Brett Armstrong’s Path to Publication story

Today I welcome fellow Clean Reads author, Brett Armstrong, to share his Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s Brett…

**********

Author-picture

 

Path to Publication

My journey to being published really started when I was nine years old.  That was when, after years of reading books in the library, particularly history books, I decided to write a story of my own.  The result was an original story set in the last years of the Aztec Empire.  A slave from a rival people group was supposed to have been sacrificed, but escapes and blends into Aztec society, determined to get revenge.  Which he eventually did and overthrew the Aztec Emperor.  It was all handwritten and led me to write two “sequels” which followed the characters all the way to Hernan Cortes’ arrival and subsequent devastation of the Aztecs.  I say it was my first step to publishing, because after I finished part III in Aztec, I got a special folder, bound the handwritten pages in it, drew some cover art and even made up my own press name and put it on the back.  To nine year old me, I had written my first book and was pretty proud.

Over the next decade I kept writing stories as they came to me.  Some set in space, some horror stories, a western, whatever caught my imagination.  My English teachers and high school creative writing teacher were very positive about my writing and encouraged me to pursue it in college.  During my senior year, however, I was pretty much convinced there was no way I could be a writer professionally, and thought I should pursue a career in biomechanical engineering (I also did well in anatomy, art, and math). I found out West Virginia University, my college of choice, was going to have a program in biomechanical engineering through a newspaper article on it.  I went to Morgantown intent on following that path only to discover the biomechanical engineering program wasn’t a degree program yet and wouldn’t be for years.  It was only a modified mechanical engineering program with a certificate saying I had worked on biomedical topics while at WVU.  Seeing I was at a loss, a friend talked me into moving into computer engineering.  So for three years I prepared to be a computer engineer, even though I realized pretty quickly it wasn’t going to be my life’s passion. I don’t think I really contemplated that full on though until I had a blank space in my schedule for my first semester junior year and decided to take a creative writing class for fun.  Which it was. A lot of fun actually.  So much fun I took the next level course a semester later.

While in the second creative writing course I had a couple breakthrough moments writing-wise. The first came when I wrote a short story titled Destitutio Quod Remissio and had it critiqued by the class.  My professor called it “beautiful” and my classmates said it was “cinematic”, “epic”, and most importantly enthusiastically volunteered to help me turn the story into a novel.  That was the first and only time in any creative writing course I’ve been privy to that kind of sentiment.  Later in the semester I remember walking to my car after class, which was a fair distance, and just stopping in midstride.  My thoughts from the moment I’d left the classroom to that point had been fixated on writing.  I knew that with the semester ending soon, my writing would be as well and the thought was painful.  It caught me by surprise, though in retrospect it seems like I had always been building to it, but I realized I did not want to give up writing.  Writing felt different, far different from any other task I’d ever undertaken. Even subjects I enjoyed: history, math, and art, never made me feel the way delving deep into the fictional realm of story could. I often tell people, standing there I understood the statement attributed to 1924 Olympic gold medalist Eric Liddell, “God made me fast.  When I run, I feel His pleasure.”  I haven’t been able to shake the feeling since.

My then fiancée graciously indulged and encouraged my newfound determination to pursue writing.  She read my first adult novel (still unpublished and a work-in-progress) and has supported me every step of my journey, even when the proverbial stack of rejection e-mails began piling up.  I read up on agents, publishers, query letters, and just about any and every of the myriad of topics related to getting a book into print to refine my pitches and queries.  Meanwhile, I graduated from WVU with my computer engineering and computer science degrees, and had a minor in creative writing along with the first thirty pages of the novelization of Destitutio Quod Remissio in hand. Within a year I had the completed manuscript and submitted it in the 2014 CrossBooks Writing Contest.  While I waited on the outcome of that contest I really started thinking about what life as a writer should look like for me and I decided that rather than going into writing full time, I wanted to be able to give back.  If God blessed me with the privilege to write for others I wanted to also be able to give from what I’d received.  So I decided I would keep working full-time at my new job as programmer analyst for the WV Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and write in my free time.  In that way I could donate my book royalties to charity and mission work.

