the responses to a whole lot of queries after that. But because my kids were watching me go through this journey, I wasn’t willing to give up. I wanted to be the example of working hard to achieve your goals not the example of throwing in the towel when it got hard. Although between us, it was much tougher than I had imagined.

One day, my critique partner told me about a publisher she’d heard of who would be a perfect fit for me. Then she called every day after that to see if I had submitted to them. I finally did it just so she would talk about something else. And guess what? That publisher offered me my first contract!

I can’t describe the day I got the final galley of Happily Ever Afters. The book was so beautiful with the fancy cover, the real copyright page, and my name in big letters on the front. As it turned out, published authors weren’t superheroes. They were people like you and me who had stories in our heads and the persistence to see our dreams to fruition. And maybe we have a dash of super powers, too. After all, every book holds a little bit of magic.

Happy writing, friends.

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Lainey Stratton does not fall in love with strangers she meets on vacation. It simply doesn’t make logical sense. So when Lainey meets Carter Thompson on the first day of her Caribbean vacation, she knows it could never amount to anything more than a crush.  At the end of the vacation she will return to Dallas and he will return to DC, and that will be the end of it. Well, unless he wants to join her at a friend’s destination wedding, which would be considered vacation too, right?

But when an unexpected tragedy sends Lainey’s logical world spiraling out of control, she realizes her vacation crush might be the only one who can help her pick up the pieces of her shattered life.  That is, as long as she can get out of the way of her own happiness.  And as long as Carter’s past doesn’t catch up with him before she gets a chance.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble   

Ibook

About the Author:

Rachel wrote her first novel when she was twelve and entered it into a contest for young author/illustrators. Unfortunately, the judges weren’t impressed with her stick figures. So she dropped the dream of becoming a world famous illustrator and stuck to spinning stories. When she’s not busy working on her latest book, she loves to travel with her family and friends. By far, her favorite destination is the beach, which tends to work its way into most of her stories.

Between vacations, you can find her at home in The Woodlands, TX with her wonderful husband, their two adventurous kids and a couple of spirited pets, all of whom share Rachel’s love of the ocean. Well, except the cat and dog. They’re both afraid of water. Find out more about what Rachel has been up to at rachelmageebooks.com.

Connect with Rachel:

Website: rachelmageebooks.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rachelmageeauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachell_magee

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/2/100755997821645118769

 

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Kim Turner: Path to Publication

Today I’m excited to have Kim Turner hosting my blog and sharing her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s Kim…

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IMG_0025[1]In 2001 I attended Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight and Magnolias conference so I could spend time with a friend of mine from childhood, Sherrilyn Kenyon. I had often thought about writing a novel but at that time a lot was going on in my life but I did go home thinking I would start on an idea for a story that I had been tossing around in my head for a long time. So I got home and started writing like a maniac…all three chapters and then it sat there.

 

