Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Leona speaks!

Longtime commenter Leona Bushman has her debut novel out! We asked her to guestblog about her motivations and process towards publication.

Thank you, Alicia and Theresa, for  your irreverent grammar blog and allowing me to guest post today.
Hello, everyone. I know some of you from the last few years, but not all of you. Feel free to introduce yourself in the comments.
I'm excited to be giving away a copy of my paranormal romance, The Ulfric's Mate. Details to be revealed at some point during my rambling.
I'm going to tell you my story, starting at the beginning of when the writing itch became something I scratched. I had cancer. Took years for them to figure it out, but we'll leave that. I had two surgeries at the end of 2007. One to get the huge lump growing and cutting off my airway, the second, because that lump proved to be cancer. I also lost my job within two weeks of that, not related-- my boss just retired.
During the follow-up radiation, where I took a pill and had to be in isolation for a week so my little ones didn't start glowing green, I had time to think. Silly me, I'd thought a week alone in my craft room—with no responsibilities—would be a picnic. No. The radiation just tears your body apart, and I was too drained to do anything but drink my water, sleep, and think. What did I think about?
Writing, art, kids.
What did I want to do with the rest of my life? Spend more time with my kids, paint, and write.
As soon as I was able to be out amongst people again, I began looking up agents. I sent a letter, a seriously bad one, that I now know probably gave the agent weeks of laughter. However, she was kind. She told me to look up queries (I hadn't even known that much!!) and to learn what they were and how to do them.
Over the next year, I had a holy-cow-how-did-this-happen- baby, lost my car, lost my house, lost everything, except my children. I worked odd jobs for money, but through it all, I kept writing. Three novels that first year, all with at least 50k.
Then, I found Edittorrent.
True, I'd taken college-level English in high school, then college classes, but with that thyroid cancer, preceded by seven years of thyroid issues, and the continuing battle to afford my meds, I couldn't remember things I used to know—knew without thinking and doubt.
To give you an idea, I'd read Agatha Christie since I was eleven years old, and all of the sudden I had to work to remember how to spell, how to punctuate, how to do things, I'd taken for granted that I knew. Despair filled me as the struggle to remember simple things became harder. Added to the other things I was losing, I began to wonder if I was crazy or just fooling myself.
From that first letter, I'd had help with my writing career, but Edittorrent saved me when I started to flounder. They made grammar FUN. Jami Gold knows what I mean. But I think my husband has a permanent she's-on-a-grammar-giddy-drunk again eye roll now. I learned so much and had fun in the comments with my fellow readers.
Things have progressed now. I went through long periods of time without internet, and that last baby? Has Down Syndrome. I don't get to read my beloved blogs as I want to, but when I do, this is the place to go!
So, what have I learned on this perilous journey?
1) NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP~EVER~if it's your dream, read, learn, work to make it happen.
2) Find blogs, writers, etc., who want it as much as you do. Surround yourself with people who'll pick you up when you're discouraged, and be willing, with much caring, love, realness, to return it or pay it forward.
3) LISTEN TO  YOUR VOICE~ I got so caught up in rules, listening to all the bloggers, how-tos etc, that I lost my voice for a while. It (my voice) became sterile.
Don't get me wrong, you need input to grow. But learn to listen to your writer's heartbeat. Look up rules for yourself. You can start by bookmarking the wonderful stuff available in edittorrent archives.
Which leads me to my give-away. This novel has its own history, and only my CP ever saw it before submission. It is the one published. I made it through the fire. I found my voice.
Here's the blurb:  Nolan and Alexandria fight their sexual attraction, but can't deny the pull of being mates, despite a serial murder investigation. Nolan Littlebull is the alpha of the Wahpawhat pack of Werewolves and the lead detective on a series of murders of pregnant women from his pack. Torn between human justice and were justice, he travels deep onto the Yakama Reservation tracking the ones responsible. He is attacked by one of the rival pack, only to be defended by another from the rival pack. Alexandria George is the healer for the Lupins. She defends the mysterious wolf in their territory from her pack's bully and escapes with the stranger.
Nolan and Alex face the complications of being mated and together they must find and identify the killer while facing an uncertain future.
It's available here. That's my publisher's link, which also links elsewhere for you to look/purchase.
I will give a copy away to a lucky commenter. Bonus entries for linking, tweeting, blogging, or on your FB this guest post, or the buy link for my book.  Share on twitter-3 points (please either me @L_Bushman or post the time and your twitter handle in the comments). Share on Facebook-3 points (post link to FB page here or on my author page Share on Blog—3 entries (again, post link here or on my author page).Comment here—automatic 1 entry
You have one week from the posting of this guest post. Also, please, please, please, give me an end tally. My math skills are…rusty and I don't like putting the WD40 on.

