Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Odyssey of Getting a Novel Published

Today I'd like to welcome the amazing Mark Noce on my blog. His debut, Between Two Fires, is released today! At last! He'll be sharing with us the long journey it took to get to this point.


Thanks for having me here, Lynda! My debut historical novel, Between Two Fires, comes out today (August 23rd) with St. Martin’s Press! It’s set in medieval Wales and chronicles the life of a young woman named Branwen who must marry a man she’s never met in order to save her people.

It’s been a long road getting here, and I thought I’d lay out some of the highlights of my journey into the world of traditional publishing. Needless to say it’s been fruitful, but certainly full of as many twists and turns as a piece of fiction. I’m sure this comes as no surprise to some of you, but lots of people I share my story with are shocked to realize that it’s taken over two years for my novel to actually hit the bookshelves. It didn’t take two years to write it (that part only took a few months), but it took two years after I had already signed with my agent and my publisher!

In fact, I’ve already long since written the sequel and have that in the publisher’s hands as well, but no firm release date as of yet. So it begs the question, why does it take so long to get a book published once you’ve already written the thing and signed a contract?

I’m really lucky that my editor is also the head of the Thomas Dunne Books imprint that is publishing my book (they’re owned by St. Martin’s and Macmillan). My editor is a very cool guy and he doesn’t have to go to higher ups for approval, he’s also the boss! So that eliminates some of the red tape, but on the flip side he’s SUPER busy all the time. Because of how much is on his plate it can often take many months to get edits back for a revision or a firm date on a release, ARCs, quotes, etc. This means more patient waiting between revisions or when waiting on something else from the publisher. Six months here, another nine months there, it starts to add up after a while. So what’s an author to do?

Write, of course! I found that the best way to work through the dry spells was to write the next book or even the one after that. So the funny part is that I’ve got a total backlog of novels written, I just have to wait for the publisher to be ready for them. Not necessarily a bad scenario. I’ve found that the biggest lesson I learn along the way (so far) is to discover new levels of patience within myself, shrug off setbacks and rejections, and just keep on writing. It may sound simple, but that’s what’s gotten me here…to the day I’ve dreamed of, my novel finally landing in bookstores!

Amazon/ Amazon Kindle

Thanks again, Lynda, for having me here! I hope you all enjoy Between Two Fires. It was a long journey, but certainly a labor of love as well.

Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.
Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Monday, August 8, 2016

Green Dragons and Special Thanks

A big thank you to everyone who helped spread the word about my daily devotional, Cling to God, coming out in October, as seen in my previous post. A special thanks in particular to Michael Di Gesu for the beautiful introduction he wrote about my book on his blog. If you haven't already, please check it out here. I was thrilled beyond words to read it. Thank you also to everyone who shared the news on Facebook and on Twitter. There were too many to name here, but Jemi Fraser was a stand-out with multiple tweets. You are a gem, Jemi.

And now I'd like to share C. Lee McKenzie's new book, now available and full of awesome adventure:

Three plucky sleuths. A crumbling skeleton. A quest.

After six months in a new school, Sam’s finally fitting in. He’s the one kid with enough talent to hit the winning home run and bring the baseball trophy back to Haggarty Elementary. But Sam’s guardian is shipping him off to boarding school before that can happen.

When teammates, Joey and Roger, hear his bad news, they plot to hide him until the big game. Their secret cave is a perfect place until an earthquake shatters a wall and reveals a wooden chest with a red-eyed dragon carved into its top. Inside, a bony hand clutches a map with a note, promising treasure.

With Joey and Roger, Sam sets off to track down the clues and hopefully discover treasure. When some puzzle pieces start to make sense, the boys become lost in a labyrinth of underground tunnels, trapped by dangerous thieves and sealed inside an airless tomb.

Sign of the Green Dragon gets a high five for fantasy, fun and some fearsome adventure. If you like intrepid would-be knights on impossible and dangerous quests, you’ll love this story. As one reader says, this book, “has more twists than a dragon’s tail.”

Buy now to jump into the adventure.

Buy it now on Amazon

And don't forget to pop on over to Lee's blog too to thank her for sharing the happy news about my book!

What awesome books have you read lately? Which ones are you looking forward to? Who are you grateful to?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Super Exciting Announcement #IWSG

I don’t know how I’ve managed to keep it quiet until now, but at last I can shout to the world: I have a book coming out!! It will be released on October 18th this year. So exciting!

Cling to God is a book of devotionals for every day of the year. The aim is to encourage Christians in their faith, to help them think about their beliefs and learn more about God. The devotions are short and inspirational so that people with busy lifestyles will still be able to spend time with the Lord each day. It will appeal to a wide Christian audience, to those new in their faith as well as those matured beyond milk and honey.

