Posted in Books, Monday blogs

My Author Talk at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library

On Thursday night, June 22, I presented an author talk at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library on Long Island. The program, sponsored by their Friends of the Library group, was part of their summer reading events. It was my eighth library appearance, and I will be speaking again at my home library, Hicksville, on August 18.

After being introduced by Jeannine Sharkey, a librarian at Plainview, I further introduced myself and spoke about how I started writing, my books including my Cobble Cove mystery series that include A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and my latest, Written in Stone, published April 2017 by Solstice Publishing.

The Lawrence C. Lobaugh, Jr. Memorial Award for Journalism Award I received for my writing on the Post Pioneer.

I explained that since I was a young girl, I’d always loved reading, writing, telling stories, and cats. My love of books brought me to the field of librarianship in which I’ve worked for 25 years. My love of cats started me writing articles for pet magazines such as Cat Fancy after I graduated from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island where I majored in English and Library and Information Science and also wrote for the student newspaper, The Pioneer, for which I received a journalism award for my feature writing.

I shared the history of my first published story and novel. My first published story was a mystery in the Cat Crimes Through Time anthology called Stitches in Time and was a time travel tale that involved Betsy Ross’s cat. In 2008, I self-published Cloudy Rainbow, my first novel, that was a romance with some paranormal elements and a cat named after my beloved Floppy who passed away that year at 15.

After Cloudy Rainbow, I told the audience that I stopped writing for a time while my daughter was young and I focused on my full-time library position. In 2015, after a patron who’d read my book persuaded me to write another, I took advantage of my library’s new Gale Courses online database to take several publishing courses and ease my way back into writing. Two months later, writing in the early morning before work, I had completed the first draft of what was to become the first Cobble Cove mystery, A Stone’s Throw. I sold that book to a small publisher, Limitless Publishing, and it was published in November 2015.

Not initially intending A Stone’s Throw to become a series or a cozy mystery, I decided to continue the story of a librarian, Alicia and a newspaper reporter, John McKinney, in the small, fictional upstate town of Cobble Cove, New York with a second book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. I changed publishers at this time to Solstice Publishing who now have published the three books in the series and also several of my short stories in anthologies of various genres including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and romance.

In February 2017, I related that I also published a romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, and my story, Saving Snow White, appears in the latest anthology from Solstice, That Summer Day, that was published just a few days before my talk on June 21.

I pointed out that all my books and stories include at least one cat and sometimes a dog. The Cobble Cove mysteries feature a Siamese library cat, Sneaky, and Fido, a golden retriever.  The audience found it amusing when I explained that Sneaky has his own blog where he “scoops the shelves of cat litterature” and where he has interviewed a variety of other cat characters. His blog can be found at https://sneakylibrarycat.wordpress.com. I also created a Facebook group called Cobble Cove Character Chat that is hosted by a different character from the series each month and where group members can enter a monthly contest for prizes that range from Amazon gift certificates to copies of books.

Although I had some technical difficulties with my Powerpoint slideshow, I was able to display some of my book covers and the newspaper articles that were written upon their releases. I also read some excerpts from my mysteries and the blurbs of my stories. In addition, I played the book trailers, short clips, to each of the Cobble Cove novels.

I ended my talk with information about my future publishing plans. I am currently querying agents for my psychological thriller, Sea Scope, and have completed a standalone mystery, Reason to Die, that I hope to edit and submit for publication in a few months. I may also start the fourth Cobble Cove mystery soon.

When I asked for audience questions, one guest wanted to know why I like cats so much. I explained that I like other animals but am especially fond of cats because they have unique natures, are quite intelligent, and can intuitively sense when you are sad and need comforting. I am far from alone in this interest for felines, as they are often characters in books, art, and online videos that go viral.

The evening wrapped up with a raffle for an autographed copy of Written in Stone. The winner posed for a photo with me.

