Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Monday, May 26, 2014

My new poetry book, Remember the Soldier

Today is Memorial Day. For Americans, today is a day we take some time from our busy lives and our vacation fun to remember those who gave their lives for our country. They say that “freedom isn’t free” and this is very true of our members in the military, as well as those who have served and those we have lost. There are also the POWs (Prisoners-of-War) and those who are MIA (Missing In Action).

While many think mostly of the soldiers (Army) who have served our country, I will never forget the others in other branches of the military: Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Thank you to all of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have sacrificed it all to defend our country.

My new poetry book, Remember the Soldier, is my tribute to all of those men, women and even dogs who have risked their lives, left their homes and families, to serve our country in the military. I also have poems in this book about the POWs, those who are MIA and, of course, the veterans. Thank you to Denise Bartlett for editing this poetry book and thank you to Charlotte Holley for creating a powerful cover for this book.

I got the idea for this poetry book while reviewing the poems I had gathered together for another poetry book. I saw a few poems with the same theme and realized they could go into one book that would honor our members in the military. I sat these aside and, eventually, the time came when I could work on this poetry book. What is interesting is that, at the time I was writing the other poems for this book, there were A LOT of stories in the magazines and newspapers about soldiers, issues in the military and even soldier dogs. I came across organizations set up to help those in the military, as well as veterans, and I even reviewed a novel for Night Owl Reviews about a Marine struggling with PTSD.

These all affected me so profoundly that I wrote a poem about them. I debated citing each source of the poem in the book but, in the end, decided not to. Even if they hadn’t been written about, all of those issues are still a part of the lives these soldiers live with while in active duty.

Another debate I had while writing this book was whether or not I should even be publishing this book at all. I have never been in the military. I have absolutely no idea what it is like to be in the military or what all they have gone through. 

Who was I to write such a book?

I am the person outside looking in. I am the Army brat who grew up hearing stories of military service and being told of relatives who have been (and still are) in the military. I am a writer who writes about people, places, things, events and life in general. I am a civilian who is most grateful to all members of the military, including those who have served, and have respect for the men and women who put on that uniform and fought for our country.

This book I have written is my way of showing that respect. I write books. This is what I do. And writing this book as a tribute to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines is my way of honoring them and thanking them for their service.

Thank you to you all.

Blurb for Remember the Soldier:

They have fought in wars and they have fought on the frontlines. They are the soldiers who stepped up and risked it all to fight for our country. Remember the Soldier is a collection of poems honoring the men and women in uniform who have left behind their homes and families to bravely defend our country, as well as the veterans who served.

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

The 20-by-40 goal: I did it!

A lot of times, goals change. We try to do something, that doesn’t happen, so we try to do something else. Or, we amend the goal and accomplish it in a different way. (This is actually the case with one of my goals, but that’s for another blog post.)

For me, I have a “book goal” with the books that I write. My very first goal was to get an agent – and I DID get an agent. (Sadly, it turned out to be a bad agent, so the book she represented never ended up with a publisher.) So from that, my amended goal was to get an agent AND have a book placed with a major publisher thanks to that agent. And for a while, I tried to make that happen.

But then came the winds of change, taking me along with them to focus on other goals. Get a book picked up by a traditional publisher? Done. Co-write a book? Done. Get a children’s book published? Done.

Eventually, after accomplishing a string of goals, I came to this one: The 20-by-40 goal. Basically, have 20 books published by the time I turned 40.

I turn 40 next weekend, and I am pleased to report that I have accomplished this goal. I did it! I have written and/or co-written 20 books by the time I turn 40. Hooray!!

My latest book, the second in the GHOST Group series, was the 20th book. But it seems there will be 21 books by the time I turn 40: My latest poetry book, Remember the Soldier, just came out on Kindle. (It’ll be available in paperback soon.)

So, that’s 21. But I still managed 20 before I turn 40, and that’s pretty awesome! I know I could not have done that if it had not been for self-publishing. I know I have gotten flack from others for self-publishing through Createspace, but almost all of the books I have self-published are poetry books and children’s books. After getting poetry books published by GMTA Publishing, and then them turning around and saying, “We won’t publish your books anymore because you won’t work for us anymore. Goodbye!” there was NO WAY I was going to leave my poetry books and children’s books in someone else’s hands. (Though I do trust Gypsy Shadow Publishing but, sadly, they stopped publishing poetry. At least they haven’t removed my poetry books!) No, I took the reins of those books and I’m happy I can self-publish them. (Thank you, Createspace!) I know people still thumb their noses over the whole thing, but this is how I want it to be. Same thing with my daughter’s books. I won’t ever again let somebody else have that control. That whole mess is WHY I returned to self-publishing with those particular books and also why I will STAY with self-publishing with those particular books -- even if some people don't like it or think it's the wrong choice for me to make. It's not up to them, it's up to me.

Accomplishing this goal also meant A LOT of hard work. For a long time, I’ve been toiling away with these books, constantly working on them and working on them. It’s meant missing out on some things and not having a very active life (which is now going to change, by the way), but I had to put in A LOT of time, effort and dedication. I did not just wish for these books to get written. I sat down and I wrote them and I worked hard to make them publishable.

And, ultimately, I have so many people to thank for making it all happen. I know I thanked everyone personally on Facebook, but I want to thank them all again: Beth Ann Erickson, Angela Hoy, Denise Bartlett, Charlotte Holley, and Ruth Mary Thompson for making it all happen. Thank you also to my co-writers Martha Jette, Jernnifer Wilson and Usko Ahonen (though I did not work directly with him, he is one of the co-authors on one of the books). Thank you also to Kate Tenbeth for her guidance as I reentered the world of self-publishing.

