While I was taking my walk this morning, Mother Nature put on a beautiful show for me. I saw the sunrise peeking through a blooming ornamental cherry tree. The flowers on the trees seem to have exploded with the exuberance of Spring. I saw robins and blue birds and geese. The baby leaves of one bush were a soft shade of green.
Then there was the pair of underwear.
Wait? What? I can hear you asking, did you say underwear? I did.
Yes. It seems someone lost their boxers. Right there on the sidewalk. The questions that had me grinning were...
Did some runner become overheated? Or did some teenager become...overheated? And come laundry day, was his mother going to wonder where her son's boxers disappeared to?
It's such a shame that my pondering of Human Nature took my focus off Mother Nature.
(I just let my husband read this. His question was, "Were they my size?")
Today, I welcome fellow Indie Chick Carol Davis Luce who shares her inspiring story from Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women, 25 Personal Stories. Take it away Carol!
SELF-TAUGHT LATE BLOOMER
My motto is, “If I can
do it, anyone can do it.” I wasn’t born to write. I didn’t aspire to be a
writer from the time I could hold a Crayon. I could, however, draw, and make
things take shape through form and color on paper and canvas, and that’s the
path I traveled well into midlife. The artist’s life opened up my eyes and mind
to expression and sometimes stories through composition on that blank eighteen
by twenty-four inch stretched canvas. Then one day it changed.
As a voracious reader, I was content
to read what others wrote. I admired those writers who had mastered the craft.
I was happy to dwell in their world for 300 pages, to laugh, cry, and be
enlightened and surprised. Until one day when I closed a book by my favorite
author and felt something was missing. The novel was a mystery/suspense with
elements of romance. The suspense was killer. The romance, however, was
lacking, missing those subtleties that resonated with me. I wanted more. The
promise of romance was there, but fizzled somewhere along the way. For me, it
wasn’t about graphic sex. It was about sexual tension, passion, love. After
searching unsuccessfully for novels to satisfy my romantic suspense fixation,
looking for just the right balance, I realized I had to write the book myself.
Only I knew nothing about writing a
novel, let alone a genre book with a sub-genre. So I went to the library and
checked out a reference book titled, HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL. Easy enough, right?
If dedication is easy, then it was easy because I was driven. My artist’s
passion shifted to focus on the writer’s canvas. That canvas was structure,
words, emotion, and truth. And the rest is history.
burned up two electric typewriters before investing in a computer. I checked
out every book on the “book writing” reference shelf, and many grammar and
stylebooks, and two years later, my 800-page opus, NIGHT STALKER, was finished—
learned about the important shaping process, without which most stories would
be unreadable. Editing. The passion and pain of cutting and revising. Finding
the jewels that lie buried in too many, or misguided, words. Three years and a
dozen revisions later, 400 pages lighter, it found a home with a traditional
publisher. Within the first few months of release, it went into three printings
and became the flagship for the sub-genre "Woman in Jeopardy/Romantic
Suspense" at Kensington Publishing.
Where it started. . .
left school at sixteen to marry my high school sweetheart. Six years later, as
a housewife and mother, I channeled my artistic talent into sketching and
painting, selling my work at a local art gallery. A quarter century later, I
traded in my paints and brushes to hit the keyboard. Our three sons, not much
for novel reading, are waiting for my books to be made into movies. That
childhood sweetheart I married a lifetime ago is now my soul mate of 50 plus
years. His encouragement fueled me, and his support allowed me to pursue my
Going back to my motto of, “if I can
do it, anyone can.” There has never been a more opportunistic time to try your
hand at writing a book. Or taking the plunge and self-publishing. My decision
to self-publish my upcoming suspense novels came about when I hit the
proverbial brick wall after five published books. With a stalled career, I had
a choice. Teach, or see my stories in print again. I chose the latter. My first
self-published book is the short story trilogy, BROKEN JUSTICE, followed by my
suspense novel, NIGHT WIDOW.
and editors think they know what readers want. They don’t always know. Readers know what readers want, and
they’re expressing their wants by buying books written by indie authors. Give
yourself a hardy pat on the back if you’ve completed a manuscript, but the big
applause goes to our devoted fans and readers. Without them, we would be
Nanny and the Professor has been available for ten days now and over 350 copies of the book have been purchased from the Amazon Kindle Store. I'm very pleased with how the book is doing and want to thank all of you who have purchased it.
