Category Archives: Julie Campbell

Being a Guest Author for the First Time

D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read) Day at Humberwood Downs JMA

DEAR Day Guest Author VisitOne of the most thrilling and nerve-wracking experiences that a debut author can undergo, in our opinion, is that first guest author appearance in front of a very large group of people. For us (Amanda Giasson and Julie B. Campbell), it was a three-fer; one event broken down into three groups. But we’ve gone ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning:

The Literacy Committee at Humberwood Downs Junior Middle Academy (a Toronto-based school) invited us to participate in their D.E.A.R. Day event on April 30, 2015 and we couldn’t have been more excited (and honoured) to take part.

The event started with a reading of Julie’s book “The Elephant-Wolf”, over the P.A. system to about 1,000 listeners. It then progressed into three 45-minute back-to-back presentations in front of different grade divisions. The first group consisted of more than 100 kids in kindergarten through the first grade. There were around 90 children second group, and they were in grades 2 through 4. The last group had around 80 students from grades 5 and 6.

The entire thing was a whirlwind and was unlike anything that either of us have ever experienced. So, we figured that in the tradition of our novel, “Love at First Plight”, we would take a cue from Irys and Megan and share our experiences from our own perspectives.

Julie B Campbell

After having about 10 minutes of sleep (I wish I were exaggerating), it was quite the challenge to get up, that morning. Somehow, though, I was outside at 6:10 a.m. with Amanda as we climbed into our carpool to Toronto (thanks Mom and Janet!).

For the first stretch, I was certain that I’d finally mastered my social anxiety disorder and that I would actually get through the entire experience, unscathed. Nope. By Vaughan, my hands were already entering into various phases of numbness. I calmed myself through that, so that the feeling returned to my hands, just in time to have a full-on panic attack in the parking lot (which must have been a barrel of monkeys for my co-carpoolers). A few minutes of focused breathing techniques later and I was no longer at risk of fainting in the parking lot. Hooray!

Once inside, we were greeted by a welcome sign addressed to both of us as guest authors. I think that’s when it became very real for me…and it felt great! I’m kicking myself for not having taken a picture of the sign, but that’s probably the only regret that I have for the entire event. Not too shabby!

We were escorted to the Humberwood Downs JMA office, where we met the principal, Mrs. Muir, and the vice principal, Mrs. Wasilewski. Such a warm greeting! Immediately, it felt as though a lot of the intensity was gone and that this was going to be a much friendlier experience than I’d built up in my head. Soon afterward, we met Mrs. Aiello, the librarian and member of the Literacy Committee. She brought us to the (massive) conference room where the main events would be held, so that we could prep ourselves based on the actual space we would be using.

Shortly thereafter, we were back in the school office. Following the morning announcements and standing for O Canada, Amanda and I received a brief lesson on the ins and outs of the P.A. system, and then we found ourselves reading “The Elephant-Wolf” for the whole school. It was GREAT! It completely eliminated my P.A. system-phobia stemming back from the fifth grade when I had been so proud to do the announcements and promptly said “barbarian school” instead of “Braeburn School”, only to have my teacher record it and play it back to me repeatedly until I had learned my mistake…scarring! This time, though, there was none of that!

Amanda essentially took over and made sure that I was seated and that the microphone was properly positioned for me to be heard in a massive panic-prevention strategy that looked very smooth and professional. I’m serious when I tell you that she was INCREDIBLE throughout the entire event. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.

Throughout the reading I could just feel the wisdom of the instructional YouTube video I’d watched, coursing through my veins. I kept my pace slow, I focused on the words, and I maintained inflection in my voice. Amanda piped in with all of the character voices in her usual astounding talent (she’s awesome!) and the finished product was something that made us both immensely proud, particularly when the entire office gave us a round of applause!

That said, that was only the first 6 minutes of the morning. As much of an achievement as that was, we hadn’t even gotten started.

In the conference room, the first group of kids arrived and sat themselves on the floor in front of us. It was a sea of bright-eyed faces and easily the largest group I’d ever had to address. The interactive re-reading of “The Elephant-Wolf” was a LOT of fun.

Jules Elephant-WolfI especially liked the surprisingly accurate wolf and elephant noises that the kids shared with us with great enthusiasm when Amanda prompted them to do so. Amanda’s skills as a presenter and entertainer really carried us through, as she asked the kids lots of questions that they were more than happy to answer. Jules, my stuffed toy (who is also the real Elephant-Wolf), also drew a great deal of interest, which was fun.

