Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My essay collection on deaf parenting, Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent, has been published!

This month, something happened that I had been waiting for and hoping would happen for years: My deaf parenting book, Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent, was finally published! At long last, the book I spent years working on and more years trying to get published has NOW been published! Sometimes I can only look at the cover and think, Wow, it’s really a book!

It’s definitely been a long journey with this one. I tend to say that with so many of my books. Some took years to perfect and some took years to find a home. But I hung in there and it finally happened.

I started writing this book while still a writer for the newspaper SIGNews. This book actually started off as a blog on my web site and I got some emails from readers who enjoyed reading my posts. The feedback made me think that I could take those blog posts to the next level and transform them into a book. At this time, I’d already had essays on being a deaf parent published elsewhere – in Mothering Magazine, in the DPPi Journal and even in an issue of SIGNews. But I really didn’t have a steady stream of essays on deaf parenting going out. I was focused on freelance writing and SIGNews at the time. So I decided to do a book of essays on deaf parenting. After all, I am a deaf parent! That pretty much made it easier for me to write about it.

I often say “I have so many stories to tell.” This is true of my experiences as a deaf parent. You’ll get to read them in this book.

There are two reasons why this book took so long to get published. As an author, I must admit I am a perfectionist when it comes to the books I write. The book HAS to be perfect. I’ll rewrite chapters or even a whole book several times before I think it’s ready to go. I get feedback through several readers, revise more where needed, and try to get even MORE feedback. A manuscript can go through several drafts, several readers and several rounds of edits before it can be ready to submit. And even then, it goes through more edits and revisions after acceptance.

Another thing that delayed publication was finding a home for this book. That was not easy. A lot of publishers, even those specializing in deaf products, only wanted books by famous people – even when it came to a book on deaf parenting. I’m not Marlee Matlin or Dr. I. King Jordan, so that made it a little difficult for me to get this book to certain publishers who wanted any and all books on a deaf topic. With no luck there, I considered self-publishing the book. My friend in London suggested I send it to her publisher, but they were closed to submissions. I kept them in mind, but months passed and nothing happened. Then I “met” John Lee Clark through HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and I interviewed him for one of my WIPs. Just so happened to turn out that John was deaf, too (well, deaf and blind), and he told me about this company he was reading manuscripts for called Clerc Scar. I sent him my book and he liked it and I was told they wanted to publish it. Several months later, I got an email saying Clerc Scar was shutting down, so it was back to finding a publisher again.

At this point, I’d had books published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing. This independent publisher has been AMAZING to work with and I get along real well with Denise Bartlett and Charlotte Holley. They’re great!  (Denise also edits the poetry books that I self-publish and Charlotte designs the covers.) I have been very happy with GSP so, when this book was once again up for grabs, I asked Denise if she wanted to see it. She said yes and, shortly after I sent it to her, GSP offered me a contract for the book. I was overjoyed!

And now this book is at long last published. It is REALLY published! I am just so thrilled. And I am grateful to everyone who has helped make this happen, especially to Denise and Charlotte for taking this book and working with me to make it an essay collection I can be proud of.

Of course, my experiences as a deaf parent don’t end there. As it happens, I originally planned to only write about my experiences with one child, and even then up until she was 5 years old. Then I had a second child and there were more stories to tell. (And some things have changed, too. For example, in the book, I talk about how hard it was to get my son Jesse to use sign language. Most of the time, we had to lipread him. These days, however, he fingerspells practically everything he says to his deaf parents.) In the event I have more stories to tell, they’ll go up on my Palms to Pines blog. For now, there is this book, and I am so grateful I have these memories to share with my children from their younger years for a very long time. Here’s to many more!

You can purchase an electronic copy of Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent through online retailers as well as from Gypsy Shadow Publishing here and you can get the print here.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Amaranthine Children of Shadows Blog Tour: Interview with Author Joleene Naylor

Today I'd like to welcome author Joleene Naylor to my blog. Jo is here today to promote the newest book in her Amaranthine series, Children of Shadows. Jo is an amazing writer who has created a fantastic vampire series unlike any other I have read before. If you like reading vampire fiction, check out Children of Shadows today!

