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Shopping for an escape

Because I’m a senior and I cannot drive, I’ve had to find other ways to get out. I watch a lot of television, and in the last few years, I’ve done most of my shopping with QVC. I don’t mean to be a commercial, but I must say I am very happy with most of what I get; once in a while I send something back, but the quality of their goods has been excellent. As with any shopping bag with bookskind of shopping, I have lots of days when I can force myself to be practical and not give in to the many temptations I see.  Then there are those days I like everything I see and finally give in and purchase something.  That’s the kind of day I’m having today.  I vowed I wouldn’t spend any money unless I found a Christmas present; but I gave in and bought something for myself!  It’s practical and something I will really use, but I spent some money when I vowed I wouldn’t.  Such is the life of those who love to shop. Everything looks so good on the models, even the larger ones. Shopping is a way we use our imagination, put those clothes on us and dream.

We do the same thing when we shop for a good book.  We look for the color (which is the cover); we notice the style (the print of the book) and we often seek out the design company or the designer (the author).

When you come across the books Genilee and I have written, you’ll see vivid covers, not bright or gaudy, but rich in color and hinting at what is in the book (the way lace might hint at what’s beneath); the style of our books is appealing (Spectacle has chosen easy to read and large type). As for the designers (us), we are still getting to the point where you might recognize us by name. We hope what you’ll learn to associate with that name is entertaining reading. In no way do we consider what we do coming up with deep, provoking or controversial literature.  We see ourselves as writers of “moments of escape,” which we both have shopped for when we read.  Our books are the kind you love to curl up with in a chair in front of the fireplace to lose yourself fully for a few hours in someone else’s life.

Genilee is working hard at getting the third book polished for the publisher’s last reading, while I am trying to produce book four in the Sam Osborne series. The book Genilee’s immersed in—Fate of the Violet Eyes—sees Sam, our detective, falling in love.  I hope you become as absorbed in the characters of the kidnapper and his victim as I was in writing this book.  Meanwhile, I am almost done writing book four, which includes some suggestions made by audiences in a series of book talks we held at various communities.  I already wrote a fifth book, but I put it aside for a while because it doesn’t satisfy me.  Sometimes you just have to put aside something that bothers you—like that dress or that shirt that’s almost good enough. And when you’re shopping QVC, sometimes you have to send it back for a different one or one that fits better.

We hope, of course, that you come across our engaging Fate series in your shopping and decide to try us on. But in the meantime, let me give you a little exercise we do in our book talks (the same exercise that has resulted in including details from communities where we talk into book four).

I often start a book with just a name, then I begin visualizing details for the character and go on to what actions the person might take and end up formulating plots around those details. I thought I’d give you a new name and see what you come up with. I’m looking for things such as age, appearance, personality, job, desires, motivation—give me anything that comes to mind.  If we get some replies as comments, I’ll share with you what I have come up with myself.

Here goes, close your eyes and visualize this person: CHRISTELLA CORTEZ

Have some fun with it!

F. Sharon Swope

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Falling in love with my character

I have a confession to make that my dear husband may not like. I’m in love with Sam Osborne.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Don’t worry though, honey, he’s not a real person. He’s the detective in our Fate series. And unlike with you, this love did not start out with a bang. It took me many months and many revisions of the books before I began to fall for this character. And it didn’t hit me hard until this third book—Fate of the Violet Eyes.

Sam went from being a nice man in Twist of Fate who helped a girl in a wheelchair and a homeless man to a friendly detective in Wretched Fate who helped the main male character as he stumbled into dating. Then in this third book, we readers get to spend a lot more time with the man. His masculinity comes out, and instead of being the person behind the romance, Sam falls in love with his own client. Despite the fact he shouldn’t, he lets that love to the forefront as he helps her try to find her child.

I suppose it’s kind of weird, actually, to fall in love with a character who was originally created by my own mother. But he’s a product of two vivid imaginations: two generations’ ideas of what a good man is. That’s why he’s inquisitive but polite; kind but capable of anger when he’s sees something that’s wrong; quick to laugh, but often introspective.

And I also think falling for the characters happens to a lot of writers: we spend so much time with them in the writing/rewriting/editing process, they become part of our life.

So forgive me, dear husband. But I’m hoping to make others fall in love with Sam Osborne as well. And I’m sorry, but my love affair with Sam will continue. Mom is now working on book four and book five is already drafted. You’ll just have to put up with me, honey, until the Fate series is complete. And you know what? I hope that doesn’t ever happen. I’d miss my Sam too much!

Genilee Swope Parente

 

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Stepping it Up

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One reality prospective authors need to face is that getting published is not winning a sweepstakes. No one is going to show up at your door with a giant check, flash you a brilliant smile, shake your hand and shout: Congratulations, you’re a winner!