Here's a snippet from a review left by one reader -"…characters are believable and down to
earth and it is so easy to curl up and get lost in the story!" 5-Stars.
Nanny and the Professor is available in every Amazon Kindle Store:
Today, I welcome fellow Indie Chick, Christine Kersey, to my blog to share her inspiring story from Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women, 25 Personal Stories. Take it away, Christine!
Never Give Up On Your
by Christine Kersey
I love to read and lose myself in a good story – forget all
that is going on around me and be in
the story with the characters. One day in 1997 I finished reading a novel by
Joy Fielding and realized she hadn’t needed to be an expert in a particular
field, like medicine or law, to write a good suspense story. This fact inspired
me to try my hand at writing. It also didn’t hurt that we’d just gotten our
first computer and I can type much faster than I can write longhand.
At this time in my life I was thirty-two and my youngest
child was three. I also had three other children who were in elementary school.
A stay-at-home mom, I was able to carve out some time to work on this project.
At first I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. What if I couldn’t complete it?
What if I failed? After a short time I told my husband, mother, and sister and
they were supportive.
I kept working at it, day by day, until after about four
weeks I’d finished a complete novel. At that point it was nowhere near ready to
be published, but I’d proven to myself that I could write a novel with a
beginning, middle, and end. I continued working on the story, then put it aside
and began working on another.
I gathered the courage to have a few friends read it and
they all said they loved it. Encouraged, I decided to attend a conference called
Bouchercon , which is for fans of mysteries. At the conference I mingled with
published writers and talked to an agent or two. Afterwards I sent queries to
several agents, but none of them were interested in my completed novel.
Shortly afterwards I started working part-time and didn’t
spend as much time writing as I had before. When my youngest child started
first grade I decided to go back to college full-time and earn my degree. Over
the next four years I did very little fiction writing and focused on getting my
As I approached my final semester my schedule wasn’t quite
as heavy and I decided to do some revisions on one of my two completed novels.
When I felt the story was ready, I submitted it to a small, regional publisher.
In April, 2004 I graduated with a B.S. in Information Technology. That same
week the publisher got back to me and said they were interested in publishing
my book, but first they wanted me to do revisions. Though they hadn’t offered a
contract yet, I did the revisions and resubmitted the manuscript. They were
pleased, but wanted yet more revisions. In 2004 the job market was down and I
was spending a lot of time job-hunting, but I did the revisions as requested.
In October of that year I finally found a full-time position
and within two weeks of starting my new job, the publisher got back to me and
offered a contract. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Seven and a half years
after I’d written my first book and I was finally getting published!
I was assigned an editor and worked closely with her. The
book hit bookstores in July, 2005. I thought I was on my way. I had one book
published with a real publisher, so now I was set, right?
The book sold reasonably well, but when I submitted another
manuscript, my publisher decided not to publish it. Discouraged, I focused on
my family and my job and didn’t spend very much time writing. However, I still
read as much as ever. In fact, when the nook eReader became available I bought
one and started loading dozens of books onto it. I was in reader heaven.
I’d had my nook for nearly a year before I caught on to the
possibilities indie publishing presented. The book I’d published with a
traditional publisher had gone out of print and I was able to get the rights
back. That book, No Way Out, was the
first book I made available as an indie publisher. The first month it was
available I sold exactly one copy. But that one sale was very exciting. Since
then I’ve published three more novels and have sold thousands of copies. I love
that I have complete control over what I publish. I also love to read the work
of other indie authors. There are so many talented people that are now able to
publish their work.
I’m glad I didn’t give up on my dream to be published and am
so excited at the endless opportunities that are now available. One thing I’ve
learned is that if you persist in following your dreams, eventually you will be
able to accomplish what you’ve set out to do, whatever it may be.
