Thursday, June 19, 2014

The feeling never gets old

Where Souls Collide by Stefanie WorthToday I peeked into Amazon to find that Where Souls Collide has eased back into the Top 100:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,655 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store) #94 in Kindle Store; Kindle eBooks; Literature & Fiction; African American; Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

It's just the inspiration I need as I'm facing an unmet word count goal and the need to go to sleep because I have to work in the morning. So, forgive me if I set my sights on the prize and get back to writing.

Where Souls Collide on Amazon

Book trailer, excerpt and reviews for Where Souls Collide

Friday, May 16, 2014

Being Back

In the weeks since my last post, my brother was diagnosed with cancer and I stopped writing. Some people can charge through life's curves by setting their keyboards afire. Not me. I admit. This kind of thing brings me to a screeching halt.

In the early weeks I actually felt guilty about even wanting to put my God-given talents to use on fiction. Surely I had better things to do with my time and talent. I guilted myself into a few fits and starts; days when I'd say, "Your WIP is calling..." or "Your characters miss you..." or "You're not waiting on some magical checkered flag to rev your engine are you?..." But really, my family and I needed each other desperately for those first 21 days or so.

Then I began to see glimmers of a new normal: I slept through the night and actually felt rested the next morning. I went a whole day without bursting into tears. (Though my heart still trembles out of nowhere several times a day...) My brother met a fellow cancer warrior who lifted his spirits and quieted ours. And then I knew that I could return to my back-burnered pages.

Can I admit that I had no idea where I was in my story when I went back? It's like leaving any book midway through and picking it up after a month. I had to backtrack, refresh, re-introduce myself to the people in those pages. Once I'd forgiven myself for attending to my life, the words began to flow.

This book itself has had more than its share of ups and downs. Originally slated for publication in 2011 (then re-scheduled a time or two), I wrote the bulk of the first draft while I was going through my divorce. I should have brought the manuscript to a screeching halt while I gathered my wits, but I didn't. I forged ahead.

When the edits came from my wonderful editor Monica Harris (God rest her soul), Dorchester went into bankruptcy and the rights to my unpublished book went into limbo. It would be two years before the company and my contract found a new home when Amazon bought my former publisher and I became a Montlake Romance author.

During that time, I reluctantly started another book. Monica passed away, my oldest son went off to grad school, I settled into singledom, and realized my original story now belonged to an author with a new mindset. My beautiful cover deserves to sandwich some pages. So late in 2013, I started that story -- The Wicked and the Wonderful -- again, in earnest. And then the cancer curve came.

Yesterday, I re-read the scene I left off on six weeks ago. After some editing (which I usually don't do while I'm writing), I even scribbled the first few paragraphs of the next scene on the back of a marked-up page. And today, I'm writing this post.

I feel okay. I'm doing okay.

I won't bother typing in yesterday's changes. I'll put those pages into the draft binder with the rest of the manuscript's pages and move on to the next square in my plot chart. I'm looking forward to the villain and the heroine meeting up ahead. I hear their words and I have found my smile.

Being back is good.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

World Book Day

In honor of World Book Day, I decided to go around the house snapping photos of all our books (except the ones on my nightstand, which you saw here.) Not that I was surprised, well, ok, I was surprised by all the books we have stacked up, laying around, read and unread, loved and forgotten.

The books on the shelves in my office are actually deceiving because they're stacked three rows deep. The collection of an unknown number of mass market paperbacks with broken spines and yellowed pages, that's the shelf that houses books I swear I don't remember. Like you'll see Taltos by Anne Rice there. That story I recall fondly. Waiting by Frank M. Robinson is well-thumbed but...I guess it's been a long time.

(That crown on top of The Thorn Birds, oh, that's from my reign as Miss Black Teenage World of Missouri. Another story for another blog...)

Then let's see, there are shelves in the hallway that house a range of books. There's one holding the "baby" books that my daughter kicked out of her room last year. Yes, that made me sad (*sniff*) because she booted them to make room for her teen fantasy picks like the Evermore series and books that add angst to a tween life that doesn't need one more word of drama. (Oh, the humanity!)

There are books on those baby shelves, however, that came from my parents' house. Titles like Oliver by Syd Hoff and A Bargain for Frances by Russell and Lillian Hoban were mine when I was little. (Frances was a favorite.) In fact, me and the kids spent over an hour last week thumbing through all the titles from Barney and Big Bird on up. We have so many books crammed in there! The shelf beside the baby shelf houses series like Narnia and Harry Potter.

Mind you, each of my kids has his/her own bookshelves in their rooms. While the girl is drawn to angst, the boy gravitated to Eragon and Hunger Games.

I grew up in a house full of books and I have faithfully continued that tradition. There is another shelf in the hallway with books from home. I have The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (in two volumes) and I wonder if my father has ever noticed it's missing...

You can see The Tommyknockers (*teeth chatter*) hanging out on the second shelf there and on top of the book shelf are books written by my writing friends in the early days of this author's venture into publishing.

So, one that note, I have to make one special mention. I think it's pretty cool that I always wanted to be a writer and that I grew up to be an award-winning journalist and an author.

As much as I've written about it over the years, I'm not sure how many people know the story of me walking into a Borders bookstore one sunny afternoon in downtown Detroit and seeing a book by Phyllis Bourne called A Moment on the Lips. I picked it up, took note of the cover and the publisher: Dorchester, it said.

I bought the book and sent off my manuscript to that publisher's new African American romance line. And guess what? They offered me a contract for Where Souls Collide! The book that inspired my submission was Phyllis' first book, too, and a couple of years later, we would both pen novellas for The Holiday Inn anthology. Pretty cool, huh?

Indeed, all the years of reading and writing collided that day and I have enjoyed every moment of this adventure in words.

Happy World Book Day!


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