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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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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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Stepping it Up

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dreamstime

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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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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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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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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