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A New Look along with the New Book

A new year is the perfect time to announce an exciting new development initiated by Spectacle Publishing Media Group for these two authors: we’re getting a new face for the entire Fate Series at the same time our latest book is launched.VioletFate1st edition_coverfront

As Violet Fate, the third in the Sam Osborne series comes out later this month, our publisher is re-launching Twist of Fate and Wretched Fate. The first two books received additional copy edits and have been redesigned so that the three books can be marketed together.

Mom and I love our new look for its vibrancy. Spectacle’s design team maintained the important elements of the stories: for Twist of Fate that was Casey’s wheelchair and the rose that hints at romance; for Wretched Fate it’s Jacob’s beloved Quan Yin (goddess of mercy and compassion) statue and the nail that brings our surprise character into the picture. However, the design team added a rich red that pulses with danger and passion. The look works wonderfully to tease readers into opening the new book―Violet Fate―where a set of eyes is a focal point of the plot and where our characters are drawn into the Amish country. Since that’s the goal of any book’s cover—to create a yearning to see what’s inside—we think The Fate Series redesign is a huge success.

Twist of Fate2nd edition_frontcoverThe new books will be available online later this month along with Violet Fate, and we will be launching the new book locally in February.

Mom and I are in awe that we now have three books in print and are working hard on getting the next two into place. It’s only been four years since we began this process inspired by the success of my sibling, children’s book author Allyn Stotz (www.allynstotz.blogspot.com), who is also about to have a banner year. It hasn’t been an easy ride, but it’s been an exciting one, and none of us could have predicted things would go so well. Like I told a young woman who called me for advice on publishing her children’s book early this week: the key to becoming an author is to want it bad enough to pursue all angles, be patient, and not give up the quest.WretchedFate2nd edition_coverfront

We hope that 2015 will be the best year ever for all our readers and supporters.

—Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2015 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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Come see your movie star friends

Both Mark Swope, Genilee’s brother and Sharon’s son and Spectacle Publishing Media Group have posted links to the video of the television show Conversations with Rich. The show aired last week in the Northern Virginia area.

Here’s Mark’s version. It’s a shorter version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNN6oEYpO0A&list=UUh3nHRkelA5vRojc7cuIMGw&feature=c4-overview

And thanks to Eric Staggs, president of Spectacle for posting this longer version:

http://youtu.be/uvlYPMYNTfQ

Genilee Parente

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Letting words flow

I used to be quite organized in my thinking process. I’m good at working things through in my mind, and I think that’s one reason the book writing has gone so well without an outline. My mind just keeps things in their place, which I’m finding is especially valuable when you’re losing your eyesight. However, in trying to keep things straight in rewriting book four in the Sam Osborne, I’m completely mixed up.  I finished the first draft without any difficulty, then decided I needed more about my villain so I wrote a few extra chapters to insert into the plot.  The trouble is I can’t find the chapters I think those inserts should go around. Old age probably plays a part.

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Dreamstime

But it would be much easier if I could just run out printed versions of the chapters. That requires a lot of wasted paper and ink, which probably won’t do me much good anyway―my eyesight makes it difficult to read any printed letters. Now when I write, I have to struggle with listening to what I’ve typed being read back to me. Without a printed copy, my mind seems to be befuddled.  I also have to admit, rewriting is not as fun as writing the first draft.

Meanwhile, I’ve allowed my creative brain to start thinking about a theme for a new book of short stories. Those of you who have kept up with what Genilee and I are doing know that, while going crazy waiting for book two (Wretched Fate, which is due out any day now) to come out, I finalized and Genilee edited a book of stories

 based on the holidays of the year. I so much enjoyed working on those stories that I’m ready to tackle a new series. While I love detective Sam Osborne and what we’ve done with his books, it was wonderful to take a break from him and come up with what was really my fifth book, Letting Life Flow. I took each of the year’s most celebrated holidays and wrote a different kind of story, using different points of view and tones and different types of plots (love story, mystery, sentimental), which made the writing process even more fun. Both Genilee and I are pleased with result. And I can’t begin to tell you how pleased we are that we’ve already got a publisher who is interested in putting out the book by next summer, and has already talked to us about ideas for illustrations and a possible joint launch with one of my daughter Allyn’s children’s books. It certainly is exciting to have someone come to us to offer their backing. I’ll write more about this new book and our stories as developments happen. In the meantime, I’m allowing my befuddled mind breaks from trying to organize book four of the Sam Osborne series by coming up with ideas for what will be my sixth book—more short stories.

