Kadee Carder’s Path to Publication

Please welcome fellow Clean Reads author, Kadee Carder, to the blog! She’s agreed to share her Path to Publication story. Thanks Kadee! Without further ado, here’s Kadee…

***********

kadee-carder

Path To Publication – A Rocky One, A Worthy One

My parents encouraged me to try a myriad assortment of activities throughout my childhood. Softball stuck with me. I played the sport for over ten years, loving almost every minute. One season we didn’t win a single game. That was harsh, but hey, I learned I loved the sport no matter what. To help me improve during my earlier years of playing the sport, my dad drilled a hole in a softball and strung it up on this horizontal branch on a large tree in our backyard. I’d spend hours slamming that softball up and around the branch, perfecting my swing.

Being the overly-imaginative child I was, I’d invent all sorts of scenarios in which I’d have to hit something over and over and over….and just think, if a softball could fly on its own, and was ON FIRE, what would YOU DO?! And the basic premise for Insurrection wiggled its way into my imagination.

I presented the idea to my three friends, who’d play imaginary games with me at recess, and suddenly the four of us became fearless fighters, saving the world from flying fireballs, sword fighting with pirates, and conquering wild lands. We were unstoppable. When Saylor first appeared as a character to me, she was a boy, because when I played in my backyard, only boys had adventures. It’s time to change that, friends, because girls can rock a baseball bat, obstacle course, and beachside kiss just as good as the best of them.

With my husband’s help, I’ve updated the idea to call these abominable creatures “Oxinals,” and they are autonomous, artificially-intelligent sentinels, which can kill any living creature with one single touch. We’d need some brave warriors to save us, yes?

I’ve never been able to shake the camaraderie of the story I shared with my own girlfriends as we played in our backyards twenty years ago. So I began working on writing the Insurrection trilogy while earning my Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, pregnant, working full-time as an office manager of a church. Initially, Insurrection was a quick crack at a thesis I wrote in a month and a half. At that point in my life I began to understand the depths of what it takes to chase after dreams and shake up the stars.

In the years since beginning this journey with Saylor, I’ve sat for hours hunkered over my laptop, vetted with beta readers, chatted with hundreds of readers, and even flown across the country to meet with publishers. My husband participated in a community theater show and after a few nights of sitting in my office bored to tears, I decided to crack out the dusty thesis and see what I could do with it.

Rewriting the first book and working on the second and third books took a little over a year of solid writing. After almost a year of sending out unanswered queries and participating in a nerve-wrecking round of pitching to agents and publishers at the speedy Pitch-A-Palooza at the RT Booklover’s Convention in Las Vegas, I met with Clean Reads. Two months later, I had a contract in hand for the trilogy.

We humans have to be stronger than we ever imagine, love ourselves in the process, and dig in when the ground seems to sink. We not only relish adventures, we create them. And that’s the basis of Saylor’s story in my young adult science fiction trilogy, Insurrection.

****************
insurrection

Saylor had always been told she was a stain on the cloth of mankind. Escaping the girls’ home with her orphan sisters Micah, Denise, and Patricia, the four find themselves enduring storms at sea and imprisoned on a mysterious Caribbean island. Separated from her sisters, Saylor must learn to fight for her life and theirs, enduring dark and strange noises, discovering dazzling beaches, and ensnared in the secrets of a covert military base.

Forced to trade her freedom for a contract with Alliance Military Guard, Saylor develops her inner warrior. Wavering between terror and ecstasy, she must face an enemy who exposes her indispensable abilities. In order to rescue her sisters, impress the hunky Australian, and protect innocent lives on a global scale, she must master techniques of fighting an army created to destroy with a single, scorching touch – or die trying.

They wanted a warrior. They got one.

Volume Two arriving February 2017!

Purchase:
Amazon                   Nook/Barnes&Noble                 iTunes

Author Bio:
Deep in the heart of Texas, Kadee Carder resides with her husband and daughters. Carder earned a BA in Public Relations at Howard Payne University and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. She teaches English courses on the university level and plans her schedule around coffee availability.

