Thursday, May 29, 2008

Publishing Journey for Joshua's Hope - Patience is the Key Word

This is for all my nonwriter friends who ask me "When is your next book coming out?"; and it's for all new writers who sign a contract and wonder when they'll actually see their book in print.

Having a book published is a test of patience. I've learned to be patient, but my loyal readers haven't. Once they turn the last page of my book, they are ready to read the next one. It would be wonderful if I could write a book every month AND secure a contract on each of them. The publishing world isn't like that. It's been a continual learning process for me. The industry is tough, and you have to grow a tough skin to stay the course. Writing isn't for the weak. Most writers begin their career full of dreams that will come face to face with reality. My first surprise was realizing how many people are trying to get published. I thought I might be the only one in my city who wanted to be a writer! Imagine my surprise to learn there are nearly 100 writers in my local RWA writing chapter alone! So, the competition is fierce, but...writers are a loyal group. We cheer each other's successes, feel the pain of each other's rejections, and share our time and knowledge with each other. It's the best support group you will ever find.

Here is the time frame for my newest manuscript, Joshua's Hope, from beginning to end:

Plotting: February 2007
Writing: February 2007 - July 2007
Query to Steeple Hill - July 11, 2007
Request for full from Steeple Hill - August 7, 2007
Submitted full to Steeple Hill - August 25, 2007
Rejection Letter from Steeple Hill - September 7, 2007
Submitted Email Query to The Wild Rose Press - September 17, 2007
Request for first three chapters from The Wild Rose Press - September 19, 2007
Submitted first three chapters to editor - Sepbember 21, 2007
Request for full manuscript - September 24, 2007
Sent full manuscript - September 26, 2007
Confirmation of receipt - October 1, 2007
Contract Offer - December 1, 2007
Signed and Mailed contract - December 2, 2007
Received edit schedule - January 1, 2008 (1st round due to me by March 16)
Received edits - February 27, 2008
Submitted changes - March 6, 2008
Received first round of galleys - April 1, 2008
Submitted changes - April 12, 2008
Received next galley proof - May 15, 2008
Approved galley proof - May 16, 2008
Received release dates - May 28, 2008

Joshua's Hope ISBN 1-60154-321-2
Digital Release date - 8/29/2008
Print Release date - 2/27/09

Length of time from beginning to end: two years

And, yes, I have another book in the works. : )

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Back home again after a long weekend jaunt to visit my mother. We were surprised to have an uneventful trip--traffic wise. Seems the high gas prices are keeping folks closer to home. No delays, not even in the construction zone!

Mom thinks I should know my way around the area, but things have changed so drastically that even if I did remember, I wouldn't be able to find my way from point A to point B without directions. We were looking through old pictures and she pulled one out of her half-brother. I remember hearing stories about him, and I know he flew a plane. It was orange and white and he'd tip the wings when he flew over the street where I lived with my grandmother for a few short years. Mom says we lived with him when I was four years old. She got angry when I said I didn't remember. :)

Sitting in the back yard, I was fascinated by what I did remember about my childhood. For instance, the back yard has shrunk. I remember it being at least twice as long and wide. I remember the apple trees, which are no longer there. I remember the chicken coop, which is no longer there. But it is still peaceful and beautiful. I long for the quiet, the creek in the backyard, the heavy wooded area surrounding the house.

Now we're back in the busy neighborhood, where mothers scream at their kids so loudly it's hard to tune out. We sit on our screened in deck and try to ignore the neighbors on each side and pretend we have our own little private paradise.

What happened to the "good old days", where people were happy with having "just enough" and neighbors became friends who would get together for a barbeque? What happened to being able to allow your kids to run off to play with their friends a mile away and never have to worry about anything worse than a skinned knee happening to them? Days of building blanket tents in the back yard. Riding a stick that was your special horse? Imaginations were vivid, creativity high. (Sigh) I want that back again now, but when I was young I couldn't wait to grow up.

So on Memorial Day, I remember our fallen heros, I remember the ones who are fighting for our freedom, and I remember "way back when."

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pics, Booksigning, and Vacation

I did it! I put four of my pictures into a slideshow and it's up on my webpage. You can find it at and choose the "About Me" link to view.