Meanwhile, Genilee and I continue our quest to get the word out about our writing. One of our most rece

nt speaking engagements was both a challenge and a thrill. We talked before a large group of senior citizens—the First Choice club—which is an interdenominational group that meets once a month in Woodbridge. It was both exciting and scary to talk in front of a group of about 80 men and women. The excitement won out once we got started speaking about why we write, how we collaborate, etc. The group made us feel very important through their receptiveness and their very good questions, and we came away inspired and proud to be doing what we do. This week, we have a signing and smaller talk at Fairmont retirement community in a new location for us, Manassas, VA.

The speaking engagements we’ve had have been a real surprise to both Genilee and I. Neither of us had done much speaking before writing these books. Getting up in front of a group of people to share your life’s passion has been great for both of us. People really do think it’s wonderful that we are pursuing our life’s passion so late in life.

At the same time, we are going through the inevitable waiting game. Wretched Fate is ready to come out and the most recent launch date we’ve been given is Nov. 4. We are anxious to get the book out and begin marketing it alongside Twist of Fate, and we hope to have time to do that before the holidays. We’ve learned, however, that there are many things that get in the way of our plans.

Emotional ups and downs seem to be life of a writer.  But at least we know one thing for sure (as evidenced by the new publishing possibility): we’re heading in the right direction.–F. Sharon Swope

Coming Nov. 4

Coming Nov. 4

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Revving up the engine

When you feel stale with your writing, what do you do to inspire? In the old days, when I was only putting words down occasionally with no goal in mind, I’d dig out the old journals. These journals, written in long hand, still inspire when I give them a chance. But now that I’ve actually published a book with mom, I look to something else – recommitment.happy driving 2 mark

Mom and I carted my dad around Fredericksburg, Virginia this week, visiting places we thought might be interested in book signings. At the end of the day, we had two signings booked and a very hot prospect for a third. Pretty good results from a couple of hours of driving. But the day meant a lot more because what it did was re-inspire. Both of us took almost a month off from marketing because of busy schedules (my daughter graduating, visits from friends and family). Mom was chipping away at book five of the Sam Osborne series. I was finalizing the manuscript for Wretched Fate, the second book of the series. But I think we were both feeling the lull that occurs after the passion of first getting published. By driving around, telling our “story” about the miracle of book one coming out, we created a second wind. Mom and I both love the characters Mom created—Sam Osborne, Casey and Danny—and what happens to them in book one. We love book two and the new heroes Jacob Hardy and Rosalie McGovern even more. So it was easy to turn that passion into a road trip. It also helped that while we were telling our stories of how we became authors, we also could report that book one Twist of Fate is about to be reissued by Spectacle Publishing Media Group, and that book two Wretched Fate, will probably be out by the end of this summer. We felt again the excitement of being an author, and it breathed life into the ordinary.

So fellow creators, find that key that will bring you back to the magic place you were the first or second or third time you looked at your creation and realized how talented you are. It may require doing something like driving around, knocking on doors and bragging a little, but you know you’ll also find people who think that what you’ve done is really cool. Or if you’re within that horrid writer’s block we all hit, sit down at the computer and write something new. Remind yourself again why you’re an author. It’s fun. It’s rewarding. It’s an outlet for your creative soul.

And you’ll find yourself driving home, like mom, dad and I did, listening to an old radio station and singing along with the music.

Genilee Swope Parentehappy driving

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Getting over the Speed Bumps

Speed_BumpLike many writers, I seemed to be suffering from a period where my writing is at a standstill. For the first six books, the words just rolled out of me and onto the computer. But my writing seems to be suffering from stumbling blocks lately. One of those speed bumps is the reality that, as my books have progressed, the plots get more and more complicated. I’ve never had much trouble coming up the characters—they just form in my head and crystallize as I’m writing. However, writing and then fine-tuning mystery plots is difficult. There are many details that have to be figured out as far as how something could logically happen. And it’s not always easy to lead readers on side-trips so they don’t figure out “who dunnit” too early in the book. This is especially difficult with the Sam Osborne book I’ve trying to write now, which involves a murder. The killing could have been a case of a mistaken identity, which makes finding out the murderer more difficult. You’ll have to wait until that’s all on paper to see what I mean. As with the other books, I really like my main characters in this book.