Writing and language have been her life-long pleasure, wordsmithery offering the ability to twist emotion in to sense and cosmos. When she’s not dancing around the living room with her daughters, she helps at church activities, creates encouraging blogs, and orders pizza like a boss.
Follow Kadee on social media:
Website: kadeecarder.com
Twitter: @kadeecbooks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kadeecarderbooks/
Instagram: kadeecarderink
And please feel free to subscribe for encouraging blogs! Kadeecarder.com

Bethany Swafford’s Path to Publication Story

Bethany is here today to share her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s Bethany…

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

bethany-s-bio-pic

First of all, I’d like to thank Christi for having me here today! I hope I don’t ramble too much!

“Why don’t you write a book?”

I didn’t grow up with a desire to write. For the longest time, I was content to enjoy the worlds and characters others had created. Writing short stories and essays to amuse my family and myself was enough for me. The older I got, though, I began to realize that the majority of novels contained sex scenes that I didn’t want to read.

Obviously, the solution to this problem was to do what my family had been encouraging me to do: write my own book with the standards that I searched for in books. How hard could it be, right? As I discovered, many rejections later, it wasn’t easy at all. “Sex sells” as they say and I rejected all offers to smut my story up a little.

Being the stubborn individual I am, I decided maybe self-publishing was the way to go. I had a story to share with anybody and everybody. And it went…well enough. I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was doing though and I know now that it could have been so much better. But that’s when the doubts started to hit me. Had it been the right decision to self-publish? What if the reason I’d been rejected all those times was because I wasn’t good enough?

By this point, I’d started another novel and it sat, unfinished, on my computer for over two years because I couldn’t shake those feelings. Every few months, I would open the file, reread it, change a few details or add a few paragraphs, and then leave it again. Finally, I worked up the courage to hand those six chapters to my mom and get an honest opinion. The next day, she came back to me and had just one thing to say: “Where is the rest of it?”

Well, now I had to finish it, if only so Mom could know how the story ended. Once that first draft was done, I still didn’t know what I was going to do with it. Again, it sat in all its imperfect glory. A few months later, I joined Donna Feyen on More Than A Review as a book reviewer and that’s when I was introduced to Clean Reads, a publishing company that held its books to a high standard of content.

I wanted my book to be with other novels that had the same clean standards and finally I knew I’d found just the place. Out came the manuscript and I began editing. After months of work, I hit the submit button and tried not to think about it, all those previous rejections haunting my dreams.

Sooner than I expected, I received the email with a contract attached and the rest is history. A Chaotic Courtship was released in August and I couldn’t be more proud of it.

Now friends and family ask if I have another book waiting in the wings. I just smile and say, “Not just a book. I have several.”

bethany-coverTwenty year old Diana Forester, a country bred young woman fears that her inexperience and uncertainties has driven Mr. John Richfield away. On arriving back home from London, she learns that he is already there, ready to continue their acquaintance. If Diana thought that it was difficult in London, courting takes on a whole new aspect when Diana’s younger siblings become involved. She finds herself dealing with her own feelings, her sister, her younger brother, jealous members of a house party, a jilted suitor, and a highwayman as she falls in love with the charming Mr. Richfield.

Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

Social Media Links:
Instagram
Facebook

Author Bio: For as long as she can remember, Bethany Swafford has loved reading books. That love of words extended to writing as she grew older and when it became more difficult to find a ‘clean’ book, she determined to write her own. Among her favorite authors is Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Georgette Heyer.

When she doesn’t have pen to paper (or fingertips to laptop keyboard), she can generally be found with a book in hand. In her spare time, Bethany reviews books for a book site called More Than A Review.

Debra Daugherty’s Path to Publication Story

Today Debra Daugherty is sharing her Path to Publication story! Without further ado, here’s Debra…

***********

debbie-2015_crop

If I had to pinpoint an age when my writing career began, I’d have to say at age ten. That’s when my stories and poems were first published in my school newspaper. Seeing my name in print made me want to become a writer. Over the years I continued to write children stories, mostly to entertain my nieces and nephews.