In April 2014, Destitutio Quod Remissio was announced as the winner of the CrossBooks Writing Contest.  I literally jumped up and down when I got the phone call. It was a national contest from an imprint of B&H Publishing Group/LifeWay (the publisher for Southern Baptist churches) and meant Destitutio Quod Remissio would be in print, receive a marketing and publicity campaign, and next year I’d get to be a judge on the next contest’s panel.  By October 31st, Destitutio Quod Remissio was on Amazon.  In spite of everything I’d read up that point on getting a book published, I had neglected to read up on what to do after you had a book in hand as an author.  Which for the record, I do not recommend.  I knew nothing of marketing, blog tours, street teams, book signings and festivals, any of that side of publishing. I was leaning pretty heavily on the publisher to market the book for me.  That was a mistake and a rather large one.  I did have a few helpful things happen, though even those I didn’t actively pursue, like getting a book signing at a local LifeWay store and having an article about me in my state’s biggest newspaper.  I’m still trying to find my way to where I should have been three years ago. Or a more positive way of looking at it is that I’m learning and making progress.

My road to being a published author also hit a major road bump when I found out just shy of a year after winning the contest that LifeWay had decided to close CrossBooks permanently.  In May my publisher was gone and had handed my book over to Thomas Nelson’s self-publishing imprint West Bow Press. Thankfully I didn’t have to pay to have it re-published through them, but all of the marketing from CrossBooks I had been depending on was gone.  DQR was back in print by my birthday in August, though a lot of my pride that came with it had been leveled. Which was a good thing.  Because instead of fixate on what I had done, I focused on other things.  A major portion of my focus went to my wife and our infant son.  He was born just after I found out about CrossBooks, so I really appreciated being distracted by waiting for a first smile, giggle, and figuring out this thing called tummy-time.

I also kept writing, which I think is really imperative.  I might be jaded, but I feel like a lot of the aspects of publishing (marketing, brand-building, etc.) are useful and necessary for an author to make it in the publishing world of today, but they also take a lot of a writer’s attention away from writing itself.  From the time CrossBooks disappeared to August 2015, I did a lot of writing. Over 100,000 words worth actually.  And most of it late at night and during nap times. It was during that period of defeat that I finished the bulk of a new novel which I called Day Moon. I had the idea for it about the same time I was finishing up school at WVU and working on Destitutio Quod Remissio, but had held off on writing Day Moon until late 2014.  That was when I decided to start writing it for my creative writing master’s thesis work.  I graduated in March 2015 with close to 40,000 words written and from March to August I wrote three quarters of the book and started on its sequel.  The whole thing was a huge shift for me, because I had quickly come to fancy myself a historical fiction writer and while history has its hand on the book, Day Moon pretty clearly is sci-fi and dystopian.

Breaking my genre bias has really took me back to my roots storytelling-wise. Day Moon was a strong reminder that telling a good story in the setting and style it needs to be told is the important thing, regardless of what genre it falls in.  Right now I’m at varying stages of completion on an epic fantasy, a speculative history, a historical, and a horror novel. My brief bout of being unpublished again helped me get some priorities straight, correct a bad direction I was going as a writer, and treat me to some humble pie, which really tastes better than one would think.

Round two in seeking publication I researched one-on-one meetings with agents and editors and some less conventional methods of proposing a book. I’m wretched at writing query letters.  Whatever development I’ve had in that regard is negligible and probably all in my head.  What I can do is speak about things I’m passionate about. When I can strip away a lot of the peripheral issues and just talk about writing or a particular story, I do much better.  So I decided to go to the West Virginia Writers Conference and the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in 2016 (the latter happened during my birthday that year so it seemed all the more appropriate). I also started looking into Twitter pitch parties, found four or so that seemed to work well for me and started writing pitches for Day Moon and my two other nearly finished novels.

Even if you never get the courage or opportunity to try face-to-face pitches or Twitter pitch parties, I would encourage every writer to go through the work of preparing for each.  It really helps you hone in on what the most basic elements of your story are and express them in a concise and poignant format. I never had to do that for Destitutio Quod Remissio and I regret that now, because I can see I’ve been much more effective at telling people about Day Moon in casual conversation, querying for reviews, interviews, etc. Before submitting a manuscript to an editor or agent, go through the work of making each kind of pitch and then see how big a difference it makes on the more conventional forms of queries.

I had some likes on most of my pitches for each book at all of the Twitter parties I participated in and submitted my manuscripts to a couple of publishers that were reputable (which is something to watch for in Twitter parties and in general, because not all of publishers are trustworthy; research is crucial).  While attending the conferences I got some really positive reactions to Day Moon’s premise from an agent and a couple editors but no firm commitments.  A couple weeks after the ACFW conference, I found an e-mail from Stephanie Taylor at CleanReads saying she wanted to publish Day MoonI had been interested in CleanReads for some time because I thought their covers were fantastic and knew they had a large selection of young adult books.  CleanReads just seemed like it would be a good fit for Day Moon. After looking into what other authors were saying about CleanReads on AbsoluteWrite and anywhere else I could find information, I decided to accept the offer.