Fast forward ten years and I had completed my Masters, got married, had a daughter, adopted a daughter from China, and life was rolling right along. But somehow that story continued to build inside my head and so in 2011 I pulled it back out determined to finish. And in eight months I had completed not only one story but three and they were all over 160,000 words each…little did I know about writing romance at that time.
So I called up Sherri and said , “Hey? Guess what? I have written three novels, a series of old west brothers. What do I do next?” I mean I was ready to take the world by storm…I had completed three stories and it had been great fun.
Well when I think of it now, she should have laughed at me but she didn’t. She listened to my ideas and what I had to tell her and then she suggested I join Romance Writer’s of America and Georgia Romance Writers so I could network and learn the craft. “Oh.” I remember saying but I was gonna take the world by surprise.
So I did what she said and joined and began going to meetings and taking notes and learning. And it didn’t take me long to realize those three stories were all right but in no way would be what romance editors would want. I knew this partly because when I attended M&M once more in 2012 I pitched the first story to two editors, one who bit my head clean off and handed it back to me and another who was incredibly nice–both of who asked for the manuscript that I never sent.
The reason was I had learned enough at GRW meetings to know my stories weren’t what they needed to be. So I opened a new word document and started on a mail-order-bride meets sheriff story with intentions of writing within the little box that romance editors preferred. I also went to meetings and conferences and learned from other writers and authors and I paid attention and studied the craft. I was determined to make it happen. That story is what is now Sawyer’s Rose.
I pitched that story about 13 times with the typical “we could not identify with your voice” rejections coming in one by one over the next two years.
But then on Jan. 12, 2015 I was at work on my lunch break glancing at emails…and there was one from The Wild Rose Press. I ignored it at first not sure I wanted the rest of my day suck because it was another rejection. But curiosity and wondering if there was an inkling of a chance got the better of me. I remember sitting there and reading the email over and over as it just would not compute in this brain of mine. I was being offered a contract on the story and no the rest of my day did not suck. Imagine my joy at being able to share this news with Sherri and thank her for pointing me in the right direction.
And after starting a new story and rewriting it nine times with three major story changes I was getting published. So dreams do come true but not without giving it all you have. I read and studied and listened and learned and pitched even when it scared the daylights out of me. I tell aspiring writers there are a few things I have learned along this road to getting published. The first thing is to never give up. The second is to listen and learn and study. The third one is to write what you write. Too many opinions on Sawyer’s Rose made it not even my story…so I went back and started over at an earlier point and did the story the way I wanted to–the contract came right after that. The last bit of advice I would like to offer is to keep learning and hang on tight because publication itself is quite a ride of its own!
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Kim’s books can be found as ebooks at most book sellers and in print on Amazon and with The Wild Rose Press!
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As if he doesn’t have enough to handle between running outlaws out of Cheyenne, keeping his brothers out of trouble, and avenging his father’s death, Sheriff Sawyer McCade’s meddling mother just dumped a mysterious mail-order bride on his doorstep. One woman can be more trouble than a band of renegades, and while this one has him all stirred up, he’d rather get to the bottom of the story she isn’t telling.

Rose Parker had it all—until a web of danger and deceit sends her running to Cheyenne posing as a mail-order bride. Escaping the evils of New York seems sensible until she meets the unsuspecting sheriff who didn’t ask for her, has no intention of marrying her, and won’t rest until he uncovers her secret and sends her back home.

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Bounty hunter Wyatt McCade is taking down outlaws one at a time. He’s been in love with Tess Sullivan for years, but she refuses to give in to her feelings. Reeling from the rejection of his marriage proposal, he chases bounties with little concern for his own safety. When word reaches him that Tess never left for Boston, he rides for Cheyenne to confront her. Instead, he is ambushed and left for dead.

Doctor Tess Sullivan shattered her heart by refusing Wyatt McCade’s marriage proposal and making the biggest mistake of her life, by holding onto a secret. Pining for his return, she blames herself when he arrives in Cheyenne near death. Forgiveness comes quickly in his arms, but she finds herself a pawn in a deadly game of revenge.

When McCade lands are threatened, Tess is caught in the balance. On the bounty hunt of his life, Wyatt will risk everything to rescue the woman he loves.

Author Bio:

Kim Turner writes western historical romance, and discovered her passion of writing at the age of eight by writing poems, short stories and journals. Kim graduated from Clayton State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Education from Central Michigan University.

Working as a registered nurse educator for over twenty-seven years, she enjoys studying the medical treatments of the old west as well as keeping up with the latest western movies and television series. While she loves reading anything from highlanders to pirates, she claims to have an unquenchable thirst for the American Cowboy when choosing her reads.

Kim lives south of Atlanta with her husband and calls her greatest accomplishment the birth of one daughter and the adoption of another from China-neither of which came easy. Kim is a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers. Kim’s Motto: It’s All About A Cowboy and the Woman He Loves.

Social Media:

Website 

Blog
Twitter 
Facebook
Amazon

Laurie Germaine: Path to Publication

Today I’m excited to host fellow Clean Reads author, Laurie Germaine! She’s agreed to share her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s Laurie…

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It was during those bliss-filled days in elementary school when I declared I wanted to become a published author by the time I turned forty. I don’t feel my path to publication got underway, however, until after I graduated from college, when I could give writing the focused time and attention it deserved. Of course, then I got married, had children, and got my butt whipped by postpartum depression. Despite my long-time faith in God, I sank into a cycle of negative thinking and vicious self-talk, and though I wrote as often as I could, those chains of bondage paralyzed me from ever moving my stories beyond my laptop.

