It started when I was in the fourth grade, when I won the Young Author’s award for a book titled “How Rabbits Got Short Tails.” I was so excited. Then in the fifth grade I won for a book about an alien named Rainbow entitled “Rainbow on West Avenue.” I got to meet real authors and other winners. It called to me. I probably began 15 books that year. Writing was what I wanted to do. Well, and singing, or art…
I wrote poems in the ninth grade. Lots of poems. One day I received an unexpected envelope in the mail from my eighth grade English teacher. It contained a magazine and a note that said, “You are now a published author!” She submitted a poem that I had written for an assignment (and one I didn’t really care for) to Read magazine and they edited and published it.
After that, I regularly wrote poetry for high school magazines and publications. The Lodestar and Inklings, among others. I loved writing short stories, and I began more novels. Mostly faraway places with whimsy. I was inspired by The Secret Garden, and Island of the Blue Dolphins, A Wrinkle in Time, and so many more.
When I began adulting, I changed my patterns to art and painting. But I still had stories that begged to be told. I wrote my first full-length novel about a mythical tribe of cannibals set in Belize. Believe it or not, it was a love story. My best friend, Terri, was my first beta reader. She and I met often to discuss the book, and edited it over buffalo wings and cokes at Applebee’s. When she lost her battle with cancer, however, I put the book away. It was too hard.
So I began a new journey of YA fantasy fiction. My next novel was more of a novelette, but a good concept. So I put it on Wattpad for others to read. Then one night I had a dream. It was ONE scene. But it was one scene with tons of understood backstory. The thing is, as I opened my eyes (at 6am on a Sunday) I saw credits scrolling. I knew it was a book. So I got up, against my weak internal protestation for sleep, and I wrote for 13 hours. The Key of F was written in two and a half weeks. It’s sequel, The Queen’s Heart, was also written in two and a half weeks; but the ending book, The Last Rescue, was half done for a year. I kept changing the way I wanted to end it.
I started going to conferences and joining groups, like Saavy Authors, Missouri Writer’s Guild, Kansas City Writer’s Guild, and Nebraska Writer’s Guild. I entered into my first writing contest, Ink & Insights 2016, and made it into the top ten winners at number 8. Networking and learning can mean the difference between a starving artist and a well-connected author. I have loved getting to meet all the people and receive all the feedback I have gathered.
After that I wrote a book about a solar storm’s global EMP strike and the girl that had to make it from Washington D.C. to Cape Canavarel in three months with an autistic boy and a little girl, if she wanted to make it on the last shuttle for Mars, with the sixth colony. Do they make it? Go read it on Wattpad. Once I got it started editing it, I had another idea.
So I wrote about a post apocalyptic world where the Earth is mostly burnt up but cloud cities travel around from one good patch to another, with a city in the clouds and a village on the ground that works the land and tends the livestock for the city. The girl in it is trying to discover who murdered her father, and stumbles onto a plot to chemically-enhance the population through the air supply. I might eventually put that on Wattpad, too.
I was in the editing phase and I was adding in some details to the world, the book was done, I’d drawn concept art, maps, the sequel had an outline, everything, when a thought occurred to me. I asked myself, “Is what you’re writing right now a bestseller?” I stopped and thought about the YA hardbacks I got in OwlCrate, and saw on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. I compared my book to “real” published books being marketed today and without question, my answer was, “no.”
My next thought was, “Why not? Why waste your time writing books you KNOW aren’t going to be a bestseller? It’s what you want, right? Readers, customers, fans.” Aah, the day I get cool fan art… *sigh* Anyway, I decided that I was going to stop writing that book and start something over. Do it right from the beginning. I got on line and learned some things about making a bestseller, and what the other bestselling authors had to say, and I started doing that.
My second book launched as a #1 New Release, but I didn’t know how to keep it there, so it slid right down the charts. So I got online and I learned about marketing. I learned the value of keywords and categories and covers. I bought my rights back from my publisher for my first two books and self published new editions with bonus content and better covers, and they are doing great.
The third book launched in March 2020 as a #1 New Release for a month. It does really well, but because it is offered on Kindle Unlimited, it cannot receive the “bestseller” label. But I’m very pleased with how well it’s done.
Being an agent and editor has given me a love for authors, as well as being one myself. I want to help other authors succeed and to do that, I need to get there. So, I decided to write a bestseller, and document its journey from starting concept to sitting on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. If it’s a hit, YAY me. If not, the process is out there, maybe between all of us we can figure out where it went wrong and try again (BUT I am feeling very confident about this book). That is my current blog series. Keep up with us, late Sunday nights, to watch this book be born.
As of now, the book is written and The Clockwork Pen is being queried to agents.
*If you enjoy leaving reviews, contact me any time for free copies. I hope you enjoy my Freedom Fight Trilogy. And The Clockwork Pen, when it makes its way onto the bookshelves of your favorite store.
Until then… all my best.