Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Forever Home Series Facebook Page

I just wanted to take a moment to quickly announce that the Facebook page for The Forever Home Series is up and running.  Come on over and "like" us!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A little over 3 weeks out

After all of the edits, proofreading, more edits, cover designing, edits to the cover design, still more edits to the book itself, and going back and forth over how exactly to get this baby of mine into print, I’m finding it hard to believe that it will only be a little over 3 weeks until I can have a copy of it in my hands.  To say I’m excited would be an understatement.  I’m also looking forward to getting other books out of my head and onto the page.

I have learned a great deal about the publishing world since I began this journey, and I want to share some of those things with all of you.

·         Writing is not always fun.  The initial rush I experienced from getting Holly’s Story onto the written page was thrilling.  I think that took me through the first round of editing, but it definitely took determination and patience on my part to continue on past the frustrations of reading, rereading and still finding errors, etc.  Which brings me to #2.

·         You really need to have a professional editor look at your work.  I did, and I’m glad I didn’t get in a rush and avoid this step.  Working with a professional editor not only helped to point out flaws in grammar and plot, but helped me to look at my book with fresh eyes. 

·         At some point you have to stop making changes.  When I first began writing Holly’s Story I read an article that warned me of this common author’s issue before I even experienced it.  I can’t find it now, but it basically said that you will always be able to find something in your work that you can change.  We have to force ourselves to let go at some point.  If the plot is tight and you’ve worked through all of the grammar and spelling errors—get on with it!

·         Writing helped me grow as a person.  My grammar wasn’t where it used to be when I was fresh out of school, but boy did that change quickly.  I’m certainly not perfect at it, but I re-learned very quickly and learned some new stuff along the way.  I also discovered that I was being too hard on myself and I had a hard time accepting myself as an author.  I know that I am an author now, and I never want to stop learning and growing—both as a person and an author.

·         Traditional publishing isn’t always the way to go.  I spent months querying agents because I was sure that traditional publishing was the only way to get my books and my name out there.  Every rejection letter seemed to weaken my hope of finding an agent who would love my book and get behind it with everything they could muster.  In my research on the wide and varied world of publishing, I encountered many blog posts and articles that started to shake up my view that I just had to be traditionally published.  Instead of trying to go over all of the details here, I will just direct you to these posts:  You Should Self-Publish, and Time is Money by J.A. Konrath. 

·         There are good people out there.  I’ve had some past projects go very sour in the past.  Because of those experiences, I was very nervous about finding both an editor and a graphic designer that I could trust.  Thankfully, I was introduced to two great people who helped me put the final touches on Holly’s Story.  I couldn’t have asked for better people to help me along this road to my first published book.  I’m very thankful for their help, wisdom, expertise and patience!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why I wrote Holly's Story

With the launch of my first novel so close (within the month), I thought now would be a good time to share what inspired me to write Holly's Story and give everyone a little bit of a "behind the scenes" look into my life as a canine foster mom.

Why I wrote Holly's Story

Most of us have had a four-legged friend in our lives at one time or another. Whether they were a dog, cat or some other type of critter, they brought joy, along with companionship, and unconditional love to us—the humans.

Throughout my life I have had mostly dogs or cats, and at the present time I have both.  My life with my pets is ninety-five percent of the time very harmonious.  The other five percent of discord time is usually due to human error—mine.  Two of my three Miniature Schnauzers are trained service dogs who have been invaluable in helping me take care of my ninety-three year old mother for the last ten years.  I frequently wonder how I managed before they came into my life.

I am abundantly blessed by my dogs’ devotion to my mother and me, and their jobs.  They bring peaceful, simplistic balance to my life.  It is such a joy to come home to find their adoring eyes and happy, wagging tails greeting me (that is if I didn’t take them with me as service dogs).  They are secure in knowing there will be good food, exercise, regular vet visits, grooming, plenty of love, pats, kind words, toys, and treats.  Therefore what I receive in return are happy, healthy dogs that bring me great pleasure.

I just naturally assumed that most pets lived the same way.  It wasn’t until I started fostering Miniature Schnauzers for the Arizona Schnauzer Rescue and other rescue organizations a few years ago that I discovered that this was not the case for far too many dogs and cats.  It quickly became apparent to me that my rescue dogs had experienced unbearable, heartbreaking traumas that resulted in emotional scarring no different than if they were human.

It was a rude awakening to discover the darker side of many dogs’ lives.  From my very first foster dog to the little foster dog that I have today, they have all come with varying degrees of heart-wrenching stories, ranging from sad to horrific.  Behind their sad eyes are looks of help.  Their tails wag—even if only just a little bit— in hope.  They have no other choice but to live in the moment and trust.  Day by day, little by little, their behaviors demonstrate the very traumas they were delivered from with emotions of fear, sadness, pain, shame, frustration, depression, anxiety and much more.

By my continuously speaking gentle words and showing loving kindness, the shy, cowering behaviors of abuse and neglect slowly decrease and the soft moans and sighs fade.   Dogs, like humans, are emotional creatures.  They feel deeply and are often put into (by no fault of their own) situations whereby they “feel” the same overwhelming sadness, grief and despair that we do.

These aren’t just mere words that we use to describe our own emotions, and the emotions we see in other humans.  They are the words we rarely associate with our pets and how they feel throughout their life’s journey.  These words are a reality for pets.  As a foster mother to rescued dogs, I have observed that each and every dog knew they had been thrown away.  I soon realized that I wasn’t just giving them shelter while they waited for their “forever” home, but that I was helping them through a very emotional time of healing from the trauma and the rejection in their lives.

Holly’s Story is based on a real dog that I had the pleasure of being Mommy to for over six months.  She came to me as a rescue in the spring of 2010.  Seeing the physical and emotional anguish she went through to heal, be loved and become a part of the pack so deeply touched my heart that it compelled me to share her story.  Even though this book is known fact mixed with fiction, it could only truly be told through Holly’s eyes and voice for the reader to fully understand the humanistic emotions we share with our four-legged friends with fur.