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Tag Archives: Holiday Connections

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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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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Merry Moments of Appreciation

 

The older we get, the more we realize that life is lived in the simple moments, not the earth-moving upheavals that motivate us towards change. Change is necessary, and it often leads to improvements in our lives. But major movement forward doesn’t do us much good if we can’t stop on the journey long enough to enjoy the ride. Christmas is a great example.

mark for blog christmas 2015

Mark and Sax in the City getting ready to spread some cheer.

I’m using my finely aged wisdom this year to do something I say I’ll do every holiday and rarely accomplish: I’m taking each day and appreciating the wonder of what we do as humans to celebrate this season. I’m turning on the tree and lighting up my Santas, my village and my manger scene first thing in the morning. Why should I limit myself to night-time savoring of Christmas glitter when the reality of this time of year is that it’s dark when you get up?

Then there are days when savoring is not hard at all. On Sunday, that meant filling my soul with music. Last Christmas, there was no concert in my family for the first time in years. My daughter’s no longer in high school band; my dad was too sick to sing in one of the choirs he always loved with a passion; my brother was taking a much needed break from his non-paying job: providing the world with musical talent. But this year, I was back in the church where I’ve heard so many of my brother’s concerts. And I could not stop my foot from tapping, my head from swaying and my heart from simply expanding with each note. I’ve always been so proud of my family’s musical talent. I’ve always loved the seasons that were filled with the result of that talent. Thanks to Mark for an early birthday/Christmas present.

As long as I’m expressing my gratitude, Saturday was also filled with simple moments of pleasure, and I have the community of Woodbridge and surrounding areas to thank. Mom and I had our last holiday book event; a craft fair at Garfield High School. We sold more books than we have since the major event Applebee’s hosted for us. But that’s not what made the day so wonderful. It was the conversations we had with people who stopped by our table and who exhibited their wares. From the woman who was thrilled enough with what we do to buy three sets of our books to give to her best friends to the vendor across from us who made wooden reindeer and knew how to make children smile, the day was filled with moments of pleasure and celebration.

I have to confess, it’s easier to savor the simple things when life doesn’t give you major bumps during the season, and my heart goes out to anyone who is going through those bumps. But for those just having a regular year, take a few extra minutes to make your loved one’s package spectacular; stop feeling guilty for sampling the fudge early; crank up the radio in your car and sing along; drive slowly through your neighborhood and appreciate the efforts people put into their homes; say “happy holidays” to as many random people as you can. These are the moments that make the season sparkle.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Christmas Crazy Once a Year

Christmas Crazy Once a Year

What makes this time of year so special? We shiver in the cold; we sweat from overexertion. We stress over everything; we relax like we don’t do any other time of the year. We worship with passion; we party with the same passion. We love our family; we hate our family. No wonder we’re all crazy.

christmas 2015I think the fact we do all of this at the same time is the key to why the holidays mean so much. They give us a purpose we don’t have the rest of the year. That purpose may find us facing hoards at the mall even though too many people in too little space is one of our worst nightmares. But we’re there for the bigger picture: to get a gift that will bring a smile to someone we know. We hate standing in line at the post office only to find out it will cost more to mail the package than we paid for its contents; but how can you put a price on a piece of love tied with a bow? We drive in weather conditions that might usually keep us home; but the concert or Christmas show that got us out of our living room lounger creates a spark inside of us that keeps us warm all season.

What makes this time of year special? We do. We get outside our normal routines and build a new us for a few weeks.  We open little pockets in our heart that weren’t open before or that stay closed the rest of the year. When we’re not with the crowd lamenting about how much everything cost and how little time there is, we are raising our heads above the clamor to look around and seek the good. We do this because one thing past holidays have taught us is that the good is always there: we’ve seen it in a hundred small ways during this season over the years. We experienced the magic as far back as Santa. We’ve listened to the tale of the very first Christmas and felt the awe and wonder. We’ve reached into our pockets and found a spare dollar for the Salvation Army bucket. We’ve had a total stranger tell us “Merry Christmas,” just because they felt like spreading a little cheer.

Christmas and holidays in general are a conscious effort on our part to seek out happiness—even if it’s only for a few hours. We put on rose-colored glasses long enough to gain a different perspective.

Christmas brings us crazy; but it also brings us hope.

