April McGowan

Here’s the News

NewsSit on down with your cup of coffee or tea (I’ve got an informal poll going on over on my Facebook page here if you want to share your preference) and take a few minutes to catch up with me. Thanks!

Part One: A reader stopped me to ask if I’d gotten her message on my web page. I hadn’t–and apologized. After doing some research on my web site, I’ve discovered that the Contact April form was defunct. It used to work, and silly me, I assumed it was still functioning! So sorry to anyone who has used that method to send me messages–I’m not ignoring you!  They are in the internet void. Needless to say, I’m none too pleased with the plugin I’d been using. The new one works fine. So, message away!

Part Two: I’m excited to announce that my next novel, The Long Haul, will be out in June 2014. Here’s a bit about it:

Until she’d watched Arthur drive their big rig out of the parking lot, leaving her alone and pregnant in a diner hundreds of miles off route, Macy thought her life was going okay. Marrying an older man to escape her problems might not have been the best plan, but it was the only one she had. 

Macy longed for independence her whole life, but this wasn’t what she had in mind. Now, abandoned and afraid, how will she survive? And will she ever find someone to love her for who she is—not what she can do for them?

I haven’t seen the cover art as yet, but knowing my publisher as I do, I’m sure it will be fabulous!

Part Three: I’ll be speaking at Newberg Christian Church’s women’s luncheon on who we are in Christ (touches on our expectations, hopes and dreams), and let me say, I’m deadly nervous. I do appreciate everyone’s telling me it will be fine. I’ll let you know if you’re right after it’s over! If you’d like to come make funny faces at me while I talk and share fellowship and food with a great group of ladies, join us here at noon on November 17th.

Part Four: Did you know I used to be the librarian at our church? That was in earlier, energy filled times. I do miss it–reading all those new books (love the smell of fresh ink on the printed page!) and telling folks about them. I got to thinking, I still read all those new books, and I’d love to tell you about them. So, every now and then, I’m going to be posting book recommendations and interviews with my favorite authors. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing about what they are up to and pick up a new title here and there. You might even see a contest (free books!). So, keep your eyes open–and subscribe to my blog posts so you don’t miss a thing!

So, do tell, what’s new with you?

Many blessings!

April

 

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Dreams

Release DaySaturday was an amazing day. Actually, it started Friday evening. I got home to discover that Jasmine was LIVE digitally, out there on Amazon (don’t worry, it’s becoming available on other formats as the week goes on-I’ll keep you posted). What an incredible feeling. I”ve been doing guest blog posts here and there, marketing and sharing and suddenly, there she was. I downloaded it to my Kindle right away. As soon as I flipped to the title page, I started to cry. I’d realized my dream of being published.

I’ve been so focused on guest blog posts and lining up marketing, so focused on the date on the calendar, that when my husband suggested we do a little something to celebrate, I couldn’t fathom it. Being the loving, wise, man he is–he completely ignored my protests and picked up some delicious gluten free cupcakes from Piece Of Cake (if you haven’t eaten their wares, you MUST) and a bouquet of beautiful flowers. At the top, you can see a cute collage photo of our celebration my daughter made.

I’m like a proud new mama–there she is, isn’t she pretty?

Have you ever realized a dream–or are you still waiting for one? I’d love to hear your stories.

And thanks for all your support in making this one happen for me.

 

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Wonderful Baby

JasmineI use song titles for my blog posts. I’m very connected to music when I write and it just takes a bar or two of something on the radio to transport me to another place. So, when I started to think about this post, I immediately remembered a song I loved when I was a kid. I’d lay on the floor in front of my mother’s record player and listen to her Don McLean album. Wonderful Baby would conjure up the best images in my little-kid mind. And with the launch of my book creeping up on me, it’s the first song I thought about for the title.

Deep breaths! About four months from now my novel, Jasmine, will be released digitally (JUNE!) and then in September to paper. It’s been a long time coming.

In talking with a good friend the other day she commented how she thought the hard part was finding a publisher. And indeed-that’s hard! But there were those many, many years writing short pieces and novels that won’t see the light of day. There are all the classes, conferences and connections made with professionals in the field. Then came building a following on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and Goodreads.

Waiting for a book to be published is like waiting for your baby to be born. At first you’re super nervous, because what have you gotten yourself into? Do you even know how to be a parent? You have a panic attack or two and then decide to break the news to family and friends. Their excitement carries you along and you start to feel like, “Yeah, I can do this!” And then the nausea and vomiting comes—scratch that, I didn’t throw up when I found out about Jasmine—I will, however, spare you the gory details of my 18 months of vomiting with my actual pregnancies.

