Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Books published in 2014

I normally do these blog posts on the last day of the year. However, we have too much going on right now and some things planned for NYE, so I want to get a jump on this annual post while I still can. I am not currently able to use Word or Notepad to help me with the text, as this new computer does not yet have those things on it, but I'll try typing everything into the blog itself and just hope the power doesn't go out, or anything.

This has been a good year for me as far as books are concerned. At the start of the year, my plan was to get a nice mix of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and children's stories out there. Fortunately, I was able to make that happen. I like to offer a little variety with my books every year -- not the same genre or same subject year after year -- and looking back, I must say I accomplished as much.

I am grateful to everyone I had the pleasure of working with this year in my attempts to get books published. Thank you to my co-writer, editors, beta readers, cover designers and illustrator. I am so fortunate to work with you all! Thank you for helping me to put out some awesome books. I look forward to working with all of you again next year!

As to the books, here are the ones I was able to get published this year:

The Warrior Way


"The warrior way is a philosophy, a standard of principles and ethics one can adopt without struggle.  It represents the divine warrior spirit within all of us, the enduring strength of the fighter prepared to stand up for what is most important: The Self.  For in recognizing the Self and honoring the Self, the warrior learns to adapt to the rigors of society and the difficulties faced along the journey through this lifetime."-- from the Introduction

Through a process of meditation and inner reflection, author Dawn Colclasure was inspired to write about 32 messages that came to be defined as "the warrior way."

Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent

Being a deaf parent isn’t just about not being able to hear anything—it’s more. From limited access to information in the medical establishments to daily challenges in dealing with discrimination and communication hurdles, the world of deaf parenting is one fraught with trials, fears and tribulations that no other parenting experience will offer. But at the same time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Deaf parents CAN conquer those trials, they CAN overcome those fears and they CAN work around those tribulations in order to make deaf parenting work.

Parenting Pauses will give readers, both deaf and hearing, an inside look into the world of one deaf parent, along with some tips and techniques learned along the way.

Buy link

Read the story behind this book here

April Showers

To many, the month of April is known as National Poetry Month. But April also brings Earth Day, National DNA Day and the ever-dreaded Tax Day! April Showers was written during National Poetry Month of 2013, in which one poet wrote at least one poem a day that captured everything she read, saw and experienced in verse, as well as celebrating April's special days.

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Read the story behind this book here

The GHOST Group, Book Two: The Ghosts of The Irish Setter and The Missing Hiker 


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 Trent 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 turns 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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Read the story behind this book here

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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Read the story behind this book here

Wolf Whispers


After her mother dies, 9-year-old Anya must travel to the woods to live with her father. But Anya is very sad and misses her mother. Then one evening, she receives a very special gift from a wolf. Can Anya learn to listen to the whispers of her heart and heal from her grief?

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Read the story behind this book here

A Ghost on Every Corner


There’s a ghost town then there’s a "ghost" town! A Ghost on Every Corner is a collection of stories from paranormal investigators who have done investigations in some of America’s most haunted cities. Read about the ghost haunting a restaurant in Galena, Illinois, or about a Gettysburg Battlefield ghost who follows an investigator home! There’s also Marilyn Monroe’s ghost haunting the famous Roosevelt Hotel, a ghost violently attacking an investigator at the Sallie House and the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe’s adoptive father angrily pushing an investigator down the stairs! You’ll also get to read historical (as well as ghostly!) information about places such as The Alamo, Myrtles Plantation and the famous BirdCage Theatre. Walk with investigators located across the country as they gather evidence about ghosts and go where no other would dare to tread! 

Buy link

Read the story behind this book here


Also this year: Two books that were only available as ebooks last year were released as a print this year.

The first 4 GHOST Group stories were put into a Book One print book. You can check it out here

Also, the book I co-wrote with Martha Jette and Usko Ahonen, TERROR IN THE NIGHT: Alien Abduction Exposed, is now in print. Check it out here

It's been a great year for me, as far as writing books and getting some of them published this year is concerned. I have finished writing/revising other books this year and look forward to seeing them published next year, along with a couple of others already submitted to publishers.