Several times over the ensuing years, I would try not to write, but fail miserably—kind of like trying not to breathe and then realizing you need that life-giving gulp of air. What could I do but persist at the craft, shuffling my way down the path, my chains dragging behind me. At last, I wrote “The End” to one of my WIPs, an inspirational romance that had taken years of time, energy, and tears to write—or rather, to perfect. I set about querying some agents and publishers, but soon encountered a new problem: I was exhausted. I had grown weary of my story and its characters, and in my attempt to gain perfection with words, I had lost my joy for using them.

So, I did something I never thought I’d have the courage to do and set aside the manuscript I’d agonized over for so long. It was time to write a story just for me. Something that would renew my delight for crafting a good tale. Something fun and uplifting, that would make me giggle and, yes, give me warm fuzzies.

At the time, the holidays were approaching, and I yearned to read a Christmas story that wasn’t written for a six-year-old. I wanted the fantasy fun of Santa and his elves, but I also craved the depth of a 300-page novel. And romance. It had to have romance. When I couldn’t find anything that met those specifications, I decided to write what I wanted to read.

Long ago, my mom had given me a 1000-piece puzzle depicting Dept 56’s North Pole Series, and my imagination had been enamored with it ever since. Using the picture as a visual jumping-off point, I began brainstorming my Christmas story in February of 2013, when an ACFW online course helped me nail down and flesh out the characters. It went through four drafts over the next two and a half years, at which point I was willing to subject it to critique partners via ACFW. By the spring of ’16, with draft #5 in hand, I geared up to blaze a querying trail through the summer, determined to pitch Tinsel in a Tangle to at least 30-35 agents and publishers before taking a break and switching tactics.

I had some initial interest in the story, followed by plenty of rejections, and then there came a one-two punch in October of ’16 with Stephanie from Clean Reads offering me a contract—wahoo!—and another publishing house asking to see my full manuscript. If they accepted it, this publishing house would put my novel in brick and mortar bookstores, as well as online, so I took the extra time to see where that might go.

In the end, like the few other bites I’d gotten, the publishing house passed on Tinsel because its Christmas theme created a limited sales window in any calendar year. By then, I realized such were the breaks for an unknown, wannabe author with a slim-to-none platform trying to pitch a Christmas novel. This has made me all the more grateful to Clean Reads for giving me the opportunity to share my quirky, beloved characters beyond my circle of friends and family. And kudos to Amanda from AM Designs for an amazing cover. She captured the fun, flirty, light-hearted tone of the book perfectly, and I smile every time I see it.

So. Eighteen years. That’s how long it’s been since I graduated college and made writing one of the top priorities in my life. A longer journey than others—longer than I’d like—but God had some work to do in me. And while I haven’t fully routed the negative self-talk, I do treat myself far kinder than I used to.

But you know what’s my big take-away from this path to publication? God’s attention to detail. A few years ago, I had accepted the fact it was unlikely I’d make my published-before-forty goal, but God never forgot the desire of my heart. Just a few weeks before I turned the big 4-0, I signed the contract with Clean Reads. And on Tinsel’s release day, I’ll still be two months’ shy of forty-one. 😉

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Book Summary:

In the arctic town of Flitterndorf, generations of elves have worked alongside generations of Kringles to make gifts for believing children worldwide. Never have they endured a tall, blundering elf like Tinsel, however.

Despite her setbacks, Tinsel’s determined to prove her worth by nabbing an internship at the Workshop. But when her latest mishap destroys gift reserves and puts Christmas in jeopardy, she lands a punishment mucking reindeer stalls for Santa’s hotshot grandson, Niklas. If she wants a second chance at that internship, she must collaborate with the twinkle-eyed flirt to redeem herself in everyone’s eyes—and do it without messing up. For one more calamity will not only bring about the holiday’s demise, she’ll be immortalized as the elf who shattered children’s faith in Santa Claus. 

So not the way she wants to go down in history.

Buy Links:

Amazon           Barnes and Noble         iTunes

Author Bio:

As a New England native who once dreamed of raising her family in Europe, Laurie is a walking testimony to God’s sense of humor, since she now lives (quite happily) in Montana with her husband, two daughters, and their lovable Alaskan Malamute.

Though she’s been crafting stories from a young age, she found renewed joy once she combined her year-round love for Christmas with an unused BA in German, and the seed was sown for her debut novel, Tinsel in a Tangle. Prompted by God, she is donating all proceeds she receives from the sale of this book to helping girls rescued from sex trafficking. When she’s not immersed in her latest WIP or honing important life skills as a stay-home mom, you can find her knitting anything from clothes to toys, or creating dioramas for her 16-inch poseable dolls.

