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Monday, April 27, 2015

PUBLISH THE STORY by C. Marie Bowen



MUSE MONDAY
Please welcome my guest, C. Marie Bowen, to Discover Yourself. Be sure to leave a comment and you'll be entered in a drawing for a free eBook of Passage! You have until Thursday to leave a comment and the winner will be chosen on Friday.
 
Hello, Brenda, and thank you for having me as a guest. I’m excited to be here on Muse Monday.
I’m currently working on an edge of your seat, paranormal trilogy. Mix up a near-death experience with a past life, flavor with epic romance, and then stir in a few mouthwatering cowboys, add a dash hostile conflict, and you’ll have Passage—book one in The Soul of the Witch trilogy.

The story takes hold from the first chapter and heads straight into a soul splitting journey. I am in the last stage of editing book two, Prophecy, and cannot wait to have it released so I can latch onto the final piece of the story in book three, Paradox. My goal is to submit Paradox, to my publisher by the end of this year.

Soul of the Witch first began to take shape back in 1980. I had given birth to my oldest son and taken an extended maternity leave from work. Although the story had been fighting to get out of my head for years, this was the first time I put pen to paper. Literally. Back then, I used a pen and spiral notebooks labeled #1, #2, etc. I still have those spiral notebooks.

When I returned to work, I put the notebooks in the closet and let them sit for another nine years. In 1989, I gave birth to my second son, and again, my internal muse sparked. I pulled out the old notebooks, and with the help of a friend from work, put my handwritten words into a WANG word-processor. Of course, back then, there were no PC’s or word processing applications, and no way to preserve the digital work. But I finally had a printed copy of my story. Back into the closet it went, and life moved on.

Fast forward to August, 2012. Both boys had grown, finished college and moved on to pursue their lives. I found myself extremely unhappy at work. A large corporation had purchased the company I worked for and many of my long-time co-workers and friends had left or were let go. The new management wanted their own processes and people. The times, they were a-changing, and the pressure began to affect me physically. My hair began to fall out. I developed stress related nerve pain. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

Out of the blue, my wonderful husband suggested I take some time off and regroup. I couldn’t resign fast enough. After that, I made a list of everything I wanted to accomplish during my break from work; clean out the closets, paint the hallway, and rework the flowerbeds. In my closet, I found the box with my typed story, along with a bag of spiral notebooks. I quickly added another item to my TO-DO list. Publish the story.

The first order of business was to put the book into an actual Word document. As I began typing the story, my imagination took flight. The story took over and I was filled with enthusiasm. I became a different person, happier, with all my remembered friends from the closet arguing inside my head. But I knew I needed structure and direction. I joined RWA and enrolled in editing and writing classes. I eventually ran into a few like-minded writers who also worked on their first books and we formed a critique group. I discovered my fabulous, passionate epic had to be edited with extreme prejudice. I had written each precious character with their own point of view, and included all their character-building back stories. The original work was well over 150,000 words. Yikes!

During the long edit/re-edit process, I read about an open submission at a small publishing company, Prairie Rose Publications. They were asking for Western Halloween short stories for an anthology. I had a western character and paranormal was right up my alley. I retrieved one of the “cut” back-stories, reworked it into a short story, and submitted Hunter and Lily Graham to PRP. When the acceptance email came from the acquiring Editor, I had to have my husband read it again just to be sure I understood what the email said. They loved my story and my characters and wanted to include my short story in their Halloween anthology.

Since then, I have written two more short stories for PRP anthologies. All my tales have a paranormal twist, suspense and romance. I finally submitted Soul of the Witch, Book 1, Passage, to PRP at the end of last year, and it was accepted for publication. Passage, Soul of the Witch, Book 1 published on March 12, 2015. 

I was thrilled to put a big CHECK beside Publish the story, although I have yet to paint the hallway. 

Passage - blurb:
After a car accident, Courtney Veau has a “near death” experience, and returns to her past-life in the post-Civil War west. When she wakes in a present-day hospital, Courtney realizes she’s returned to her own hollow existence. Heartbroken, she knows she left behind not only a family she loves, but life with the man who shares her soul, a man she’ll love forever, Merril Shilo.