Interview with Joleene Naylor

How long have you been a writer?

To quote my brother, “yonks”. Anyone who makes up stories in their head is a writer, they just may not know it. The only difference between the dreamer and the so-called writer is that a writer puts the thoughts on paper.

What was your biggest obstacle in getting your book published and how did you overcome it?

My main obstacle has been what internet junkies term “real life”. I was supposed to write the book last July/August, but our apartment flooded so we spent the entire summer moving. By the time everything was settled it I was two months behind. Since then we’ve had various things, including the death of my wonderful mother-in-law, so it’s been a matter of just keeping on keeping on in the face of it all.

How did you end up getting your newest book published?

I self-publish because I like the control. I like making my own covers and handling things myself, though I have a fantastic group of editors/beta readers that are so, so important. I can’t thank them enough.

How did you get the idea for your book?

I was playing with a title generator (because I am terrible at thinking of titles) and it gave me Children of something and Gate of Shadows as possibilities. I pulled out the two good words and then had to decide who or what the Children of Shadows were, and it went from there.

What is the most important lesson you have learned as an author?

That things rarely go the way you plan. No matter how carefully I plot a scene out, my characters will never behave. Or they’ll think of something that I missed which totally ruins everything I had planned. I’ve also learned there’s no point in trying to force the situation back into the parameters I wanted. It’s better to just go with the flow.

What genres do you write in? If more than one, how do you balance them?

I write primarily paranormal, but I have a satirical novel in the works with a partner, as well as a fantasy novel my brother and I have started.

What are some of your other books we might want to check out?

If you want to jump right into the series, you can start with the first book, Shades of Gray, where Katelina first meets Jorick. Or, since the books are written to explain everything you’ve missed, you can skip straight to the newest. If you don’t want to commit to a series, there is a short story collection, Vampire Morsels. You don’t need to read the books to appreciate the 17 tasty bites of vampire fiction concerning side characters from the series.

What else do you do besides write books?

I make book covers and do formatting for other authors, as well as maintain blogs, a website, play at a photography hobby, watch anime, nag my family, and walk my dog. I also pet cats sometimes and occasionally manage to work on a webcomic.

Do you read books in the same genre you are currently writing in? Why or why not?

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but not really. I’m more of a fantasy and sci-fi fan. No doubt that’s why my current story arch has all the ingredients of a fantasy trilogy, including spanning three books. There’s the hero, the epic quest, the evil “wizard”, the army of super fighters the hero runs into and wins to his side, the mismatched band of companions… It’s kind of like Lord of the Rings with fangs.

What can we expect to see from you next?

Book 7, Clash of Legends, should be out the end of this year or else early 2014, and will pick up pretty much where Children of Shadows left off. I’ve also started a short story collection, Tales of the Executioners, that stars the Executioners, the elite vampire police. At the moment the first story, Aine, is free on Smaswhords.

What is your advice to a writer trying to get a book published?

Write the books and then research your options. No one path is right for everyone. You might be a better fit for small press or indy, or your book might work better with a traditional publisher. The most important number one thing is to RESEARCH every step of whichever process you choose. Know what’s happening, and why. If you need to get your own cover, know who you’re working with and what they can do. The same with formatting, editing, and any other author service. It’s your money and your book, so take the time to care. If your schedule is just too full to do that, then you need to reexamine your priorities. 

About Joleene Naylor:

Joleene Naylor grew up in southwest Iowa surrounded by soybeans, corn and very little entertainment – so she made her own. She has been writing and drawing since she was a small child, with a particular leaning towards fantasy, horror and paranormal. It is this love of all that goes bump in the night that led her to write the Amaranthine series. 

In her spare time she is a freelance artist, book cover designer and photographer. Joleene maintains blogs full of odd ramblings and hopes to win the lottery. Until she does, she and her husband live near Bolivar Missouri with their miniature zoo. However, unless she starts buying tickets she won’t win anything.