Also, Alicia and Theresa did not ask me to in any way shape or form, to plug their blog. You're here; I assume you know how awesome they are. They suggested some ideas, including what I've learned and how I got to the point of publishing. This is the result. J


Edittorrent said...

Leona, what a great story of perseverance and dedication! I did that radiation, too, for thyroid, and remember how hard it was to avoid all contact with others. But we get through it, and we rise above it, as you show!

Thanks for sharing your story with our readers!


Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

Leona, talk about never giving up. Thank you for an inspiring story and great advice.

Leona said...

13@Theresa thank you :) it was very hard. I did have windows in my room of isolation, so got to wave at my kids, but it was rough. But we do, indeed, rise above it!

@Stephanie :D Thank you! And, you're welcome!

Annette said...

What an inspiring story! To be able to continue writing and pursuing publishing with all you've gone through shows amazing strength and perseverance. I've worked with children with Down Syndrome, and a friend of the family has it -- these kids are the most lovable and loving angels, though obviously there are great challenges. Good luck with your story! Sounds like a good read. And thank you for sharing with us.

Jami Gold said...

Aww, Leona. *hugs* I'm so happy for you! You're a true trooper, and I'm glad you're getting both your own story and this debut story out into the world.

And you're absolutely right that Theresa and Alicia have created a great blog and community! I think I've pimped them on my blog at least 5 times. :)

I've learned so much from them and I owe them TONS. Here's to you getting to the next level with the support of everyone here! *more hugs*

Riley Murphy said...

Aww, Leona, I'm so happy for you! You had some tough breaks along the way, but I think they only made you stronger.

I think I wrote something that applies to you too, so I'm going to post this snippet from a blog I did recently about challenges before getting to the gold and realizing your dream.

I can’t help but think this was the journey I was meant to take to get here. It may not have been the easiest, but I’m sure it wasn’t the hardest either. I’m so glad I had a few detours along the road because even the toughest stumbling blocks have enriched the experience and made realizing this dream all the better.

My dad always said, “If you don’t have to work hard to get it you won’t appreciate it.” I think this is true. Only now I see that ‘the work hard’ part of that equation might have more to do with building the person I needed to be to obtain the goal, than the goal itself.

All good things for you, sweetheart, you deserve them! *Hugs*

Riley Murphy a.k.a Murphy :)

Riley Murphy said...

Drat! I forgot T and A! *waves* guys! You're still da bomb! :D


Leona said...

@Annette Thank you! I love the way my son laughs and hugs so many people! He's a little shy at first, but once he knows you, he's full of hugs :) Unless you say no to him (he's 3) lol He knows what he wants and finds a way to get it! (hmm wonder where he gets that from?)

@Jami I think, if the world were to add up the number of authors who have received help/encouragement from T and A (snicker. It's Murphy's fault!) we'd find out what the infinity symbol really means!! I still need help. Idk how many times I've gone looking for some help of some kind. Or just to read the fabulous pearls of wisdom!

@Riley AKA Murphy... T&A? Really? LOL you have your own success story! We are all troopers. I know you've been through the fire as well. Oh, and BTW, my IWM (I'm with Murphy) stamp is still ready to go. Any time! :D whether it's writing or drinking :D Oh, and my phone has a good camera now... ;-)

Leona said...

My son drew a post-it note out of the hat and the winner is Annette!! :D You can post your email here, or can send it to Theresa or Alicia to forward it to me, along with which e-version you'd prefer. Congratulations and thank you for commenting!