A carriage accident nearly takes beautiful Nichole Harris’s life, stealing her memories completely. Plagued by amnesia, she is confused by flashes of memory that are out of time with the world around her, and seem to belong to someone else. Only Nichole's own strong emotions remain to guide her—and as others try to take control of her life, she fights a desperate battle to survive. Merril Shilo is someone she should know, and though her memories fail her, she is stunned by her passion for him—and the remembered agony of a broken heart.

Merril Shilo is the love of Courtney’s life—no matter when that life might be. The memories and emotions of her life as ranch heiress Nichole Harris consume Courtney’s mind—and her heart. Courtney soon finds her desire for Merril threatens her sanity, as he beckons from a past she can no longer reach. She would give her life to return to her soul-mate, if she could only find the passage back to him.


Excerpt from Passage:
The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”
Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.

LINKS:

Connect with C. Marie here: Website: www.cmariebowen.com

13 comments:

  1. I found it very interesting the process behind your writing and deciding to follow through. First off, writing with an infant in the house just amazes me. Most would be too tired to do so. Then taking it from spiral notebooks and typing into word, wow! I took my mothers spiral notebooks of family history information and put it on the computer so I know how much effort that must have taken. Knowing it became real for you again is just wonderful. Makes me wish it was in me to do it.

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  2. When I think about how much I have accomplished in the last 2-3 years, I am amazed. After the kids were born, it took time and determination to stay on task, even if it is only 30 minutes a day that I could write. I wish now that I had gotten back to my writing sooner. Thanks for stopping by, Artie

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  3. I can identify with your period of change where you put your writing away to see to other things in your life. I can also relate to your feelings about work when the corporation took over and blinding change took you to a dark place. When the Sisters of Mercy sold the hospital I had worked for to a huge medical center, everything changed in the work environment. It became a cold place dedicated to the bottom line, which was profit instead of the kind of patient care I was used to giving. On top of that, I had transferred to the emergency department with the higher goal of doing something to make a difference. Big mistake. It was miserable, so I came up with a financial plan to retire early. I was beginning to sell my novels consistently and that made me more determined to spend the second half of my life doing something I loved. So, having walked that road, I have to say I am very happy for you that you finally got that chance to change your life. I am glad for you that you have a caring husband to watch your back.
    I have Passages, thanks to you for winning it. I look forward to reading it. Now I have a question for you: Does the trilogy need to be read in order? Are the same characters in each book as main characters? Can each book be read as a stand alone, or is the conclusion in the final book? Okay, maybe more than one question there.
    I wish you heaps of happiness and success, Connie.

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  4. Hi Sarah,
    One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't begin working on my writing, with publishing as a goal, much earlier in my life. It would have made leaving the new corporation much easier. The loss of income still pinches the budget.

    Soul of the Witch is one story, written in three parts. The storyline in Prophecy picks up right where Passage leaves the reader, and moves forward. Nichole and Merril are an important part of each book, however there are other characters that become important to the overall story that the reader doesn't meet until Prophecy. Paradox finishes the story. They need to be read in order. Maybe I should number the chapters that way, Passage ends with Chapter 39, perhaps Prophecy should begin with Chapter 40. Hmm. I wonder what Cheryl would say? I might ask her. :-D
    Thanks for stopping to chat with me, Sarah.

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    1. Connie, I'm thinking, if the 3 books are a continuous story, perhaps you should consider adding Part I, Part 2, and Part 3 to the title to give the reader an indication the story is continuous instead of 3 stories held by a similar thread or plot. Just an opinion, but I don't think you should start each book with the next chapter up, That might get confusing to readers, but I think they'll understand if they're labeled as Part 1,2,&3. Just my opinion. It's really something for you and Cheryl to discuss and decide.

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  5. Hey Connie!
    What a great journey you've been on your entire life--and now you have the publishing part behind you and more to look forward to! I absolutely LOVED Passage, and can't wait for Prophecy and Paradox...and whatever else you come up with. I truly do love your characters and the stories you come up with for them.

    It does say BOOK 1 on the cover, so that's taken care of. No, wouldn't want to start Book 2 with Chapter 40, but that's okay. People will figure it out, and we can put a little blurb in the beginning to keep them on track. Not to worry.