After a brief Q&A, Amanda then read “Finding Manda’s Sunshine”, which was also well received…particularly when the little fairy kept calling Manda a “silly pants”. Amanda has a special skill for dramatic readings, doing all of the voices, facial expressions, and even actions, to give the story added life.

Once the first session came to a close, we had a brief fifteen minute recovery period (during which I chugged down water. Boy was I glad that Mrs. Aiello recommended that we bring water from the office for the event!) and then the second group arrived. We were faced with our second sea of bright-eyed faces.

Following our introductions (which included Jules, of course) we spent a wonderful 45 minutes taking questions, giving answers, providing advice based on our own experiences, and sharing our own stories about our love of writing and reading. The enthusiasm from the students and teachers, alike, was nearly overwhelming. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so confident and genuinely appreciated!

It was fantastic to be able to share my complete adoration for writing and for reading, and to groan about what a pain it is to have to edit and edit and edit because it is necessary even though it’s not fun. I was particularly touched when the group requested that we re-read “The Elephant-Wolf”, after which we all shared a discussion on what they’d heard.

Love at First Plight - The Elephant Wolf bookmarksIt was all over so quickly! Before we knew it, one of the teachers was signaling that the next question would be the last. Then, Amanda and I handed out bookmarks to those who wanted them (everybody, I believe) and we received dozens upon dozens of hugs in return. I loved that chance to meet the kids one-on-one. They all had a smile or a brief personal story to share, which was enchanting to me.

As though that wasn’t wonderful enough, the third group was about to start. This group was clearly older and they had a great deal more experience with writing. This allowed the discussion to get into the nitty-gritty of writing.

Again, students and teachers, alike, asked some fantastic questions, ranging from overcoming writer’s block to understanding your target market! I liked the focus that was placed on co-authorship and on the writing technique that Amanda and I used to create “Love at First Plight”. I have to say, that was far more advanced than the writing lessons I received in grades 5 and 6! We really got into some of the “good stuff” about writing. It was fantastic!

Again, though, it felt as though we were just getting started when it all came to an end. As Amanda will mention in her Perspective of the event, we received a great formal “thank you” from one of the students, on behalf of the rest, and it was quite moving. Under other circumstances, I likely would have cried (very glad that I didn’t!).

We handed out our bookmarks and talked with the students, briefly, before they left for their lunch hour. Once again, the genuine enthusiasm and interest in Amanda and I, as authors, and the willingness to share their own experiences was astounding. They were happy to open up on a personal level and talk about the books they love, their enjoyment and trials in writing, and even one boy’s experience in having a father who authored a book about when he became an amputee. I could have spent hours talking to these students!

Overall, I was extremely impressed at the important role that literacy clearly plays at Humberwood Downs JMA, and with the level of respect that is universally displayed by its students and staff, alike. That school has certainly set the bar for author events in my future and I wonder how those groups will be able to live up to that experience. I can honestly say that I can’t wait to find out!

Amanda Giasson

For me, the experience at Humberwood Downs JMA was nothing short of spectacular. I can honestly say that it was an unforgettable, amazing, and, even at times, a surreal experience.

Humberwood Downs Junior Middle Academy - Toronto, OntarioAs Julie mentioned above, in her account of our D.E.A.R. day event at the school, the staff and students at Humberwood Downs JMA were welcoming and incredible. I felt privileged to be included in an event that involved so many wonderfully delightful people. The staff were thoughtful, hospitable, and genuinely pleased to have us there. The students were kind, respectful, bright, curious, and eager to participate. I couldn’t have asked or hoped for a nicer first-time experience as a guest speaker.

I enjoyed talking to the three groups of students and found it fascinating how with each one, the interest in reading and writing and the participation levels varied. Our first group (the youngest group of students), were definitely taken with Julie’s book “The Elephant-Wolf”, and I had a lot of fun interacting with them as Julie read the story. They gave the best collective interpretation of a wolf howl that I have ever heard haha!