Social Media:

Website:          lauriegermaine.com

Blog:                scatteredwhimsy.com

Facebook:        facebook.com/lauriegermaineauthor

Twitter:           twitter.com/LaurieGermaine

Pinterest:         pinterest.com/lauriegermaine

 

Dana Romanin’s Path to Publication

Today Dana Romanin has stopped by the blog to share her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s Dana…

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SONY DSCYou’ll read in my bio that when I was little I would sit under a grove of forsythia bushes and pretend that I was Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I did sit under the bush with ants crawling on my leg and dream of being a writer. But, dear reader, that’s all I did—dream.

I rarely wrote. I spent most of the time dreaming about what it would be like to be a writer.

When I actually tried to write under that forsythia bush, I was rudely ripped from my pretend Anne world with the cruel reality of how difficult writing can be.

But I still dreamed of writing.

I wrote stories, rewrote the endings of books, and continued stories long after I finished reading them—in my mind.

This went on throughout my high school years and soon it was time for me to head to college. I got into Virginia Tech.  Since I only seemed capable of writing in my mind I thought it best to get a degree in business. I decided to major in marketing management and minor in psychology. Little did I know at the time how much those majors would actually help me in my writing career.

After college, I was an analyst for a consulting firm in Washington D.C. I remember one day when one of my managers complimented me on my writing skills. To me, that was one of the best compliments I could have gotten. Even if it was about testing a new billing system for a major telephone company. I yawned just writing that last sentence.

I got married and jumped at the chance to work from home as a sales engineer. I sold fixtures to manufacturing plants to test circuit boards. Huh. What happened? I dozed off there for a second.

But I still dreamed of writing.

Writing a book seemed impossible. I’d start a book. Then stop in exasperation. It was just too doggone hard.

After having my first child, I quit my sales engineer job because it involved a lot of travel and did I mention it was boring? Anyway, I settled in to be a stay-at-home mom.

But I still dreamed of writing.

I started taking an at home course on writing children’s books. But I stopped. It was too time-consuming.

And then I got involved with helping out with my church’s youth group. And, dear reader, teens are in a world of hurt.

Fast forward about ten years, three kids, way too many pets, a bazillion youth group meetings, and I finally found my “why.”

Why I wanted to write. And that made all the difference.

You see before I was writing for myself. But about six years ago, I discovered that I wanted to write for teens. To make them happy. To make them smile. To give them hope.

Once I discovered my “why” nothing would stop me. I attended conferences. I read every book I could on writing. I got involved in a critique group. Entered contests. Started a website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Wattpad. Basically, I went social media crazy. But most importantly, I focused on developing my writing skills.

I no longer dreamed about writing. I actually wrote.

It took about six years of writing, critiquing, social media frenzy, and going to conferences until I finally caught my break. I entered one of my books, Abby’s Letters, in the ACFW Genesis Contest and it semi-finaled. Soon after, I got my agent, Cyle Young, and my contract at Clean Reads publishing for Abby’s Letters.

My story isn’t over, of course. I still have a lot of writing to do. But now that I know my “why ” I’m not going to stop—not while there are young adults out there in this world who could use a laugh or even a good cry.

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Abby’s Letters Back Cover Copy:

For years, Jane’s mom told her horror stories about her time spent in foster care. Now she’s determined to keep her little sister from suffering the same fate.

Seventeen-year-old Jane Sanders has had to take care of her alcoholic mother and little sister, Abby, since her dad died seven years ago. And now Mom had to go and die too. Authorities determine it was a homeless transient who died in the fire of the old manufacturing plant, but Jane knows the truth.

There is no way she’s going to let Abby go into foster care which leaves her with one option—fake her mom’s life. As far as Abby knows, their mom is in rehab. And Jane wants to keep it that way. She’d be eighteen in a few months then she could become legal guardian to her sister. With the help of her best friend, Clark, it should be easy, right?