Here's to another round of great writing fun in 2015! 


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Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014: The year of letting go

As the year of 2014 draws to a close, I have found that I often reflect on everything that I have been through with my writing this year. So much has happened. There were the challenges (especially with self-publishing!), the letdowns (the acceptances that later turned into rejections), and the fun stuff (pretending to be a marriage therapist for a week while working on an assignment – ah, the hats we writers wear!).

One thing I have noticed about this year, though, is that it sort of had a theme. Last year, the movie Frozen may have been THE big film of the year, and the hit song “Let It Go” stayed a hit song throughout this year (and the movie has enjoyed a lot of popularity even still this year, too!). The song title sort of reflected my own year. I had to let go of quite a few things on a personal level this year, but I had to let go of some other things, too – things related to my writing.

At the beginning of the year, I worked as an independent manuscript editor. I really didn’t want to go back to doing this, because I know it’s not my strength, but two people talked me into editing their books for them. I enjoyed the work, but eventually decided that, once again, this job is REALLY not for me. So the next time someone tries to talk me into editing their manuscript, I’ll be a little more firm in declining their request.

This year, I let go of something else: My dream to have my own publishing company. I tried to get things moving along with the publishing company, deciding later on to turn it into a nonprofit venture then deciding again to abandon the whole idea altogether.

There’s something else I let go of this year, too. I once again tried to find another agent. I have had two bad experiences with a literary agent and I was not yet ready to ditch my goal of getting my book published by a major publishing house through an agent. But later on in the year, I did abandon this goal too. It’s no skin off my back. I’m happy with the publishers I work with right now.

Dreams aren’t really all THAT important to me anymore, anyway....

There was something else I had to let go of something else this year, too: My frustrations over being asked to do a rewrite. When I was asked to rewrite GHOST Group 4, I almost flew off the handle. My publisher never knew this, of course, because the only person I shared this grievance with was a close friend. But I loved the story I’d written and wanted to keep it. I was pretty upset when the publisher said this story would not work. Neither did the revised story I eventually sent in. ARGH! I eventually got over myself, though. I let go of my anger and disappointment and wrote a third story which, thankfully, was accepted then published.

Finally, I let go of my desire to ever go back to working as a freelance writer. I did toy with the idea on and off this year, but eventually decided that it’s just not something I ever want to get into again. I have pretty much also started distancing myself from the community of freelance writers. I’m happy for them, but this is just not for me anymore. I will, however, focus on trying to get short stories into magazines. Any magazine, really. Even E-zines! I love writing short fiction and it was awesome get short stories accepted for publication, but I’d really like to send short stories to magazines and see if I can get any of them published. If I do, yay! If not, no biggie. This is just something I’ll do on the side. I HAVE had short fiction published in a few zines and I’d just like to focus on that for a while, too.

In addition to me letting go of things this year, I was let go, two. Three times. I lost my part-time gig (it was a non-writing job). THEN I teamed up with, then lost, a collaborator for a book – twice. So, yeah, sorta fits in with the whole “letting go” theme here. (As to the book, I am totally fine with being the only one authoring it!)

Still, some good things happened this year.

This year, I was pleasantly surprised to find what I'd put together of a nonfiction book that I had previously THOUGHT I'd lost in an email crash. I got back to work on it and completed the book. I recently submitted it to a publisher.

And speaking of finishing a book: This year, finally and at long last, after many years, I finished working on the haunted cities book. Not only this, but I sent it off to my publisher and it was published this year. What an amazing feeling to see A Ghost on Every Corner in print after all that time and work put into it.

Another book I was thrilled to see published after so many years of working on it was Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent. Wow, my deaf parenting book certainly went through A LOT of changes and revisions. I am very pleased with the book it turned into and just so happy to finally see this one published, too.

I was also happy to see other books get published this year, too. I’ll list them all in my blog post next weekend.

I was also able to accomplish my goal of authoring/coauthoring 20 books by the time I turned 40 years old (which I did in May). I was very happy to get to that point!

