Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How a change of plans will help a little girl's dream come true

Earlier this year, I was inspired to write “12 ebooks in 12 months” – which would pretty much turn into 12 ACTUAL ebooks published each month next year. My friend and fellow author, Jenn Greenleaf, is the one who started this kinda thing, so when I heard about it, I jumped at that challenge!

So I got to work on the ebooks, figuring out which ones to write and when I'd work on each one. I’d write each ebook a month at a time, with the exception of one that was already written (which I found collecting dust on my hard drive!) and one that would be worked on a little here and there each month because it would be about a year-long experiment. My plan was to not only publish each ebook next year myself, but also to make each one available at 99 cents each.

Later on, however, I got into a discussion with a bunch of authors about ebooks being available for 99 cents, and ultimately decided that making the ebooks available at 99 cents each was not too much of a good idea. That part of my plan was dropped.

Another thing that changed was that one of the ebooks did not turn out very well. It was a year-long experimental ebook that ultimately failed, so it was crossed off my list.

However, one good thing did come out of all these changes to my plan: An ebook that I ended up collaborating with another writer on. And that will get published THIS year!

So how did that come about?

Well, in March, I started work on one of the ebooks, which is a short collection of poems about dogs (better known as a “chapbook” of poems). While I was writing it, I noticed my 10-year-old daughter, Jennifer, drawing pictures of dogs. Quite a few pictures of dogs, actually. On a whim, I proposed to Jennifer that we turn my ebook of dog poems into a project we work on together. In essence, I asked her if she wanted to co-write this ebook of dog poems with me. I already knew she was writing short stories and she'd written a poem here or there. So I wanted to know if this was something she was interested in doing with me. She said yes!

After that was decided, Jennifer got to work writing poems for this ebook. I enjoyed reading them with her and, after she was done writing the same number of poems I had, I put everything away and considered that project done for now.

Later, however, as I started working on the next ebook this month, Jennifer asked me about plans for the dog poems ebook. I told her that I wasn’t planning on doing anything with it until next year. That sad look on her face just crushed me. She looked so upset that this would not be a book for some time now. That look on her face made me rethink my plans. She told me that it was her dream to have her art published somewhere. And since this is the year that we are hoping to make dreams come true, I wanted to make this dream come true for my little girl. But how would I do it?

What would I do now?

I started to think of how we could turn this project of ours into the kind of book Jennifer had hoped for. For starters, it would have to be a print book, because she doesn’t read ebooks yet. Plus, a print book was something she could show to her teacher and friends at school. So, yes, it would definitely have to be print.

The next thing I thought about was how it would be nice to include her drawings of dogs in this book. Was there a way to make that happen?

And where would I send everything to make it all happen?

While I was going over this, a publishing company, Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing, released a new book that was a mother-daughter effort. Lee-Ann Graff Vinson, who is a fellow Gypsy Shadow Publishing author, published a book with GMTA, Queen Emily's Enchanted Kingdom, that her daughter, Emily, illustrated. I was fascinated by this and touched that the publisher, Kitty Bullard, had included the little girl’s drawing as the cover for this book. What a wonderful accomplishment for this little girl!

When this happened, I started to think, was it possible that Great Minds would do this for the dog poems book, as well? Could I make this book a reality for Jennifer?

I contacted Kitty and told her about our project. I asked her if it was possible to have the book published complete with Jennifer’s drawings. I was aware that Great Minds had published a short book in the past, so I didn’t think the length of the manuscript would be a problem in getting it into print. After some emails with Kitty, she said that it was definitely possible this would happen.

After I got the all-clear, I got to work in putting the manuscript together. I typed up all poems and went over them for any typos. Next I had to work with Jennifer on fixing up her poems. They WERE good poems, no doubt, but some of them were not very clear. There were times I had to ask her “what do you mean here?” or “can you say this another way?” The big issue with her poems was clarity. I mean, I did get what she was trying to say, but what if a reader did not? As I told her, “The reader does not know what you know.” So, basically, the only revisions she had to do with her poems was rewording some of the lines to make clear what she was saying.

After that was done, I gave the manuscript a final read, formatted it per the submission guidelines then sent it off. Next, I had to scan all of the illustrations. I had never scanned anything before, so I was nervous about not getting it right. I did goof on one of the scans, but I got the rest of them scanned okay. Then I sent that off the following week, as well.

Soon after the scans were sent off, Kitty emailed me with good news: She wanted to publish the poetry book. HOORAY!!

I told Jennifer the good news and she was leaping for joy! She was soooo excited and very thrilled. She was going to be a published artist! She was going to be an illustrator! She was going to be an author!

And she is going to be a cover designer, as well. Kitty has given Jennifer the okay to create the cover for this book.

Her dream was going to come true!

And so, the poetry book, Dogs Forever: Poems for the Dog Person, is not going to be just an ebook after all. It is going to be a print book, too. And it’s going to be a book that my little girl, Jennifer Wilson, will have her drawings and poems published in.

Congratulations, Jennifer!

And thank you, Kitty Bullard, for helping to make my little girl’s dream come true.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Necro Device, a new horror novel by Great Minds Think Aloud!

Great Minds Think Aloud Independent Publishing has released a new book, a horror novel called The Necro Device by M. T. Dismuke. This is their 6th book to date!