Juggling nosy neighbors, a concerned school counselor, and an oblivious new boyfriend turns out to be harder than Jane thought. But the real problem begins when Abby starts writing letters to Mom. Through Abby’s letters, Jane sees a different side to their mom—a side she could have loved. And loving Mom is something she didn’t plan on. Because loving somebody makes it harder to ignore their death.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

Endorsements:

“Heart-wrenching, beautiful, and complex, Abby’s Letters is an exquisitely written treatise on mother-daughter relationships, forgiveness, and love. Romanin skillfully tells this fragile family’s story with tenderness and grace, highlighting the interplay of a young woman’s painful past, uncertain future, and unflinching sisterly devotion. Each moment in this novel is a treasure shaped by masterful prose and lyrical storytelling. Do not miss this book. This is a story that should be read by anyone who is a mother or who loves one.”

–Megan Whitson Lee, author of Suburban Dangers and the award-winning novel, Captives.

“Dana Romanin’s debut novel is a poignant tale of love and lives lost, and one girl’s attempt to keep what’s left of her family together, despite all the odds. A wonderful and thought-provoking read.”

–Diana Sharples, young adult author of Running Lean.

“Dana Romanin debuts on the YA scene with a heartfelt story of holding on, letting go, and growing up. I was immediately invested in the characters and was hooked from the beginning until the very end. Romanin has a fresh, authentic voice that delivers for YA readers of any age.”
–Nicole Quigley, award-winning author of Like Moonlight at Low Tide

 

Author Bio:

Dana Romanin has dreamed of being a writer since she was a little girl pretending to be Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables). She used to write under a forsythia bush, but now she writes in a messy office that she shares with her sewing obsessed daughter.

Dana’s short story, The Silence of Sand, was chosen for adaptation into a short film performed by the Blue Man Group. Dana has also published short fiction for teens in Encounter—The Magazine and had a short story published in a Family Fiction anthology, The Story 2014. Her first novel, Abby’s Letters, releases in June 2017.

She lives in a small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with her wonderful husband, three beautiful kids, and a lot of persnickety pets.

You can find her blog and awkward videos on her website http://www.DanaRomanin.com. She can also be found on Twitter (@DanaRomanin) and her Facebook fan page (DanaRomaninAuthor).

Path to Publication: Jennifer Froelich

Today’s Path to Publication post is by fellow Clean Reads author, Jennifer Froelich. Without further ado, here’s Jennifer…

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First TypewriterMy mom bought me a blue typewriter for my tenth birthday, not too long after I had hand-written a story about a group of kids who solved a mystery involving a rich old lady, a spooky manor, and a priceless diamond. With my new typewriter, I went on to write another story about a little girl who found a magical rainbow bridge outside her bedroom window, which she crossed to a secret island in the sky.

You might think I knew then that I wanted to be a novelist. I didn’t. I wanted to be a nurse, then a doctor, then, briefly, an NFL cheerleader. As I grew, my career goals constantly changed. I wanted to teach, I wanted to be an interior designer, then an architect. When I joined choir in high school I was good enough to imagine a career on the stage, but not good enough for those aspirations to last. After that, my love of sewing inspired an interest in fashion design, and I dreamed of an exclusive boutique with rich clients who wore my one-of-a-kind designs.

But when I graduated from high school, none of those fantastic ideas stuck. Instead, I decided I would be practical and chose a major that would lead to good money: accounting. It took me a couple of years to admit (out loud) that balancing spreadsheets was not for me. The idea of writing novels was starting to break free from my subconscious at that point, but I was still too practical to pursue it head on. Instead, I changed my major to journalism, reasoning that I could find solid work by writing, even if I wasn’t writing fiction.

I’m happy with the degree I earned. Because of my degree in journalism, I have been able to take on editorial jobs to augment my creative writing through the years. I also learned a lot of valuable research and interview skills, along with the rules of newsworthiness, which are great to consider, even when writing a novel.

After graduating from college, I immediately became a mother, which prompted me to take on those freelance writing jobs while I raised my kids. For years, I subcontracted for a Writer’s Digest book doctor: editing, proofreading, critiquing and ghostwriting for other aspiring writers. Seeing what worked (and what didn’t) for those writers was a great learning experience for me while I worked on my own fiction.

My debut novel, Dream of Me, is about two strangers who meet in shared dreams, which motivates them to try and find each other in the real world. The concept came to me after I had an odd dream myself and wondered if the person I dreamed about was somewhere else in the world, sharing that same dream. When I finished writing it, I shared it with my book doctor client and he loved it, so I started sending query letters to literary agents. I gave up somewhere after 100. Some of the agents were encouraging (great concept, keep trying, etc.) others just sent a form rejection letter without so much as a private address. (A letter beginning with “Dear author” is never something you want to pull out of your mailbox). So I put Dream of Me in a box and began to write another book.