It’s been almost two months since Day Moon was released and it still feels surreal sometimes.  It’s easy to get caught up in promoting, marketing, what is said in reviews, and comparing how my books are doing to books from other authors.  That can all be maddening to deal with, but at the same time, there are incredible moments.  I got to speak at the library I grew up attending as an author and just talk about writing in very pure terms. A man who taught creative writing for decades told me it was “brilliant”.  On another occasion, a woman let me know that after reading Destitutio Quod Remissio she had bought a copy for a loved one because he was going through hard passages in life and she thought the story might help him.

I don’t necessarily feel intrinsically special to be an author, but I do feel privileged to be a part of something special.  Fiction stories have a marvelous potential to get down deep inside someone and make a difference in how he or she faces reality.  To have started out as a nine year old boy with a homemade book and to now be able to really share stories with the world is truly a blessing. The road hasn’t been and still isn’t always smooth, but it is one I’m thankful to be traveling.

DayMoon_Cover

In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global software initiative his deceased grandfather helped found.  Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge.  All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure:  a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather.  Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria.  The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”.

When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for.  There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose.  Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him.  Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria.  All of history past and yet to be depend on it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Brett Armstrong, author of the award-winning novel, Destitutio Quod Remissio, started writing stories at age nine, penning a tale of revenge and ambition set in the last days of the Aztec Empire.  Twenty years later, he is still telling stories though admittedly his philosophy has deepened with his Christian faith and a master’s degree in creative writing.  His goal with every work is to be like a brush in the Master artist’s hand and his hope is the finished composition always reflects the design God had in mind.  He feels writing should be engaging, immersive, entertaining, and always purposeful.  Continually busy at work with one or more new novels to come, he also enjoys drawing, gardening, and playing with his beautiful wife and son.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/brettarmstrongwv

Twitter:        https://www.twitter.com/BArmstrongWV

Pinterest:      http://www.pinterest.com/ChristianKid044

Website:       www.BrettArmstrong.net

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8281587.Brett_Armstrong

 

BOOK TRAILER:

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

Kobo

 

J.N. Tomczak’s Path to Publication Story

Today J.N. Tomczak stopped by to share her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s J.N….

*************

Author Pic

I wish to first thank Christi for having me as a guest on her blog and the opportunity to share my path to publication.

As it so happens, my journey had a bit of a “late to the party” kind of start.  But hey, better late than never, I always say, because I never in a million galaxies would have thought I’d pursue a career in writing.  My initial idea for EDENHART’S RIVALRY, the first installment in my High Fantasy/Adventure series, KINGDOM OF THE FAERIES, didn’t come until after I discovered my love for reading.  From the point I could learn to read up to seventh grade, I was reading in the wrong genre the WHOLE time!  I literally picked the easiest and most boring books in the school’s library, just so I could pass a stupid AR test.  I was a seventh grader, reading on a fourth grader’s reading level.  Compute that for a moment.  You can assume my comprehension skills were TERRIBLE—and they were!

But all of that changed the moment I picked up what would literally become my favorite book and what sparked my imagination.  I own the book, naturally, and it’s called THE LONG PATROL by Brian Jacques, one of many in the beloved REDWALL series.  For such a thick book, I read it in a day, and I was left breathless.  It astounded me that words on a page could make me feel so many emotions.  It made me laugh, it made me angry, it made me fearful and anxious, and it also made me cry.  And that’s when I wanted to write something that could connect with readers the same way this book connected with me.  And so four weeks later and three filled notebooks, my path to publication began.

Being only thirteen at the time, I was still immature and ignorant as to HOW to publish a novel.  And remember I said my reading comprehension skills were terrible?  Well, that included grammar.  The first draft was cringe-worthy and riddled with noob mistakes.  But that’s OK on a first draft.  They’re always crap, and if they’re not, well, aren’t you just a special, little snowflake I envy so much.  So I dedicated a few years learning about publication and how to query an agent.  I sent out only a handful.  The best rejection letter I received asked if I had any other projects to send them for consideration, since the one I sent wasn’t what they were looking for at the time.  Of course, I didn’t have any other finished manuscripts, so I had to move on.