That three-year-old child that sat near me as I began my
writing career is now a senior in high school. Whether or not I had chosen to
continue writing, time inexorably moved forward. It’s never too late to follow
your dreams, but why wait?
This is a beautiful song that never fails to stir my emotions and touch my heart. I found this amazing video of an American Sign Language (ASL) version performed by Stephen Torrence. The lyrics are below so feel free to sing along!
"The Lighthouse's Tale"
I am a lighthouse, worn by the weather and the waves.
I keep my lamp lit, to warn the sailors on their way.
I'll tell a story, paint you a picture from my past.
I was so happy, but joy in this life seldom lasts.
I had a keeper, he helped me warn the ships at sea.
We had grown closer, 'till his joy meant everything to me.
And he was to marry, a girl who shone with beauty and light.
And they loved each other, and with me watched the sunsets into night.
And the waves crashing around me, the sand slips out to sea.
And the winds that blow remind me, of what has been, and what can never be.
She'd had to leave us, my keeper he prayed for a safe return.
But when the night came, the weather to a raging storm had turned.
He watched her ship fight, but in vain against the wild and terrible wave.
In me so helpless, as dashed against the rock she met her end.
Then on the next day, my keeper found her washed up on the SHORE.
He kissed her cold face, that they'd be together soon he'd swore.
I saw him crying, watched as he buried her in the sand.
And then he climbed my tower, and off of the edge of me he ran.
I am a lighthouse, worn by the weather and the waves.
And though I am empty, I still warn the sailors on their way.
Professor Joshua Kingston thought he'd found the perfect nanny for his
son. But once Cassie Simmons stepped into his life, she turned it upside
down! His son no longer played by the rules – and Cassie kept making up
new ones. He would fire her – if he didn't find her so utterly
Cassie had a huge secret to hide, and she couldn't
afford to lose her new job. But her handsome employer wasn't making
things easy. All those silly rules. How was an eight-year-old boy
supposed to have any fun? The professor definitely needed a lesson in
laughter – and love!
I'd like to introduce my readers to Mel Comley, author of Passion, Fire and Fury.
Here's what reviewers are saying about Mel's book:
"I've read Mel Comley's other books and this didn't disappoint. A
thrilling short story with everything you need - romance, suspense,
crime. Another great read!" ~ Sibel Hodge
"Once again, Mel Comley's ability to set a scene shines forth. A bit of
mystery, a bit of romance, great dialogue and a deeply satisfying
ending. Get a cup of tea and settle in for some 'me' time with this
delightful short story" ~ P.E.
"Ideal for a short read on the way to work. This short novel races
through its story, keeping the reader interested enough that the
unlikeliness of the events are unimportant. The baddies, Suzie and
Dave, were a little too bad, and the dramas, a little too much piled
one upon another. Not exactly literary fiction, but for a quick escape -
brilliant!" ~ Marj
The books costs only $1.49 - a great price for a quick, romantic read.
In the Summer
2011, I was approached by another writer Cheryl Shireman who wanted to pull a
group of women writers together to create a unique book. The object of the book
would be to inform readers about our personal struggles to become established
authors. Every story is an inspiration, some sad, some happy and some tell of
great obstacles these 25 women have had to overcome to get where they are
today. The proceeds of the book are being donated to a Breast Cancer Charity.
We called it The Indie Chicks.
by Mel Comley
In 1993 I walked out
on my sad and abusive marriage, one that I had stuck with for seven years. At
the time I jointly owned a shop with my ex-husband and my Mother, so we had to
sell the business when the marriage broke down.
If I thought that was
hard it was nothing to what I had to endure the following six years. To make ends
meet, I had to work two jobs for 70-80 hours a week over 6½ days. Take my word
when I say it wasn’t fun.
But onwards and
upwards, when Mum retired we made a spur of the moment decision to leave
England and move to France. We’d never set foot in the country before we came
out here to house hunt, I know, we’re either brave or stupid. I like to think
we’re the former, but I sometimes wonder if that’s the case!