Cincinnati anyone? I'll be in Cincinnati, actually West Chester, OH, on June 7th for the "Readers and Writers Get Together." It's going to be a great time! Proceeds for raffled baskets full of books will go to benefit a great charity. So far there are about 250 people signed up to attend the event. I'll be signing books at a table with my fellow Wild Rose Press authors, so if you haven't signed up yet, go to and click on the "communities" link to learn more!

My blog will be silent until next Tuesday. We are heading to southern Illinois to visit my mother for the holiday. Wishing you all a safe and happy Memorial Day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Fun Photo Shoot....

I've been trying to get some photos of myself for my website, but I'm the one who takes all the pictures in my family. Yep, I'm the Mom who runs around with a camera taking candid shots of everyone.

I've asked hubby to take pictures of me, but they turn out, well, kind of weird. I've tried setting up the tripod and taking pictures of the two of us...not too bad, but not what I want to relfect on my website. I'm a jeans and sweatshirt kind of gal. I love camping, hanging around outside and enjoying the weather and floral displays, and cute cats running around. That's the real me.

So, last night I decided to take pictures of myself. I had on my favorite soft and well work Sports Illustrated sweatshirt, jeans, and my sock-clad feet. I tipped over a small trash can, set up my camera, and timer and snapped away. Not too bad. The biggest problem was fighting off the cats, enticed by the beeping sound, and the flashing red light. Just before the camera flashed, one would inevitably stick his or her nose on the lens. Voila! A great nose shot of a cat. LOL!

Now, I just have to figure out how to put those together in a cool slideshow and upload to my website.

Stay tuned...

Thanks for stoppping by!

Monday, May 19, 2008

What is "Voice?"

I've talked to several writing friends lately who have been discouraged, some to the point of giving up, with all the feedback flooding in from different directions. It's so easy to get discouraged when you are pursuing a publishing dream. Contests, editors, critique partners...everyone has an opinion of what your work should look like. Craft books can help, and they can hinder as well. One of my friends had an agent tell her to "rewrite" the book with specific guidelines. Another had an agent tell her to change her book so it was a "thriller."

So what happens if you want to be published so bad that you actually try to please an agent? By the time you rewrite it, their window of opportunity for selling the book "they had envisioned" has passed. So they pass on your rewrite. What now?

It is so easy to get sucked into the whirlpool and find yourself not knowing what to do. So self doubt creeps in and you find yourself never writing a word. Trust me, if this happens, you've lost your voice. Back away from all of that. Think about why you began to write in the first place. If the passion to tell a story in your own words is still there, then forget all the negativity. It's hard not to take it personally, especially when you've beed rejected over and over again, but shove everything aside and start writing. Get your spark back. In doing so, you'll find your voice again, and don't let anyone try to change that.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Last Three - Foxy, Sammy, & Oreo

Meet Foxy. She's the cat who didn't show up until her kittens were nearly weaned. She's Molly's mom. Foxy never strays from the yard, but she's elusive. She likes to sleep on this bale of hay (housed in a large green plastic bag). Every night she sleeps in the shelter house we built for the cats. She has the prettiest amber eyes. I don't think she'll ever let us touch her, but she does trust us.
This is Sammy and Oreo. Sammy is a short-haired orange and white tabby and Oreo is a black and white long hair. Sammy was in between the mother cats and their litters, so as an adolescent he loved to play with the kittens. He never strays far. He likes to climb on the arbor over our backyard swing. From there he is able to look into our bedroom where our indoor cats sit in the window to converse with him. Oreo was the last cat to be captured. He gave us a run for our money. We finally had to snag him with an oversized fish net and dump him into the trap, and then cut off the netting. He's another one who keeps his distance. He won't even come to the feeding area unless I leave the yard.

These were the last two of our feral cats. I hope you enjoyed meeting them!

Please spay and neuter your cats and dogs!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Meet Skeeter & Lucky--Semi Feral Long Hair Cats

Lucky is the cat on the left, Skeeter on the right. Both from different litters, they really look alike, though. Lucky is a bit bigger and has a cute little spot on the right side of his nose. Skeeter is very skittish. In fact when we released him after the vet care, he ran away. I had to put food at the far end of the yard for him because he wouldn't come any closer. Now, he'll come up at take food from my hand, but if I don't have food he maintains his distance. The little skeeter will do anything for food! Lucky got his name from being the only one of a litter of three to survive. He's very friendly, likes to be petted, and also to wander. He always shows up sometime during the day to eat, though.