The best thing of all to happen this year was FINALLY landing a ghostwriting gig where I got to ghostwrite books. I still have this gig. I’m excited about it because I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and it finally happened. I am enjoying the work and the client is awesome to work with. Yay! I will keep working as a ghostwriter of books for as long as the work is there.

Of course, I’ll continue to write my own books, too. I have quite a few of them planned for next year.

It’s definitely been a year of ups and downs for me as a writer, but a pretty good year overall. Here’s to more writing-related adventures in 2015!

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dear Successful Writers: Please keep your snobbery to yourselves

A common sentiment among writers is that the nonwriters just don’t get us. They don’t know what it’s like to be a writer, what it takes to be a writer and how hard we have to work in order to get somewhere as a writer. It’s that last part that I can relate to. Years ago, I’d get criticized by family members for being on the computer so much, especially after my first child was born. And I would tell them, “I’m working!” Or that I was writing. And they weren’t happy that I’d try to squeeze in some work while on vacation, either. Oh, yeah, I have TOTALLY been there as far as being criticized by family for the things I do as a writer. But they’re not writers themselves, so I’d remind myself, They don’t get it.

But this week, I came across a statement directed at all writers. And this particular statement came from a writer. And in this case, I may be able to shrug it off and say “She doesn’t get it.” But she should have. I was really fired up over the snobbery behind her message. It just really got to me because I was once in that situation as a writer.

Some background.

When I first started as a freelance writer, I made it my goal to get published in the glossies. I did not JUST want to be a freelance writer; I actually had a goal in mind. I wanted to accomplish something as a freelance writer. I got sooo excited by all the talk successful freelancers kept doling out about how if THEY can get a six-figure check or land an assignment at one of the glossies, then I can do it, too! Oh, gee! Sign me up! Yeah, I was really taken in by all their talk. I read their stuff and I did what they did.

I was so taken in, in fact, that I spent ten years of my life TRYING to accomplish the same thing they did. That’s right. TEN. YEARS. And I wasn’t just sending out the occasional query whenever I felt like it or not reading those magazines.

This was what my life was like during those ten years:

I was working at the computer for AT LEAST 8 hours Monday through Friday, researching markets, learning EVERYTHING I could about writing a good article, sending out queries and brainstorming for ideas. I was also networking with other writers. I kept an Internet presence. I tried like heck to get my name everywhere, to get my name KNOWN, just so editors at those big-name magazines would recognize me.

And I did that for ten years.

Did I manage to get one article into one of those major magazines?

Nope. Not one!

I did get into a few national magazines, and that was great, but I never really broke through the surface. I never made it.

And I wasted ten years of my life TRYING to make it.

And after 10 years, I threw in the towel. I decided this freelance writing thing just wasn’t working for me anymore. So I quit.

Now, after having been through that, and after being forced to work for low pay only because I had to help support my family, I couldn’t help but get a little fired up over this writer lashing out at other writers who write for low pay and think they’re work is not good enough to TRY to write for a higher paying market. It bothered me because, first, I HAVE tried, and I felt she was wrong to get up on her high horse and judge all the writers toiling away for peanuts and acting like they’re not even trying to get paid better for their work. It also bothered me because I HATED writing for low pay when I wrote for a content mill, but it was WORK, and I needed the work. It was REGULAR work. It brought in good money that helped my family A LOT.

Yes, I probably COULD have decided to not try to get a job that required writing and, instead, try to get a job as a waitress or secretary or grocery store clerk, or something like that. And here again is where I have the whole “I already TRIED to do all that!” answer for them. I have tried applying for several nonwriting jobs and not one of them came through. One lady even told me that if I had been able to communicate on the phone, she would have hired me for the job. But she had to stick that whole “I can’t hire you because you are deaf!” sign in my face and tell me to take a hike.

So, I took the job that I COULD get: Writing for a content mill. And it was a good thing, anyway, because I was able to prove to myself that, going back to something like that, I could do it even better than before.