Thank you for accepting my work. Thank you for working with me to make these books the best they could be. Thank you for teaming up with me to write a book. And, above all us, thank you for trusting me.

And now, here are the 20 books:

365 TIPS FOR WRITERS: Inspiration, Writing Prompts and Beat the Block Tips to Turbo Charge Your Creativity

BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: How We Survive as Writing Parents

Love is Like a Rainbow: Poems of Love and Devotion

Songs of the Dead

TOTALLY SCARED: The Complete Book on Haunted Houses
(with Martha Jette)  --  NOTE: This title is currently out of print. We are working on getting it back into print.

The Yellow Rose

DOGS FOREVER: Poems for the Dog Person
(with Jennifer Wilson)

Follow That Dream

On the Wings of Pink Angels: Triumph, Struggle and Courage Against Breast Cancer

A Million Doughnuts

Hunter's Upcycling Adventures

Satyrs Are Cool: Poems of Mythological Creatures (with Jennifer Wilson)

The GHOST Group, Book One (The Ghosts of Sarah Travers and The Crying Valentine)

Touched by Fire

Shadow of Samhain

Terror In The Night I - Alien Abduction Exposed!
(with Martha Jette and Usko Ahonen)

The Warrior Way

Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent

April Showers

The GHOST Group Book Two (The Ghost of the Irish Setter and The Ghost of the Missing Hiker)

I did not count The Perfect Christmas because it is more of a short story.

I do have some other books coming out this year and I also have some other work I need to do on other books. I have quite a lot of book work still going on. I am going to be making some changes with my schedule beginning this summer and basically slowing down a bit (instead of working on books for several hours every day) but I do still have many more on the way. I won’t be planning on reaching “40 by 50” (as this year marks my 10th anniversary as an author), but I’ll be staying busy with books all the same.

The winds of change have come upon me and I have a new book goal. I WILL once again try to get an agent who can get my novel published by a major publisher, but that is not my focus at this time. Right now, I am focusing on something else with my novels. Meanwhile, until that one’s accomplished, I’ll be revisiting an old writing goal I had once upon a time, one that I never managed to accomplish even after 10 years of trying. (!) But with circumstances being what they are (I have no work for the months of July and August), I have decided I will give it another go. More on that later.

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Saturday, May 03, 2014

Book Two in The GHOST Group series is now available!

When it comes to a series, readers can usually look forward to one book in the series coming out each year. Last year, the first book in my middle-grade paranormal mystery series, The GHOST Group, was published. And now the second book has just been released by Gypsy Shadow Publishing! Yippee!!

In this book, there are stories 3 and 4. The third story, The Ghost of the Irish Setter, was written for St. Patrick’s Day. In the the fourth story, The Ghost of the Missing Hiker, my characters play jokes and pranks on each other for April Fool’s Day! There’s even a ghost in this story who decides to get in on the joke-playing fun.

I am very excited about the release of this book. The stories were fun to research as well as write!

I got the idea for “The Ghost of the Irish Setter” years ago when I came across the carcass of a dead dog in the street. This dog was not an Irish Setter, but something about this poor dog’s neglected body had me thinking, This is a story. The story I ended up writing could not, of course, be what that poor dog must’ve gone through, but I wrote this story because I felt it was important to show that a dog’s spirit would not be at rest if its body was left neglected – just like with people. Thankfully, someone DID finally collect the carcass and hopefully dispose of it more properly, so I am grateful for that. I also wanted this story to show how our animal friends are still with us even after they pass away. I strongly believe this to be true. My dog visits my dreams sometimes and it’s always a comfort to see him again, even if it’s just in a dream.

I was inspired to write “The Ghost of the Missing Hiker” ever since I saw the book, Haunted Hikes of New Hampshire. I just saw that book and thought, Hm, what kind of hiking-related ghost stories could there be? I did not dare read this book yet, because I didn’t want it to influence me in any way, but I eventually came up with a story of a hiker who suffered a fatal fall during a hike. I have read many such stories in the news, so I felt this could likely happen. I also wanted to show how sometimes, we don’t know we’re dead, so we end up “stuck” in a place and unable to cross over. This is what happened in the hiker’s case. I also felt it was time for my character, Jenny, to come to terms with her abilities as a sensitive and open up to her friends about how she sees and hears things that other people can’t.

Needless to say, the stories prove that the GHOST Group can help the ghosts of both people and animals!

I hope that readers enjoy this book. Thank you to Denise Bartlett and Charlotte Holley of Gypsy Shadow Publishing for their support, guidance and dedication in getting this e-book published!

Like the first book, this one is only available as an e-book. But later in the year, stories 1-4 will go into a print book.

Meanwhile, I’m busy getting stories 5 and 6 ready for next year.


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 the Irish Setter is a “ghost dog” story where team member Jesse must come to terms with losing his dog, Lolly, after she ran away. A ghost dog that is an Irish setter seeks Jesse’s help, but when the rest of the GHOST Group join the case, it becomes a matter of life or death after Cassie and Ryan are kidnapped! Can the GHOST Group help the ghost dog? And can Jesse find out what really happened to Lolly?

In The Ghost of the Missing Hiker, a day of April Fool’s hijinks turn into another mystery for the GHOST Group. Meanwhile, the group's helper ghost, Adam, has some bad news for the team, and Jenny realizes she must accept her special gift and learn how to use it so she can help other ghosts in Sarah Town.

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