The following is the synopsis for the book:

A page-turner of darkest depths, betrayal, fear, and layers of hidden agendas all play parts in this intense, pulse-pounding thriller." The story of The Necro Device begins several decades in the past with the Mandiev brothers. They were extreme circus performers and traveled the world with an amazing, yet daring, show. Their stepfather - Vince Stevens trained them in the arts and taught them everything they knew, but it was for another reason, one that will later haunt and control the community for years to come. Vince built a device that required elemental energy, human energy, to power it. It required four types total, and like a combination, depending on the four elements used, it produced a specific result. In the case of the Mandiev brothers, each of them was trained in a specific element: Marcus was trained in the arts of physical endurance and regeneration - Body. Phillip was trained to master telepathic and mental abilities - Mind. Christopher was trained to withstand extremely cold temperatures - Ice. Ryan was the master of hell itself - Fire. The combination of elemental energy determined the machines output. If every requirement was met and it was designed correctly, it could then be powered up and operated one time before it would ultimately destroy itself. The device was never meant to be built. After constructing the machine, Vince later meets an untimely death, and somebody begins charging it. The Mandiev brothers are killed, and the machine is primed. 30 years later, Mary and John Hilt are hired to restore the Mandiev estate and begin to unravel decades of betrayal and a diabolical plot. Something has gone wrong with the machine, and it has been operating for years. What is it? What does it do? Who's operating it? These questions and more will be answered as Mary discovers her fate and the secret behind The Necro Device. It has a purpose...

Here is the link to the book.

Congratulations to Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing on their newest release! Looking forward to seeing many more.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Two submissions in one month??

As many people who are in touch with me know, I have been working on fixing up the manuscript for the haunted cities book for some time. I try to work on this manuscript every day. One of the people included in this book mentioned to me that he also operates a publishing company, and would I be interested in sending something their way?

I checked out this company. One of the kinds of books they publish that I was interested in are children’s books. I actually have a few children’s book manuscripts gathering dust on my hard drive. I have already had one children’s book, The Yellow Rose, published, and my first middle-grade book, which is the first book in a paranormal mystery series, will be out in the near future. But I have written other children’s books. Just haven’t gotten around to fixing them up just yet. (They were rejected by other publishers and, after going over them recently, I saw areas where I could change them to make them better.)

This invitation took me by surprise. It also had me considering my book submission plan for this year. Earlier in the year, I decided on 6 manuscripts to send out. However, there was a change in my “12 ebooks in 12 months” project (more on that later), so I have added one of those to my submission plan for this year.

In fact, I am sending it out this month (this change of plans means bumping the submission of the revised Shadow of Samhain manuscript to next month). But now that this opportunity has been sprung on me, I have to ask myself: Am I up for submitting TWO books in one month??

The manuscript I am thinking of sending them is a story inspired by a dream. I would like to have something else dream-inspired out there – and quite soon, actually – so that I can tie it in to a chapter in the third book of the Revisions book series. And given that publishing a book can take 2 years or longer, why not get in on that now? While the door is open? (Especially since there is a publisher interested in publishing this series. What if he wants to publish the set of 3 books at one time?)

So, I am definitely considering submitting this manuscript to them sometime next week. This week, I am submitting the manuscript from the “12 ebooks” project. So maybe I should just go for it and send those two manuscripts out all the same. Just do it and see what happens.

I’m always open to new experiences, so why not? I’ll give this a try and see how it turns out. I’ve had two books published in one month one year. So why not send out two books in one month? I’ll do it and see what happens. This should be interesting.

P.S. Next year, I get to do this "submission every month" thing all over again. I have a bunch of manuscripts I'll be sending out to different publishers, and that's supposed to last until August. Well, maybe!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

So long, SIGNews

The April 2012 issue of SIGNews -- the very last issue.

In the latter part of 2003, I joined the writing team for a newspaper called SIGNews. I soon learned this was a “new” newspaper that was specifically for the deaf/hard-of-hearing community – or, as the staff like to say, for “the signing community.” Its publisher is the Communication Service for the Deaf. I was thrilled to not only be a part of this team but also to have an article in the very first issue of SIGNews.

Sadly, I also have an article – actually, two articles – in what this month is the very last issue of SIGNews.

I was in the first issue and now I am in the last.

Earlier this year, the EIC of SIGNews, Jennifer Dans-Willey, informed us that SIGNews might be shutting down. They MIGHT change to an online-only newspaper or they MIGHT start up again in the future. But it definitely looked like SIGNews would soon be no more.

Not too long after this, she informed us that, yes, it was true. SIGNews was indeed going to shut down.

After I received this news, I kept writing for the paper, holding on to the hope that maybe they would change their minds. I even sent emails asking if there could be another way to keep SIGNews alive – ANY way, really – but my emails were ignored.

It just seemed to me that it didn’t matter if people offered to help. If I was a millionaire, I’d pour money into keeping SIGNews alive. If I knew computer programming, I’d volunteer to keep it alive online. If I had enough experience and credentials, I’d volunteer to be the new editor and manage things – JUST so we could all keep SIGNews alive!

But it seemed like The Powers That Be didn’t want to keep it alive. Their minds were made up to bring SIGNews to an end.

I have shed many tears over this and have grieved in private. I really grew to love this newspaper – and not just writing for it. It has really served a valuable role in the deaf community. It has really been a major VOICE for so many deaf and hard-of-hearing people worldwide. It has been THE major print newspaper for the deaf!

And now it won’t be anymore. The deaf used to have a major print newspaper we could all take pride in. Now we don’t anymore.

I am deeply saddened that SIGNews has come to an end. I am, of course, grateful I got to be a part of it. I am grateful to Jennifer for being my editor, to Raymond Luczak for recruiting me in the very beginning, and, most of all, to Communication Service for the Deaf for even bringing out SIGNews at all.

Thank you for SIGNews. Thank you for giving the deaf and hard-of-hearing a voice. Thank you to everyone who subscribed to it, read it and sent me emails about it.

We, the deaf and hard-of-hearing, will press on even if we no longer have that voice in the newspaper world anymore. Even so, we will miss everything that SIGNews did for us and meant to us.

RIP, SIGNews. It was a good run.

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