I’m happy to announce the publication of a New Young Adult fantasy, Song of Falling Leaves (Book 1 of the Wanderer Series). It is available on Kindle and in paperback (publication date September 27, 2014). You can read a sample chapter by clicking here.
Note: The Kindle edition is free to read if you have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited. It is also free if you buy the paperback edition. Otherwise, I’m holding the Kindle price to $0.99 until October 31, 2014.
The earliest scene for this book first came to me in April 2008. Here’s the storyline:
When a pair of falcons, sent from thousand miles away by a Shoshone medicine man, come calling for fourteen-year-old Andi McCall, her world is suddenly turned upside down. A death threat sends her to her grandfather’s ranch in northern Nevada. There she meets her match, an unbreakable stallion named King’s Jubilation. Together with Jubi she discovers that she is more gifted than she ever dreamed, with a secret past beyond her imagination.
I deeply appreciate the young readers who reviewed early versions of the manuscript. Their enthusiasm encouraged for me to finish the book. Thank you Kaela Stevens, Victoria Rimington, Callan Franklin, Savannah Clyde, and Kate Baron. I am also very grateful for several others who gave me invaluable feedback and advice as I developed the story, including Mary Stevens, Dawn Norton, Heather Bullough, Celesta Rimington, and Linda Clyde. Thanks are also owed to my darling wife Cristi, and our children and their spouses: Melissa and Joey, Amy and Caleb, and Aubrey. Thank you for your love and support during a project that took a lot longer than I every thought it would.
The New Young Adult genre is targeted for ages 10–14, but older readers will enjoy it as well. Published by Overdue Books. Questions? Contact me here. Thank you for your support.
I have been working on a novel for several years and, in the process, I’ve learned a lot about writing and myself. Strange, isn’t it? The more you pay attention to a story, the more it pays attention to you and shows up for you.
That kind of learning has a lot to do with hanging in and hanging on. For any big undertaking, you have to believe in yourself, believe in the outcome, and persevere.
I really like something the novelist James Lee Burke once said:
I’ve never seen anyone who has—once he’s determined to become a writer—not achieved his goal. I’ve never seen anyone fail who’s actually persevered and never given up.
What he’s telling me, I think, is that if I persevere, I won’t ultimately fail, and if I don’t give up, I’ll eventually succeed.
I’ll publish my novel independently next month, as I have several other books. I know I’m taking a risk, but it’s calculated. By going indie I’ll miss out on 1-2-3—
- A publisher’s marketing reach
- Their high production values
- Prestige and royalties
Ten of my books, nearly half, have been published by traditional publishers. John Wiley & Sons published my first two, and O’Reilly the rest. I’ve been with O’Reilly since 2002 and have had a very positive experience with them, largely due to my bright, patient, and kind editor, Simon St.Laurent.
But alas, O’Reilly doesn’t publish pre-apocalyptic, YA fantasies set in the contemporary West, nor fiction of any kind.
So how will I deal with 1-2-3?
- I’ll have to rely on the reach of folks in my social media circles—3,016 as of today—to share my story. Emphasis on share. I won’t get overtly salesy there. I’ll just share it and ask others to do so.
- I had the cover designed by a professional, as well as the book interior. I’ve also hired an editor to review the book one last time. These kinds of investments are the kinds of investments a traditional publisher makes in a book anyway so why shouldn’t I? You can’t judge a book by its cover but you can sell one by it. And if I discover an error or flaw along the way, I can correct the trouble quickly and upload my changes.
- I’ll have to depend on acceptance by readers for any prestige. I’m just not worried about that. If the book is any good, and I sincerely believe it is, readers will lend the book all the prestige it needs.
Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how it goes.
You have a unique voice, unlike any in the world. You are a true original.
Maybe you think you don’t have anything to say or that what you have to say or want to say is not important. If you believe that about yourself, consider Louis Armstrong.
His gravelly voice. His broad smile. His signature handkerchief.
Satchmo had a purity, an authenticity. He was unafraid to be himself. He became a jazz icon, an American celebrity, an international personality, because he was unafraid to share his voice with the world. He was fearlessly original.
His voice was unusual. It was raspy. To some ears, it was no doubt harsh and unrefined. But people loved his voice and they loved him.
He grew up in a tough neighborhood in New Orleans. His parents separated. His mother supported the family by prostitution. Louis had every reason to disappear quietly into the mass of humanity, into an obscure life of crime and poverty.