Joleene's links:


author blog

FB author page



Facebook profile



The sixth installment of the Amaranthine series pulsates with the dark blood of vampire lore.
The Children of Shadows, a vampire cult not seen for hundreds of years, resurfaces to wage war on the vampire guilds. Led by a familiar face, the cult wreaks havoc while Katelina and Jorick are trapped in Munich. Ume, a mysterious vampiress, claims to know Verchiel and offers the help of her secret organization. But can they trust her?

As mysteries are solved, new ones appear. Why have the Children of Shadows returned, and is it really a former ally that leads them, or a look-alike?

Legends rise and secrets are revealed in a world where vampires walk, drenched in blood and shadows.


The guards hurriedly saluted and opened the door again. Katelina hung back as the full terror of the High Council crashed over her, and Jorick squeezed her hand. As he met her eyes, a soothing calm spread through her. Though it disappeared quickly, she knew it was his way of saying everything would be all right.
They walked inside. Like the foyer, the floor was polished parquet and the walls were half wood panel and half plaster. Flags of red, blue, green, and gold hung on the walls and complemented the high ceiling, which was done in a stained glass pattern of the same colors. Lights behind the glass gave the illusion of sunlight, even though they were deep underground.

What looked like six carved jury boxes lined the walls, two on the back wall and two on each side. The farthest set was filled with vampires wearing deep green robes and holding folders. Between the two boxes was a smaller one that held three vampires in royal blue robes and one in gold.

Directly in front of the robed vampires, in the center of the room, was yet another wooden structure, though this one reminded Katelina of an old fashioned courtroom dock. Behind it were several long, polished benches where a handful of onlookers were seated.

Katelina tried not to look at the green robed vampires. Despite their bizarre appearance, she could feel their years hanging in the air around them. They were old; not as old as Malick, perhaps, but older than the High Council members in America. And with age came power, and with power came terror.

Wolfe led them in front of the dock and bowed low. “Presenting Executioner Jorick, from the United Sates, Executioner Verchiel, from the United States and the human belonging to Jorick. As your excellencies have been made aware, Executioner Cyprus from the United States, formerly a guard of Munich, and guard Neil, from the United States, are unable or unwilling to attend these proceedings, Executioner Cyprus through traitorous rebellion and guard Neil through death in battle.”

The vampire in the golden robe nodded. His face had the marble perfection of immortality, but signs of age still clung to it, as if he was already old when he’d been turned. He spoke, his voice deep and lyrically accented, “Danke, der Scharfrichter.”

Wolfe stepped back and took a seat on a bench. One of the guards stepped forward and motioned to the dock style box. Verchiel and Jorick stepped inside it. When Katelina started to follow the guard caught her arm. Jorick shot him a dark look, and he quickly removed his hand.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “The human is not needed.”

She looked to Jorick and he gave a barely perceptible shrug.

The vampire in the gold robe cleared his throat noisily. “Human testimony is of no use. Their uncomprehending minds create false memories in an effort to cope with those things they don’t understand and so their memories are too weak to offer truth of any accord.”

Katelina’s first impulse was to be insulted, but it was replaced by relief. She wouldn’t have to face them or their questions.

She gave Jorick a cheerful nod, and let the guard direct her to the wooden bench where Wolfe was seated.

“Perhaps now we can proceed?” The vampire in gold asked. Both Verchiel and Jorick stared straight ahead, their faces emotionless and unwavering, and the vampire smacked a carved gavel onto the railing before him. “The inquiry has begun.”

Katelina bit back a sudden gasp. This didn’t seem like the nonchalant thing Jorick had talked about.

One of the vampires in the box on the left said, “You will tell us why you cut your previous visit short and did not return to your guild as expected.”

Jorick drew himself up. “We had something that required our immediate attention.”

The questioner slammed his hand on the railing and shouted, “You mean you had to hurry away to reclaim an object you stole!”

Before Jorick could answer, a vampire in the right box said, “There is no proof that he stole the item in question, and even if he did it has no bearing on these proceedings.”

“But it does,” said the other. “It establishes that they had false intentions from the beginning.”

The vampire in gold held up his hand. “Enough. It is immaterial. We will move on.”