In April, 2012, I traveled to England with a tour group. We stopped at Grassmere for lunch before visiting Dove Cottage, the home of the poet William Wordsworth. While sipping tea with two of the ladies from my group, Ilana and Sara, I learned they were writers. I told them I dabbled in writing, and they encouraged me to join SCBWI and submit my stories.

I joined the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators in May, attended my first writer’s conference in June, and by the following year, December, 2013, my first picture book, CALAMITY CAT, was published as an e-book by MeeGenius. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt took over the company in August, 2015 and my PB is now under contract with them. Hopefully, it will be added to their Curious World website in 2017.) I also had two short stories published in Guardian Angel Kid’s e-zine. I know this sounds like a success story, but I have a file drawer filled with rejections to prove how hard I worked.

At the conference in June, 2012, I connected with writers in my area and joined their writers group. We meet once monthly and critique each other’s work. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help and support.

Online writing courses followed, as well as two more conferences. And I never stopped submitting my work. (I average three rejections a month, but rejections are good. I learn from them, and they show I am trying.)

I love pitching stories on twitter, and the February 3rd #Pit2Pub led to Clean Reads publisher, Stephanie Taylor, offering me a contract for THE DRAGON’S RING.

From the day I signed my contract, February 23rd, to the present, it’s been a whirlwind of a ride. Edits, line edits, proofs and Galleys passed quickly. The cover art by Amanda L. Matthews, AM Design Studio, turned out amazing. I couldn’t be happier or more pleased with my experience with Clean Reads and with my publisher and her wonderful staff.

My highs and lows are many. I wrote THE DRAGON’S RING years ago and didn’t save it on my word processor. I remember the tears when I realized all my work was lost. Starting over from scratch, I rewrote my story from memory, remembering to save it this time. I sent it out a couple of times, then tucked it away in a drawer. (It had a different title then, THE PRINCESS, THE UNICORN AND THE GOLDEN RING.)

After attending the SCBWI conference in 2012, I dug out this fairy tale, and took another look. My princess sat at the castle and waited for her knight to accomplish his mission. Too outdated. I revised the entire manuscript and turned the princess into a heroine, rescuing her knight each time he encountered trouble. Ilana, with whom I’ve kept in touch, generously offered to read and edit it, and her edits showed me what I needed to do to polish the story.

I submitted my story to a few agents/publishers, but kept busy with other work, too. Two publishers actually favored it during the #Pit2Pub, (Pitch to Publication), last February, but it was Stephanie Taylor from Clean Reads who saw my vision and gave me a chance. That’s a major high.

Now for the lows. Since January 6th of this year I’ve had medical problems and was seeing several doctors. February 3rd I had a sonogram scheduled; but it was cancelled, so I spent the day pitching my stories on twitter. (Everything happens for a reason. If I had gone for the sonogram, I might never have joined in the #Pit2Pub twitter party, and might still be searching for a publisher for THE DRAGON’S RING.)

I had the sonogram a week later, and then a biopsy. March 4th I learned I had endometrial cancer, Stage 1, and would have to have a total hysterectomy and removal of some lymph nodes.

My surgery was performed March 14th. All the time leading up to the surgery, I continued writing and working on my book. I sent the pre-edits in before my biopsy, and my line edits were returned before my surgery. After the surgery I had more editing to do, and was thankful for something to keep my mind occupied while I recuperated at home.

Time for some highs. My cancer doctor believes the cancer was removed, and he decided I didn’t need radiation or chemo. I must have check-ups every three months, but the prognosis is good. This means I can continue writing, and hopefully, publishing many more books.

My path to publication has taken many years, almost all of my lifetime, and I’ve overcome many hurdles and obstacles to be where I am today. One must love writing to keep at this craft, as it can be a desolate path at times, but when something wonderful happens, such as seeing your book in print, or in my case for sale online, the hard work, sleepless nights, revisions and editing seem worth it.