We bought a farmhouse
and barns that needed total renovation. In 6 months I decorated 22 rooms while
a local builder created a gîte (a holiday home) out of a couple of the barns.
After the renovations were completed I grew bored with my ‘early retirement’
and enrolled in a creative writing course. I threw myself into it and over the
next 4-5 years I sat down and wrote three romances and two thrillers.
In October 2009, I
discovered the writing site run by Harper Collins called Authonomy where I
uploaded the first 10,000 words of my thriller Impeding Justice. It took me 8
months to reach the editor’s desk where I received a favourable review from a
Harper Collins editor. The trouble was they weren’t taking on any thriller
writers at that time, they were only interested in printing Celebrity
Therefore, in October
2010 I decided to upload Impeding Justice as an ebook. It took a while to take
off but in January 2011 sales really started gathering momentum, but it wasn’t
until I released the second book in the series, Final Justice that sales really
After selling over
30,000 books in April, I was in the fortunate position of having several agents
knocking on my virtual door. I finally agreed terms and signed a contract with
top New York agent, Richard Curtis. I sent him Cruel Justice the third book in
the thriller series and he tried for 4 months to get me a traditional
publishing contract, but at the moment he admits he’s finding it difficult to
place any books with publishers because of the Indie revolution, which I’m
extremely proud to be part of.
During last Summer, I
edited the romances I wrote at the beginning of my journey. I uploaded A Time
To Heal towards the end of August and immediately received a couple of 5 star reviews
(no they weren’t from my family, they don’t know I write!) some of them were
from my thriller fans who were equally impressed by my romance endeavours.
At the beginning of
September I uploaded A Time For Change, another romance which is actually a
TRUE story of how my dear friends met and fell in love. Obviously they’re names
have been changed, the story has a mystery element to it too.
In October 2011, I
uploaded the third book in my thriller series, Cruel Justice, which is actually
the prequel to my best-seller Impeding Justice. It’s been very well received
and has even reached #2 in the Police Procedural chart on Amazon.
I’m very fortunate to
be able to write full-time (it’s addictive, don’t you know!) and have several
more projects outlined that I intend tackling over the coming winter months.
This is how my day
pans out, first thing, providing it isn’t raining, I take my two dogs for a
walk, actually they tend to drag me round our small village. Then I sit down to
answer any emails and facebook messages I’ve received overnight from fans (yes
I do have them) I then set out to write a minimum of 2-3000 words per day,
before I dip into hours of necessary promoting. That’s the hardest part of
being an Indie writer, the fact that we have to promote ourselves long and
hard. I used to be quite a shy person, but I’ve had to overcome that quickly. I
think deep down, every writer would love to be a recluse and be able to focus
full-time on their creations, unfortunately that’s unrealistic in an Indie
Do I ever think about
my life back in England? No, never, but my ex features heavily in my books.
When I need to think up a baddie character it’s his image I picture in my mind.
As for my murder scenes, I find them VERY easy to write. LOL
You can find
out about me and my books at the following blogs.
Habían prometido amarse y respetarse mutuamente, pero entre ellos había
otra promesa que ninguno de los dos había pronunciado. Jenna Butler le
había salvado la vida a Gage Dalton, por lo que él estaba obligado a
devolverle el favor. Y sólo el matrimonio le daría a Jenna la custodia
del bebé de su hermana.
Así pues, Jenna se mudó al rancho de Gage…
pero no a su cama. Había llegado virgen al matrimonio y, aunque se decía
una y otra vez a sí misma que no esperaba nada, lo cierto era que sí
tenía ciertas esperanzas. Su esposo la respetaba, pero parecía necesitar
la ternura que sólo una esposa podía darle…
Aunque el doctor Travis Westcott nunca se enamoraría de ninguna mujer,
estaba dispuesto a hacer cualquier cosa para poder adoptar a aquellos
gemelos. Incluyendo permitir la visita de la experta en medicina de la
tribu que les enseñaría a los pequeños todo lo que debían saber sobre
sus antepasados. Pero Travis no había previsto que la seductora Diana
Chapman fuera a despertar sus más primitivas pasiones… y el deseo
irrefrenable de besarla.
