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Coming back ‘round in a very nice way

One of the features I really like about Facebook is what I’ll call the memory boomerang: Facebook sends out a reminder of a major event that occurred a year to five years ago. We were boomeranged this week with the release of our very first book: Twist of Fate.

I was shocked to see that it had only been five years ago I wrote an entry that indicated the book was about to be launched. So much has happened in such a short amount of time. The most significant is that we are now in midst of launching Architect of Fate, book five of our series. Including our book of short stories (Holiday Connections), that means we’ve managed to put out six books in five years. We’re also now in the third iteration of covers—having given in to our original publishers’ desire to create a consistent look, but never really liking that look—we’re redoing our covers so they make a splash and can attract some attention online.

The new look for Twist of Fate

For the Nora Roberts’s or James Pattersons of the world, such developments would be no accomplishment; they are well established authors who do this for a living and have staff and lots of money to back them up. To a woman in her sixties who works an everyday job, helps to take care of her elderly mom and tries to make her wonderful husband and daughter priorities; and to her co-author who is in her nineties (as of November 13) and who has macular degeneration and very limited physical capabilities, six books is no small miracle.

One trait that I have learned that mom and I have in common is stubbornness. But I don’t say that in a negative way. Writing a book, and even more importantly, getting a book into print and then selling it, is hard work. Even more significantly, it creates long periods of time when you just want to give up—nothing is happening or the plot is going nowhere or there are no book events to keep your blood boiling or you get a critical comment or no comment at all from friends or fans you’d hope were at least reading the book. Mom and I (and my sister, children’s book author Allyn M. Stotz) have leaned on each other when those times come. We’ve laughed through the tears and frustrations, put on our cheerleader panties and pushed on.

It’s what you do when you’ve found something that gives you passion.

So here’s to all the authors in the world who are out there pushing to get their words before an audience and here’s to all the would-be writers who sit down at the computer and take that first step: putting down their thoughts. And especially: here’s to all those readers who take a few minutes to write a review or send a word of encouragement.

It’s a tough life being an author, but with enough stubbornness and help from fans and supporters: dreams do come true.—Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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My baby goes to press

I woke up this morning with the feeling that I’d lost 100 pounds.

If I’d actually lost 100 pounds, I would not have sprung out of bed the way I did—I’d have called the EMS and checked to see which of my limbs suddenly fell off during the night.

But this was just a feeling. As I brushed my teeth and squinted into the bathroom mirror, I asked myself: why am I suddenly so much lighter? As soon as my brain caught up to my body and came fully awake, I realized: it’s because Architect of Fate has gone to press.

Those of you who are authors know exactly what I mean. There are stages to writing a book and this is the final one—you’ve slaved and labored and cursed and dreamed this book for month upon month, and finally got it to a place that enabled you to send it off. Once it’s gone to the printers, it’s like your baby has grown up and left the nest. (Oh wait, my human baby grew up a long time ago and still lives in the nest). Okay, then, it’s like you’ve been carrying around a baby inside you for nine months and your water finally breaks. There’s nothing you can do now except go to the hospital or call in the midwife and hope for a smooth birth.

Parenthood is an appropriate analogy either way. On the fast-paced highway of raising children, there are many conflicting road signs—tons of decisions to make, loads of advice to sift through, many scary moments in the process. With authorhood, those decisions are vast, from what characters work in your plot to how much money you can afford to pay an editor. At some point, however, you realize you’re done: you’ve written and rewritten and sent it off to that editor, then rewritten and edited and sent it off the editor again, then tried to keep your chin up when your final read reveals that you need to proof it one more time. But finally, it’s out of your hands: you’ve approved the final the printer provides and signed off on having it put on a press.

Thus, the 100-pound weight loss.

However, having already been through this process, I realize I must relish these few moments of lightness because the real work is about to begin. Authors today do not simply write a book and send it off to the printer or their agent or their publisher. They spend as much time marketing that book as writing it. If they didn’t, the wonderful story they hope others will read would never get out there. Today’s publishing world means millions of stories are floating around; To get people to grab yours requires an author to also be a public relations specialist.

Ah well, the wonderful feeling of accomplishment at having written another book will be there to help me as I tackle this harder part of the job. It will bolster me, just as looking at the beautiful face of my daughter each day lets me know that every little frustration I’ve experienced along the way cannot compare to the love I feel for the end result.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Launch and Relaunch—The Fate Series Moves Forward

Mom and I have two exciting events coming down the pike. First, the fifth book of The Fate Series—Architect of Fate―should be out in the next few weeks. Architect of Fate is a two-year labor of love. Mom created such an intricate plot that both of us have been working on smoothing it out and ensuring we were as accurate as possible. We’ve talked to police, the FBI, specialists in pharmacology, a psychologist, you name it, trying to get as close as we could to what would really happen if four people of widely varied backgrounds suddenly went missing.

