Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Thursday, May 30, 2013

New poetry book, Satyrs Are Cool

My daughter, Jennifer Wilson, and I have a new poetry book out that we co-wrote! The book is called Satyrs Are Cool: Poems of Mythological Creatures. We are very excited about this new poetry book. It is the second one we have written together!

So how did this book come about? Last year, Jennifer and I had something pretty awesome happen: A poetry book that we co-wrote, Dogs Forever! Poems for the Dog Person, was published. I have already talked at length about how this was special for Jennifer because it made her dream of being an author and illustrator come true, so there is no need to go over that again here. But one thing I never mentioned was something we decided to do after all the excitement died down about our first poetry book together: We decided we’d do another poetry book together! Not only this, but we would do one a year. I told Jennifer I am already publishing one of my poetry books every year (the next one will be out in the Fall), and so she thought maybe it would be a good idea for us to do one together a year, too. After we decided on this, I asked her, What kind of a poetry book should we do next? After some thought, Jennifer, who is a big fan of Greek mythology, suggested we do a poetry book about mythological creatures.

The two of us got to work. We made a list of all kinds of mythological creatures we could think of. I pondered narrowing our list down to one type of mythological creature – like Greek mythology, since that was Jennifer’s thing – but she wanted to write a poem about a vampire and a goblin. So I decided, why don’t we just include different types of mythological creatures? Instead of a certain group of them. I scoured web sites listing different kinds of mythological creatures from various types of cultures and mythologies and added ones we liked to the list.

Next, we decided on how many poems each of us would write, and that number ended up being 12 poems each. (The book had to be at least 24 pages, anyway.) From there, we made a list of what creatures we wanted to write poems about based on what was on the master list of creatures, then compared them to weed out any of them that was already taken. Jennifer insisted on the vampire poem, as well as the goblin and centaur. So after we each revised our choices to where we each had our own group of creatures to write about, we started writing.

After we finished writing the poems, I typed them up then edited them. I submitted the manuscript to GMTA Publishing, and they accepted it. But then GMTA later decided they didn’t want the book after all and canceled the contract. So I decided to self-publish the book through Createspace.

First, I had to get the manuscript edited. Since I had such a positive experience with my poetry books at Gypsy Shadow Publishing (who still keeps my poetry books on the market even though they no longer publish poetry, and I love them for that!), I contacted the editor, Denise Bartlett, about editing my poetry books. We worked something out with that and I sent her the Satyrs manuscript. She was surprisingly fast editing it! And she did an amazing job with the edits, too.

With the edits complete, I moved forward with production.

When I first put the manuscript together, I arranged the poems into an order that seemed to go well together. During production, however, I had to arrange the poems again to accommodate the illustrations Jennifer created for the book. (I tried to keep the poem and illustrations together in the final book, but things messed up somehow on one of the poems and illustrations and since I’d already fixed it five times, I didn’t have enough energy left to give it another go because it might mess other things up again! Since this was for one of my poems, I let that go. No biggie!)

Once it was finally set up in book form, I put the cover together. Jennifer had created an illustration to go with the “Satyrs Are Cool” poem so I used that one for the cover image. (I have made it a point to try to use one of her illustrations for the poetry books we co-write as well as my children’s books she illustrates, but she created the cover illustration specifically for Dogs Forever! – which is currently in the process of being put back onto the market since that book’s contract was canceled, as well.) Jennifer helped out in creating the cover, selecting style, font and colors that she wanted. Since this book was “her” idea and her book, too, I wanted her to go over the cover before I submitted everything for review.

After the manuscript and cover passed review, I reviewed the electronic proof of the book and ordered a print proof, just to be on the safe side. Everything turned out good so I launched it onto Amazon. It went live on the Createspace site on my birthday! Very cool this book’s publication date ended up being on my birthday. Yay! (Jennifer has another children’s book she has written which she wants to get published and I’m thinking of trying to get that one out on HER birthday.)