Part of my problem, too, is that I took the last year to sit down and draft some short stories. Book Four of the Sam Osborne series was done, and I needed a new challenge so before I returned to my detective, I wanted to try some short stories. I’d done a few stories that were based on facts for magazines. This year, I wrote an entire collection based on seasonal holidays.

Now, I have an idea for how to return to Sam. However, it began in my head as a short story. I’m seeing now how much more detail, work and time it takes to write a full-length novel and wondering if writing short stories was a better form for me. I guess I’ll find out as I spend more nights lying in bed thinking about this latest plot!

Book signings have also been slow lately, partly because of my husband’s health—it’s difficult for him to drive places when he doesn’t know where he’s going, and I can no longer read a map or the road signs. And like with most people, life has gotten in the way—my daughter and writing partner works more than full time and has a graduating senior; my other two daughters came to visit; and these events have made for a busy Spring.

However, all of this having been said, Genilee and I have recommitted to Book One—Twist of Fate and hit the streets together again to set up more signings and events. We’ve already had one success, which we’ll report on closer to the event.

We were also excited to find out that Spectacle Publishing Media Group has decided to issue a second edition of the first book right before book two comes out. We are Spectacle’s top seller and proud of that fact. I’ll hope you’ll visit their site to see what else they’ve published recently (Spectaclepmg.com.) And both of our latest releases will be happening this summer – the reissue probably in July and the publishing of Wretched Fate to follow in August or September.

I am very proud of Wretched Fate and love the characters of Jacob and Rosalie. They are both unusual in their lifestyles—Jacob a recluse with a famous name, Rosalie a woman in need of a direction for her life. When they meet and work together to solve the crime, something magical happens. We think something magical will also happen when you read it!

F. Sharon Swope

 

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Talking about our baby

First of all, I want to apologize for making Genilee write this blog for almost a month now.  We had agreed to take turns every other week but I was tied  up preparing for, then hosting family as well as trying to deal with this new program on my computer—Dragon Speak. The program allows me to dictate into the computer to compensate for my failing eye sight.

Understanding any new program is hard enough – but that isn’t what has been giving me fits. Remembering to turn it on and off is the hard part. Dragon Speak is set to type every word you say, and it’s a pretty accurate process. However, remembering when it’s on and when it’s off is the big problem. For example, if the phone rings while you’re sitting at your computer, your instinct is to pick it up, say “hello,” then carry on a normal conversation.  If you do that when Dragon Speak is enabled, once you hang up, you’ll see that the page you were writing now has an entire phone call conversation typed. You go to delete the unnecessary language uttering a few unseemly words, and those words will appear on the page too.  So far, it seems I spend as much time deleting as writing!

But that’s enough complaining! I wanted to report how fun and useful last week’s book event was. Genilee and I were asked to come to the Thursday Thrillers Mystery Club sponsored by the Potomac Community Library.  We were early and the large room that greeted us was empty. However, we waited in the library and by the time of the meeting, that room was filled. We sat at the end of a very long table graced on each side by over twenty members.

 Sharon and members

 

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see a table full of readers, all with our book in front of them. The idea that they all read and enjoyed our book was a thrill for these two authors. The group was enthusiastic and full of good suggestions, as well as many compliments. It’s hard for me to describe how we felt during those two hours.  The closest I can come is to imagine how a mother feels when a group of people tell her how accomplished her daughter is and how proud she should be. For you see, Twist of Fate, is like a baby to us, and getting published was like graduation day.

Thursday Thrillers discuss the plot of Twist of Fate.

Thursday Thrillers discuss the plot of Twist of Fate.

Our thanks go out to all the members of the Thursday Thriller’s club for their insights, and for sharing with us how much they enjoyed reading our baby.

And I want to leave our blog readers with a plea to watch for our second child. Wretched Fate will be out sometime this summer, and we’re equally excited about book two. In fact, we’ve worked with our publisher Spectacle Publishing Media Group very closely in many areas, including a system so that book two will not have so many typos!

Hopefully that process will begin with me and with this Dragon Speak technology. Wish me luck, and stayed tuned to this spot for updates on Wretched Fate.

F. Sharon Swope

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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