So I spent all my time learning more about my craft instead of acquiring scholarships by the time I was in my senior year of High School.  My family didn’t have big expectations for me.  Whatever I wanted to do, they were there to back me up, and they knew this was my passion.  I kept notebooks filled with all my acquired knowledge, and I used that to polish up EDENHART’S RIVALRY, until I finally deemed it publishable.

And that’s when a fellow church goer and author friend of mine told me about her publishing company called Clean Reads and that they were currently seeking submissions from all genres.  I had this good vibe, and I decided to go for it.  It took a few months, but I was so relieved and thankful when the founder of Clean Reads and its chief editor, Stephanie, contracted me.  Besides my wedding day, it was one of the happiest moments in my life.

Overall, if you truly want to be a writer, you must first be a reader.  Learn from the best.  Study the craft enough, and I promise you, it WILL pay off.  It took me almost eleven years, but it was so worth it.  But you have to be patient and dedicated.  And this is with anything.  Not just writing.  If you truly want to be good at something, you have to take it seriously.  Is it possible to write a book in a day?  Absolutely!  But writing the story is the easy part.  What follows next really tests your strengths and weaknesses.  Remember: quality takes time and effort.  Publishing a book takes guts!

Currently, I’m waiting for the green light on EDENHART’S RIVALRY’S sequel.  But while I’m waiting, I’m working on an entirely new project at the moment—a reimagining of Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland, and I aim to have the first draft completed by the end of next month.  Wish me luck!

KingdomoftheFaeriesEdenhartsRivalry1600x2400

A dark power is rising, and a kingdom is in dire need of a leader when the King of the Faeries falls in battle. Or so, that’s what they’re led to believe, but his only heir and daughter, Aurora, suspects murder.
But when she and her loyal friend Percy, the Captain of the Elite Guard, discover an ancient prophecy foretold by the enigmatic Faerie Sorcerers, Aurora finds herself an unwilling pawn in a dark plot that will threaten everything she holds dear.
Her courage and magic will be her greatest weapons if she hopes to succeed where all others have failed. But will she? Aurora must ask herself this very question: just how far is she willing to go to save her kingdom, and at what costs?

 

Author Bio:

Julianne grew up on a small farm in central Arkansas and now lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband. When not writing, Julianne loves playing video games, listening to music, hiking, and binge-watching Falling Skies while eating non-nutritional food.

Author Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14918148.J_N_Tomczak

Website: http://jntomczak.weebly.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JNTomczak

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jntomczak/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/juliannetomczak/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/J.N.Tomczak/

J.J. Nite’s Path to Publication Story

Today J.J. Nite stopped by to share her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s J.J.

****************

Author Photo2I first want to thank Christi for inviting me to be here today. It’s so exciting to tell people about my book babies!

According to my mother, I’ve been telling stories since I could talk. My father would come home and ask what we did that day and I would go on and on telling him about all the places Mom and I had been that day. We’d never left the house.

Eventually I put those storytelling skills to good use. I loved to write in middle and high school. During college and then when I started my career as a middle school teacher, writing fell by the wayside. Even though I had all of these great stories in my head, there didn’t seem to be time to write them down.

Fast forward to 2008. I had an almost 1 year old, a 2 year old, and a 3 year old. I was quite certain I was going to go crazy if I didn’t do something for me. Just for me! My life revolved around my family and while I loved them all, there comes a time when you need to put yourself first. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes a day.

That first day, I wrote one page and was so excited about it that I almost burst. After finishing that first novel, I researched how to get an agent and eagerly sent my queries out. Silence. That’s what I received. Nothing but crickets. Discouragement is a hard thing to get past, but I persevered and wrote my second book.

It wasn’t until my daughter started taking dance lessons in the fall of 2012, that my dream to see something I had created published would become true. Meeting Stephanie Tayler, owner of Clean Reads, was truly a God thing. Her daughter was taking the same dance class as mine and we began talking.

That, as they say, was the beginning of a wonderful journey. I have now published five novels with Clean Reads and I’m looking forward to many more.

File May 02, 5 35 02 PM

Seventeen year old Eden Malakim, Edie, thought her life couldn’t get any more complicated than it already was. She and her mother have moved so many times Edie has lost count. So when her mother insists they move again, Edie hopes it will be the last one.

Little does Edie know, this move will bring her face to face with not only a family she’s never met, but a future she didn’t know was possible. The stories of angels and demons from her childhood turn out to be all too real and Edie discovers she’s the answer to a prophecy as old as time.