 

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

dragonsring_500x750

Sir James Trueblood is determined to capture a unicorn so he can marry Princess Isadora. The knight begins his quest, not realizing the Princess is following him in disguise. On his journey Sir James encounters a witch and a dragon. With the dragon’s ring his mission is a success, but then he learns the unicorn will die if not set free. Now he has a dilemma; marry the Princess or free the unicorn.

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01J73OAUG#nav-subnav

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-dragon-s-ring

Smashwords  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/654404

 

Book trailer link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ODAHd23OzQ

 

Author Bio:  Debra Daugherty is from Central Illinois and is a member of SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She enjoys living in the country with her two dogs, a Chihuahua named CeCe, and a rescued American Stratford Terrier named Honey. Besides writing children stories, Debra loves to spend time with her family, travel, and browse through antique shops. Publishing credits include CALAMITY CAT, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and THE DRAGON’S RING, Astraea Press/Clean Reads. She’s also had two short stories published in Guardian Angel Kids’e-zine.

 

Connect with Debra: 

Email: ddaugherty329@gmail.com

Twitter – @dmddeb

Website: http://ddaugherty329.wixsite.com/authordebradaugherty

www.writing-for-children.webnode.com

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/DebraDaughertyauthor

Goodreads Author Page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7579797.Debra_Daugherty

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ddaugherty329

SM Ford’s Path to Publication Story

Today SM Ford is hosting my blog, and telling her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s SM Ford…

**********

SMFord

Thanks, Christi, for letting me share today!

Growing up I never thought seriously about becoming a writer. Writers were extraordinary people who lived in far off places—I was just an ordinary teen living in a small town in Oregon. It was the seventies and computers were new and interesting, so that’s what I headed off to college to study. Meanwhile, I met this guy . . .

Fast forward to the early eighties—now married, I was mom to two lovely daughters, but still wanting to write. I came across a writing for children correspondence course. I applied and was accepted, but when I learned the cost, I figured it was a no. However, my wonderful husband encouraged me take it anyway. Looking back I can see I didn’t dedicate enough time and energy to the course, but eventually I passed. Meanwhile, I wrote some adult novels.

In the early nineties I connected with other writers and got involved in the children’s writing community. I sold my first short story in 1992. During that decade I started selling more and more pieces to children’s magazines and even two books to small presses. (I write for children under my maiden name Susan Uhlig.) I also sold a few articles for the adult audience. But the adult novels never sold.

To date I’ve sold over 160 magazine and online pieces. And in 2008, I became an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature—the very same place who offered the correspondence course I’d taken in the eighties.

In this decade, I also did work-for-hire picture books and easy readers for two different Korean publishers. But my adult novels? I gave up on them a long time ago.

Until this past fall. I pulled out my favorite adult novel manuscript and started rereading. Wow, had I learned a lot since I wrote it! I started editing, tightening, and deleting. In the end I reduced the word count by over 11,000 words. Almost on a whim, I sent the book to Clean Reads.

I was honestly surprised when I got an email that began with, “PLEASE tell me this book is still available!” and had a contract attached. Of course, signing the contract resulted in more work on the story with the help of a number of editors and copy editors. I’m so grateful for all their input to make ALONE a better book.

I wish my teen self could see it.

Alone_453x680

Ready for adventure in the snowy Colorado mountains, Cecelia Gage is thrilled to be employed as the live-in housekeeper for her favorite bestselling author. The twenty-five-year old doesn’t count on Mark Andrews being so prickly, nor becoming part of the small town gossip centering on the celebrity. Neither does she expect to become involved in Andrews family drama and a relationship with Simon Lindley, Mark’s oh so good-looking best friend. And certainly, Cecelia has no idea she’ll be mixed up in a murder investigation because of this job.

Will Cecelia’s faith in God get her through all the trouble that lies ahead?

 

Available for Purchase at the Following Retailers:

Amazon       Barnes and Noble       Smashwords         Kobo      iTunes

 

About the Author:

SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too.