But he didn’t. He and his trumpet spoke up. He and his music stood out. He must have been discouraged and heart-broken at times, but he never gave up.
He was himself. He let his unique voice be heard. And because he did, he touched millions of lives.
You have something to say, too. Don’t hide it. It’s completely okay to be yourself. It’s more than okay. It’s your gift to the planet. And it’s your gift to yourself.
In a critical, dismissive world, it’s easy—no, common—to get discouraged because of the disapproval of loved ones or strangers. But they are only there to make you stronger. Accept their service and step forward.
We want to hear from you. Please speak up. You are unique in all the world. What you have to say is important. Let us hear you.
Kerry Fowers was born in Ogden Utah and grew up in the small town of Hooper. He is an avid reader and loves the stories told by great authors through the ages. His first book, Divine Help, a mystery/suspense novel, appeared in 2012, and his second book, Divine Verdict: The Trial of The Butcher, just became available. He is at work on book three. He is married Elizabeth—the love of his life—and they soon will begin yet another adventure: foster parenting!
When did you first discover you wanted to become a writer?
I first discovered I wanted to be a writer when I was living in Oklahoma City with my ex-wife. She said she liked the way I wrote and said I should try writing a book. So I did. After that, my writing was on and off through that year and I really didn’t get back into until I got married to my current wife. I attended a writer’s conference and met a ton of other authors and that is was inspired to finish my first book and continue writing other books.
How did you come up with the idea for your first book?
The main plot to Divine Help came to me as soon as my ex told me I should write a book. I put some of my experiences I had into this book and the rest just came.
Tell us about your writing habits.
My writing habits are kind of abnormal. I do most of my writing at night while I am at work [as a security guard]. It’s quiet and I can think easier and have less distractions. I usually turn on my muse music and go to work. I usually take breaks here and there and if I get stuck, I usually start watching a movie or bounce ideas off my buddy I work with.
Have you got another book coming out? What is it about?
Yes, my second book in the Divine Verdict series is out now. This book is about the trial of the bad guy in book one, although there are a lot of other things that happen leading up to the trial. Right now I have 10 books planned for the series. Currently I am working on book three, Divine Witness. Stay tuned to my social media sites and my blog for more info on book three as it becomes available.
Where do you see yourself as a writer in the next five years?
I see myself in five years as a better author. I also hope to have at least five more books out by then.
What advice would you give to writers who are just starting out?
The advice I would give to writers who are just starting out is first, go to as many writer’s conferences as you can. I learned so much from the ones I went to and it put a fire under me so I could complete my first and second books. Also I recommend to friend as many authors as you can on Facebook so you can ask questions and get answers. I have learned a lot from the other authors I have as friends on social media.
Holly Bowerman has always found joy in helping others. She has a BS degree in nursing from Weber State University, has spent most of her career in geriatric nursing, and is currently a hospice coordinator. Because she loves helping others, she feels driven to support and help those who want to improve their lives. She wants to share what she’s received through her own healing process, to help others not merely survive but to thrive! “As you heal your life,” Holly says, “You empower yourself to be the author of your own life story. This is my passion!” Holly lives in Utah with her dog Chancho.
1. Tell us about the book you are writing and what inspired you to write it.
I’m just putting the final touches on my book titled, Say What You Need to Say: Speak Your Truth. Heal Your Life. For the past two years I have been on an incredible journey of self-discovery and healing. When I first started my journey I began by writing a blog and the results of that are the contents of my book, with a few modifications. I was simply trying to make sense of what was happening in my life. I had experienced that feeling of having the rug taken out from underneath me. My life had started to feel like a series of unfortunate events and the culminating moment was in February 2011 when my mom committed suicide. Just as I was trying to heal from the loss of my mom, only a few months later, I found myself filing for a divorce. What compounded everything was the fact that when my mom died our relationship was, as I described it, “a mess.” I couldn’t comprehend how I would ever find peace with my relationship with her or how I would live with the wounds I felt deep in my heart. Over time, however, and through writing on my blog, I have found the peace I was looking for and not just with my mom, but with life. It has been an incredible journey. What’s even more surprising is that through this process I discovered that my mom is one of the greatest spiritual teachers of my life. My purpose for writing this initially was to help me, but my purpose in sharing it is to help anyone who may be struggling to pick up the shattered pieces of their life. I like to think of it as a “blueprint” for healing your life. I hope in reading it others will also find courage to go on their own journey and even share their own experiences. I strongly believe with all my heart that we all have a story and each one of them matters. I also believe that to start the healing process, we must give our lives over to God. One of the most profound truths I have discovered through this process is this: God is not waiting for you to become more “spiritual” to heal you, He is waiting for your permission.