Suddenly thrown into a world Edie didn’t know existed anywhere but in stories, she realizes everything is not always what it seems. Trying to determine what is real and where she fits in, becomes the least of her worries when someone begins attacking her. Will Edie discover her true purpose before it’s too late or will something more sinister win the day?

About the Author:

J.J. Nite lives in North Alabama with her husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 4 goldfish. She writes young adult sweet romance for Clean Reads and loves reading as much as possible. J.J.’s also found that if she doesn’t write something every day, her mood is that of a bear waking from hibernation. Don’t worry though, the children have learned to let Mommy write a little before approaching.

 

Social Media:

Twitter: @jjnite

Instagram: @jjniteauthor

SnapChat: JJNite

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jjnite1

 

Buy Links

Amazon

Kobo

iTunes

 

 

 

Path to Publication: Wendy May Andrews

Today’s Path to Publication story is fellow Clean Reads* author Wendy May Andrews

*(Astraea Press changed their name to Clean Reads)

Without further ado, here’s Wendy…

****************************************************

Wendy May AndrewsThank you for the invitation, Christi, to tell my story.

I have been an avid reader since I learned how around the age of four. My aunt got me hooked on Regencies when she introduced me to the books of Georgette Heyer. I was reading multiple books each week like most avid readers. It’s really an addiction. While I had written during school, it never really crossed my mind that I would be capable of producing such a thing as a finished book.

After I got married, my husband had a hard time understanding my book addiction. I could get lost in a book and he would feel quite ignored. Finally, one day, in frustration, he asked, “Why don’t you write one of those books instead of reading them all the time.” At first I scoffed at the idea, but then it took root and I decided to give it a try.

I wrote to a favorite author, Eloisa James, asking how one goes about becoming an author. In hindsight I realize that was a silly question as each person’s path is different, but she graciously wrote me back with some suggestions, including the advice to join Romance Writers of America. I did and have been learning ever since. RWA is a wonderful organization that offers classes and articles to help you grow as a writer.

My first efforts, Tempting the Earl, actually got published in 2010 but that small press was bought out and my momentum was lost. I wrote several manuscripts in the meantime but struggled with finding a publisher willing to publish my clean/sweet romances. I will admit that the sting of rejection interrupted my writing several times.

Finally, I gave myself one more year to work on it. My writing was taking up too much time if it was only going to be a hobby. I started writing a new manuscript for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) November 2013. I started with a fantastic title idea and proceeded to write the book. Ironically, as the book developed that title no longer fit and The Duke Conspiracy was born. When it finally was finished, my critique partner helped me find a list of publishers who were accepting Sweet Historicals. That is when I learned about Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press). The acquiring editor, Stephanie Taylor, had one revision suggestion and then she offered me a contract. It has been a thrilling ride ever since.

Now that I have found Clean Reads, I’m hoping to polish up my unpublished manuscripts and submit them as well as finish this year’s NaNoWriMo manuscript and finally write the story for my fabulous title. Really, there are way more ideas than there is time.

**************************************

TheDukeConspiracy453x680A spying debutante, a duke, and a conspiracy. Can love be found despite their feud?

Miss Rosamund Smythe, the only daughter of a baron diplomat, is finding the Season to be a dead bore.  After her stint at spying while in Vienna with her father, she wants a higher purpose in life than “just” being a wife.

His Grace, Alexander Milton, the Duke of Wrentham, wants a quiet life with a “proper” lady as his wife after the tumultuous childhood he had.  His parents had fought viciously, lied often, and Alex secretly wonders if he was even his father’s son.

Rose and Alex grew up on neighboring estates and have been best friends since she was four years old but a family feud has torn their friendship apart.

At a Society event Rose overhears a plot to entrap Alex into a marriage of convenience.  Her loyalty to their old friendship as well as her knowledge of the conspirator, Sir Jason Broderick, causes Rose to overcome her aversion to Wrentham in order to warn him of his danger.  Alex’s complicated childhood has caused him to despise all forms of deception so Rose avoids telling him how she knows so much about Sir Broderick.

When Rose is abducted by Sir Broderick to prevent her interference, Alex must deal with his own conflicted feelings to help her rescue herself. Can they claim their happily ever after despite the turmoil?

About the Author:

Wendy May Andrews has been reading whatever she could get her hands on since the age of five. She has been writing for almost as long but hasn’t been sharing those stories with anyone but her mother until recently. Wendy lives in Toronto with her own real-life hero. When not writing or reading, they love to travel wherever the mood takes them.