Please spay and neuter your pets.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Meet Boots, Short-Haired Orange Tabby

Boots is probably the tamest, sweetest cat in our semi-feral colony. He is one of the oldest of the bunch. Both he and Fuzzy were from what we believe might have been one of the first litters born in our neighbors back yard. I remember our neighbor lying on the ground to get Boots to come to him and occasionally I'd see him holding the little cat. Boots has four white feet and is so chubby. When we first built their shelter we put straw in the bottom to keep them warm and we began to notice Boots was losing his hair. He had lots of red skin showing. Finally, we decided he might be allergic to the straw so we removed it and went out to buy a huge king size bed quilt. A few weeks after that, Boots skin condition went away. He loves to have his white tummy rubbed. He's a very special boy.

Spay and Neuter your cats, please.
And don't abandon them if you move.
They have way to protect or fend
for themselves, regardless of what
you might think. They are innocent

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Meet Boo - Short-Haired Semi-Feral Cat

Boo is a beautiful, sleek-coated male. As a tiny kitten, he was the most inquisitive of all the babies. Though he was one of the first to be trapped and sent to the vet, he didn't run away after being released. He'd jump on the traps and try his best to get back inside to get food when we tried to catch the remaining more timid cats. We'd pick him up and move him and he didn't mind our touch at all. He has gorgeous green eyes. As you can see from the pic, whenever one of his humans comes outside, he has to see what's going on. Not even the biggest snow storm of the year can hold him back.

Please spay and neuter your pets. One "lost"
orphan can create many offspring. If you
have a feral population in your area, there
are organizations who will help.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Meet Molly - Short-Haired Calico Feral Cat

Molly likes to sleep in the woodpile under our deck. She feels protected there since it is completely closed in with lattice and a closed door. Molly will let us pet her while she's waiting for the food trays to be put down. I first met Molly as a very tiny kitten with a loud cry. She was sitting all alone under the bushes. A few days later, a fuzzy tiger mama cat came to our yard to join the other three with their litters. She had twolittle kittens, Molly and a little male we called Tigger. Tigger was sick. We found him lying by the water dish, weak and unable to walk one morning after they'd been weaned. I put him in a small box lined with towels under the deck where he would be safe. Molly stayed with him after I left. The next morning, Tigger was dead. I had to move him, but Molly was so protective of her brother and she hissed at me and tried to stop me from taking him. And she was no bigger than my hand. For days she remained in the spot where her brother died. Finally she ventured into the crowd of kittens. She was much tinier than the other cats and had to jump inside the wallpaper trough to eat. Today she's a a fat and sassy little gal. She will grab the food dish and pull it if we don't set it down fast enough.

Please spay and neuter your animals. Be kind and prevent
other unwanted animals from being born into a cruel

Friday, May 09, 2008

Meet Spooky...Semi-Feral Long-Hair Cat

This is Spooky. He's a big black ball of fur with pretty green eyes. When he was just a tiny kitty and frightened of human contact, I managed to catch him up and hug him to my chest. He had a really bad eye infection and his little eyes were all matted shut. I carried the shivering bundle of nerves into the house and cleared his eyes. Now he is the only one of the cats who will allow us to pick him up. He'll snuggle his face in the crook of our arm.

Spay and neuter your animals, please. I care for fourteen feral and semi feral cats resulting from someone abandoning a female cat. We've had them all neutered/spayed and given shots. Animals aren't to blame for the negligence of humans. Be kind.
My friend, Emma Sanders, has given me the "Blogging with Purpose Award." Thank you, Emma! Emma and I had our first books released at the same time from The Wild Rose Press, and our second books came out within days of each other. She's an amazing writer and an even better person. Now, I have to give the award to five other bloggers who have never received the award. Looking forward to passing it forward!

Memoirs of An Obsessive Compulsive Knitter
My first choice is my daughter's blog. She definitely has a purpose. Her blog is all about knitting and she makes the most beautiful items! And her stories are always amusing!