How awesome is the cover?! I’m thrilled by it. While I did take the photo of the flowers (they grow by the steps leading to my front door), I didn’t design the cover. That was expertly done by my publisher’s designer. I think every author is nervous about seeing the final cover for the first time, myself included, but I literally whooped out loud and ran to my husband to show him. We had cake to celebrate.

I also have a few online friends helping to celebrate today. Please help me show my gratitude by visiting their blogs: Alex J Cavanaugh, Denise Covey, Michael Di Gesu, Susan Gourley, S A Larsen, Anna Simpson, Stephen Tremp, Michelle Wallace, Diane Wolfe.

And also some more friends will be helping out in the coming days: Lexa Cain, Chrys Fey, Carol Kilgore, Joylene Nowell Butler, C Lee McKenzie, and Carol Riggs. Thank you to everyone who has shown friendship and encouragement and support over the years. You guys are awesome!

This month’s question for the IWSG is What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published? You’ll find my answer on the IWSG website along with, hopefully, a little encouragement.

Every first Wednesday of the month the members of the IWSG post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG, then please go HERE to find out more and join up.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Focusing on the Positives #IWSG

The curious thing about being a writer is it’s a whole lot harder than it looks. Part of the job of being a writer is to question every scene, every paragraph, every sentence. Does it express everything I want it to express? Could it be better? Am I using the correct grammar? Have I broken the rules in a way that adds to the text rather than taking away from it? What needs fixing?

The list of questions is endless, but they are questions writers need to ask if they want to push themselves to make the piece the best darn writing they can produce. Of course, the questions can have a negative impact. They can cause the doubts to come knocking. This is natural and normal but doesn’t mean those doubts need to stay. The best way to send them packing is to focus on the positives—which brings me to this month’s IWSG question: What’s the best thing someone has said about your writing?

I must admit I don’t often think about the answer to this question, but perhaps I should. It’s a great reminder that yes, I can touch people through my writing, enough for them to say remarkable and unexpected compliments.

Apart from, “Yes, I will publish this piece,” I think the best compliment I ever received was over a fantasy character I’d created. My reader, rather than simply saying, “He’s good,” said instead that he seemed so real and cool that he could see stuffed toys being made based on him. And it was said with genuine enthusiasm and was followed by a string of true gushing. Wow. When I get feedback like that I’m reminded how much I love writing and that yes, I can get people excited over my characters, which was unfathomable previously (and still is on occasion).

So what’s the best compliment someone has said about your writing? How do you focus on the positives?

Next month’s IWSG question: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?


IWSG Anthology Contest - Vote to Select the Genre
The second annual Insecure Writer’s Support Group anthology contest is coming up soon and this year, members get to select the genre!

Edit: The votes are in and FANTASY won!


Photo: I'm in the middle of a stressful time at the moment so my gorgeous husband took me to the National Park for lunch last Sunday to relax. We decided to go for a walk along a random track. The further we went, the more overgrown it became. Then a patch of sunlight came through the brush and I was able to capture the above closeup pic of moss on a log. I had to share.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bottled Cover Reveal and IWSG

Releasing a new book is always a nerve-wracking experience, making all sorts of insecurities crop up, so for this time around for the Insecure Writers Support Group day, I'm here to help Carol Riggs with her release. Below is the awesome cover of her new soon-to-be-released novel. Even though I'm not exactly here. But I will be again in a couple of days. Yay!


BOTTLED is a YA fantasy novel. 
It will release July 7, 2016 from Clean Reads. 


At seventeen, Adeelah Naji is transformed into a genie and imprisoned in a bottle. For a thousand years, she fulfills the wishes of greedy masters—building their palaces, lining their pockets with gold, and granting them every earthly pleasure. All that sustains her is the hope of finding Karim, the boy she fell in love with as a human. When at last she finds a note from her beloved, she confirms he has access to the elixir of life and that he still searches for her.

But someone else also hunts her. Faruq—the man who plots to use her powers to murder and seize the life forces of others—is just one step behind her. With the help of a kind master named Nathan, Adeelah continues to search for Karim while trying to evade Faruq. To complicate matters, she begins to experience growing fatigue and pain after conjuring, and finds herself struggling against an undeniable attraction to Nathan.

As Faruq closes in, Adeelah must decide just how much she’ll risk to protect Nathan and be with Karim forever. How much power does she really have to change her future, and what is she willing to sacrifice for an eternity of love? If she makes the wrong choice, the deaths of many will be on her hands.


Carol Riggs is an author of YA fiction who lives in the beautiful green state of Oregon, USA. Her debut novel, THE BODY INSTITUTE, released Sept 2015 from Entangled Teen, exploring body image and identity. Her fantasy YA, BOTTLED, will release from Clean Reads on July 7, 2016, and her sci-fi YA, SAFE ZONE, will release from Entangled Teen in October 2016. She enjoys reading, drawing and painting, writing conferences, walking with her husband, and enjoying music and dance of all kinds. You will usually find her in her writing cave, surrounded by her dragon collection and the characters in her head.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE