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A Peek into Book Three

magnifying glassI just received a phone call from a lovely woman who met Genilee in a dress store, found out about Twist of Fate, our first book, ordered it, then called to tell us how much she enjoyed the story. It’s people like her that make what Genilee and I do truly enjoyable. She also said what many of the people who have read the book say: hurry up and write the second one!

We have done just that and sent it off to the publisher for editing. I am very fond of this second book (Wretched Fate) because the characters are so different—both from one another and from the characters in the first book. Someone asked me recently how I go about coming up with these characters and the rest of my writing. Do I visualize and work out the personalities and appearance on paper, figure out the plot and timeline and outline everything? No, I don’t. I write exactly the way I remember Sidney Shelton saying in an interview that he used: “I just sit down and write. No planning. It just comes to me.”

However, like all things in life, the process doesn’t end with the first draft. I go through what I’ve done. Right now, for example I am going through Book No. 3: Fate of the Violet Eyes. And let me tell you, this second draft is not fun. I love to sit down and just write—rereading it, however, is a chore. Not just because it’s not as fun, but because the computer and I don’t always get along. I am 85, and like many people my age, very dumb about all that a computer can do for me, as well as what I must do to use it right. Inserting new chapters and then getting them in the right place, changing new chapter numbers to replace the old —well, it’s not my cup of tea. I get thoroughly mixed up, to say the least.

Still, it’s been fun remembering what I wrote because it’s been awhile since I’ve dealt with these characters and plot (I’ve finished book four and gone on to write a book unrelated to this series). The third book is a about a kidnapping, something Detective Sam Osborne (who is a recurring figure in the series) does not want to handle because of his past experiences (You’ll get a glimpse of those experience in books one and two). The main characters in the Fate of the Violet Eyes tale are the male kidnapper and a little girl he takes, and one of the most endearing aspects of this book is the effect the girl has on her captor. I sincerely hope you will be as intrigued with these two characters as I was while I was creating them.
And I’ll leave our readers with one more juicy tidbit that should get you to buy this book: Sam falls in love!

Thanks to everyone who has called or written to encourage us and tell us how much you are enjoying the Twist of Fate series.

F. Sharon Swope

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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You Can Sell Your Creation

If there’s one thing I have always hated to do, it is to sell – anything. It doesn’t matter what. The odd thing about it is that I have had been successful doing just that. When my husband and I owned a small weekly newspaper years ago, we came to a point where we had to make more revenue or sink. It was discouraging because we had worked so hard at trying to make the paper and the business a success. One day I decided I would go through all the other newspapers in the area, and then call the companies who advertised and see if they would run their ads with our paper. This action took all my nerve, and every time I had to do it, I got stomach cramps. But despite how much I dreaded that task, I was very successful at it, which showed me with the right impetus, anyone can sell themselves.

I’m telling you all this to explain my elation last week. Genilee and I meet once a week to talk about the book and the latest discussions have centered on how to get Twist of Fate before more audiences. After our first successful book signing at Victoria Park, we decided we should definitely try to find more places to hold signings. Since she was very busy with her full-time work, it was up to me to tackle the job. The old stomach cramps returned for just a short while!
Everyone I approached, however, was extremely nice. And somehow luck was really with me that day. I chose to approach the library near my home, and it happened to be the very day the librarian was going to a meeting of all the county librarians; a meeting where the librarians presented their lists of books they wanted the library association to purchase. This particular librarian took our book (Twist of Fate), as well as my youngest daughter’s children’s book (The Pea in Peanut Butter). And if that wasn’t good enough luck, another librarian who handles various reading clubs was there, and she had promised her mystery reading group that she would try to find an author to come to a spring meeting of the club. We were chosen right on the spot!

To top the day off, I secured another book signing at a retirement community the same day. It just goes to show you, folks, that if you believe in your book and you keep on trying, you’re going to be a success! Keep writing friends and keep selling your books!
F. Sharon Swope

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Thanks from the finely aged writer

The things we give thanks for, at ages 50 and 80 plus, are different than what we were grateful for in our early years. Especially when we’ve been given, as mom and I have, a chance to rediscover and fine-tune a dream that may have existed when we were younger, but only late at night, when exhaustion battled with longing for the energy to do something creative.

The first item on our lists of reasons to give thanks will remain the same regardless of age: love from family and friends. But beyond that, we are grateful for the reality that:

• The hated alarm clock that used to rouse us from our beds in the morning has been replaced by the 5 a.m. “wake-up” brainstorm: “aha … I could have the villain be a tiny person who is accessing the crime scene through a doggie door!”

• High-heeled, pointy-toed shoes that rested beneath our office desks have been replaced by fuzzy pink bedroom slippers.

• Our husbands, who used to listen to our complaints about coworkers and tight deadlines and not getting paid enough, have adjusted to put up with distracted, dreamy gazing. Not getting paid enough remains in the bitching bag, but gets brought up a little less frequently.

• The sometimes unreasonable, but completely fulfilling pride we used to feel when one of our children handed us a new painting for refrigerator posting has transformed into the excitement we feel when we finish a chapter or milestone and are one step closer to publication.

• The conversations with friends we used to savor over steaming cups of coffee still begin with what’s happening with family, but end up seeking advice about plot direction instead of potty training, teenage dating or the psychological makeup of males.

• The aches and pains of young age, which centered around chasing kids and spring cleaning, now derive from forgetting to get up from the computer to take a break from our writing frenzy.

On this 2013 Thanksgiving Day, we feel blessed that our first book, Twist of Fate, is about to be released both as an ebook and a printed book. We live in an age where the process of getting published has completely evolved, and we know we were fortunate to have found Spectacle Publishing Media Group, who is helping our dream happen.

But we are especially thankful that we have our family members and so many friends that are celebrating at our side. — Genilee Swope Parente

Mom and I

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Fretting over nothing

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My husband and I have been busy packing this past week: Our oldest and our youngest daughters decided it was time we get our families together for Thanksgiving this year. So Bob and I are off to spend a week in Louisiana and a week in Texas.  At ages 85 (for me) and 87 (for Bob), getting ready for such a trip is never easy. It seems the older we get, the more “problems” we can manufacture … we seem to have perfected the art of fretting over the details.  Unfortunately, that means little worries too often become big ones.

Yet, deep in my heart I know that we’re really fretting over nothing. Once we are buckled into our seats, we are on our way to a visit that promises to be heartwarming and fun.

As a result of preparation, I haven’t been able to get much writing done this week, and, of course, won’t be able to for the next two weeks. Since the publication date for our first book—Twist of Fate—draws near, it’s hard for me to leave the excitement behind. I don’t have an exact date, but the book will most likely come out while I’m gone. I wish I could tell all my readers and friends the exact day when our mystery-romance story will come out, bringing to life our hero—homeless, kind-hearted Danny—and our heroine—rich, wheelchair-bound Casey. But in the world of publishing, pinning down exact dates is tough. All I can tell you is that if you have an e-book reader, keep checking Barnes & Noble or Amazon. The printed version will take a little while longer.

As you can see from the background of this blog and the picture here, the cover of Twist of Fate is blue with white lettering representing the big snowstorm that plays such an important role in the book. You’ll see an empty wheelchair with a single red rose on the seat and a drop of blood on the floor. I won’t tell you the symbolism behind our cover, but I hope you’ll keep checking for that image.  Don’t give up, dear supporters, our book is definitely on its way. And I guess it’s time Bob and I were on our way to see our loved ones.

Genilee and I will keep you posted!

