I am thrilled to welcome Alison DeLuca to the blog today. First of all, Alison is published in one of the bravest of brave new world ways I’ve seen–a collaborative effort between some extremely talented people. I believe that J Darroll Hall’s Fantasy Island Book Publishing is a radical concept that could revolutionize parts of the industry.
Second, I met Alison (and J) through the contest Alison mentions in her post, and I agree that this contest’s profoundest value (since I also didn’t get very far in it) was its wonderful contestants, some friends of mine now for years.
Finally, Alison wins this year’s award for looking younger than she is. You’ll have to read on to discover by exactly how much While you do, check out her terrific book cover and book.
It’s a brave new world.
My current success sprang from failure. A few months ago I got an email from CreateSpace describing their ABNA contest. The top prize was a publishing contract with Penguin.
I have always had a thing for Penguin books. I loved their bindings, especially the antique paperbacks – the orange and white front, the titles in plain black font, and the penguin on the spine. When I read about the contest, I jumped right in with my manuscript, naively expecting to advance to at least the second round.
Well, that didn’t happen. I was disappointed when I was “pitched on my pitch,” to quote fellow participants, but while I was writing that all-important three hundred words of pitch, I met some wonderful, interesting people on the ABNA discussion boards. That is when things actually started to happen for me and my book, The Night Watchman Express. J Darroll Hall of Fantasy Island Book Publishing offered to put the book on Kindle for me and act as my publisher and agent. I squeezed my eyes tight shut, and took my most exhilarating “leap of faith” to date.
I wrote my book a year ago. It started as a trilogy, but I compiled it as a single volume for the ABNA contest and for epublishing to Kindle. It is a steampunk fantasy of a girl in Edwardian England who discovers a quantum computer, thus setting off a series of adventures. There are tropical islands, a dethroned princess, an underground laboratory, and some villains, who were a lot of fun to create.
There isn’t any sex or gory violence. I just seem to work naturally within a G rating.
When I saw my manuscript on sale on Amazon, I felt nervous, excited, and overwhelmed with the thought that somewhere, out there, people were actually READING WHAT I WROTE.
FIP started gaining steam as well as more writers signed on to publish with them, and J Darroll asked me to help edit some titles for the YA / Fantasy end of the business. From being a stay-at-home-mom who just scribbled whenever possible, I evolved into a published author and editor with a slush pile. Life, which had always been hectic, suddenly became downright chaotic.
I still wonder what actually lit the fire under my Night Watchman caboose. Was it just the attention from FIP? Or was it also the fact that I am fifty and can’t say any longer, “Oh, I’ll publish books one day?”
Alison DeLuca is a writer of urban fantasy for young adults. She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain. As a teacher she taught every grade level in every kind of school district possible. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.