The second group (the grade 2s, 3s and 4s) were not only keen to hear Julie read “The Elephant-Wolf” again, but they also had many questions for us about writing and were genuinely interested in what we had to say. There was a small group of girls near the front who were particularly fascinated with us as writers, being avid writers themselves. Any time we asked a question, their hands always shot straight up in the air to provide a thought or an opinion. Their participation stood out to me because I could tell they don’t just write because it is part of their school curriculum. They write because they love it.

When the second group was leaving and we were handing out bookmarks, several of the students hugged us, which was both unexpected and sweet. Knowing that I had had enough of a positive impact on a child that they would feel comfortable enough to thank me and hug me goodbye, was a magical feeling. Oddly, I didn’t feel like a mini celebrity, I just felt special.

The final group not only had a lot of questions for us but they also had a lot to contribute. I enjoyed the discussion with that group. It was a lot of fun to explain the way Julie and I write the Perspective book series and to hear the students’ thoughts about what they felt were the pros and cons of working with another writer.

When the session with the final group came to an end, one of the boys stood up and, on behalf of the school, thanked us for coming to speak with them. At that moment, I was not only impressed by the boy’s eloquent thank you (seriously, it was beautifully delivered), but for the first time in my life I was on the receiving end of a “thank you” to a guest speaker (me). A “thank you” I had heard done numerous times, but only as a student years ago. That moment was surreal and very, very cool.

There were many things I learned from the experience, but there were three in particular that really left a mark.

First, I learned that Julie and I are an amazing team. After nearly 15 years of friendship, we have managed to find an ideal balance that allows us not only to write well together, but to also perform well together. While both of us are certainly far from perfect, we understand the strengths and the weaknesses of ourselves and each other. Thus, where one of us does not shine the other one of us does and will take the lead.

Julie did an awesome job at Humberwood Downs JMA. She read her book beautifully (three times!). She shone like a star and graciously accepted the attention she was given, in spite of having zero sleep and not being overly fond of the spotlight. While I never doubted her ability to be amazing, I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of her. I am honoured and so, so lucky that she is my co-author.

Second, I learned that people will ask you all kinds of questions. Some I was prepared for, others I was not. Here are some of the questions we were asked:

Humberwood Downs JMA“How long have you been writing?”
“How long did it take you to write your book?”
“When did you two meet?”
“How do you deal with writer’s block?”
“Are you two sisters?”
“Is your mom and your mom friends?”
“Do you travel the world?”
“How old are you?”
“Do you listen to music when you write?
“Who is your favourite author?”
“What is your favourite book?”
“If you never became a writer what do you think you would be?”
“How do you get published?”

Of course, the best answer to give is an honest one. Although I didn’t have an answer for every question I was asked, I learned that I should at least be able to provide a few names of authors that I like and the names of books that I enjoy to which my audience may be able to relate…oops! 😉

Third, I learned that I absolutely adore speaking as both a writer and author and I would jump at the chance to take part in another event should the opportunity arise again.

Thank you so very much Humberwood Downs JMA for this amazing experience and to you, Donna Campbell, for being a super-supportive Mommy and for planting the seeds that made the experience possible 🙂

 

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Launching a Book Cover – Getting a Reader to Look Inside!

(Keep Reading – Tianna Holley’s latest book cover reveal is included in this post!!!)

Book cover young adult fictionWe’ve all heard the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover”. It’s a wonderful phrase that is true in its literal and its figurative meanings. Still, as is the case with all great advice (which also includes: “don’t pick at it,” “just ignore him/her and he/she will go away,” and “don’t eat a whole pan of brownies for breakfast”), we tend to know how valuable it is, and yet still go ahead and do exactly the opposite of what it recommends.

I do it and I know I’m not alone. In fact, I’m pretty sure that anyone who doesn’t judge a book by its cover, that is, make a first impression on someone or something based on its exterior, is in a pretty small (but very impressive) group.

This is what makes a book cover launch so important to writers.

The story inside may be fantastic, but if the cover isn’t appealing enough to make someone want to actually find out what is inside, then no one will ever know how great it is. It won’t even make it off the shelf.

Amanda and I are somewhat new to the publishing world – at least in the young-adult fiction category – but we’ve been fortunate enough to become a part of a community of very talented authors who have supported us as we have supported them in return. This has helped to not only spread the word about the publication of our book, Love at First Plight, but it has also allowed us to gain some unique insight into marketing while developing a great relationship with other writers and with our readers.

