December 18, 2012

Made It Moment: Carlie Cullen

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:04 am

Heart Search

Carlie Cullen may have had the made-ing-est moment ever–because it didn’t involve making it “only” as a writer…but as a strong human being and mother as well. I don’t want to steal a single ounce of thunder from this emotional post. Read on and see how sometimes daring to put words on paper means daring to become yourself.

Carlie Cullen

Isn’t it funny how it’s easier to believe the bad stuff people say to you than the positive?

Two years ago, when in the early stages of working on Heart Search: Lost, my dream of writing a novel and getting it published was almost dashed by someone who, instead of being a supportive husband, took great delight in putting me down. Phrases like, “What are you wasting your time doing that for?” and “Do you honestly think anyone will pay good money to read that crap?” and “If you’re so bored that you want to write, you should go out and get a second job!” and finally, “You’re living in a dream world – no one’s going to publish anything you write!” haunted me on a daily basis.

I’d been writing since I was a child and it was such a huge part of my life. It was my emotional escape and outlet, plus it gave me a great deal of pleasure. When I decided to write my first novel, I was excited and full of ideas. I wasn’t naïve enough to think I would land a publishing deal with the ‘big six’ (although I hoped it might be a possibility one day), but that didn’t stop me. I had a goal, one which fired me and drove me on to achieve something I dreamed about – to see my book on Amazon.

As the taunts and disparaging remarks continued, I began to get worn down. My self-esteem fell through the floor and I doubted myself and my abilities. My writing began to suffer and I started to believe I would fail before I’d even reached a quarter of the way through. But I had a shining light in my life, someone who believed in me and my writing ability, someone who encouraged/cajoled/pestered me to get each new chapter written – my wonderful daughter. She took to grabbing my laptop every time I left the room, to read what I’d just written, and upon returning was greeted with the phrase, “Where’s the next bit?” It became like a mantra. She loved the story and was eager to see where I was taking the characters next. She encouraged me right up until the final words were written, which was two months after the marriage ended and we moved out.

Just under a year later, after several rounds of editing, my book, Heart Search, book one: Lost was up on Amazon. I had achieved my goal and I felt like a kid at Christmas, faced with a pile of gaily wrapped presents. My heart soared and I was filled with joy. I’d proved the doubter wrong when, at the end of the first day, I had achieved sales on both sides of the Atlantic. If ever there was a time to flip someone ‘the bird’, that would have been it!

My daughter and I looked at the screen and she hugged me, saying, “I knew you could do it, Mum, and I’m so proud of you!”

Carlie M A Cullen was born in London. She grew up in Hertfordshire where she first discovered her love of books and writing. She has been an administrator and marketer all her working life and is also a professional teacher of Ballroom and Latin American dancing.

Carlie has always written in some form or another, but Heart Search: Lost is her first novel. This was launched 8th October 2012 through Myrddin Publishing Group and work has started on book two: Heart Search: Found. She writes mainly in the Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres for YA, New Adult and Adult.

Carlie is also a professional editor.

Carlie also holds the reins of a writing group called Writebulb. Their first anthology, The Other Way Is Essex, was published September 2012 under Myrddin Publishing Group.

Carlie currently lives in Essex, UK with her daughter.

December 12, 2012

Made It Moment: Stacy Green

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 10:01 am

Into The Dark

Stacy Green’s Made It Moment came at a place that is near and dear to my heart. I think that for many writers–indie published, those with small presses, and major houses alike–the feeling of being a “real writer” has to do with seeing a book on a shelf, or appearing at a bookstore event, or library, book club, coffee shop–something physical, tangible. As virtual as our world becomes, my sense is that the live experience of connecting with readers will always contain something special, and this may be all the more true as more and more of our time is spent in bits and bytes. Stacy, I wish I had been there to see this Moment, and may you have many more!

Stacy Green

When Jenny invited me to be a part of her “Made It Moment” series, I jumped at the chance. And then panicked. Have I really made it? Do I finally consider myself a “real author?”

A week ago, when Into The Dark first released, I would have said I wasn’t sure. But now, after my first book signing, I can finally say yes. I may be in the early stage of my career and have a lot more to learn, but little by little, people are getting to know my name.

My first ever book signing was this past Thursday at a wonderful store called New Bo Books. New Bo is one of those tiny places with lots of character and a staff who knows their customers by name. Only about 30 people can fit inside, so it was relaxed and intimate.

But public speaking isn’t my thing, and the idea of reading words I wrote in front of people I knew was nauseating. I had my list of points to address, but when I sat down in a big, comfy overstuffed chair to face the crowd who’d come to hear ME speak about MY book, I blanked out.

I couldn’t read the words on the page, my cheeks burned, and I felt incredibly foolish. I jumped right into talking about my book and felt like I was jumping from one topic to another. Then it came time to read, and naturally, the part I’d dreaded so much was the easiest. I settled in and read two separate passages from a book I’m very proud of.

And guess what? People had questions for me! Some had read the book, some bought it that night. But they all asked the same kind of questions I would love to ask my favorite authors.

That’s when it hit me: I have made it. I may be at the early stages, but that’s okay. We all start somewhere, and I’m going to cherish every moment.