2. If you had just one message for the world, what would it be?
Heal your life to write your own story.
3. What encouragement do you have for those who are discouraged?
As I mentioned before, I strongly believe that our lives are meant to be a success story. I say this despite many life experiences that have felt contrary to this statement. Everything we are given in life can be used for our benefit if we will allow it. No matter what the circumstances, there is always reason to have hope. Not everyone’s life path will unfold the same way, but each person’s path has a very important purpose! Don’t ever give up because you never know what is just around the corner!
4. How can people reach you to get your help?
I have a business website dedicated to my new purpose of helping people find healing. The web address is www.successstoriesllc.com. My contact information is listed there for those who are interested in meeting with me one on one. For those who just need a little pep talk or emotional boost, I have two blogs I manage with inspirational thoughts and stories that can be found on my website as well. I look forward to hearing from you!
Shawna Draper is the author of three books where she shares her miraculous journey from a childhood of abuse to healing. Her uplifting message focuses on the wonderful Christian neighbors who helped her to learn that it was possible for others to actually love her and gives people hope that, no matter how bleak their life may seem now, or how traumatic their past has been, it is possible to heal and find joy and happiness.
For those who would like to read her story, her books My Tears Fall Inside, The Silent Cries, and Hear My Cry: Writings From My Soul are available at ShawnaDraper.com. Ebooks are available on Amazon.com.
1. What motivated you to write your three current books?
For many years, the only writing I did was to occasionally write in my journal. Later, I began to see a therapist and he was concerned because I hadn’t cried for over 10 years, even though I was dealing with very traumatic things. The result of those blocked emotions was physical pain, such as severe chest pain. The therapist encouraged me to find a way to get the pain outside of my body and suggested writing as a possibility. The next time my chest hurt, I wrote four poems in an hour and the pain went away. Over the ensuing years I shared a poem or two with a few people and each of them asked me if I would please publish the poetry. I realized that my story needed to be told and that the poetry alone would not really tell the whole story. So I wrote my story in two books, My Tears Fall Inside, and The Silent Cries, and published the poetry in the third book, Hear My Cry: Writings From My Soul.
2. Did you think you would be a writer at a young age or did your “calling” come to you later in life?
I never thought I would be a writer when I was young. When I was in my mid-thirties I was going through a difficult healing process and began writing voraciously in my journal. During the nine year healing journey, I wrote over 10,000 pages in my journal. About three years into that healing journey I had a very strong impression that my story needed to be published. Within thirty seconds I knew that there would be three books, and I even knew the titles of each of them. It felt like a powerful “calling” from God.
3. If you could share any message with the world, what would it be?
My therapist once told me the abuse I suffered was the worst thing that could happen to a person in this life. He said this because I not only lived through physical and emotional torture, but also mental and spiritual torture through intense brainwashing. With that in mind, I want people to know that no matter how difficult or painful your life may be at this time, you can come out on the other side and lead a happy and successful life.
4. Do you have more books in the works?
Not at this moment, but I never say “never.” Right now I am focusing on speaking to as many groups as possible sharing an uplifting message of hope, healing, and God’s love. I am also writing regularly in my blog.
5. What advice do you have for a new writer just getting started?
Write! Write! Write! The more you write, the better you will get at expressing what you would like to say. Don’t be afraid to begin because you think your writing isn’t “good enough.” Don’t waste your time comparing yourself to other accomplished writers. Each of them also had to start somewhere. Realize there will always be other writers that are better than you are, but don’t think that because your writing style isn’t the same as someone else’s, that it isn’t good. Try to learn everything you can from other writers and be humble enough to be able to accept advice.
6. Was it worth the effort?
Yes, mostly because I feel I have done what God wanted me to do. It also makes it worth the effort whenever I receive emails, or cards, or read Amazon reviews from those who have read my books, letting me know that my books have changed their life for the better in some way.
If you would like to hear more of Shawna’s story, listen to a recent interview here.