Getting published is a series of steps. If you can keep your momentum, the steps go upward—working towards bigger and better goals and often getting easier as you climb. Some of those steps are major ones: my sister, children’s book author Allyn Stotz (http://allynstotz.blogspot.com/), took a giant hop up this week: she saw her second book, Kailee Finds Magic IN Words, in final form—ready for press. I know that seeing the heroin of her first book, The Pea in Peanut Butter, come to life again on the pages and knowing people will soon hold her creation in their admiring hands has to be a wonderful feeling: in this case, it’s enough of a leap up to carry her past some challenges to come.

I took a big step this week, too, though it wasn’t that golden glow event of seeing my name on a printed page. My step was that I submitted our first draft of Fate of the Violet Eyes, book three of the Sam Osborne series, to our publisher. That means for just a moment, I can sit back, take a deep breath, and realize I’ve done all I could to make this book better than the last two. Having been through this twice already, it also means that I can finally let the experts at Spectacle Publishing Media Group, tell me how to make it even greater.

While it’s vital to our sanity as authors for us to acknowledge and feel our accomplishments—pat ourselves on the back for the steps we overcome, Allyn, as well as Mom and I, will not rest long in this heaven. That’s because as authors of more than one book, we know there are many steps ahead, even after the book is in print. The hardest part about becoming an author is the reality that getting to the point where your book populates the crowded lists on Amazon and Barnes & Noble is much easier than what comes next: getting someone to notice it. And having tracked the blogs of several major writers, I know that, unless you’re James Patterson, you have to direct and participate in how well your book goes over. You have to force yourself to become what you may not be: a marketer. And I bet even Mr. Patterson sometimes dreads putting on a suit or combing his hair to give a speech, an interview or to make a video to post on his official website. We are writers―our art is creation of stories and the alignment of words in such a way that we lead readers down a path we want them to travel. The reality is that, even if you’re shy, you have to believe in your own work enough to want others to feel what you felt when you were creating it.

My intention in saying this is not to throw water in prospective author’s face. While Allyn, Mom and I have been learning how tough it is, we’ve also seen the rewards. Every time you lift a foot and climb up another step, you gain a little strength; you make the next stage of the climb a little easier because you have one thing going for you that you didn’t have before. Whenever you need it, you can turn and gaze back down the staircase and see yourself on that first little stair. You can remember that you are climbing towards your dream—which is a brave step not many people do in their lives. You can feel what it’s like to have recognized what you want enough to have built the staircase in the first place.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Want to know what’s in book three?

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Dreamstime

I’m getting close to finishing the third book in the Sam Osborne detective series, and while there’s still a long process before the book goes to press, it occurs to me that mom and I have given very few hints about the plot of this book.

The title, Fate of the Violet Eyes, does not fall off the tongue as smoothly as Twist of Fate or Wretched Fate, but I think the story is our best and the eyes play a major role partly because they affect the lives of several main characters. One of those characters, Maggie, needed special consideration and crafting because we knew we wanted to give her a precious gift: the love of Sam. It’s a gift because, as we’ve brought Sam more and more to life with each new book, we’ve both fallen in love with him. His gentle, but persistent ways, strong personality and inquisitive mind are easy to fall for, and Maggie needed to be worthy of him.

In Fate of the Violet Eyes, readers will learn even more about Sam and meet Maggie for the first time. In our other books, the characters who hire Sam and work with him fall in love with each other. In this book, Maggie is the person who hires him—a mother mourning her child Jenna, who was kidnapped. Even though the police and the FBI have both conducted investigations, her child is still missing so she hires someone who is not constrained by procedures or resources—private investigator Sam Osborne.

My mom has done a terrific job creating both the villain in this book and the victim (the snatched child). She takes us into the mind of a man who has gone from a religious background to a killer. She shares with us her thoughts on how a small child could survive such a heinous crime as being snatched from her own mother’s arms and delivered into a killer’s grips without showing fear or weakness.

The mystery in this plot is sprinkled throughout the story revealing clues and false clues in layers as you read. Mom designed it that way and we both have worked hard to confuse and surprise you.

Meanwhile, Maggie and Sam begin to work together, and as they do, you’ll see them gravitate towards one another. As readers of our first two books know, Sam’s own child was kidnapped many years ago and that plays a role in how Sam reacts.

This book also travels outside the bounds of Lancaster, which is where our first two books took place. Maggie and Sam hit the road to investigate and love happens along the way.

I can’t tell you much more, but I’ll promise this: If you liked Twist of Fate and Wretched Fate, you will love Fate of the Violet Eyes.

Keep tuned to this site to learn the book’s progress.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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