Parecía que al empedernido soltero ya no le
resultaba tan fácil escapar del matrimonio. El deseo que veía reflejado
en los ojos de Diana le encogía el corazón y lo tentaba a saciarlo…
I had lunch today with my sister-in-law and my niece and my eighteen-month-old grand-nephew, Liam. We ate at Olive Garden and I ordered eggplant parmigiana. Yum! This is one of my favorite Italian meals. I have no idea why...but I order this dish any time I can. I love it!
I had a wonderful time with Robin, Kristen and Liam. And the day turned really special when I met some family friends at the restaurant whom I haven't seen in a very long time. Family, friends, and good food...who could ask for more? What a wonderful day I had! I am truly blessed.
Today I welcome fellow indie chick, Barbara Silkstone, who shares her inspiring story from Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women, 25 Personal Stories. Take it away, Barbara!
HAVE YOU EVER LOST A
By Barbara Silkstone
I lost everything including my home, my car, and even my
retirement accounts. I was physically attacked inside and outside a court
building. My daughter and baby granddaughter were threatened. I came at the bad
guys like a mother tiger.
A few years earlier I had agreed to testify against a real
estate developer in a civil racketeering case. He was obscenely rich and could
afford a hanger full of Lear jets, four sneering lawyers, and a greedy judge.
In an effort to discredit my testimony in his upcoming trial and to frighten me
out of appearing against him, his team of legal manipulators pasted together a
bogus suit against me designed to keep me tied up in court and unable to
function. They underestimated my sense of justice.
I’d been sitting on the witness stand for the better part of
a day… one of many in my five-year “trial.” The judge, forgetting her
microphone was on, had just proclaimed me “a pretty tough cookie.” I’d given up
expecting justice. It was much too late for fairness. I was in an out-of-body
state observing my own funeral and laughing about it.
When the four-hundred pound lawyer asked me if I’d ever lost
a hat, I thought one of us had lost our minds. I was pretty sure it wasn’t me. He
blinked as if he realized the absurdity of what he asked and dropped the line
of inquiry. The question struck my funny bone and sent me into giggle-fits. And
that was the moment when The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and
Three-Quarters was born.
Within a few months the lawyers I hired to help me sucked up
every penny I could muster. When I was broke, they walked off the case. Unlike
in criminal cases, defendants in civil litigation must pay for their own
attorneys. No money – no lawyers. I was on my own. I needed to defend myself.
But how when the case was nonsense? How do you fight silly? The lost hat question
was a perfect example of the charges brought against me. But the more ridiculous
their charges, the stronger and feistier I grew. For each thing they threw at
me, I came back that much harder, roaring and taking notes for my someday book.
Since I was a child my driving passion has been to write. In
Catholic grade school I started an underground newspaper. When our nun forbade
me to continue, I carried the paper further underground. While I continued to
write as an adult, life eventually got in the way of living and my writing took
a backseat. But now as I sat in the courtroom I was inspired and chomping at
the bit to get this real-life fairytale on paper.
Anger boiled in me as I saw the precious time I had carved
out for writing being eaten up as I defended myself in bizarre proceedings. I
was spending all my time in the law library studying the Rules of Civil
Procedure in order to write Motions and Pleadings and filing them against the
court in such rapid fire I would have made Rambo back off.
Earning a living on commission sales is impossible when you
are spending 14 hours a day fighting a pack of legal sharks. I had to take the
creepiest part-time jobs… things that still give me nightmares. Things like
working for a gold broker who brought us the teeth from dead people. We were
expected to separate the gold from the molars – not unlike the lawyers I was
dealing with. I needed the money but not that badly. I ran to the nearest exit.
Locked in a deadly struggle with the notorious real estate
developer, I chose that time to become romantically involved with a Brit who,
it turned out was not what he seemed to be. I stepped into the perfect storm.