I don’t regret ever going there, because I did it for my children, and I really become irritated by writers who thumb their noses at those of us who don’t even have a choice. I have had writers I have known who became successful who dropped me because of that gig. They decided they lost all respect for me and became these huge snobs that gave me the cold shoulder.

But, you know what? As a writer who had small children at home, I did what I had to do. At that time, we were struggling financially, and I had to help out. I took the work that I could get because it helped put food on the table, buy the kids clothes and keep the electricity on. That’s what we writers who aren’t such a huge success have to do when we have children. (This particular writer IS a mother, but her kids have grown up and left the nest. She is actually a grandmother now.)

So to those other writers out there, the successful writers who have made it and who think they can judge other writers who are trying to earn a living any way they can, I say this: Get off the snob bandwagon. Stop putting us down. Think for a minute that maybe we ARE trying to get into a better paying market. Or that we have already tried. Don’t look at us and trash us for doing whatever it takes to keep our kids fed. We are doing the best that we can. We are SURVIVING.

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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Writing to heal

A lot of good things can happen in a person’s life. But there can be a lot of bad things, too. Very bad things. There are some things we can recover from and, hopefully, heal from. But there are some things we cannot recover from. Some bad things that happen to us or that we go through that is just too painful to move on from.

Death is one of those bad things. Losing someone we love can cause excruciating, inconsolable pain. It’s so hard to lose a loved one. For some people, they may never recover from such a loss. I have gotten to a point where I feel that the best way to remember someone and honor their memory is to do something good for them. Something they would be proud of. Something that carries a positive side of their spirit forward in some way. But even so, the pain of this loss may linger.

Heartbreak is another bad thing we have to deal with. There is some speculation that a person can die from a broken heart. This has actually happened, in both humans and animals. To love someone so much and then to lose that person, or never to even have a chance to be with that person, is such a harsh and merciless pain to live with. We try to move on from this. We do everything in our power to heal from a broken heart. It isn’t easy to love someone and when we do, when that love is lost, the pain can be so terrible that it seems like we don’t even have the strength to live anymore. To keep going anymore. Myself, I have no way of resolving such a pain, as it is one I know too well and still live with. Some people may have their own methods of healing their own broken hearts, but I have not read anything about it.

And so, what I have done, in dealing with these kinds of pains, and finding some way to keep going in life despite it, is to put it into my writing. I am a writer, and this is how I deal with the bad things in life: I write about them. Yes, some bad things I write about are not related to me in any way. Writers are observers of the world, observers of life, and write about what they see and understand. But there are some things I write about -- and have written about -- that are from me and my life. The bad things I have been through. I put them into my work, in some way. And I, ultimately, can add so much more power and realness to them in my writing, because I have felt these things myself. I have experienced these things. I have known these things.

So instead of dwelling on them, cursing them, wishing they had never happened or hating their very existence, I, instead, put them all into my writing. All of my sadness. All of my loss. All of my grief. All of my heartache. All of the abuse. All of the fear. All of the betrayal. All of the hurt.

All of it. All of the bad things go into my writing.

And this is how I release them from me. This, ultimately, will be how I heal from them. I experienced them and I know them. Therefore, I am allowed to write about them. I am allowed to put them into my work.

Having come to this conclusion, I now feel strengthened by my pain, rather than hampered by it. Instead of being sad over a family member’s betrayal, I will, instead, write about it. Or put it into my writing in some way. Instead of being angry over the events that led to my mother’s death, I will instead write about it. Or put it into my writing in some way.

There’s so many things that can go wrong in life. So many injustices, so many mistakes, so many misunderstandings and so much discrimination. As a human being, I am going to be exposed to or aware of such things whether I want to be or not. But as a writer, I can take all these things, every single form of cruelty and all of the bad things, all of the bad people, and put it all into my writing. All of it will be released from me, drained from me, and put into my writing in some way. This will be my way of dealing with it. This will be my way of finding closure from it. Hopefully to heal from it. And, hopefully, my way of making peace with it.

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