Thought this would be a good one for Friday Fun Day 🙂
How do you manage distractions when you have a huge task that you need to complete over the span of a few months?
Yes, I’m talking about me and my need to balance writing a book with everyday life and all the distractions that come up daily.
How do you move past distractions and keep focused on your goal?
So this has been me the last few months. I focused everything I had on finishing the 3rd and then the 4th draft of my current book.
Now that I’m on the 5th draft I feel I’m deep enough into this book that I can get back to a blogging schedule again. I’m hosting other authors with Path to Publication stories on Thursdays and will get back on track with some Friday writing fun like the meme above. I’ll throw in an occasional update about the book, and other writing news.
So, how have you been doing?
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…
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.
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!
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.
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Bethany is here today to share her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s Bethany…
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.”
Twenty 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.
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.
Today Debra Daugherty is sharing her Path to Publication story! Without further ado, here’s Debra…
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.
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.
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:
Twitter – @dmddeb
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/DebraDaughertyauthor
Goodreads Author Page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7579797.Debra_Daugherty