Archive for November, 2011

Today we welcome Stacey Rourke, author of The CONDUIT, for a chat.  Her debut novel is a mystical, YA fantasy tale involving an ancient Irish myth, four special humans with superhuman powers and an evil demon that can morph into any animal including a fire-breathing dragon.

The CONDUIT is your first book, Stacey, and it’s already getting some great reviews. Where did the idea come from?

It all started with a dream. There’s a scene in the book where a hand comes up out of a darkened orchestra pit and Celeste, the main character, is creeping forward not knowing what was going to rise up out of it. That was my dream exactly. It was so haunting and realistic that I woke up covered in sweat. When I couldn’t shake it, I jotted it down. I began expanding on it, creating back story for the characters. My Gryphon series was born!

Tell us a little bit about the journey that led you to this point  and into the writing and publishing life.

I had my first manuscript completed for a full year before I outed myself as an author. After that I embarked on what seemed an endless journey through a sea of rejections. Yet, whenever a literary professional took the time to offer me constructive feedback I mulled it over and seriously considered if I felt there was something valid that needed to be altered. Little by little my manuscript was chipped away at and polished up enough that when I submitted it to Outer Banks Publishing for consideration I finally got to experience the wonderful rush of being picked up for publication.

Are you a panster or plotter?

Plotter. I outline the entire book first, then storyboard each individual scene before I even think about beginning my first draft.

You have kids – did they inspire your main character or her side kicks?

They are the inspiration behind Kendall. Children love without bias or judgment. They see the good in everyone. That’s how Kendall is. To her everyone is good and worthy of love, even if they’re an evil shapeshifting demon.

What are you working on now?

Well, the second installment in The Gryphon series is coming soon with Embrace, and I am currently working on book three.

Stacey Rourke lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant, drooly dogs.  She is currently hard at work on the continuations of The Gryphon series, as well as other literary projects. You can connect with her on Twitter @Rourkewrites or on her website. The CONDUIT is available for only $2.99 on both Kindle and Nook.

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I’m excited, without a doubt, to be able to say that my second book, Red Sky Warning, is now available for purchase on Kindle (support ticket in about the image, long story) and Nook and at Smashwords for other formats. It will become available on Kobo and Sony Ereader, and at iTunes over the next few weeks. The paperback should be available within 2 weeks.

I feel like I should be more eloquent about it all but I’m currently a mixture of exhausted and thrilled 🙂

Early feedback has been that it’s even better than the first, and that is something I love to hear!

Red Sky Warning Cover Art

To make up for my current quiet, please check out The-Cheap.net for today’s feature (me) and a guest post I wrote for them, which is supposed to appear on an affiliated site. At this early hour (pre-6 am) I don’t see either posted yet. I will update with links here when they do become available.

Coming soon: A blog about how incredibly different “Publishing, Round 2” turned out to be!

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This is a re-post from a guest blog I did last week at Linda’s Words From the Heart Blog. It would have been more appropriate yesterday but, hey, I was enjoying Turkey Day 😉

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This is the time of year where everyone begins to consider the question: What are you thankful for?

In my house, now that we’ve started having kids, we try to make it a daily question. Every night we ask our son: What are you thankful for? His answers are quite simple and surprising – even something like his blanket will rate on the list. We’re happy that, so far, both Mommy and Daddy rate every night, too.

Even with that daily focus, however, this time of year brings special attention to the question and the answers get more complicated every year. We move from thankfulness for a toy or a special treat as a child, to thankfulness for a nice car and spending money as a teenager, to thankfulness for our jobs, our relationships, our health, and our kids as we grow into and through adulthood.

This year was a giant leap for me. I can, for the first time, tack Author onto my list of life titles and that opens up a whole new area of gratitude. Some of the new additions to my list:

  • I am thankful for a husband who supports and encourages what I do and believes in what I want to do with my life.
  • I am thankful that I am an author at a time when self-publishing has been transformed by the e-reading revolution.
  • I am thankful for social media that allows me to connect so easily to those in my neighborhood or across the world.
  • I am thankful for the authors who came before me and opened these paths.
  • I am thankful for the successful and talented writers who share their knowledge and encouragement.
  • I am thankful for other authors at the beginning of their paths, just like me, who know what it’s like to walk in my shoes and who give of themselves in support of all of us.
  • I am thankful for book reviewers who take the time not only to read my work, but actually review it and post their thoughts on blogs, purchase sites, or reader sites like Goodreads.