So Satyrs Are Cool was published and we are very happy our second co-written poetry book is now out. Woo-hoo! Thank you to Denise Bartlett for her wonderful editing work on this book!

Here is the cover for the book:

And here is the blurb:

Goblins, vampires, Cyclops and a zombie bodyguard! If you enjoy mythology or reading about Mythological creatures, Satyrs Are Cool will show these creatures and others in a new light through verse.

Here is a sample poem. This one was written by Jennifer:

The Siren

The Siren is the water queen.
Yet not one has e'er been seen.
She is devious, she plays quite hard
Around her tricks be on your guard.
Her face so pretty, her song so nice
But follow her singing, and you'll pay the price.

(Copyright 2013 by Jennifer Wilson)

Finally, here is where you can check it out on Amazon. It is available for Kindle as well as print.

We’re very excited about this book and we look forward to getting started on our next one!

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cover reveal for The GHOST Group, Book One

I have a book coming out soon as an ebook and the cover is now ready for all to see. Hooray!

Book One in The GHOST Group series will be out any day now. This series is being published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Here is the cover for this ebook:

Many thanks to Manon Daniels and Charlotte Holley for working together to create a fabulous cover!

Two stories in this series will be published in the ebook. Book Two will have the third and fourth stories in this series, and then the print version will contain the first four of the twelve stories in this series.

Here is the blurb for this book:

There’s something different about Sarah Town. It’s brimming with ghosts – and some of those ghosts need help! That’s where the GHOST Group comes in – the Ghost Helpers of Sarah Town. The GHOST Group is made up of five 11-year-old team members: Jesse, Jenny, Ryan, Trent, and Cassie.

The Ghost of Sarah Travers is the story about Sarah, who Sarah Town was named after. Her ghost haunts what used to be her home, but can the kids help her find who she is looking for before the town skeptic brings an end to ghosthunting in Sarah Town for good?

The Ghost of the Crying Valentine has the GHOST Group solving the mystery of a sad ghostly girl haunting their school. Rumors about this girl ghost catch the attention of a TV show and the kids lock horns with the show host as they try to help the crying ghost.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Use Social Media to Market Your New Book: Guest post by Marcela De Vivo

Writer Marcela De Vivo is a guest on my blog today. She took the time to share with authors some tips on how to use social media to promote your book.

How to Use Social Media to Market Your New Book
By Marcela De Vivo

What is Social Media

As an author, what better way is there to promote yourself other than social media? No, really—as a seasoned writer, you have all the tools you need to create successful social media outlets, as social media is all about snappy prose (and catchy graphics and images, if you’ve got that in your tool belt as well).

Social media is a great way to personally engage with your audience. It’s like free advertisements and you control the content. Set up a Facebook fan page, a Tumblr, Instagram account, Twitter, a WordPress blog—or all of the above.

Having various outlets is incredibly helpful; not only do you now have multiple ways of getting the work out on your new book, you can also use them to promote your promotions of yourself (like a Matryoshka doll of social media!). For example, you can post links on your personal website that will lead others to your Twitter or posts, your Tumblr, your Facebook fanpage or any permutation that you can think of.

Where to Start

One of my favorite authors as a teenager was Meg Cabot, best-selling author of The Princess Diaries.  Now, she had quite a following (and a movie deal) by the time social media became in vogue, but that didn’t stop her from utilizing what is a valuable resource for many: she started writing weekly blog posts.

As an avid reader of her works, I also became an avid reader of her blog. She wrote about her day-to-day life, but also included tidbits about books that she was currently writing and editing. Her website was a great way for her readers to stay in touch with what she was working on.

A personal blog is a great way to start your foray into social media—readership of your blog will soon translate into a readership of your work. Plus, you already have the necessary skills as a writer!

To further promote your website, you can hold contests (perhaps with a free copy of your book as a prize), add social share buttons (so people can share links to your posts) and Facebook commenting (so people can share their thoughts on your work!).