When she was thirteen, she got hooked on Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense books, although she has been a reader as long as she can remember, and is an eclectic reader. Inspirational authors she enjoys include: Francine Rivers, Bodie Thoene, Dee Henderson, Jan Karon, and many more.

SM Ford is a Pacific Northwest gal, but has also lived in the midwest (Colorado and Kansas) and on the east coast (New Jersey). She and her husband have two daughters and two sons-in-law and three grandsons. She can’t figure out how she got to be old enough for all that, however.

She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.

 

Social Media:

Website: www.smfordbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SMFordwriter

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

Award News!!!!

Today I learned that my third book, A Mountain Man’s Redemption, is an official 2016 RONE Award Finalist!!!!!

A special message for those of you still considering following your own dreams—whatever they may be—know that being a writer was something I wanted to do since first grade. It took me a while, and I had many setbacks on the way, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. Never give up!!

Thank you everyone for all your support over the years!! Your encouragement means everything to me!!!

RONE 2016

Artemis Grey’s Path to Publication Post

All right everyone, this is the post I’ve waited for. The post that has me crying the happiest ugly cry ever imaginable as I type these words.

My critique partner, Artemis Grey, is here to tell her Path to Publication story!!!!

*wipes tears with sleeve*

I’m crying because I’ve believed in her for so long, and really am so very very happy this book has finally been published!

Artemis and I “met” forever ago (years!!) when she commented on a blog post I did for Pimp My Novel, and we’ve stayed in contact ever since. Public comments on blogs moved to private chats via Facebook and emails, and then one day we exchanged pages, and the rest is history.

She was vital to making me not look like a complete idiot with the horse and injury scenes in all three of my books, totally “gets” my characters and doesn’t hesitate to call me out when they or any part of my story lines aren’t flowing well, and taught me the epic phrase, “Awesomesauce”.

*wipes more tears on sodden sleeve*

And now, without further ado, here is Artemis Grey…

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

IMG_7981 (1)First off, I want to thank Christi for hosting me on her Path to Publication today. Also, anyone who’s read and enjoyed Catskin, take a moment to also thank Christi, because I’m not being dramatic when I say that Catskin would not have been published without Christi. I literally would never have submitted to Clean Reads if not for Christi’s foot on my tuchus, shoving me onward toward publication.

My journey began in childhood, with the oral stories told to me by my grandmother on my Mom’s side of the family, and my Great Great Aunt, and Great Aunts on my Dad’s side of the family. Mom’s side brought tales of mountain hollows, witchy women, ghosts and superstition, both that of Appalachian folk and of the Cherokee. Dad’s side brought stories of Irish rabble-rousing, Scottish mayhem and Italian superstition. It was all fodder for my developing mind, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write my own versions of the stories I’d been told. Eventually, I began writing completely new stories.

The first novel I wrote, sank into the swamp. So I wrote a second novel. And that one sank into the swamp. So I wrote a third novel. That one burned down, fell over and then sank into the swamp. But the fourth novel turned out to actually be worth reading. Unfortunately, it was also a dystopian, and while everyone seemed to love it, no agents wanted to rep it. What I didn’t know at the time, was that the first book of the Hunger Games was due out in just a few months, and so behind the scenes, everyone in the industry already knew that a glut on dystopian YA was about to hit the country. Dystopians which had already been repped, sold to publishing houses, and were in the works to be released in the same wave as the Hunger Games. So I moved on to a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, there was also a fantasy, and several others.

But in the middle, amidst years of writing, working on other stories and partial novels, came one that Christi insisted right from the beginning would be The One.