The Brit’s upper-class accent and polished manners hid a not-too-clever conman,
but clever enough to fool my starry eyes. The developer and the conman clashed
in a rage of wicked deeds. I was sandwiched between them.
Is The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters
true? Would Lewis Carroll say Alice
in Wonderland was true? The emotions are real and still raw, but the journey
was worth the results. Would I do it again? You bet your tushie. My sense of
justice would not permit otherwise. But I would not be quite so naïve. I would
expect slimy tricks and dirty pool. Merely because someone wears a robe and speaks
of the law does not mean they abide by the law.
“The Hail Mary Pass” refers to any very long forward pass
made in desperation with only a small chance of success. It’s used in football
and occasionally courtrooms.
My Hail Mary Pass knocked the bad guys on their butts. I
filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, which is a request to the United
States Supreme Court asking that Court to review the decision of a lower court.
I cast a spotlight on their dark shenanigans.
And as my Petition worked its way along the queue in the
United States Supreme Court, making it almost to the finish line, the judge on
my case went strangely silent, the notorious developer disappeared, and the
Brit wandered off.I had become a writer
but not in the way I had envisioned. I was a self-taught legal guerrilla who
had managed to land her petition to be heard by the highest court in the United
States… right through the goal post. Unfortunately,
in the end corruption won and I barely escaped with a toothbrush and a change
Were those five years tough? Yes. But I fought because I
knew I couldn’t live with myself if I rolled into a ball. I fought with the wit
and sarcasm of Alice in the
original Alice in Wonderland.
Standing on the outside watching the Jabberwocky operate on the inside. I knew
that someday my story, fictionalized with absolutely no resemblance to anyone
living or dead and the names changed to protect the corrupt, would make a darn
good yarn. And each step of the way, like Lewis Carroll and my out-of-body
ordeal, I would allow the action to the skate on the edge of logic.
In The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and
Three-Quarters, a few murders have been thrown in for comic relief, and the
characters have been shaken and stirred, then presented in a Pythonesque light.
Any similarities to the jerks I dealt with are purely coincidental.
Have I ever lost a hat? Probably.
But did I retain my passion for writing, and even kick it up
a notch? Absolutely.
Every adventure contains a novel.
Sometime you have to pay dearly for it.
Quoting the Cheshire Cat:
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go
from here?" (Alice)
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get
to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where---" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said
"---So long as I get somewhere," Alice
added as an explanation.
"Oh you're sure to do that," said the Cat,
"if you only walk long enough."
This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal
Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all the stories buy
your copy today. All proceeds go to fund breast cancer research.
About the Author
Barbara Silkstone is the best-selling author of The
Fractured Fairy Tales series that currently includes: The Secret Diary of Alice
in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters; Wendy and the Lost Boys; and London
Silkstone’s writing has been described as “perfectly paced
and pitched – shades of Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen – without seeming
remotely derivative. Fast moving action that shoots from the hip with
Wendy and the Lost Boys topped the charts in comedy,
climbing over Tina Fey, Sophie Kinsella, and Ellen DeGeneres. The Secret Diary
of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters has been a consistent best
seller in comedy. Both Wendy and Alice have been in the top 20 Amazon comedies
at the same time. Silkstone has been fortunate enough to take part in writing
workshops with Stephen King, Robert B. Parker, and James Michener. She lives in
South Florida but has no time to visit the beach.
The Secret Diary of Alice
in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters
This author has a unique narrative voice, and reading the
story is like taking a smooth slide into Alice’s
surreal world. The premise is outstanding – a classic we all love, with a contemporary,
intelligent twist.~ Elizabeth Lindberg, author
Upper West Side Stories
Be aware, this is not the Peter Pan story you want your kids
reading. It is clearly intended for adult readers. Yet it appeals to the
childlike part of us that loved the classic original stories. Combine that childlike
love with modern politics and technology, and you get this smart, snarky,
hilarious mystery. The story is richly developed and leaves you guessing until
the very end. I am liking this grown-up version of Peter Pan even more than the
original.~ Tiffany Harkleroad for Tiffany’s Bookshelf
I'm so excited this morning! My book, His Wife for a While, is once again in the Kindle Top 100 Bestsellers. As I write this, the book is #82 on the list. I hope it will rise higher, but one can never guess how these things will go. I want to thank everyone who purchased the book and I do hope you enjoy the story.