Successful Social Media

Probably one of the most notable authors for social media is young adult writer John Green.  John Green is something of a social media juggernaut: he’s on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and perhaps most notably, on YouTube. He runs a popular channel along with his brother (their channel is aptly named “VlogBrothers”). Video can be a great way for your readership to get to know you “personally.”

Personally, I’ve never read his books, but his posts that make their way onto my dashboard on Tumblr are so funny, that I often find myself wanting to pick up one of his books—and isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Measuring Activity

Once you have your various social media outlets set up, you can use a tool to track the activity on the sites. Certain tools are capable of tracking visitors, leads and customers.  Tracking such activity is a great way of measuring the effectiveness of your social media outlets in promoting your new book.

So, get out there and create that blog! And Twitter account, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram accounts. It’s a great way to get a loyal following.


Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area whose writing covers a range of industries, including marketing, tech, gaming, health and fitness. She uses various social media outlets to successfully promote her blog.   

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Monday, May 13, 2013

The Importance of Proofreading: Guest post by author Dee Nicholls

Dee Nicholls is the author of the new book, Hurricane Day. She is a guest on my blog today to talk about why it's important for authors to proofread their work rather than relying on spell check to edit their manuscripts.

The Importance of Proofreading
By Dee Nicholls

Two years ago I sat down with a pile of paper and a pen to write my first book! When I was about half-way through, my husband took me out and bought me a laptop, and my best friend came over and taught me how to use Microsoft Word. I thought it was the greatest thing ever invented! Not only was it much faster to type than to write by hand, it even corrected all of my mistakes. At least that’s what I thought.

I finished my book, all 90,000 words of it (which was down to 55,000 by the time it was published) and sent it off to my beta reader. Renee is the same friend who taught me how to use Microsoft. We’ve been best friends for a very long time, and she knows she can be brutally honest with me. The conversation went like this:

Renee:  “If I see one more comma, I’m going to rip my hair out of my head.”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Renee: “Did you read through this manuscript?”
Me: “Of course. Is something wrong?”
Renee: “I just counted eleven commas in one sentence!”

Oops. Lesson learned: When you read through something, especially something you’ve written, edited and read a million times, you see what you expect to see. My mistake was in hitting the comma key every time I paused to think, without even realizing it. Then when I read back through it, I still paused in the same places so the comma didn’t seem out of place.

When I began working as a proofreader for a small publisher I realized proofreading is MUCH different from reading for enjoyment, or even editing. You are not looking at content, or losing yourself in the story, you are reading each and every word, punctuation mark, every symbol on every page. Often times, especially when using Track Changes for edits, you end up with things like; punctuation on the wrong side of quotation marks, missing punctuation, words written twice, missing words, missing letters… These are the things you MUST look for while doing a final proofread of your manuscript. Spell Check can’t tell the difference between “The girl had rice.” And “The girl had had lice”.

Dee Nicholls lives on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband, three kids (ages twenty-two, fourteen and two) and three dogs. She has always loved working with children: first teaching dance, then directing and choreographing school plays. Her love of reading began when she was three, and she’s had a book in her hand ever since. When her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep at night, she decided to try her hand at writing and loved it. She's been writing ever since.


Hurricane Day is more than a story about a hurricane. It explores the hectic pace of the modern day family. Jimmy and his family are always in a hurry, always rushing from one activity to the next. However, when they find out there is a hurricane headed straight for them, Jimmy's parents must slow down and take the time to reassure him that everything will be all right. They take a break from the rat race to answer all of his questions, as they prepare for the hurricane.



Barnes and Noble

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday finishes

This was a day of finishes for me. Today I finally finished working on some things that have taken me a LONG TIME to work on. But I wrapped that all up today and I am so glad to get them done. Yay!