–Genilee Swope Parente

 

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Being Part of the Global Community

I needed a distraction from my editorial work this week so I decided to google our new Holiday Connections book. Imagine my shock when I found all four of our books available in the UK, France, Estonia, Denmark, Holland, South Asia, South Africa, Spain, Japan and many places in Canada. And that was just the first five pages of results. Some of the sites, I had to hit the “translate this page” just to understand what I was seeing.dreamstime_xs_50772765

I also found Holiday Connections mentioned on sites such as the British Columbia Booksellers Association as one of the new Christmas releases. I spotted the book in several Christian bookstores; it was listed among the new releases for a small independent bookstore in San Antonio, TX; and I found it for sale at quite a few Canadian independent bookstores. I even found it listed on a general gift site in the UK that also sold jewelry, toys, music and health products.

The feeling was so wonderful, I immediately called mom and shared my search results with her. We both agreed that it brought a whole new dimension to being authors: to know our names and our works are all over the world brings us both much joy.

I don’t know if that will ever translate into sales, and I’m not sure I really care. But the thought that someone across the ocean in Europe, Africa or Asia might be sitting curled up by a fire getting lost in one of our holiday tales or falling in love with Sam Osborne of The Fate Series is thrilling.

It also showed me how much I don’t understand about the big wide world of distribution and global commerce. We went with the same printing/distributing giant that our former publisher—Spectacle Publishing Media Group used: Ingram Sparks. I’d read that they have the widest spread around the world—even wider than amazon’s publishing arm. But how fast this all came about and how very broad that reach is, was jaw dropping

Surprisingly, it didn’t make me feel like a small fish in a huge ocean as you might imagine. It made me feel connected—part of the school of fish that loves books.

final coverReaders: Don’t forget the holiday special for our newest book is available through November. Contact us at swopeparente@gmail.com if you want to order an autographed book at the discounted rate.

And thank you for being part of that school of fish!

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Stand Up for Sentimentality

When Mom and I were trying to push Holiday Connections at publishers, the only consistent reply we received back was that the stories weren’t hard-edged enough for commercial appeal. I’m afraid it’s true, folks; F. Sharon and Genilee created feel-good stories so I’m afraid you’ll need to go elsewhere for your blood and guts this holiday season.final cover

But that’s okay with us. We intend for these books to be sentimental. When mom created her first drafts, she had in mind the stories you used to get out of Good Housekeeping and Redbook. It’s  not that those stories didn’t address issues. They were often poignant tales of a simple person addressing a hard reality such as a kid growing up, a relationship falling apart or a major life challenge. They made you stop and lose yourself in someone else’s problems for a while. And yes, some of them ended happily ever after, but part of the beauty was that it wasn’t always. Kind of  like life is: some happy endings and many slaps in the face.

Mom and I have readily admitted we have no hopes of being branded literary geniuses—we entered the game too late. We are creators of tales we think people will want to read. That is their sole purpose: to get people to READ. The Fate Series was an evolution, and we think each book is better than the last for different reasons—we think the characters in Wretched Fate are more rounded than those in Twisted Fate. We were already falling in love with our protagonist Sam Osborne by Violet Fate, which is why it’s appropriate he fell in love in the third book. With Holiday Connections, we just let go and allowed ourselves to be saps about a lot of things.

We offer no apologies because we think reading should be a pleasure, and if you get pleasure out of short stories that end on a good note, you’ll like our newest book. We also understand that books can be an escape and for some people, escape works best as darkness, despair and deeper dilemmas than the characters in Holiday Connections face. We’ll leave the zombies, serial killers and graphic details up to television and movies, which do an excellent job.

Come to our books for a different reason: to get a brief respite from hum drum, but one that leaves you feeling positive and ready to read what happens next.

November is going by quickly folks. We’re offering the book at discount from what you’ll get on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com so that we can afford to send them out at a better price for gifts. Write swopeparente@gmail.com for details on how to get a signed copy. And don’t forget yourself when you’re making out that gift list!

For kindle lovers, the book is now available in ebook form on amazon.com.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A Book in Time for Holiday Gift Giving

Mom and I are delighted to announce that Holiday Connections, a book of twelve inspiring short final coverstories centered on U.S. holidays, is out in time for Christmas. We went a different route with this book so that we could offer it to our own fans at a discounted rate: we are creating a special for selling signed copies during the month of November at a discounted rate. The ebook and book won’t be available for a while on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles, but anyone who wants a copy email us at swopeparente@gmail.com, and I’ll make sure you get the email announcing the special.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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