Into The Dark on Amazon in Digital and Paperback
All other digital formats at MuseItUp Publishing

Stacy Green is fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind and explores true crime on her popular Thriller Thursday posts at her blog, Turning the Page.

After earning her degree in journalism, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote articles for a local magazine before penning her first novel. Her debut novel, INTO THE DARK, is set in Las Vegas and features a heroine on the edge of disaster, a tormented villain, and the city’s infamous storm drains that house hundreds of homeless.

December 7, 2012

Made It Moment: Richard Louden

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 11:57 am

The Girl With The Haunting Smile

Sometimes you can tell from the Moment itself that you’re going to love the writing in the author’s book, and that’s what happened to me here. When Richard Louden likens his writing hand to…well, I don’t want to deprive you of that quiver of joy you get when you read an image that is just so spot on, you start seeing one slice of the world in a whole new way. The author’s way.

Maybe that is Making It–the power to make a reader do that. If so, then Richard has.

Richard Louden

In Goethe’s “Faust” there’s a character called the Student who says of books: “What you have in black and white, you can happily carry home.”

Okay, he makes it sound dry and pedantic. But if being a fan of words classes you as a pedant, I must be one of that tribe. Words have always fascinated me. As soon as I saw that they could grow into sentences and then into paragraphs, I was hooked.

At twenty, I was writing weekly football reports for UK newspapers. Later, I became a feature writer on education and law. Journalism wasn’t my career but it stopped my hyperactive writing hand from fretting and straining at the leash.

My move into creative fields began with short stories. I had two published in national anthologies. But short stories never fired me up, so I tried my hand at TV. Two of my drama scripts were produced on BBC and ITV, which I hope may qualify as mini-Made It Moments.

It took me ages to get round to attempting my first novel, The Girl with the Haunting Smile. Even then, I had to rely on the skills of Gillian Stern, a superb London editor, to reshape it and weed out my self-indulgent excesses.

I sent my reworked baby to various literary agents and thought I had acquired one but in the end she didn’t take me on. She did, however, tell me her firm’s reader “adored” my novel. That was my big Made It Moment. If a guy of his status and experience felt that way about my book, I must get it out there somehow.

In today’s market, the obvious solution was to issue it as an ebook. Here – slightly amended – is the blurb I’m using to promote it:

Greg quits Scotland for North Carolina to track down Ellen, the lost pen pal he has never met but has loved for many years from a distance. But a huge doubt surrounds his mission. Even if he finds Ellen, will the secret he has kept from her – that he has had Tourette’s since he was a boy – destroy his dream of happiness?

The great adventure begins now. The Girl with the Haunting Smile has just hit Amazon’s virtual shelves. I’ve done my share of social networking, like blogging and building strong followings on Twitter and Goodreads. Now I must wait and hope.

Richard Louden lives in Glasgow, UK. A teacher of modern languages, education director and freelance journalist, he learned some of the tricks of the author’s trade by writing two dramas that were produced on BBC and ITV and short stories which appeared in national anthologies. His first novel, The Girl with the Haunting Smile, was published by Amazon Digital Services in November 2012. He is now in the later stages of a second novel, Spring Chicken. All he is saying for now is that it is an inspirational tale for our times and it isn’t about poultry.

December 2, 2012

Made It Moment: Leah Rhyne

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 11:33 pm

Zombie Days

I am very proud to bring Suspense Your Disbelief readers this Made It Moment by someone who is both a good friend and former student of mine. I’d like to say I had something to do with Leah getting published–I did not. But I *did* know that she would be published, maybe sooner, maybe later, and that is enough for me to feel a hearty hear, hear about her accomplishment.

By the way, a while ago Leah did a guest post about meeting Stephen King. I mean, can you say writing on the walls?

Congratulations, Leah!

Leah Rhyne

On November 1, 2010, a friend of mine said, “So, are you going to do this NaNoWriMo thing?”

And I said, “Huh?”

I had no idea what she was talking about. Once I googled, and found out it was short for National Novel Writing Month, I laughed.

Write a novel in a month? Write a novel at all? You must be crazy.

But I signed up anyway, gave myself a daily word count goal, and started writing.

The road was long and sometimes arduous. My first draft (finished in mid-December, but who’s counting) was terrible.  But I set to editing it, sent a draft to my brothers, and then edited some more.

Along the way, I queried a bit, got rejected, decided I was only telling half the story, wrote the other half, edited some more…you know how it goes.  A lot more rejections happened, and a lot more querying.  I took a class, learned more about the publishing industry, and edited some more.

Finally, in May, I got an email.  “We love your book,” it said.  “We’d like to publish it.”

I cried.

It’s been another long and sometimes arduous road since then. More editing, file formatting issues that almost drove me insane, and the endless waiting game that is the world of publishing.

But on Halloween…October 31, 2012…after a crazy two-year journey, my book was released via MuseItUp Publishing.

On November 1, 2012, my book appeared on Two years to the day after a challenge set me on a mission.

And seeing my name on Amazon? Well, that’s a Moment if ever I’ve had one.

Leah Rhyne is a Jersey girl, but she’s lived in the South long enough to lose her accent and most of her attitude. Her first novel, Undead America: Volume 1: Zombie Days, Campfire Nights is in e-bookstores everywhere, via MuseItUp Publishing. It’s the first of a planned trilogy, and she hopes you love it.

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