F. Sharon Swope

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Writer’s Cramps

For two years I had no trouble writing stories. Of course there were the inevitable slow periods when you have to establish a routine to keep yourself writing. But after the agreement came in from Spectacle Media Publishing Group to get my first book out there, my creative juices were really flowing. At least until the time for that group’s staff to do their part in getting us published came into play and the waiting period began. Although I know it hasn’t been unusually long in getting our book in print, I seem to have lost some of my enthusiasm. I guess at my age, I need to know that someone is reading what I write.
For over thirty years I had that satisfaction because I wrote a column for a weekly newspaper. I guess this made me used to having almost instantaneous response to what I was writing. The column, which was called “Apron Strings,” was about my children and my life back then, but it always ended with a recipe, especially once I got that helpful tip established. Then people were not only anxious to read the escapades of my family, but they wanted that final benefit: a recipe, and they began to send me scads of suggestions. I would weigh ten tons today if I had tried every recipe sent.
I know most people reading this blog don’t care about recipes, but blogging is similar to writing that column in that the readers want to hear aspects of your life as an author. Fortunately, what I have to report right now is great news. That wonderful time when our first book, Twist of Fate, will be published is nearing: the ebook should be out end of October/beginning of November and printed versions will be available before Christmas. As I’ve waited, I haven’t really slowed much: I have rewritten book number 2, Wretched Fate, and reread and corrected book number 3, Fate of the Violet Eyes. Meanwhile, book number 4 in the Sam Osborne series, which doesn’t yet have a title, is completely written but needs work. I even have first drafts for nine-tenths of book number 5, which is a compilation of short stories.
Still, while I’m steadily picking away at all of those projects, I must confess that until I actually see something in print, I feel I’ve reached a stumbling block, which has extended to trying to come up with blog topics. So, dear readers, I’m returning to my old habits and ending with a recipe today. Try it: it doesn’t sound like much but it’s really delicious and just enough different to make it fun to prepare. Oh, and we really should give it a writing theme so I’ll call it:
INSPIRATION SALAD
½ head broccoli
1 cup chopped pecans
½ head cauliflower
1-cup raisins
1 large onion
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Sauce Mix
1/2 cup sugar or splenda
3 T. vinegar
1-cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
Instructions: chop broccoli, cauliflower, onion, raisins, and pecans; place in large salad bowl Add cheese. Mix sauce ingredients; toss with vegetables, etc. Will keep well for several days.

And while you’re waiting: get to work on that next book project!

— Sharon Swope

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Getting lost in our passion

What is it about writing that quickens my pulse, that takes my mind completely away from the mundane moments that make up so much of life, that brings fresh air into my lungs? I know there are multiple forms of artistic expression, and I know that I could be good at many of them, with the right direction and study. I’m a creator by nature, a trait I picked up from my own dear mom, who has succeeded at everything from crewel to quilting to oil painting to figure painting. Her initials are scrawled on many objects.
But my canvas has always been the blank paper or computer screen that calls for words. I’ve been writing since I was about 10 years old and got my very first diary. And I have taken true pleasure in most of what I’ve done as I graduated from diary to short stories to poetry and then found a way to make a living as a freelance writer and finally a magazine editor. But now, as I near retirement years, I have finally found a path back to what I’ve wanted to do since I was a child: write creatively.

The truly wonderful gift of finding this path at the ripe young age of 58 is that it no longer contains unrealistic expectations. When I was young and dreaming about the possibilities, I assumed the dream came with fame, and maybe a small fortune (enough to put me in a picturesque cottage in New England or living in the mountains so that the ocean or those peaks would serve as inspiration). I live in Dumfries, VA (or as we hicks like to call it – Dumb Fries), and I accept that fact since it includes a wonderful husband, beautiful daughter, career that keeps me interested and some good friends and neighbors. I don’t have a cottage or mountain get away. And I certainly don’t have the fortune. But life has taught me neither has anything to do with happiness.

In the mean time, I’ve found a front door to fulfillment, which is a giant chunk of the happiness pie, by finding a way to work with my own mom in writing books.
There are some mornings when the hour I’ve set aside for creative endeavor finds me forcing myself to sit at the computer and begin. But there are no mornings when I get up after that hour willing to go back to my regular work or daily routine, because what happens in that hour transforms me. The words I am working with that day surround me, beckon to me, excite me and get my blood pumping like it hasn’t pumped in years. And when I get up with great effort to begin the rest of my day, I say a little “thanks” to God for letting me lose myself completely in my passion.

 

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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