Lee Morrison
Lee is a fellow Wild Rose Press author. She is a such a warm and caring person, and I admire her for having the courage to go back to college in order to make a major career change. She still manages to care for her family and squeeze in some writing time.

Terry's Place
Terry has an interesting blog. Along with her writing endeavors, she includes pictures and journals of her travels.

Reading, Writing, and Stuff That Drives Me Crazy
I love this blog. Every day there is something interesting. Interesting and amusing stories from real life, pictures, and lots more!

Women of Mystery
One of my writing buddies belongs to this group of mystery writers. You can always find something here to intrigue you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Author Interview with Laurie Alice Eakes

Today, I'm interviewing award winning author, Laurie Alice Eakes.

In 2008, Laurie Alice Eakes won the National Readers' Choice Award for Best Regency, Family Guardian, and she has just celebrated the release of her second novel, Better than Gold, set in 1876 Iowa. She belongs to the Published Authors Network and Beau Monde special interest chapters of Romance Writers of America, and participates on lists for historical writers, where she is famous for her "encyclopedic" brain.

She received her Master of Arts degree in writing fiction in 2003 and immediately started writing full-time. Besides her novels, she has sold articles, short stories, and essays.

When she isn't writing or researching, she enjoys reading, music, long walks, and Indian food.

She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and sundry animals.

CAROL ANN: Laurie, please tell me about your latest book, Better Than Gold.

LAURIE: Set in 1876 Iowa Better than Gold is two people's search for missing
gold rumored to be hidden in the area. They want it for opposing
reasons, while they're falling in love with one another. It's the
third book in the Iowa Historical series and is available through the
publisher, Barbour Books, now and other places this summer.

CAROL ANN: What is the hardest thing about being a writer?

LAURIE: Waiting. One waits to be ready to start writing. One waits to get done
writing. One waits for one's critique partners to get back with
comemnts... Then one has to wait for the agent to like or dislike it
and an editor to like or dislike it... I am not a patient person.

CAROL ANN: How did you realize the God was calling you to write?

LAURIE: I was a published before I worried about whether God wanted me to or
not. After 9/11, however, about the same time God ahold of my heart, I
realized what a scary world this is and wanted to write to give people
hope and encouragement,the understand that we don't have to go it
alone, not gust entertain them.

CAROL ANN: What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

LAURIE: Typical ones—pressure of family, friends, need to make a regular
income, cutting into writing energy, creativity, and time. The only
answer I've found is pure discipline, saying no sometimes.

CAROL ANN: Do you collect anything? If so, please tell me how you got started
and anything you'd like to elaborate on this.

LAURIE: Bells and books. I've collected bells since high school and have many
from various states and countries. The books are taking over my living

CAROL ANN: Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

LAURIE: It depends. Even Jesus felt the need to stop talking—using words—and
pick up a whip. Sometimes, we have to take strong action to get things
done, not just write about it. Let me add here that I am not a violent
person and would prefer peace; however, I understand that that isn't
always possible.

CAROL ANN: Which inspires you more? A brisk walk in the autumn with the
leaves changing color, or in the spring when the flowers are and trees
are budding? Why?

LAURIE: I love them both. Who couldn't living in Virginia? But autumn, with
the aromas of drying leaves, ripening apples, and a hint of wood smoke
on the air, is utterly breath-taking. The wind comes at you kind of
cool with the warmth of the sun around the edges.

CAROL ANN: You are sitting in a restaurant with several friends when someone
walks up to you and thrusts a microphone in your hand. You have one
minute to tell the world something....what will it be?

LAURIE: My name is Laurie Alice Eakes and Jesus loves you. That doesn't mean
you're just fine doing whatever you're doing. It means He forgives
your sins and gives you a new path to walk. And if you believe in and
accept this loving forgiveness, you don't need to fear...anything.

CAROL ANN: How do you balance your "real" life with your "writing" life?

LAURIE: Not well enough. I'm working on that. Again, discipline and saying no.
Learning my priorities and sticking to them.

CAROL ANN: Laurie, thank you so much for taking the time to interview with me.