That book was Catskin. I’d never written a contemporary YA before, and never had a male main character. Yet, Catskin popped out of me without me intending to write it in any particular way, or in any particular voice. Catskin went through some major revisions, complete rewrites in some places, and though I started submitting it to agents–and getting rejections with feedback–I continued working on it as per the feedback I was getting from prospective agents. I know this is not how you’re supposed to do things. It’s the opposite, of what you’re supposed to do. but at the time, I was so tantalizingly *close* to getting an offer of representation, that I just wanted to make Catskin as good as I could. Finally, the day came when Christi told me to stop futzing around with it and leave it alone. If it wasn’t “good enough” for an agent or publisher, she said, then it wasn’t meant to be wherever or with whomever I was sending it to. So I listened to Christi, and kept sending Catskin out, and kept getting “almost” rejections.

Then Christi told me to just eat my concern and submit to Clean Reads. So, I listened to her again. And she was right. I woke up on the second day of my September 2015 vacation, in a slot canyon in Utah, and unexpectedly heard a bing from my phone as it somehow got enough service to inform me that I’d received an email. An email that contained a contract and offer for publication. I reread that email about a dozen times in the first three minutes, absolutely, fanatically convinced that I was somehow missing something, a catch, or a sentence saying “but unfortunately”. There was none. It was real. I had been offered a contract.

Of course, I completely freaked out and emailed Christi in a panic along the lines of “HOLY FREAKING SH*# WHAT THE H*$% DO I DO???” Christi’s response went something like “CONGRATULATIONS! I’m not surprised. I knew you had this in the bag 🙂 Now, read your contract.”

There isn’t much more to tell. We went through edits, which–again, thanks to Christi–were pretty dang light, and I had the immense benefit of being able to help design my cover, and even use the artist of my own choosing. The astoundingly talented Erin Kelso was able to bring Ansel and Catskin to life, and I could not be happier with the end result! Now, to get book two finished and repeat the process all over again…

 

Catskin_500x750

Back cover copy:

Sometimes the only way to find yourself is to go missing…

Shy, eighteen-year-old albino, Ansel, thought that letting the runaway girl with the injured ankle sleep in his parents’ shed was a good idea. That was before she passed out in his shower, woke up in a panic and accidentally attacked him. Any average guy would have called the cops but average isn’t Ansel’s style.

When she refuses to tell him her real name, Ansel nicknames the girl Catskin, after one of his favorite fairytale characters, and begins the dubious task of earning her trust. It’s not an easy thing to do, but a few awkward conversations later, one thing is clear: Catskin doesn’t want to be the way she is, she just doesn’t think she can change. Ansel knows from his own experiences that seeing the world around you differently doesn’t mean that you’re wrong, something he intends to teach Catskin.

While the details of her past remain elusive, Catskin creates a new place for herself with Ansel and his family, and develops her own brand of normalcy. Then a terrible accident leaves her hovering near death, and Ansel is forced to contact her estranged parents. But there are secrets hidden in the life Catskin left behind. Dark secrets that chased her all the way to Healy, Alaska and Ansel’s actions unknowingly provoke a shocking confrontation between the wealthy world Catskin was born into, and the starkly average one she now shares with Ansel.

Refusing to give up the imperfect girl who fits perfectly inside his heart, Ansel prepares to go to war with Catskin’s father. But in the end, Catskin might be the only one who can save herself.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D2MWR62

Amazon Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Catskin-Artemis-Grey-ebook/dp/B01D2MWR62

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Catskin-Artemis-Grey-ebook/dp/B01D2MWR62

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/catskin-artemis-grey/1123543424?ean=2940157746711

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/catskin-1

 

About the Author:

Artemis Grey was raised on fairytales and the folklore of Appalachia. She’s been devouring books and regurgitating her daydreams into written words since childhood. She can most often be found writing by a crackling fire or rambling barefooted through the woods and mountains, napping (yes, napping) on horseback, searching the depths of random wardrobes and wriggling into hollow tree trunks. In her downtime, she herds cats, which is just as entertaining as it sounds. She hopes to make her readers look at the world they’ve always seen, and see the world they’ve always envisioned.

Social Media Links:

Blog: https://greyvale.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artemis.grey

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Artemis-Grey-851681138247610

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreyArtemis

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Grey/e/B0089BO30U

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6154946.Artemis_Grey

Email: greyvaledesigns@gmail.com