Enter young-adult romance fiction author, Tianna Holley…

Tianna Holley young adult fiction authorAmong the writers that we have met is the tremendously skilled Tianna Holley (@holley_tianna), author of the young-adult fiction “Alissia Roswell Series”. In her own words, she is a “writer of passionate, fantasy romance without the guilt”.

Today, she has launched the book cover for the third book in the series, “Unexpected Peril”, which will be released as an ebook on Amazon on Tuesday, May 26. Mark your calendars! If you enjoy clean romance with a great plot, then this is a series that you will genuinely enjoy!

“Unexpected Peril” follows the first two books in the series: “Unexpected Metamorphosis” and “Unexpected Entrapment”. You can even download the first novel for FREE on Amazon. You’ll see, right away, why this is such a big deal.

The big “Unexpected Peril” cover reveal…

Unexpected Peril coverHere it is! In my humble opinion, this is the best cover, yet. That’s saying something, since I found the first two covers to be exceptionally appealing. What is awesome about this one is that it carries the same themes and colour schemes as the first two, but tosses in a dark and eerie element that makes me want to find out exactly what’s going to happen.

When Amanda and I worked on the design of our own cover, that is exactly the type of impact we wanted to have. A cover for a young-adult book series novel needs to be eye catching, make sense to the story, and be designed in a way that the novels to follow will also have covers that fit into that same kind of template while still standing on their own.

Tianna Holley has certainly achieved that! I’m willing to bet that when you first laid eyes on this image, you gave it a good solid look, not just a bit of a blink. It makes you want to see more, and it makes you want to find out what it means in terms of the story. This is an achievement and I hope she’s genuinely proud of it. Applause to Tianna Holley!

If you want to learn more about Tianna Holley, her Alissia Roswell Series, or the upcoming release of her book “Unexpected Peril”, I encourage you to visit her website at http://www.tiannaholley.com.

This cover reveal is very exciting for me as a reader who is looking forward to getting her hands on the ebook, but it is also exciting to me as a writer, because it has added all the more motivation to keep going with the writing of the second novel in the Perspective book series, so that we can share our own cover launch (not to mention the title!). I don’t know if this is the same for all writers, but reader feedback/discussions and the progress made by other authors are two of the most positive drivers that encourage me to continue writing, even when I feel as though I’m too busy to type a single paragraph.

Congratulations, Tianna Holley! Keep up the great work.

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I’m a Second Author, not a Secondary One!

My authorship equality campaign begins today!

 

Love at first plight co-author authorsOh, the woes of being the co-author of an outstanding book (if I do say so, myself), and having my name listed second on the cover!

I can’t imagine that this is a situation that is unique to myself. After all, there are thousands, if not millions of books that have been written by more than one person. Someone’s name always has to come first. The problem is that bookstores, marketplaces, marketing programs, and even social media seem to think that the name listed first on a book cover implies that this author is somehow more important to the final product.

This is not necessarily true!

While Amanda and I both agree that if there were ever a project that was divided precisely down the middle, it was this one, the fact remained that one of our names had to come first on the cover. Neither one of us minded having our names listed as first or second. It didn’t matter. We knew that we were equal contributors.

The final decision was jointly made based on ease of search-ability. We wanted to make our book easier to find.

The name “Amanda Giasson” is, after all, far less common than “Julie B. Campbell”. Furthermore, there is already a very famous author named Julie Campbell (also listed as Julie Campbell Tatham in some of her works), who is best known for the books that she wrote in the “Trixie Beldon” series. While adding my middle initial to my name did help me to stand out a little bit from the thousands upon thousands of other Julie Campbells out there, it still wasn’t as unique as Amanda’s name.

That made the decision quite easy for us. We were quite pleased with the choice that we made, and still are.

However, at the same time, having my name listed second on the cover of the book seems to have dropped me into a kind of secondary status in the bookselling world. What is with that?

When Love at First Plight first appeared on the digital selves at Amazon, Amanda was automatically listed as “author”, while I was automatically listed as “contributor”. I contacted them immediately and their customer service was exceptional. I don’t think an hour had passed before the website was completely updated and I was granted “author” status. I couldn’t have been more impressed with the wonderful support they provided. Still, the fact remained that having my name listed second automatically implied that my contribution wasn’t equal to the author who was listed first and it needed to be manually changed.

