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About swopeparente

Genilee Swope Parente and her mother F. Sharon Swope have written the Fate series of mystery/romance novels featuring detective Sam Osborne as well as a book a short stories. Genilee is a freelance writer/editor by trade. Sharon is a retired newspaper columnist who began writing at 82. The plots and characters are Sharon's handiwork. Genilee dresses up the books with description and fine-tuning.

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.

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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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Finding a book you love

When you become an author, it gets a lot harder to read. You live with a constant ache of hunger for what you’re trying to create: words that can take the mind away from everyday routine. Those words become more difficult to find.dreamstime_m_37529007

Part of the reason is that once you’ve had your work edited, you start to see the errors in other people’s books. This is not limited in any way to works published by independent publishers or those that are self-published. In fact, as the world of publishing settles down from the great upheaval caused by opened channels, I read just as many books with blatant errors and bad editing published by the Great Traditionals as independents. I’ve given up on a few of my favorite authors (John Irving comes to mind) who are published by the established houses because I couldn’t take the lack of editing or copyediting. I haven’t been in book publishing long enough to know why this has happened. In some cases, including Mr. Irving’s, I think the author’s britches got so big, they decided not to let anyone push them around. In other cases, I think budgets have got in the way of traditional good editing, which means the Great Traditionals have become nothing more than the Big Guys.

The other reason my hunger for losing myself in a book is harder to abate, however, is story line. I am tired of formula writing and, believe it or not, I think readers are, too. It’s why I can get into certain well- written series, but only go three or four books before I get bored. The same story told twenty times is not what I seek. Some authors certainly are successful at multiples, and I think that’s because the writer can make you fall in love with the recurring characters while also finding a way to shock you with the crimes or mystery or story line (Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb comes to mind. I can always read one of those books because I love the strong woman hero. The crimes give me the creeps. But they keep me reading because I want my hero to defeat the villain).  The lack of fresh story also is one of the reasons I stopped reading pure romance a while ago. I just got sick of: lonely woman finds man, they fall in love, they get separated or pissed at each other and then they get back together

So when it comes to reading these days, I just look for something that makes me lose myself in the story. We all need this. For me, that means I’m not stumbling over bad editing. It also means the story moves along nicely; I care about the characters. I have tended towards mystery and some mystery/romance the last few years. But I’ve always loved sci fi or fantasy as well. So my thanks this week to C.J. Brightley. I read the first of her Erdeman series: The King’s Sword. And it delighted me. Because I was cheering for the character, understanding his weaknesses and rooting for a new king in a kingdom that doesn’t exist except in a good writer’s mind.–Genilee Swope Parente

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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