Lastly, and in many ways most importantly, I am thankful for every person who has read what I’ve wrote. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the 30,000+ who have read my free short story or the smaller number who have purchased my book; I am thankful for YOU.

Most of the latest additions to the list apply to being an author and what makes the non-writing aspect of this job easier and more enjoyable. Readers, however, are the complement to writers and are much closer to my heart. I write very character-driven stuff and if I’m connecting with readers – making them smile, laugh, think, feel – then I’ve done what I set out to do.

As a writer, it can be tempting to hoard your work and never let others into that realm. It’s easier, it’s less stressful…but it’s also less fulfilling. As an author, it’s an incredible boon to have someone read what you wrote. Add to that the knowledge he/she enjoyed it and the author has been given a wonderful gift.

Writers are normal people. We struggle, we stress, and we even moan and groan (a bit). Readers have an unique power to reward writers and not just with the purchase of a book. We live in a time where readers can find any writer and connect. Reviews are welcome, but so are quick messages or emails explaining what the story meant to you, the reader.

I am thankful for those who read and enjoy in silence, those who take the time to tell a friend, those who take the time to tell the world, advocate for a writer with a review or other public means, and those who find me and say, “Thank you.”

Sometimes, I may simply say, “Thank you,” in return. It’s true gratitude, not platitude, every single time. I’m not being lazy or rude I’m simply incapable of quantifying all that I mean in a simple reply. The appreciation sometimes seems too big to fit in words, alone. Readers are appreciated and I am thankful for every single one.

Keep doing what you do best – reading – and if you have a spare moment, let the author (any author) know what you think about the work.

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I don’t normally advocate that people should watch The Simpsons. It’s irreverent humor at best, but for this week’s episode I am making an exception.

The 11-20-11 episode of The Simpsons was called “The Book Job”. This hilarious spoof of The Italian Job nailed what it’s like to be a writer, reader, and a wannabe author all in one fell swoop.

I don’t want to spoil it but just need to say: if you’re a writer, you will find it 20% sad but 100% funny. Even the true-to-life aspects that make you want to scream as a writer will make you laugh. They had such good material for the story arc that it’s surprisingly clean for a Simpsons episode. I call it worth the watch.

I have to say that Lisa nailed ‘loafing’ and ‘procrastination’ – two writer staples – perfectly. I planned to include a clip via Hulu in this post but it won’t be anywhere online (legally) for another week. Bummer.

If you caught it, what part did you identify with most as a writer?

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Red Sky Warning Cover ArtEach day I get a little closer to the publication of my 2nd book. I published the first with barely a chirp, but was still excited. Now people are actually looking forward to it and that adds a whole new level of thrills.


In this fast-paced follow-up to Wendy L. Young’s debut novel, Come the Shadows, the mystery deepens…

Will and Laura Harmon are trying to get on with their lives but are left reeling when a vicious hit-and-run sends Laura to the hospital. With all the recent changes in Campbell Creek Will has a long list of suspects – and few leads.

One thing is clear: Someone wants Laura dead and Will has to stop them in time.

But who from Campbell Creek’s shadowy past is behind the threats on Laura’s life and can Will figure out the mystery before tragedy strikes again?


PS It has come to my attention that, for some reason, those using IE 8 or earlier are unable to see the cover images on my blog. I apologize but all I can say is either update the browser or join the Firefox crew 😉

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I am happy to announce I am participating in a new feature on Thursdays – the Teaser Train!

Please check out Shelia R Lamb’s blog to read an excerpt of COME THE SHADOWS.

Other authors featured today :

AR Silverberry – WYNDANO’S CLOAK – @ Howard Hopkin’s blog

TM Souders – WAITING ON HOPE – @ Kellianne Sweeney’s blog

Follow the #teasertrain tag on Twitter to keep up with all the great excerpts!

Choo Choo!

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I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many great indie authors  in the last few months and today 20 of us are giving back! We each wrote gratitude-focused posts and they are appearing on blogs across the web landscape. Please feel free to check out my post at Linda’s Words from the Heart blog. At the end of that post you can find links for all the other author posts appearing as part of the chain.

PS – Did I mention the free books being given away on EVERY post? =)

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I write fiction and I love it. In the spring, when I began writing Come the Shadows, all that pounded in my head was “I want to write books and I want people to read them.”