    I write everything longhand. Did I tell you that? I can't sit in front of a blank screen and write a story. I have to have a pen and paper and then I put it into the computer. But I'm a super-fast typist, so it's okay. It works out about the same for me as if I sat and started at a blank screen for hours rather than writing it on paper and then typing it in--probably works out BETTER to write it on paper. LOL

    I am so proud of you and your stories. You have a real way of telling these tales and getting them "out there" the way they need to be--the characters are just right and the storylines are sooo interesting.

    Hugs,
    Cheryl

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    1. Hey there, Cheryl,
      I'm glad you came by! I was joking about the chapter numbers. LOL! I have never seen an author do that, and I wouldn't want to break more rules than I already am, ya know?

      When I get a block writing a story, I pull out the spiral notebook. Hunter's Gamble stumped me several times, and I resorted to writing down ten different scenarios, then trying to come up with one more. It got me past the block. Hunter & Lily, The Kid in Black and Prophecy were all typed. I do draw maps and and draw floor plans and ranch layouts.

      High-paw,
      Connie

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  6. Connie, I just typed a note and it didn't go through, so this time will be shorter. We are kindred spirits as I did the same. Wrote by hand, then slowly adapted to the "old" word processor. Between me being a wife and mother of two boys and working as a nurse long hours, I too wrote in my "spare time" and over MANY yrs. put writing on the shelf. My first historical was 859 pages. Oh my God, how very gracious the editors were back then with someone who didn't have the right to submit or the sense not to submit such garbage. But I too joined RWA and help found our local chapter, did quite a bit of national judging for various chapters' contest--that not only strengthened my skills, but I found it extremely rewarding to help the others who were I used to be. We're both on a roll now. So thank you for sharing your hilarious journey. I very much enjoyed your blurb and excerpt. Passage is on my to-read list as I'm on a dealine for PRP's anthology for the Fourth. But am looking forward to all 3. Great cover too. I'm so pleased to part of such a publishing company as PRP. Wishing you the best and much success with all 3.

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    1. Thank you Bev.
      We did share a similar journey. I also started a story for the Fourth of July anthology, then set it aside. I really need to stay focused on the task at hand, which is this trilogy. Novels take so much more time, not only writing, but editing, at least for me on the first two. My writing has improved (I hope) and perhaps Paradox will not need so much attention the second time through. *crosses fingers* The more we write, the more we learn and the better we get. At least, that's the plan.

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  7. Hi Connie,
    I saw a young girl's web-post yesterday. It read, 'I just finished writing my first book. Does anyone know where I should publish it?'
    I felt bad, because I was sitting in my chair snickering. Then I became worried for the young stranger. Oh my goodness, there are so many things she needs to know. So many questions I wanted to ask. Is it polished? Has another writer looked at it? Do you belong to any writing groups? Do you know about the sharks in the water? Do you know what a query letter is? These questions could go on for hours. But . . .
    First comes the congratulations. She has finished the novel. That's a start. But what I really wanted to say was . . . Congratulations. You are only four years away from publishing a good book.

    I have read Passage, and I enjoyed hearing your personal story. Books that are worth reading come from the artist who has taken the time to learn how to write them, and you have. It does take discipline and hard work to accomplish an amazing story like yours. People don't get five stars next to there name because they wrote a book. You have them because you've taken the time to learn and create.

    BTW The young girl had an outpour of authors trying to help her. You have to know, authors do support one another, but in those answering post, there were some sharks circling. They were ready to take her money and publish whatever words she wanted to print.
    That's why having a great story, knowing how to tell it, and having the right publishing company on your side is what makes a true artist like you. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Hi C.A.!

      I've seen posts like that too. Writing is a craft, just like electrician or plumber. It takes work and dedication and a whole lot of education you don't get in a Creative Writing class. Those help, but the best advice and learning for me has come through other authors.

      I hope the girl gets pointed to RWA, the classes and the chapter contests. Ideally, she'll find a group, local or on line, who will advise her. The editing part is more pain than pleasure. I think many authors either try to skip that part, or give up there.




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    2. Oh, the Gremlins ate half my post. Those buggers.

      Thanks for stopping by! ~Connie

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  8. My Winner of the free ebook is Beverly Wells. Bev, I have sent you a message on FB. Please contact me at connie (dot) bowen (at) gmail (dot) com. Congratulations!

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