Friends you can find more info about Laurie and her books by visiting her website and blog.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Meet Mama Kitty...Semi Feral Tabby

For those just tuning in, I began posting pictures of the semi-feral cats we saved by having them spayed and neutered through a special TNR program. We now provide food, water and shelter for them. Mama Kitty received her name because she didn't stray from the yard when the kittens were small. She cared for and nursed all the kittens, regardless of whose litter they were from. A sweet, gentle soul, she doesn't allow us to touch her. She does come close and you can see the longing in her eyes when we pet the less timid ones. She's probably the one who tugs at my heart the most.

Spay and Neuter your pets to prevent other
innocent animals from suffering life in
the wild

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Meet Fuzzy...Part Persian Semi-Feral

Fuzzy adopted my hubby. She tags along behind him in the yard when he's working in the flower beds. She stands on her hind feet and places her paws as high on his body as she can reach to get his attention. She has this cute little face with a wrinkled nose that makes it look like she's always smiling. She is the mother of one. Two of her babies didn't make it. One got under the hood of hubby's truck without our knowing and died. The other crawled under my car and must have curled on the plastic skirt in front. She rode all the way to work with me one day. I didn't know until a co-worker came in and said a tiny orange and white kitten was under my car, but ran when he pulled up. I never found her. She was too little to survive on her own.

Fuzzy is the "Queen" of our feral brood. She rules the roost and has an attitude. She might smack the other cats or love on them. One never knows. But she's very loving to hubby and I.

Thanks for stopping by!

Please spay and neuter your pets to prevent other innocent animals from being born and abandoned.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Meet Little Britches...

Better known as Britches. He got his name from having the white legs and striped back. When he was a baby it looked as if he were wearing white britches...thus the name. Okay, stop laughing. When you have seventeen cats running around the yard, you have to use creative naming.

Britches is so tame he would love to come into the house. When we go out the back door from the deck to the patio, he tries to run inside. He loves to nibble on my toes, my ankles, and fingers. Never hard. He loves to be petted and loved.

Occasionally, he becomes skittish and avoids being touched. I'm sure when that happens that he wandered out of the yard and found other humans aren't as friendly as we are. He has such an intense stare. When we eat on the screened in deck, he's the first one to the top of the stairs. He'll sit and stare while we eat and lick his lips. Makes me feel guilty!

Have a great day. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Meet Mittens...Mixed Breed Ragdoll Semi-Feral

Meet Mittens. When mittens was born, her mother placed the litter in our woodpile, but moved them when we discovered their location. Somehow she missed Mittens. We heard this mournful cry and spied a tiny white ball of fur on the concrete between two piles of wood in our enclosed woodpile under our deck. We were afraid to try and rescue the little thing for fear the mother wouldn't come back. Eventually the little white ball disappeared, later emerging as this beautiful mixed breed ragdoll. Isn't she sweet? Today Mittens is a beautiful two-year-old with powder blue eyes. She's my sweetie-pie. She purrs loud, rolls over for tummy rubs, and allows me to cut out the mats that form over the winter months in her very thick long fur. She likes to give me finger licks, and will hold my hand in her paws and give me gentle love bites.

Mittens is afraid of loud noises, sudden movements, and anyone other than my hubby, Ron, and myself. She depends on us for food, shelter and water but retains her right to roam the great outdoors, although she spend most of her time in our backyard. She likes to sleep under the camper or under one of the large bushes outlining our fenceline.

Please spay and neuter your animals to prevent another innocent creature from being born into a world where few people care.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

TNR for Feral Cats

The feral communities are huge all around the world. We need more caring people to start TNR programs. It's the only solution to this growing problem. Hook up with local veterinarians or humane societies to find the best solution. We rented our three traps. It took a month to capture all the felines. The biggest problem we encountered was keeping the smaller and friendlier animals from going back into the traps for food. We did our trapping a bit differently. We started feeding the cats inside the traps during the week, then withheld food one day of the week. The following evening we went outside and put food in the traps and stood aside until we "caught" one or two in a single trap. We had to stay close by because one particular little black cat wasn't afraid. He'd already been neutered, but he waasn't afraid of the trap and kept trying to get inside to the food. We had to scare the already neutered ones away, while trying to not frighten the ones still needing neutering. It was tedious work, but well worth the month long effort.

Tomorrow I'll post some pictures of our feral family now. They are healthy, and many are friendly enough to allow tummy rubs!

Thanks for stopping by!