A reader recently interviewed me for her Hub page. I feel so honored that she has read and enjoyed my work. If it were any other time in history, I would never have known about Cashmere. But she mentioned my book on "The Best Romances on Kindle" list she made a while back and I found that list via a Google search. I love the world wide web! The interview can be found here, and I'd love it if some of you would vote up her article. She worked very hard on it. Thank you, Cashmere, for posting the piece.
Today, I welcome fellow Indie Chick Sibel Hodge who shares her inspiring story from Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women, 25 Personal Stories. Take it away, Sibel!
From 200 rejections to Amazon top
by Sibel Hodge
since I was old enough to scrawl my first word, which was Halibaaaaa, I knew I wanted to write books. OK, so the word didn’t
actually make sense, and it might take a little longer for me to actually string
a whole sentence together, but that didn’t put me off. I was going to write
books and no one would stop me…
when I was really young, my mum encouraged me to read. “If you can read books,
you’ll never be bored,” I remember her telling me. I secretly think it was a
ploy to keep me out of her hair and quiet for a while. I was always a loud kid
with lots of energy, and always getting into some sort of trouble with the boys
down our street. (Yep, even then I was a sucker for boys!). After discovering
the wonderful world of books, I thought I’d have a go myself, and remember
scribbling down stories whenever I had a spare moment. Shame I was only six,
and there was no way anyone would publish a book with I Want Big Girls’ Knickers in the title.
I was in secondary school my favourite subject was English language. I’d lose
myself for hours. And even though I hadn’t thought about my forthcoming career before
I left (apart from being Wonder Woman or an astronaut), I knew, even then, I
had a love of creating. I also loved to make people laugh from an early age. In
the beginning, it wasn’t intentional. I was always saying ridiculous things
that I thought were quite serious. Like the time I went to the butchers shop
with my nan, and the lady behind the counter asked where I was from. “South America,” I said. (I know,
where the hell did that come from? I must’ve had an overactive imagination from
the start.) So when people started laughing at me, I thought, hey, this is
pretty fun! We live in such a hectic world and laughter is a perfect way to
de-stress. Because my personality is quirky, fun-loving, and slightly nuts, it
was probably a given that I would eventually write chick lit, although I have
recently delved into the dark side of my brain (which is a pretty scary place
to be sometimes!) and written a psychological thriller.
when I left school no one mentioned writing as a career. It was all boring
things like secretarial jobs, travel agents, office work. I didn’t even know
about creative writing courses until about ten years ago! I think they
considered that writing wasn’t a “proper career.” No one suggested journalism
or further education in writing. So what was a girl to do? Although my mum
wanted me to go to University and study to be something like a doctor or lawyer
(eeek!), I didn’t have a clue
what I wanted to do for a career, so I flitted from one job to the next, trying
to find something that interested me, and eventually ended up working for the
police for ten years. So there I was, too busy paying the mortgage, working
shifts, and living in the rat race of life to have the proper time or
opportunity to write a novel. It didn’t stop me trying, though.
was drastic things like splitting up with a boyfriend that made me start my
first novel when I was about seventeen. I never got further than the first
three chapters, though, because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, other
than using a typewriter! Then I started another one (I got dumped again – can
you see a pattern here?) when I was about twenty-three, and ditto (I’d hate for
those to ever see the light of day). I just knew that I loved writing and therefore it stood to
reason that one day I’d do it, didn’t it?And although I look back now and
think I wish I’d started writing earlier, actually, I have to say, that it
would’ve been bad timing. Back then I wouldn’t have had anything to really
write about. A lot of the things that go into my books now are based on my experience
of life. People I’ve met, places I’ve been, books I’ve read, things I’ve done,
struggles I’ve achieved. At twenty-three, what did I really know about any of
And then five
years ago, hubby and I had had enough of the UK. We got fed up with the constant grey
weather, bills that seemed to increase as you looked at them, working
constantly to pay them, and never having quality time for ourselves or our
family. Right, it was time to make my childhood dream come true and move
somewhere exotic, where the cost of living was lower, and we would actually
have time to enjoy each other and life again. Then I would finally have the
time and opportunity to dedicate to writing. Yes, we’d have to sacrifice a lot
of things to achieve it, but it would be worth it in the end. So we moved to North Cyprus, and it was like my brain suddenly said,
Hallellujah! Now we divide our time between Cyprus and the UK.