The first thing I finished was a bit of “email housekeeping.” I have two email accounts I stopped using a long time ago, so of course that meant there were many unanswered emails and MANY emails I just didn’t read. We’re talking a buildup in the tens of thousands! Well, it took me several months but I FINALLY got through them all. Yay! I am sad for some of the personal emails I missed out on but I am glad that I’m still connected with some of those people and everything is still good with us. I also missed out on some blog comments, but I’ll get to responding to them shortly.

The next thing I finished today was a chapter in Book Three in The GHOST Group series. I have been working on this chapter for two weeks! I was really struggling with it because it was hard for me to really “visualize” this part of the story, really get into the story and pick up on everything, but I worked on it every day for two weeks a little here and there, and today I finished it. YAY! I’m so thrilled that chapter is done, and I am quite happy with it, too. This is the fifth draft of this book, and I hope the FINAL draft! So I’m trying really hard to make it the best I can.

One other thing that I finished today was the set-up for a book I am self-publishing. It is Jennifer’s angel book and it’s taken me all week to get the files right and everything in order. It was rejected during the review process twice. Ugh! So I was working hard on that all week and FINALLY it passed review! I have ordered the proof copy of the book today just to make sure everything is in order. I sure hope so. I’d like to have this project completed, just so I can move on to the next book!

And speaking of … Jennifer and I have a new poetry book coming out soon. I am also going to self-publish this book. And today was another finish for that book, as well: The editing has been completed. Yay! (Thank you, Denise Bartlett! You are an awesome editor!) We are very excited about this poetry book and I can’t wait to share news about it when it comes out.

Got a lot of things wrapped up today and I am glad for that. I did not finish everything I have going on (still need to finish reading a novel I am reviewing for NOR, still need to finish the New Orleans chapter for the haunted cities book and, of course, I still need to finish finalizing Book Three!), but I did finish quite a few other things today. Now we’ll see what I manage to get done over the weekend.

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Monday, May 06, 2013

My new children's book, Hunter's Upcycling Adventures

They say that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That’s exactly what I did after my contract for a children’s book, Hunter’s Upcycling Adventures, was terminated by a publishing company before the book was even published. Instead of submitting the manuscript to other publishers, I decided to self-publish the book instead. However, given that my first foray into self-publishing was not very successful, I was dreadfully nervous about trying it again.

But I HAD to do it. I had to jump on that self-publishing bandwagon, because the contract for my daughter’s book, Sarah’s Special Angel, was also terminated. Instead of just shrugging it all off and telling her to deal with this disappointment, I decided to take over. But I also wanted to get my other books (Follow That Dream and A Million Doughnuts) back out there, as well. So I might as well go the whole nine yards and self-publish my books while I was at it!

But first, Earth Day was coming up. And since my children’s book had an eco-friendly theme, I decided to make it available in time for Earth Day. Thanks to some help from fellow self-published authors who are awesome friends (Kate Tenbeth and Brian Shell), and thanks to Createspace working so fast as I had to load and reload files until everything was perfect, I was able to get at least the electronic version of my children’s book out there in time for Earth Day (and I think that’s pretty appropriate; save the trees!).

So, yay! I got it out in time for Earth Day!

And thanks to Kate and Brian’s help, I was able to create a good-looking book!

Today I received the print copies and it looks fabulous. I am so thrilled. This time I succeeded in self-publishing. A big THANK YOU to Kate and Brian! You guys were such a HUGE help! And thanks to all the other authors I have talked with who have been so amazingly supportive and encouraging about this new venture.

I was inspired to write Hunter’s Upcycling Adventures when I was writing craft articles and creating upcycled craft projects with my children. I was not able to find a storybook about upcycling on the Internet so I decided to write one instead. My daughter, Jennifer Wilson, illustrated this book (that’s one of her illustrations on the cover).

Here is the blurb for this book:

One day, 5-year-old Hunter becomes bored playing with his toys. When he helps his mother with her recycling chores, he learns about something called "upcycling," where old things are made into new things. So begins a world of fun for Hunter as he goes on a safari, sails on a ship in search of treasure and enjoys stargazing all thanks to the upcycled things he makes.

Buy link

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