For this book, we also made a major decision regarding what happens in the life of our main character, Sam Osborne, and we changed the ending and the name of the book accordingly. I won’t tell you more, but those of you who have come to love our hero have got to read this installment—we’ve been stringing you along with a mystery that involves Sam so we decided it was time readers had more details.

The second exciting development is that we’ll be relaunching our series this spring. We’re doing this for several reasons. You’ll see when Architect of Fate comes out that the cover is vastly different than what we’ve had before. We loved what the artist for this book did enough that we’re redoing all the covers to make them more appealing and easier to see. We’re also relaunching as part of an effort to make our books more accessible to people. We hope to fulfill the many requests we’ve had to put our books on tape, and we’re seeking other new channels for reaching readers we know would love the series.

Our blog’s been too quiet over the last year—even as our sales have gone up and our plans for the future have crystallized. We’ve concentrated on moving forward, and we hope you’ll be there to help us get there.

–Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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A Blatant Ad for my Sister’s Book

A Blatant Ad for my Sister’s Book

The thing I hate most about being old is dealing with my own grouchiness.

Sometimes I don’t even know what causes it. I’ll be in the middle of a million little tasks (okay, I exaggerate. I’m not a multi-tasker. I can’t handle more than two things at once), and I’ll suddenly get mad because one of those things just isn’t going my way. I mean … unreasonably upset, kick-a-chair-leg pissed off. The printer is out of ink and I forgot to buy some. Adobe Acrobat has crashed (again) and I’ve lost all changes I made in the last hour. I’ve been waiting two days for an interview source to call me back and he chooses to finally do so while I’m in the bathroom. Or my favorite … I’m in the bathroom when the phone finally does rings and I rush to answer it only to get a pre-recorded message about carpet cleaning.

I want to be the cool, calm, collected individual who simply breathes deeply and deals with it. Unfortunately, I am the loud-mouthed grumpy gal who never takes things out on people, but gives holy hell to machines and office furniture. My dogs have learned to accept this situation—they know when I grumble and swear it usually has nothing to do with them. They lift their heads from their paws, give me a bored look and lay back down again with a “it’s-only-mommy-again” sigh.

I am connecting this phenomenon to aging for two reasons: 1) it seems to have gotten exponentially worse as the years have passed, and 2) I tend to blame everything bad in my life these days on how old I’ve gotten.

I have no magic solution for my fellow friends who are in the same boat. If they’re my friends, they are likely as ancient as I am. So I’ll offer a solution to the next generation (or maybe the grandchildren of the next generation. I really am ancient.) Buy my sister Allyn M. Stotz’s latest children’s book, Grumpy Kyle. It’s one of my favorites because of the lesson it teaches you: its all a matter of how we look at life.

And now I’m off to the bathroom to await a really good offer on carpet cleaning. Guess I’ll take her book for some calming reading material. — Genilee Swope Parente

 

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Subway Sandwich Generation

I’m a person who has child still living at home and an elderly mom who needs my care. According to the experts, that makes me an official member of the Sandwich Generation—I’m caught between two levels of People to Worry About. I take this idea one more step and claim myself to be part of the Subway® sandwich generation.

What does that mean? It means I’m standing in a line, waiting to be served and pondering what I want. When my time for service comes up, I’m given a general choice. Do you want to be a paid employee or a stay at home wife/mom/caregiver? I’ll take the special of the day: a multi-meat, multi-level combo of the two.

Next, I must decide what kind of bread I want. Well, I guess I can live with the less-calorie version. I can settle for not making the kinds of salaries that many of my friends make.

Do you want that toasted? Yes, I do. I want some of my work time to be spent doing what I really love: creative writing. Stick that sandwich in the oven for a moment and let it turn golden brown.

Your choices in cheese are American, cheddar, provolone or Pepper Jack. Give me the spicy Jack…always. But you better throw on a slice of American as well. I’m part of the generation currently obsessed with How Bad can the Country Get Under Our Pale-Orange-Haired Leader?

I settle back and watch my sandwich get assembled, then after it’s toasted, I’m faced with an open- ended question: What do you want on that sandwich?

Hmmm, let me think: I want some Let-Us to reflect how I feel about being a woman. I think it’s only fair that females face the same challenges and rewards as males in the military and the corporate office. Besides, you know the whole world needs the fiber of feminity.