Um…where was I? Oh yeah. You start preparing for the baby’s arrival (market plans). Then comes all the scary videos on how hard and painful things are going to be. Complete strangers (seriously, this happened to me a lot!) tell you horror stories about their birth experiences, and you begin to imagine the worst. You’re suddenly back at what have I gotten myself into?

That’s where I’ve been for the past few weeks. Excited but uneasy. Self-doubt creeping in. But, then I spied a locket my dear friend gave me when she heard about my publication debut (see photo). She hadn’t a clue that writing a novel was so similar to the birth process or how meaningful that locket would become to me. But, every now and then, I just pick it up and stare at it, a silly grin plastered over my face.

As I’m preparing for the baby book launch, will you stand by me and pray and help get the word out? I’d so appreciate your help. Please share my blog with your friends and ask them to sign up so they don’t miss out on any announcements. Just as it takes a community to raise a child—it also takes one to launch a book!

Do you have a blog I can be a guest on? Are you in a book club? Can you help me by posting on Facebook, Twitter and other avenues as the days draw closer? I’d love to count you in my launch team! Leave me a message below.

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Everyday I Write The Book

Upon hearing I’m going to have my novel, Jasmine, published (releases in June 2013), just about one in seven people tell me they’ve always wanted to write a book. And then I’m asked, hope filling their eyes, how long it took.

I’ve always had one story or another rolling around in my head for as long as I can remember. But, the actual writing process was difficult for me when I was younger, so I took turned to fine arts and carried that through college. I don’t regret it a bit, because studying fine arts helped me be a better watcher and analyzer of people and spaces around me.

About the time I had my daughter, I put away my paints and drawing equipment. My dear girl didn’t like to nap, and loved getting into my colorful things. By the time I’d set up an area and start on a project, she’d wake up and grab my brushes and pens. This frustration for me, though, forced me to turn to a media that could be cleaned up rather quickly—and one I could go back to easily. Writing. My world opened!

I started writing short stories and my first novel about fourteen years ago. That novel turned into a huge learning and proving ground for me. It was at that point I started to attend writer’s conferences. And my world opened even further! I started taking classes, networking and buying up books on writing. I couldn’t wait for the next conference to submit things and get feedback. I wanted to be better at my craft. I was hungry for it.

I’ve now completed three novels, and am in process of writing my next. There’s no easy way to publishing, even if you self-publish (you want it to be perfect, right?). Here’s some advice I followed, and if you want to write, I think it’d do well for you, too:

Show up at the computer (or notepad) as often as you can and write. Write something!

Read. A lot. Read books in the genre you want to write in, and then read everything else. Fiction, non-fiction, magazines, what have you. Study books on writing and the creative process.

Attend writer’s conferences, take classes, listen to veterans in the field, and take advice humbly. Submit, submit, submit your stuff when you have opportunity. Connect with other writers, share and encourage each other.

Have a fire in your heart to become better—strive for it. Take those classes where you have to write something and share it aloud (scary? You bet, but invaluable). Join a critique group. Get feedback as often as you can from people you respect. If you write in a bubble, you’ll never improve. Trust me.

If you have a story in you, and you’re serious about getting it out of you, then do everything you can to do it.

I love hearing from you! Are you writing, or do you want to write? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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Dream Weaver

I’ve been dreaming, hoping, praying about getting a publishing contract for a long time. A long, long time. So, about two weeks ago I got the email every writer hopes to get, the one that said, “Good news! We’re going to publish your book.” (Although, it was probably more articulate than that).

After re-reading the email about five times, it sunk in. I proceeded to try and tell everyone I could think of—by the way, those of you that weren’t home…where were you??!! And then, it really sunk in. All my hard work, all my hopes and dreams were going to be out there for everyone to see. You might guess what follows: fear. Will I be able to keep up, will my health hold, what about all those unknowns?

Now, I know I’m not alone in this. I immediately went and panicked to my new author group and they reassured me they knew exactly what I felt like. My editor was very supportive (cool…my editor), and other writer friends were encouraging. All those things helped. But, it wasn’t until I turned to the One who planted the seed of this dream in my heart all those years ago that my fears subsided. I won’t say disappeared, because self-doubt looms over my shoulder (it’s rather black and fuzzy with green eyes..no wait, that’s my cat). But, when that self-doubt arises, I’m doing my best to remember the dream weaver, the original Author of life, has it all in hand.

I’d love to hear if you’ve ever had a dream come true—and what you did with those nagging doubts!

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Full text here.)

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