Another example is at Barnes & Noble. When you perform a search for our book, the results are listed as though Amanda is the exclusive author. It isn’t until you click on the book from the search list and see the detailed product page that my own name appears. Again, I’d like to point out that Barnes & Noble has been very good to us and they’ve matched the lowest price in the U.S., to make sure that the paperback and the ebook stay affordable, there. This is not a complaint about the company. It is a statement about the shape of co-authorship credit as a whole.

At Goodreads (an experience that I am greatly enjoying and one that I would recommend to anyone who loves books), despite the fact that I was the one who added our novel to the site’s listings, when I wanted to make a change to the book description, I had to get Amanda’s permission to do so. The reason? She is considered to be the lead author and I am a secondary one.

Is there really no way for a co-author listed second on a book to be seen as an equal author? I find this baffling!

I don’t mind that my name comes second on the cover. After all, with two authors, one of the names must come first. However, at the same time, it seems strange to me that just because my name has been listed second, it is assumed that I am a lesser contributor, that my name isn’t as important in search results, or that I shouldn’t have the same author’s rights to the description of a work of which I am immensely proud.

Second co-author awareness ribbonI feel as though I should be leading some kind of march for the rights of co-authors who are listed second on their books. Should I be distributing ribbons (in red and orange, of course, the first and second colours of the spectrum) to help spread awareness of the plight of second authors?

Should I be standing on rooftops and shouting “My name is Julie B. Campbell and I am proud of my equal authorship of Love at First Plight!”?

Let co-authors everywhere unite!

 

….hmm…then again, maybe that’s a little dramatic.

Still, I feel that it’s a problem and I wonder if it is something that is ever going to change. Amanda and I have many more novels to add to the Perspective book series. Will I always be secondary, not just second?

Now that I’ve had my rant, I just want to thank Amanda Giasson for being a fantastic friend and co-author who has never let her supreme first-listed-name powers go to her head. 😉

Are there any other co-authors out there who feel the same way? If so, please feel welcome to share in the comments, below.

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Am I Lost in a Fictional World?

Can creative writing be considered a mental illness?

 

Creative writing crazinessIf you love it too much, does it actually take over your mind, for good?

I’m a proud, card-carrying weirdo, and I’m certainly a top contender for geek-of-the-year (for over thirty years, running), but when it comes to writing the Perspective book series with Amanda, I am taken to an entirely different oddity plane. I stop living here and I start living on an entirely different world that exists inside my head.

On any given day, I think about the books, the characters, and the future direction of the plot, more times than I can count. I can honestly say that an hour hasn’t passed in fourteen years in which I have not thought about something happening on the planet Qarradune, at least once.

Writers are known for being a little bit on the different side (to say the least). I think the entire artistic community – actors, painters, authors, sculptors, singers, etc – has a certain requirement in terms of being somewhat strange. But at the same time, as much as I’m glad to be unique (some might say that “unique” is a rather kind way to describe myself), I do wonder if I am crossing the line from being a quirky artist in the creative writing world, and stepping over into madness.

Am I supposed to think about a fictional world this much? Are people who are figments of my imagination and who interact with people who are figments of Amanda’s imagination supposed to matter more to me than some of the characters I have met in real life?

The thing is, allowing my mind to drift over to Qarradune so that I can mentally hang-out with Irys Godeleva, Megan Wynters, Thayn Varda, and Acksil makes me very, very happy. Even Galnar can bring the occasional twisted smile to my face…hmmm, maybe I should be questioning the sanity of that, too…

Perspective book series - crazy writerOccasionally, I think that the fact that I am this passionate about the book is a good sign. A lot of famous authors are, after all, known for completely losing themselves in their fictional worlds, to very extreme degrees. Then again, many of those authors are also known for struggling with the real world and escaping through hard-core drugs or a permanent visit to the bottom of a river.

Will I be able to recognize if I ever make that leap from peculiar or eccentric to plain-old nuts?

For now, I plan to embrace my bizarre side and to keep loving the world that flows from my mind and out through my words. Hopefully, someone will let me know if I’ve made Qarradune my forever-home, so that they might help me come back to Earth to visit, now and again.

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Creative Writing: The Emotional Toll

Refusing to be the Little Engine that Couldn’t

I am SO tired! Okay, whining done. I just had to get that off my chest.

I love (love, love) creative writing, and knowing that other people will be reading what I have written (that is, what I have written with my exceptionally talented co-author, Amanda, of course) is a huge thrill for me. But, like so many other things in life, the extreme highs that writing brings to my life has also sent some powerful emotions at the other end of the scale.

love of creative writingGetting the book published is the start of the dream. It really is. But it isn’t just a matter of finding a company that will put the book on shelves and then sitting back to relax as you automatically become a bajillionaire whose works have been read by pretty much everybody.

To be fair, I was never under the impression that, after finding a publisher, my only other activities would be to decide who gets the movie and merchandise rights. I may have been living on the fictional world of Qarradune for the last 14 years, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve completely lost touch with reality.

Still, even after having been the owner and operator of a small business for more than a decade, I wasn’t entirely ready for everything that would be required of me in order to make sure that Amanda and I not only had a book, but that people would hear about it and read it, too.

Look, Ma! I’m a marketer..?

Marketing is fun for me. I genuinely like taking part in the ads, videos, social media, and all of the other steps that we have been taking. I like to bring a personal side to things. I’m not one for hard-sells, but I like the idea of opening up a conversation with readers and, hopefully, engaging them to the point that they see the book – the passion of my life – as something that they’d like to experience.

True…but I’m still a writer, first

I take part in marketing every day. I also work every day and I try to write Book 2 most days of the week (because what’s the point in having only one book in a series?). As is the case with everything in life, things go right and things go wrong.

hard work creative writingWhat’s different about the experience when it has to do with my creative writing is that it is not only immensely personal and important to me, but it’s also happening at a time when I am stretched about as thinly as I possibly can be. Nearly every minute of my day is filled. If I’m not working, marketing, or writing, I’m thinking about those things. I haven’t had a day off this year, and it doesn’t look like things are going to slow down at any time, soon.

Am I upset about this? Nope! This is exactly how it has to be. But at the same time, the lack of rest and the extreme range of emotions that all this entails are certainly taking their toll! The idea that the result of all of this hard work could put me in the spotlight has also sent my social anxiety into high gear…which only makes me more emotional.

But it’s worth it. When you find what you want in life and you don’t put everything into it, you’re making the decision to be the “Little Engine that Couldn’t”. That’s not going to be me. I’m going to keep trying, keep working, and keep putting myself out there because I know that this book is a lot of fun, I know that the second book is going to be even more exciting (we’ve laid out the first seven chapters so far and all I can say is “wowee-zowee!”), and I am going to do what it takes to keep my dreams coming true.

If that means the occasional random tears of exhaustion and a lot of genuine apologies for snapping at people when they didn’t deserve it, then I am willing to pay that toll. Knowing that people are reading and enjoying the Perspective book series means everything to me. I guess that means that I’ll need to become a version of myself who can handle it.

This is going to be interesting. Look out, world!

PS – Do you find that creative writing is something that puts you on a roller-coaster, too? Tell me about it in the comments, below. I’d love to know that I’m not the only one who is responding to the writing/publishing experience in this way.

Okay, I’m going to go cry now…then snap at somebody…then apologize 😉

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Becoming a Writer Who Reads

Perspective book series - Love at first plight - readingFor nearly a year, Amanda and I have been pouring all of our “free” time into the rewriting of Love at First Plight, which then turned into hours, days, and weeks of editing (and editing, and editing).

Throughout that time, the only fiction reading I did had to do with my own book (aside from a stretch of time in which I read 14 Superman/Batman-crossover graphic novels, but we don’t need to go there, right now). As much as I loved living inside the world of my own book, the process somehow managed to disconnect me from the works of other writers.

I wasn’t worried about it, at the time, but once Love at First Plight was published and I promised myself a break from reading those pages, I found myself playing game apps on my tablet, instead of reading. Shame on me!

The problem was, I had no idea what to read. In fact, I actually felt nervous about getting back into books again! It was as though I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find my way into someone else’s fictional world. Could I really be locked in Qarradune, forever?

Being the determined (that’s such a kind way to say “stubborn”) person I am, I decided to ease my way back into the fiction of other writers, once more. I picked up a copy of Lyddie, by Katherine Paterson (Jacob Have I Loved, Jip, Bridge to Tarabitha). I have to say, I enjoyed every minute of it. I only wish that there was a second book, because I would have liked to continue following the main character! I’m looking forward to the next book that I’m going to read, too, The Palace of Laughter, which is the first in The Wednesday Tales book series.