I’ll take some pickles. What’s life without a few bittersweet moments that add crunch and zest to our everyday routine?

Can you throw on some onions? They’ll make my breath stink like the air does in the summer in the Washington, D.C. area, but the taste of living close to a city might be worth it. I like the flavor of cultural choices.

Put on some salt and pepper to match my hair.

Slather that bread with a glob of white mayo to give it some extra zing. After all, I come from the Midwest, which is as white as it gets and where cooks don’t know how to put a dish together without a little Miracle Whip.

Ring it up and put it in a bag and charge me four bucks. Yes, I want some chips and soda with that. I’ll give the chips to my daughter in hopes she’ll wanna be a chip off the old block (okay, the puns are getting a little thin here). And I’ll give the soda to my dear ma to settle her tummy.

–Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Holding your Baby in Your Hands

This entry is dedicated, with the green eyes of envy, to my little sister Allyn M. Stotz, who just released her seventh book: Grumpy Kyle. Being an author is tough, but I think anyone who has been published can tell you that one of the greatest moments in the process is when you open up that first shipped carton of a new book. You are truly holding your own newborn in your hands, with one giant difference: It comes to you already grown up.

You dedicate so many hours and months to formulating your ideas; getting comments from readers, family, friends and anyone who will listen; suffering through endless rounds of corrections; and then worrying that a book will NEVER EVER get into print. With a human kid, that’s done mostly after the birth. With your book, you see your own creation matured when it finally arrives on your doorstep.

Mom and I are working on the book that, by far, has been the most difficult child. Mom came up with a wonderful, but complicated plot that has required a lot of research. I’ve sought advice from the FBI, from a Richmond detective, from my pharmaceutical experts (thank you Rick and Jane) and from readers. I’ve spent countless hours researching some of the issues online. I’m almost through the first draft, and I’ll soon be sending it out to my wonderful editor Tam and my beta readers. But to get to this point has been an arduous process—so arduous in fact that we put out Treasured Fate first, despite the fact it was written after this one. Maybe it’s appropriate that the name is Family Fate. Families can be complicated, challenging and sometimes frustrating. But being part of one is also beautiful, rewarding and fulfilling.

Come to think of it, so is writing any book.

Congratulations to Allyn on getting to the rewarding part: holding the latest addition to the Swope/Parente/Stotz writing family in her hands. Get your copies of Grumpy Kyle at Amazon, Barnes Noble or her publishing house Guardian Angel.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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What’s coming up for Sam Osborne?

Like this author and blog writer, Sam Osborne has taken a little break. But don’t worry readers: you’re in for a very good next book in The Fate Series. I’m hoping to have Family Fate out for the fall season.

It’s just taken a lot longer to get this one out for two reasons:

First, mom’s physical limitation, especially her eyesight, are more of a challenge than ever. But I have to admire her: despite being 89 and barely able to figure a computer out (much less see the screen), she’s still trying. We are working together now to see how we can put out what will come after Family Fate. We haven’t resolved the mystery underlying our entire series. But mom’s head is working on it, and we’re still discussing whether it will happen in five or a new book! We just have to come up with a way for Mom to put her thoughts on paper. She’s learning braille from the Virginia Department for the Blind. And we’re going to have her start recording her thoughts so we can transfer them to the computer.

The second reason for Sam’s break is a good one: the wonderful plot Mom came up with for Family is quite complicated. That requires a lot more research to make it happen. Before her eyesight got so bad, she had gone through this book three times trying to tie together the details. She actually wrote this story before Treasured Fate, our fourth book. We decided together to put out Treasured first because it was a simpler mystery and was further along.

dreamstime_xs_64429156

Dreamstime

Now that Family Fate is in my hands, I’m doing the same as Mom had to do: spending a lot of time on research and on making the plot smooth, exciting and flowing. I promise you a very good story, readers.

So what is that plot?

It’s about multiple people disappearing. The missing people don’t seem to be related in any way—they are different ages, sexes, geographic locations. Sam comes into the case via an old friend and works with another detective on the first case. Then they both start to see a pattern. Like with Violet Fate, we get a glimpse into the mind of the “villain” behind it all. And like with most of the other books, a romance develops—this time between the detective Sam works with and one of the victims’ good friends.

Wondering why I chose the picture here for this column? Guess you’re going to have to read the book to find that out!

I was inspired by my little sister Allyn M. Stotz to get back into the grind of keeping in touch with my readers so expect more blogs! As always, I’d love to get your thoughts.

Those of you that are local: Join mom and I, June 11 2-6 at the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department, 13511 Hillendale Dr., Woodbridge, VA.

Genilee Swope Parente

 

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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