I can’t remember why I decided to set my second novel in Mexico. But when I started researching the Copper Canyon and the legends of the Aztec people, I knew that’s where my story should take place. Eventually, I wrote Sacrifices, a story about two former lovers who are reunited as FBI and Mexican Federal agents, working together to find a serial killer who believes he is a reincarnated Aztec god. Ultimately, I changed my title to A Place Between Breaths, based on a marksmanship term that echoed themes in the story.

Right about that time, I was approached by a small publishing house looking for new titles. I was excited about the prospect, but wary of their inexperience. I decided to show them Dream of Me and see what they thought. They offered me a contract. Unfortunately, my wariness ended up being justified. I spent several months rewriting and editing my manuscript, only to have the owners close shop just as I was finished. I was devastated, but after crying and moping for a while, I thought: The book is done and edited. Why don’t I just self-publish it? So that’s what I did. I remember getting my first review, in which the reader wrote: “I was completely mesmerized by this book!” That’s still one of my favorite memories – reading a perfect stranger’s words, praising mine. I had readers! My book had fans!

After that, I tried to find an agent for A Place Between Breaths, but found that the publishing world had only gotten more difficult to navigate. Most respected agents had full client lists, and those who were seeking new talent were not interested in my suspense novel. After a few almost-but-not-quite-perfect connections, I decided to self-publish again. I had learned a lot from my experience with Dream of Me and the process went much more smoothly. Once again, I was getting great reviews and building a small, but loyal readership.

Marketing books while trying to write another one has always been the most difficult thing about this business, and that was no exception as I continued to try and sell Dream of Me and A Place Between Breaths while writing my third novel, Stealing Liberty. It didn’t help that this novel, in multiple ways, was going to be more challenging than the other two.

In the first place, I was breaking the rule of sticking with one genre: Stealing Liberty was going to be a young adult novel. It was also a dystopian story, which had already peaked in popularity with The Hunger Games and the Divergent series. Stealing Liberty needed to be a series as well, so what were the chances readers would care about three books, let alone one, if dystopian fiction was already on the way out? Add to that the fact that Stealing Liberty would feature a Christian character (which never, ever happens in popular mainstream fiction) and once again, I faced the possibility of writing a book that no one was interested in publishing.

But I had to write it. I loved the story, I thought it was important and relevant, and ultimately decided that even if I was faced with only self-publication again, it was something I had to see through. As I feared, when I finished writing it and began to query literary agents, I received multiple rejections.

Then one day, I got a call from Cyle Young at Hartline Literary. He was interested in the story, but wanted to make sure I was as serious about the work in front of me as I had been about writing the novel in the first place. We went through several rounds of edits together, focused entirely on the first three chapters (some of which I am almost convinced were designed to see how thick-skinned I was.) Keeping my cool and working hard paid off, though, and Hartline offered me a contract. After I signed, Cyle and his intern, Tessa Hall, worked with me to create a solid book proposal, which they sent out to every young adult publisher in the business.

Then came another round of rejections. Again, I learned how fluid the publishing world can be. Contracts are often offered because a story hits some specific niche that is hot right at that moment, be it pirates or princesses, androids, or shepherds (I made that last one up – the last book I read about shepherds was Far from the Madding Crowd – not exactly recent.) But regardless, the writing has to be impeccable and the subject, plot and characters exactly what those publishers are looking for at exactly the right time. As it turned out, I was right to be concerned about how my Christian character would be received. She was the only sticking point for every major publisher we approached – even the “Christian” ones, curiously, who are more and more pushing away from any mention of Jesus in favor of a simple clean-reading model.

But then Cyle received an offer from a small press called Clean Reads. The publisher said her intake reader called Stealing Liberty one of the best she had read. And since they were not scared away by my Christian character, we negotiated a publishing contract.

Stealing Liberty was released in June and the response has been fantastic. Readers love it, it’s getting great reviews, and I am in the process of writing the sequel. Along the way I’ve learned these truths about the publishing industry: First, writing is paramount. It has to be good in every way, just to get your foot in the door. Second, everything takes more work than you imagine it will: writing, editing, marketing, social media management – all of it. Third, there are millions of books out there to read – too many for any one person to read in one lifetime, which means yours – as amazing as it may be – will get buried under a pile of distraction. There’s no magic way to gain readers. You do it day by day, word by word, reader by reader.

But the payoff? Having readers respond so positively to your characters and story. Readersfavorite.com recently gave Stealing Liberty a five-star review. The reviewer wrote: “When I finished the novel, I wanted to give it a round of applause…”

That’s why I do what I do.

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When Reed Paine is sent to a secret detention school for teens whose parents are branded enemies of the state, he doesn’t expect to find friendship – especially after coming face to face with Riley Paca, a girl who has every reason to hate him.

But when Reed, Riley and a few others start reading the old books they find in tunnels under the school, they begin to question what they are taught about the last days of America and the gov-ernment that has risen in its place.

Then the government decides to sell the Liberty Bell and Reed and his friends risk everything to steal it – to take back their history and the liberty that has been stolen from them.

Buy Links:

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About the Author

Jennifer Froelich’s new novel, STEALING LIBERTY, is now available from Clean Reads books. Readers praised her debut novel, Dream of Me, as well-orchestrated with outstanding imagery. Her second novel, A Place Between Breaths, was called a roller-coaster ride with enough twists and turns to keep everyone interested and awarded an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s 23rd Annual Self Published Book competition. Jennifer worked for many years as a freelance editor and ghost writer before publishing her own work. She lives in Idaho with her husband, two children and a cat named Katniss.

Connect with Jennifer

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Lucie Ulrich: Path to Publication

I’m excited to announce that Lucie Ulrich, fellow Clean Reads author, has agreed to host my blog with a Path to Publication post. Without further ado, here’s Lucie…

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Lucie

Unlike so many aspiring authors who knew from a young age they wanted to write, my bug didn’t bite until I was in my mid-forties. Having no college degree, and never having taken a creative writing class—or any sort of writing class, I ventured out on my own.

I worked as a drama director, at my (then) church, and eventually took on the position of performing arts director at a small private school. I wrote skits and plays with ease—whether serious or comedic. Novels, on the other hand, were a different animal.

Since I dealt with kids, I assumed I’d write for young adults. I was wrong. As time passed, I realized that romance with plenty of family drama better suited me best, and once I got going, I was hard to stop. I wrote so much, in fact, one of my first attempts ran nearly 150,000 words. Needless to say, I had a lot to learn.

My training began with a small online critique group which included a published author, an editor, and two college professors. To say I was intimidated would be a gross understatement. Though I got some great feedback, I needed more, and after a year or so, our little group moved to a much larger critiquing site.

Learning the ins and outs of POV, active vs passive voice, info dump, punctuation (though I still struggle there), and so much more took years, but what an education it was.

When I felt I was ready to submit a manuscript, I learned, by way of a few rejections, that most major publishing houses wouldn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, and I was in no position to search out an agent. The author from my first critique group told me about a site for inspirational authors to submit a general query that would be made available to a plethora of publishers. There was a fee involved, but I felt it was worth it. My second attempt resulted in a contract with an up-and-coming imprint looking for fresh voices in Christian fiction. “Broken Vessels” came to life. Though I only published the one book with them, it was all I needed to keep going.

A Facebook pitch party brought me to my second, and current publisher, Clean Reads. “Finding Hope” is my most recent release, but I just signed my fifth contract in four years, and I hope for many more.

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Nearly sixteen years after relinquishing the rights to his unborn child, Noah Cooper is stunned to discover his daughter, Hope, wants to meet him. With the love and support of his family, Noah sets off from Elk Flats, Montana to Albany, New York, having no idea what changes are in store for him.

Cancer survivor and widow, Beth Peterson, is more than a little nervous to meet her daughter’s birth father. Their initial meeting goes well, but things decline in a hurry when Noah invites Hope to spend time at the ranch without speaking to Beth about it first.

Determined to meet her new family, a battle of wills ensues between Hope and her mother. While Hope longs for a connection, Beth fears losing her daughter to virtual strangers—strangers who live two thousand miles away.

Struggles and misunderstandings abound between Noah and Beth, despite their growing attraction for one another. Noah is ready to commit, while Beth can’t let go of the memory of her husband and the imperfections cancer has forced her to live with.
Will hope, patience, and prayer be enough to pull this family together?

