Friday, September 21, 2012

A Dreamy Debut

Today, I am pleased to present the debut novel by fellow blogger, Justine Dell. Legend has it this lady started her journey to publication a mere three years. After a long hiatus from reading, she finished one book and decided to write. Amazing.

I met her on Bransforums while we were both trying to get our first books published and have been following her ever since, first in the forums, then her blog. Here's what she has to say about her journey:

Me: Looking back on your road to publication, what were the highlights and lowlights?

Justine: The highlights are simple: writing and the WONDERFUL people I have met. Truly, I think writers are the best buddies ever and without their support, this would be a road I would have steered FAR away from.

And the lowlights? Hmm....editing. *shudders* It really is my worst nightmare. 

Me: I agree with you on the highlights, but I'm a editor at heart. (Does that make me weird?)

Second question: What led you to Omnific and what has your experience been like working with them?

Justine: It just so happens that this particular story is a lot shorter than most publishers (and agent) require. But I didn't want to add fluff simply for the sake of adding to the word count. Sometimes a story is meant to be on a shorter side (I think RD is just under 70K). Omnific accepts stories 50K and over and I was ecstatic about that! Another blogger/writer friend, Susan Quinn had been accepted and published by them and she had nothing but wonderful things to say. The rest, they say, is history.

Me: Ha! Once again, I'm on the other end of this spectrum, overwriting and having to cut, cut, cut.

And now for a teaser from Justine Dell's Recaptured Dreams:

Ten years, the Atlantic Ocean, and several rungs in society have kept Xavier Cain from having Sophia Montel. Now twenty-seven, he’s spent his entire adult life building a fashion empire that could finally prove his worth to her family. When fate reunites him with Sophia at London’s premiere fashion show, one problem lodges in Xavier’s path: Sophia doesn’t remember him.

The only obstacle that has kept Sophia from Xavier is a horrific car crash that erased her memory at seventeen. She’s spent the last ten years fighting to reclaim a sliver of her past that her mother refuses to help her remember. When Sophia meets Xavier at the London show, however, all her fantasies come to life in one night of passion. Discovering he is the missing link, she is determined to find all the pieces to their love story and her memory. 

Xavier wants forever. Sophia wants her memory. If they take this chance, they’ll have to start over. How far are they willing to go get what they want? And when the past catches up to them, can they handle the truths it has hidden?

For more information on Recaptured Dreams, Contests, Giveaways, Entertainment, Grammar Police, and other cool stuff, check out Justine's website.

To buy the book on Amazon, go here

Barnes and Nobles fan? Go here

Where are you on your publishing journey?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me . . .

Once you get past a certain age, somewhere between 12 and 22, birthdays start to lose their luster. Yesterday was a case in point. My darling youngest managed to scream for an entire hour from getting off the bus to our arrival at the restaurant. Dinner was actually pleasant, if somewhat subdued, but I consider any meal out a success if my offspring consume more than two bites.

But enough about the trials of motherhood. On to the presents! You remember the ditty, "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth"? Well, all I want for birthday is a stack of books, a stack of books, yes, a stack of books. Here's some on my wish list:

1. Ken Follett's Winter of the World

The sequel to Fall of Giants is finally here! Okay, Fall of Giants wasn't as freakin' fantastic as Pillars of the Earth, but it does serve an important purpose. It teaches you about World War I, something I never learned in school because for some reason we had to rehash the Revolution and Civil War each and every year. Winter of the World will cover World War II and I'm ready to be both educated and entertained. I wonder what the third novel in this series will cover? Perhaps Vietnam.

2. Ann Brashares' 3 Willows

I just finished Sisterhood Everlasting and My Name is Memory. Both were excellent. It was fun to read them back to back and study the ways Brashares keeps her star-crossed couples separated until the very end.

3. J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy

The lady can spin a tale. Despite the absence of letter delivery by owls or invisibility cloaks, I'm pretty confident this will be good.

4. Justine Dell's Recaptured Dreams

I'm firing up my Nook as we speak! Yes, fellow blogger Justine Dell has her book on the Barnes and Noble Website! Awesome. I will be a host of her blog tour this Friday, so stop by.

What is on your book wish list these days?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Beware the Ides of . . . July?

Think you had a bad day? At least you weren't stabbed in the back!
Image courtesy: Biker Jun

Hello, I'm back. Will I be posting regularly? Not a clue. The question on everyone's lips this time of year: "How was your summer?" You are supposed to say, "fine, good, great" or some other quick, but vague remark before replying, "How was yours?"

Well, my summer started out totally, freaking awesome. I was writing a strong second draft to my ms, working in my daughter's school garden, getting in shape, reading a ton. Our family was spending weekends flying down water slides and spinning ourselves silly on the Tilt-A-Whirl. I remember thinking, and I'm not making this up, "Wow, life right now is so good--too good. Something's got to give."

Then came July 15. My husband's slight vision problem got serious. For his privacy, I won't delve into the whole spiel, but there's been an ER visit, doctor's visits, procedures, surgery, and more to come. He's not in mortal peril or in any physical pain, but it's a game changer.

As this was going on, my youngest caught a virus. She's on an immunosuppressent drug, so her body couldn't shake the fever. On day ten, we had to go to the ER for fluids. She handled the long day of tests, X-rays, and collection of body fluids like a champ.

To add to the mounting chaos, my fourteen-year-old cat was suffering from some ailment that was causing her to drop weight and pee in massive chunks. Diabetes? Yes, that's what I thought since my other kitty has that. But no. After two rounds of antibiotics, three urine collections and an X-ray, it turns out the animal has kidney stones. My vet told me he'd never seen kidney stones in a cat in 24 years of practicing. She's on a new diet and I'm mixing a medicine into her food, but that's it. Surgery on a fourteen-year-old cat is asking for trouble and only specialists attempt it.

Is that enough stress? No. In the middle of my new role as medical transportation specialist, I found a lump in my armpit. First available appointment was a week away, giving me plenty of hours to stew over the dire possibilities. Then my luck turned. The lump dissolved by the time the appointment rolled around. The doctor believed it was just a blocked sweat gland. Whew!

During these mad weeks, I would glance at the calendar and dream of September 6, the first day of school. I would fantasize about writing again, even blogging! That blessed moment was only two days away when my 'healthy' daughter caught a fever. I almost lost it. My long awaited free time was disappearing fast like a desert mirage. Instead of gently offering popsicles and cool compresses, I turned into a cursing, raging, rhymes-with-witch fiend. Then . . . the child got better yesterday. I put her on the bus this morning with her sister. They were all smiles. I'd post a picture, but the camera batteries bit the dust just as I was snapping the shot. But it's no biggie. They'll get on the bus again tomorrow. And here I am, writing this blog to you fine people.

Our family's not out of woods, healthwise, but we're on a path of recovery/management, living as strong as possible. It's funny how fast things can change. As writers, we are told to give our characters hell. Bad things bring a plot to life and move the story forward.

Note to whoever is writing my family's life: Could we take a little breather from the bad stuff, pretty-please?

So, how was your summer?