Website:

http://www.wendymayandrews.com

Social Media:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WendyMayAndrews

Twitter:  @WendyMayAndrews

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Deborah Kreiser’s Path to Publication

Today I’m hosting fellow Astraea Press author, Deborah Kreiser, who has agreed to share her Path to Publication story.

Without further ado, here’s Deborah…

******************************

Author Deborah KreiserWhen I first started writing my book, I did it just for me, and didn’t really even think too much about publishing it. But then I finished it, and my beta readers were encouraging about its prospects. I started thinking, “Why not?” I attended my first writing conference in May 2012, though, and realized just how daunting and difficult getting an agent and getting published could be.

Still, I thought I’d try. I felt good about my book, and figured I had a shot. (Sometimes ignorance is bliss!)

I began querying agents in January 2013, and my very first query letter resulted in a full request. That was encouraging! I started spending more time on Twitter and following blogs, and learned of cool contests that I entered—and some of them I won. Even more encouraging!

But none of these ended up panning out, and after eight or so months of querying I thought I needed to reevaluate my options. I’d been reading about authors who were being published by small presses, and who were delighted by the experience. I also read about small presses who went under as quickly as they started. Not good.

So I did my research, and one of the publishers that came on my radar was Astraea Press, which has a great reputation for quality books and for treating their authors and staff well. I pitched to Stephanie Taylor of AP as part of the Savvy Authors Summer Symposium (from the beach where I vacationed last August!), and got a full request. I was so happy when the full turned into an offer in late September, and accepted with glee. The staff and fellow authors at Astraea have been nothing but supportive and super-responsive, and I’m very glad I made the decision to go with a small press.

And now I’m the proud mama of a bouncing baby book called THREE WISHES, a Young Adult paranormal that came out April 15 from Astraea Press.

ThreeWishes500X750AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

About Deborah

If Deborah Kreiser had three wishes, they would include: a lifetime supply of calorie-free chocolate, a self-cleaning house; and the ability to expand time as needed. When not dreaming of her next plot, she works as a school librarian in Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband and two young daughters. Follow her on Twitter: @DeborahKreiser, on her blog, and on Facebook!

My Writing Process Blog Hop

I’ve been asked by Margo Kelly and Kristin Wallace to participate in the My Writing Process blog hop.

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.

Board and Castle

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…

4WritingStages_005-400w

Thanks Margo Kelly and Kristin Wallace for the fun questions!

What about you? What’s your writing process?

Book Deal News

I am thrilled to announce that my novel, Along the Way Home, has been contracted for publication by Astraea Press.

Signing with Astraea Press wasn’t a decision I took lightly. At the time the contract was offered (on my birthday!!!!!) I had six agents and three editors (Medallion Press, Tor/Forge, and a small press) reviewing requested partials/fulls, an R&R offer from an agent, and an offer pending from another small press.

I happily walked away from all of the above because I believe so strongly in Astraea Press, and the niche they’ve carved out for themselves in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

What does that mean? Let me backtrack a bit and reveal something that happened a few weeks ago that perfectly illustrates why I chose to go with Astraea.

I was rejected by an agent who called my book lovely and sweet, raved about my writing and the storyline, but ended with the statement, “…let your characters engage in sex and describe the sex. As it stands, I’ll pass. Put the sex in and I’ll take another look.”

I assure you, I have thick skin when it comes to rejections. I’ve racked up my fair share since I began querying, and normally take them with a grain of salt (and chocolate—lots of chocolate), but this one really bothered me. I understand if a rejection is based upon my writing style, the likability of my characters, or a flaw in the storyline—but to be rejected solely on the basis that I choose NOT to include sex? That one didn’t go over well.

So much so that I finally decided it was time to query the one publisher I’d had my eye on for months. A publisher that cares not only for the authors, but for the kind of work they attach their name to. I’d discovered Astraea Press before I started querying in September and really liked the stance the owner, Stephanie Taylor, took against unnecessary sex.

During a 2011 interview, Six Questions for Stephanie Taylor, she 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!

I’ve gathered a few links together if you’d like to learn more about them.

Click HERE for their link on Publisher’s Marketplace…

Click HERE for where Predators and Editors readers voted them one of the top e-pubs of the year…

Click HERE for the interview with Stephanie Taylor I quoted from earlier…

Click HERE for an interview done by Women on Writing about the state of the e-publishing industry as a whole (This features five e-pub owners all giving answers)

And now that I’ve announced my news, I shall resume skipping around the room with gleeful excitement!

If you are in/have gone through the querying process, what sites do you use for research? Did the results affect your decision on whether or not to query the agent/publisher?