Buy links:

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KOBO

iBooks

About the author: Lucie Ulrich is an award-winning author of inspirational fiction. Her books are filled with stories of faith, family and forgiveness. She was honored to receive a RONE Award for her second novel, “The Rose Ring.”
A former performing arts director, Lucie now enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She continues to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.

 

Social Media:

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Path to Publication: Tamar Sloan

Today’s Path to Publication story comes from fellow Clean Reads author, Tamar Sloan. Without further ado, here’s Tamar…

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Tamar Sloan

Interestingly, I never considered I’d be a writer. As a child I loved to read (I devoured romance novels from the moment I discovered them), but it NEVER occurred to me that I could write one myself. My first book came to me in a dream (so cliché, right?). But it was a beautiful dream. There were moving scenes of a boy who never came of age like every one of his kind has. It was a story about the girl who has wounds of her own (and totally underestimates her potential) and the power of their connection. A connection powerful enough to spark Noah’s change, and to challenge Eden’s beliefs. And it was an idea that wouldn’t go away. I thought, maybe I could…

Many dedicated hours later punctuated by much cursing and head-desking, Prophecy Awakened was born. I had aspirations of it being the next Twilight; the books and movies that inspired my images of werewolves and epic love. And then reality hit. I entered a couple of competitions, I submitted to publishers and agents. I won one comp and finalised in the other…and all the publishers and agents politely declined. By then I had completed most of the second book in the Prime Prophecy Series, Prophecy Accepted.

So I decided to shelve Prophecy Awakened, the young adult paranormal romance genre was hibernating according to the big names out there. But now that I’d started I discovered a passion and a talent I didn’t know existed. More characters and stories came knocking (some far more insistently and impatiently than others) and I moved onto the next idea that wouldn’t go away.

It was a whim, a hope that maybe I gave up too easily on Noah and Eden’s story that had me sending it out to some of the independent publishing houses. Sending out something that you’ve put so much time and effort into takes courage; it’s a process that flies high on hope, one that is weighed down by the knowledge that crashing can really hurt.

The first offer had me calling my husband (once I read the email several times just to make sure…):

‘Are you sitting down?’

‘Yeah, why?’

‘Then stand up, because you’re gonna need to sit down after I tell you this!’

The first offer of publication is an amazing feeling that you spend a lot of time dreaming and imagining, then discovering it’s even better than you thought. In the end, Prophecy Awakened had two offers, and a too-late request for a full manuscript. The willingness of those publishing houses to invest in my dream-molded-onto-paper was motivating, exciting and infinitely terrifying!

So here we are — Prophecy Awakened is on virtual shelves thanks to Clean Reads and I can’t wait to see what readers think of it. Prophecy Accepted is waiting to be published as my next book (Make it Count – a young adult contemporary romance) has just received its first offer of publication.

It just shows you, never underestimate your potential or what is waiting just around the corner.

 

Prophecy Awakened book cover

Eden – shy, wounded…all she wants is to finish her senior year and escape to college.

Noah – the guy who’s spent two years drifting aimlessly, not knowing why he failed to come of age as every one of his ancestors has.

When the two meet the connection is instantaneous and undeniable. A connection that has Eden running and Noah burning to know more.

A connection destined to be the catalyst for a prophecy that neither knew existed.

A prophecy others are willing to kill for.

As families rupture and struggle to realign, as their hearts connect and ignite, Eden learns to trust. But with their love and life on the line, Eden must find the power to believe.

Prophecy Awakened (ISBN: 978-1-62135-652-3, Clean Reads Publishing) is now available at www.tamarsloan.com and on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

 

About the Author:

A school psychologist by day, Tamar channels her passion for books into creating young adult stories about discovering life and love beyond our comfort zones. She is the award-winning author of the Prime Prophecy Series. Her debut novel, Prophecy Awakened, is an epic story of a love that defies boundaries.

When not reading, writing or working with teens, Tamar can be found with her ever-patient husband and two beautiful sons enjoying country life on their small acreage in the Australian bush.

Connect with Tamar:

Tamar finds it deeply rewarding to share her stories and she loves to hear from her readers and fellow lovers of all things book related. You can find her at www.tamarsloan.com or on Facebook www.facebook.com.au/tamarsloanwriter or Twitter www.twitter.com/sloantamar.