The statement still rings true but only now am I really understanding what comes in the middle of two simple desires and there’s a LOT of middle.

A huge




Of a middle.

Writing a book and suddenly having thousands of people read it would be the literary equivalent of winning the lottery. It doesn’t never happen but it’s so close to never that it might as well be never.

The main problem is that my existing sphere of social influence does not a reader pool make, which is true for any new author. I have to grow that sphere to grow my reader and fan base and that’s where that Grand Canyon comes in. It must be filled.

There are lots of ways to do that. I could fork over money (which I don’t have) for PR and ads. I would probably get lots of short term sales and maybe even make my money back. But the reader to fan ratio may or may not pan out and fans are the ones who keep coming back.

I can do interviews, but how many times do people want to hear me answer questions about what my books is about, my writing process, or my upcoming work? They are good to do, but they cannot be all an author does to reach out to fans. It’s just gets boring for the reader too easily if that’s all you’re putting out there.

Self-published authors have to rely heavily on modern social media and one of the core staples of that is blogging. Blogging is like grown-up tweeting. You’re forced to have a real conversation about something. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard but it always helps the author and reader connect over an idea. I would call it a virtual “let’s get a cup of coffee and chat”. I’m not sure why I call it that, since I don’t even like coffee, but it has the same ideas of sharing knowledge and companionship. It’s less preachy than an essay (dinner speaker) but more formal than a tweet or Facebook thread which is often the equivalent of crashing on someone’s couch in your PJs.

Some blog on their own, and some blog for others. Authors frequently do guest blog posts, which is an area I’m just starting to explore. I’ve done a few interviews already and my guest posts will soon start appearing. I’m exited to reach readers in new ways but I also must admit that I’m struggling with it.

Why? It’s just writing, you say. I have written two full books and another one that’s a nearly complete first draft plus countless other articles, poems, songs, scripts, and so forth. This should be cake, right?


The difference is that all my fiction, articles, etc, are focused outward. I write about other people’s flaws, emotions, and lives. Now I’m delving into a whole new arena where all the attention is focused on me and that’s a bit strange for this Lone Writer Girl. If I could, I would write books and shove them out the door of my little writer’s closet. Then I would immediately start on the next one. It’s not that I don’t want to connect with people or (God forbid) think that anyone out there is less important than me – quite the opposite in fact – but putting the attention on me is so viscerally opposed to my nature that it is almost frightening at times.

What I lack in extraversion I make up for in spades with determination, however. If I can write fiction that is enjoyable, surely I can do this too. While these types of writing are agonizing in their differences to someone like me, they have one thing in common: the readers. Most readers want to know more about the person behind the words and guest posts give important insight into the mind behind work. So, while I groan and strain against my desire to return to my little cave I will remember that, and keep pushing myself forward on this incredible and rewarding journey and with each new guest post I intend to grow as a writer and author AND to further connect me with my readers.

In light of this I have started two new pages at the top:

The Interviews

Guest Posts

Keep checking back in the next few weeks – both pages will grow!

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Red Sky Warning Cover Art

It’s here! Last night we finalized the cover art for the next book in the Campbell Creek Mysteries: Red Sky Warning.

Only 3 weeks to go!

We also tweaked the original just a little. This is a 3-part series and the covers all work together. It’s a learning process. When I put out book one the most forward-thinking I could go was just to get it done and out and available. In retrospect I would have punched up 1 even more so 2 and 3 could get the same treatment but at this point I think it’s more important to not flip number one on it’s head with a brand new cover, and to keep them consistent. I want people to look at them and recognized they go together as a series. I have so many books rumbling around in my head, and some will involve the same main characters more than once, but these are the three that truly are linked.

I also know the title of the last book already but am no where near having the cover art done. We were going to go ahead and start it but found out the picture I had is unsuitable. Back to the drawing board…

One last note:

The image from Come the Shadows is 100% mine. The image on Red Sky Warning is courtesy my mom, who has been incredibly supportive of my writing.

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Load your Kindle TODAY! #99CentBookEvent Celebrate the release of COME BACK TO ME and discover 35 other talented authors – All books reduced to 99cents! BUY 3 books GET 1 FREE. You can also enter to win a one-of-a-kind leather bound edition of COME BACK TO ME! Tuesday – Thursday ONLY! http://www.womensliterarycafe.com/

come back to me launch party

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