Am I looking forward to getting back into Qarradune? I sure am! Amanda and I have already started Book 2 of the Perspective series and I am already head-over-heels in love with it. But I’m glad to say that even though I am a writer, I can still consider myself a reader.

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My Dream is Coming True…I’m Terrified!

This week, as of Monday, Amanda and I have been on Cloud 9. In fact, if there is a better cloud than 9, that’s where you can find us. Our first novel, Love at First Plight, the start of the Perspective book series is getting published. Our dream is coming true…and I am so freakin’ scared.

Love at First Plight published Perspective book seriesI know for a fact that I couldn’t have done this with anyone but my co-author. The rollercoaster of positive and negative stresses from having been let down by so many different people and so many different companies, and from having been thoroughly supported from our closest friends and family (and from some unexpected places, too), would have tested even the truest friendship. If I’d ever had any doubts in the strength of my friendship with Amanda, they’re certainly long-gone, now.

This book has threatened to bring out the ugliest in us, and has allowed us the opportunity to rise above it. At the risk of sounding completely full of myself, I’m going to declare that Amanda and I have done just that. We faced one challenge after the next, and now a story that we adore is getting started in a published book. I am very proud of our book and I am very proud of having survived the process of making it.

If you are a published author and you are reading this, my hat goes off to you. You have made it through a storm that cannot be understood by those who have not experienced it for themselves.

Notre Dame stained glass rose windowGetting a book published is like looking at the stained glass from the inside of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It’s like crawling, climbing, and wriggling your way through the systems of tight limestone tunnels and vast caverns of the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. It’s like trying a very good quality of chocolate for the very first time. It is like facing your fears, your insecurities, and your dreams, head-on, and discovering who you are when you reach the other side.

You can certainly imagine what all of those things would be like, but until you go through them for yourself, it is impossible to know the complete experience. Without fail, what you see, feel, hear, smell, or taste will be different, and greater, than what you had thought.

That’s exactly what this last week has been like for me. At first, I went through a stage of denial. After all, just knowing that Love at First Plight would be an e-book and a paperback didn’t create an immediate change in my life. Certainly, I felt excited, but nothing had technically happened, yet. I had bragging rights, of course, but there is still a lot of time left before the novels will be on the bookstore shelves.

That did move on to a feeling of excitement. Equally, I think that aside from being thoroughly ecstatic (and immensely impatient – I’m not exactly known for patience), the other reining emotion that I am feeling, at the moment, is terror! Since Monday, I have been very thrilled about the future of the Perspective book series, and yet, now that my dream is coming true, I wake up in the middle of the night, sweating, with a pounding in my chest. I love the book and its characters with every part of my heart, but now that world is about to be exposed to the world…that’s a terrifying thought!

It’s a great story. It really is. I wouldn’t have put my name on it and published it if I didn’t completely believe that. At the same time, I am aware of the fact that if I actually talk to people and tell them about it, then they’ll never be able to discover the story, for themselves! This places me in the spotlight, and as someone with a social anxiety disorder, that’s not exactly the most comfortable place for me.

There are few things that I want more in life than for Love at First Plight – and the Perspective series that follows – to be a tremendous success, but even as the hype begins to build among friends and family, I can feel a rapid heartbeat kicking in with every “tag” my name receives in a Facebook post.

Love at First Plight - Perspective book series 1I feel genuine excitement when someone mentions the Perspective book series page on that social network, but whenever the attention is aimed directly at me, I find myself shaking in my boots (or, more accurately, fuzzy purple slippers, since I don’t tend to wear boots when I’m at my computer). This is definitely something I’m going to need to work on if this book is to go somewhere. After all, I don’t think that the media would be satisfied with quotes taken from the book series Facebook page. I’m going to need to start being me, in front of real-live people.

This is going to be the most important “therapy” of my life. I need to ensure that people will hear about this book so that they can enjoy the world of Qarradune as much as I have for the last 14 years. I need to be there for Amanda and for Love at First Plight if I am going to keep this dream come true going.

It’s time for me to move beyond writing a strong female character who will take on the world so that she’ll achieve her goals and dreams. It’s time for me to become one, too.

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