The vampires on the left had a whispered conference, and then the speaker asked, “Is it not true that you left in order to obtain a powerful object and awaken one who is known by the name of Samael?”

The right box spoke again, “There is no proof that that was their intention only, that they wished to intercept the relic before Malick, the malcontent, who has openly declared war on the accepted rule of vampires. In this case, the accused could be said to have the interest of The Sodalitas at heart.”

“Hardly!” cried the vampire on the left. “They wished to wake what was supposed to be an ancient master to use for their own gains!”

Katelina whip lashed back and forth as they argued, and sent a questioning look to Wolfe. He tried to ignore her, but finally relented and hissed from the corner of his mouth, “They’re all mind readers, so it’s unnecessary for the accused to say anything. The left argues against them and the right for, and whichever has the most compelling argument wins.”

“If they’re mind readers why are they talking out loud at all?”

“For the benefit of the accused who aren’t,” Wolfe said coldly. “Now be quiet.”

She wanted to comment on the alarming word “accused”, but couldn’t find a way to do it. 

Buy links:


(Coming soon to Kindle)

B&N NOOKbook 



To get the contest code go here.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Thanks for sharing. Really.

I know I don’t really say it often enough, but thank you to all of my friends, family and acquaintances for sharing about my books, even the new books. Really. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. It means so much to me when you take the time out of your busy lives to tell someone in person or on Twitter or Facebook about one of my books. That just really means a lot.

And I’m sorry if I don’t thank you soon enough. I DO intend to thank people and I DO believe it is only good manners to say “thank you” for such a kind gesture. If I don’t thank you quickly enough or in a reasonable amount of time, then please know that this does not mean I never will. Please know it does not mean that I don’t appreciate what you have done for me. I do. Really.

Life is just so insanely busy for me these days. I keep promising myself things will slow down after I turn 40 or after the kids get out of school for summer vacation, but we’ll have to wait and see if that does indeed happen. I know life is crazy-busy right now, but that doesn’t mean reaching out to people is any less important to me now than it was before. I DO try to find the time to connect with people, and if someone has done something for me, like share about one of my books, then I DO try to squeeze in a moment to thank that person.

On the other hand, I do have my own personal rules, and these may affect how soon I can thank people for sharing...

I only do the social media thing once a day. My free time is valuable to me and I need to make sure I put it to good use since it happens so rarely. If I’ve already done Facebook and Twitter for the day, I’ll do something else -- UNLESS I have something to share. Quickly.

There is only ONE PC in this house and I prefer to do some things, like Facebook, on the PC instead of on my phone. On my phone, everything is so tiny. And when I try to type, there are typos like crazy. So I usually relegate social media stuff to when I’m on the PC. And I share the PC with 3 other people in this house.

My evening time is sacred to me, because I spend it with my children. Likewise, my mornings during the weekdays are focused on getting the kids ready and off to school (and they both start school at different times) so I usually don’t start doing everything else on the computer until almost noon. If I have free time during the mornings, I scan newspaper headlines for stuff to read later, check financial stuff just to make sure everything is A-OK, and get today’s mail ready to go so I can take it with me out the door. But for evenings, I am offline until the kids are asleep. My time with the kids is very important and I want them to know I am 100% there for them when they fall asleep at night.

Sometimes I save emails for special events or occasions until that time actually arrives. I am juggling so many things right now that this is the only way I can keep my sanity and not forget anything. So if you are part of one of my WIPs or a guest for my blog, know that I WILL get back to you.

I have two part-time jobs. This author thing is one of them. And during those times, I’m focused on the job at hand. Not answering emails or social media. When the kids are in school is the ONLY time I have to work on my books, and with the youngest in school for only 2 or 3 hours at a time, well, that’s time I want to GRAB for the book work!

And then sometimes, I need to think about things! I need to think about what to say, what options to choose and what I should add about something or another. This usually does not take me very long, but if you don’t hear from me within the day, this could be why.

Nevertheless, I am definitely very, VERY grateful to everyone who takes the time to share about my books. You guys are awesome and I really, really appreciate it! If I miss your post, my apologies. I am still grateful to you all the same. Thank you so very much.