I didn’t actively
think about what I was going to write, but a year after we’d moved there I had
an exciting idea for a story, using my unique Turkish Cypriot/British cultural heritage,
and my debut romantic comedyFourteen Days Laterwas born. Then I actually became the
guinea pig for the sequel,My Perfect Wedding! But it was all very well
completing my dream of writing a book, but until it was published, no one would
get to read it.
So I started querying hundreds of
agents and publishers. I got too many rejections to even count! OK, small white
lie, a while ago I did count them out of morbid curiosity, and it was a whopping
I did come close a couple of times
to being traditionally published, but it never quite worked out. It was either,
“one group of editors liked it but another didn’t”, or “the chick lit market is
saturated”, or “we love it but…”
When I first looked into
publishing independently, platforms like Amazon Kindle didn’t support
international authors. So the way I saw it, I had two choices. Either I could
write another book, hone my writing skills and learn all I could about my
craft, and wait for an opportunity to come up, or I could let all the rejection
letters get me down, think my writing career was over before it had begun, and
stick my head in the oven! Since heat tends to turn my curls into a ball of
frizz, it was no contest, really. I wrote my next novel, a chick lit mystery
called The Fashion Police, and waited. Because I knew,
I just knew, that I COULD do this. I could write novels that people wanted to
read. If only I could get the chance.
In the meantime, I also entered
several writing competitions. And while I was still getting the dreaded
rejections, Fourteen Days Later was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize
2008 and received a Highly Commended by The Yeovil Literary Prize 2009. And The
Fashion Police was a runner up in the Chapter One Promotions Novel Competition
2010 (and later nominated for the Best Novel with Romantic Elements 2010 by The
Romance Reviews). Surely I was doing something right, wasn’t I? But I STILL
couldn’t get a publisher!
Then last year, when Amazon opened
up their doors to non-US authors, I uploaded Fourteen Days Later and The
Fashion Police onto their Kindle store. I couldn’t believe it when I finally
saw my books on sale. It was scary, rewarding, exciting, amazing – so many
experiences rolled into one.
But what if no one liked my
novels? What if I had all bad reviews? What if all the two hundred rejections
were right? What if, what if…?
Time for a deep breath, Sibel. If
you want to be an author, you have to repeat this mantra everyday… “I can do
this. I can do this. I CAN do this.”
So I did.
And boy am I glad I did! The first
month with Fourteen Days Later and The Fashion Police, I sold 44 books (another
eeek!). Then I released my third novel, a romantic comedy called My Perfect Wedding, and later released my second
chick lit mystery Be Careful What You Wish For. In the last 6
months alone I’ve sold over 40,000 ebooks, and all my novels are consistently
in the Amazon top 100 genre categories for humor, contemporary romance, comedy,
and romantic suspense. My highest overall sales ranking to date is 136, just
missing out on the Amazon top 100 bestseller charts. Considering there are over
900,000 Kindle books on Amazon, that’s not bad!
And this is one lesson I’ve
learned in the last couple of years…You can do anything you want to in
life. It may mean you have to go a different route than you originally planned,
but if you’re determined enough and believe in yourself, you can overcome any
So I’m toasting all you women out
there with my glass of wine. Cheers to dreams and making them come true! Looks
like I got my big girls’ knickers after all!
You can find Sibel’s books in
paperback and all ebook formats. For more info, please check out her website
This is one
story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available
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