Somewhere In-Between ~ A Project of Creative Explosion + Spiritual Guidance

Swoon_Book_Cover_dYRSTqA.jpgI’m thrilled to have released my very first fictional novel. This book was a surprise project to me. The idea came, I wrote it, had it evaluated by Beta readers, and indie-published it all within a span of  seven months!

It amazes me that I was able to accomplish this when the first book I indie-published was originally written when I was thirteen years old (1987), rewrote it at age 26 (2000), then finally completed and put it out into the world in 2013. So basically my first book took me 26 years to complete! Seven months is a shocking amount of time to me to start and finish a book project, but it is also my first book published with no illustrations. I was able to focus fully on the writing of it, and when I got bored of writing, I would shift my focus to designing the cover, which went through many different versions.

I think the reason why this project went so quickly for me was a combination of a few things:

  1. CREATIVE EXPLOSION: Last year I didn’t work on ANY personal projects, when a few years ago I had decided to try putting out a book every year. I had quite a lot of built-up creative energy which had to push aside for almost two years while we prepared our house for sale in Lyndhurst, OH and then searched for our new home in Amherst, OH. When this book idea finally hit me this past Spring, I was ready to let the creative energy explode.
  2. SOME MUCH-NEEDED GRIEF THERAPY: My dad, Bob Carrick, passed away the year before, and per his wishes there was no funeral or memorial service, which left me with absolutely no sense of closure. I had written his obituary, but it wasn’t enough to heal my grieving heart. After a year, I finally decided to go to my friend, Kym McBride, who happens to be a gifted psychic medium and author. She gave me a reading and my dad came through as I had hoped (after my Nana and Soupy had a few words for me – he patiently waited for them to finish with me first). Clapping and rubbing his hands together eagerly, he approached me with an idea. He said he was worried about my depression and suggested working it out through a writing project of some kind. His words surprised me, because at that time I felt my depression was under control. A month and a half later, that was when the idea of my book came to mind in full understanding, and BOOM! As I came close to finishing the book in August, I found myself surprisingly falling into a VERY deep depression. I hesitate to share too much, but this book ended up saving my life at that point. To finish the book and get it out into the world became my reason for living. It might sound overly dramatic, but that’s the truth. This book is packed with ideas I’ve had for years, and gave me an outlet to express my thoughts about spiritual warfare, and how I believe it has affected me – within the guise of fiction. It became a mission to share these concepts with the world, and especially with young readers as they undergo the pains and depression of adolescence.
  3. MY CHEERLEADER KIDS: I have to thank my children a LOT for being my cheerleaders throughout this project. As soon as I felt the first few chapters were ready to share, I printed them out and fed them to my kids. My intended readership was Middle Grade (my son’s age group), but as I kept writing, it seemed to be more specifically for what I would call “Mature Middle-Grade.” My kids LOVED the book and their desire to find out what happened next fueled me to spend late nights writing, to get the next chapter ready for their review the next day! I owe a lot to their encouragement and enthusiasm for the project!
  4. R.L. STINE’S MASTERCLASS: No, I am not an affiliate, so I get nothing out of plugging this class – but I have to share that this online set of lectures by the famous Goosebumps author, R.L. Stine, was a huge help to me while I wrote the book. having never written a book like this before, the advice he shared in these lectures were invaluable to me! I just got the single class and plan to gift myself this Christmas with the “All-Access Pass” so I can also listen to lectures from Judy Blume, James Patterson, Malcolm Gladwell, Margaret Atwood, Dan Brown, etc.

The hardest part of putting a book out has always been the marketing, for me. But I feel like I’ve perhaps stumbled upon an idea I’d never contemplated before: Book Clubs! Since my book takes place in my new town, Amherst, OH, I had two local book clubs pick up reading my book already. I’m realizing this might be the best way to baby-step into a new way of marketing. I’m looking into approaching local book clubs, and I’m brainstorming about what groups might have an interest in picking up my book as a platform for discussion on subjects of grief, spiritual warfare, and the paranormal. I’m looking forward to searching for these groups and approaching them.

It amazes me how quickly a project can come to life when you allow the creative inspiration to take over. I do believe our ideas are really not our own. They are sent to us from God, and it’s the responsibility of the individual to act on this inspiration or to bury it. I encourage others to scratch your creative itch. Go for it! The world needs your project to be released!

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Read My New Book FREE on SwoonReads.com

Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 10.14.54 AM.pngI am very excited to announce that I’ve submitted my manuscript for Somewhere In-Between to SwoonReads.com (a branch of Macmillan Publishing).

This is a huge step out of my comfort zone. I normally prefer self-publishing, but I believe this story has a shot at getting traditionally published, so I wanted to give traditional publishing another try!

You can create an account for FREE on SwoonReads.com to read my manuscript and leave a review! Support is greatly appreciated. I need readers in order to get the publisher’s attention.

I’ve even printed some postcards to help spread the word. I just want as many people reading my book on this site as possible!

Visualizing Exercise for Fiction Writing

dream cast FINALI highly encourage any fiction writer to try this fun exercise to help bring your characters to life in your mind. Okay, I do feel a little nuts doing something like this, but when I actually did it, I was running up and down the stairs at home, I got so excited! This is something I just came up with on my own – I didn’t read it in a book. I just decided it would be a fun thing to do.

As I became more and more engaged with the characters I was writing for my new book, I began to imagine who would play my characters if the book ever became a movie. I tried to be somewhat realistic about it, really putting myself into the role of Cast Director for the movie based on my book (ha!). I became so enthusiastic about this idea, I took a little break from writing and decided to make a little movie poster (representing cast members) for my book’s movie!

This might seem totally wacko, but not only did it seem like a very positive idea to get the whole “Law of Attraction” thing going, but it also became a very fun exercise in character development (which wasn’t my plan – it was just something I felt like doing). When writing my dialog, I could actually see and hear these “actors” I’d chosen in my mind, playing out these roles and interacting with each other. I ended up printing the little poster out and pinned it up on my office wall as part of my personal inspiration while writing.

The result of this impromptu exercise was a much more fluid way of writing. I simply began to dictate the movie that was playing in my imagination. It all became very real. I tried describing tone of voice and mannerisms to help convey character. I chose actors I personally love, but also actors who would physically match the character traits I had in mind.

I shared the poster with my daughter and she had a fun time giving her input on the characters as well (since I had been sharing the book with her while I was writing it). This dialog was extra fun!

Fellow fiction writers, I highly recommend you give this activity a try! Sometimes I have to step away from the writing part and just tickle a different part of my creative brain to get excited again. This worked!!!