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Posted in A Stone's Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Limitless Publishing, Solstice Publishing

Looking Back to 2016 and Forward to 2017

When the year ends, it’s very common for people to reflect on what they accomplished in the previous twelve months and what they’d like to achieve in the future. As I look back at 2016, I realize how blessed I’ve been both personally and professionally. Not only did I publish my third book and several short stories, but I wrote two other novels that I hope to publish in 2017. More importantly, I’ve made many new friends among fellow authors and readers and strengthened the friendships I already had. My family and library co-workers have been supportive of my endeavors, and I’ve begun to actually feel like an author and not someone whose hobby is writing. 2016year

debbiehicksvilleMy year in review starts in January 2016 when I gave my first author talk at the Hicksville Public Library on my first Cobble Cove mystery, A Stone’s Throw. Not having had any previous public-speaking experience, I was very nervous. It was the day before a major snowstorm, but more people attended than I imagined. I thought many of them would be shopping for food or staying home. Those that came were patrons I already knew who were interested in hearing about my book. I found that I was among friends and my fear of talking in front of an audience diminished. I even started enjoying myself.

bn412162In March, I spoke again. This time, at my local Barnes and Noble store to a small group composed of several of those who attended my library talk as well as a few friends and co-workers. Their support meant so much.

mase4festivalshotJune was a busy month, as I traveled to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut to attend the MASE (Mystic Author Signing Event) with other authors of my past publisher. Although I did not talk at this event, it was my first time at a signing. A few weeks later, I was one of three local authors who attended the Levittown Library’s Summer Reading opening festival and signed books in the “Author’s Garden.” While I did not sell many books at either of these events, I met some wonderful people including local authors and now good friends, Lisa Diaz Meyer and Kimberly Amato. The month capped off with my being awarded the Cat Writer’s Association Glamour Puss Award sponsored by Hartz Corporation for my article, “Brush your Cat for Bonding, Beauty, and Better Health.” BADGE_WhiteSpecialAwards

In August, I signed with Solstice Publishing for my second Cobble Cove Mystery, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and spoke at the Levittown Library’s summer closing program.

pioneerstoryIn September, the C.W. Post Pioneer newspaper published an article about my books. I was especially thrilled to be featured in the paper that I had worked on as a secretary and Features editor when I attended college.

northbellmore4betweenarockandahardplacesolsticecover

 

In October, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, was published, and I gave an author talk at the North Bellmore Public Library.

An article bout my mystery series appeared in the Hicksville News in December, a week before I spoke there again about my new book and my publishing journey. Right before Christmas, Between a Rock and a Hard Place hicksvilledecember16authortalkamazonbestsellerawardwas #18 on Amazon.com’s Top 100 list for cozy mysteries.

 

 

2017year

I already have some plans for this year and quite a few dreams.

In January, I will give an introduction to my mystery series for the Hicksville Library book club who will be discussing Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

seashell-stone-finalIn February, my short historical/paranormal romance, “The Seashell and the Stone” will be published in an anthology of love stories by Solstice Publishing.

In April, a local church book group will be featuring Between a Rock and a Hard Place for their book discussion, and I will be attending the talk.

In May, I head out to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for the Cat Writer’s Association Conference.

In June, I will be attending Book Expo America in New York City.

sea-scopecoming-soon-written-in-stoneI also plan to publish Written in Stone, Cobble Cove Mystery #3 and Sea Scope, my standalone psychological thriller that I am querying with agents in the hope that they will recognize it as worthy of a contract with a large publisher. Of course, I also have many ideas for new stories, books, and articles.

I want to thank you all for being part of my 2016 and hope you will stay with me as I continue my writing journey.

thank-you

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, blog challenge, Books, Cat Writer's Association, Cloudy Rainbow, Limitless Publishing

#LifeBooksWriting Blog Challenge: My Publishing Journey

blogchallengegraphicupdatedI’m very excited to participate in the blog challenge Sophia Valentine of Lifestyle and Literature created (see graphic for topics and dates if you have a blog and would like to participate. If you’re a reader, I’m sure you’ll enjoy learning about some of the great participating authors).

debbiehicksvilleThis week, I will be talking about my publishing journey where, how, and why I started on this path, how far I’ve come so far, and where I hope to be in the future.

lobaughawardI’ve always loved reading and writing. When I was young, I would drive my family crazing making up and relating stories before I even knew how to write. In college, I majored in English and became a Features Editor on the student newspaper at Long Island Unversity/C.W. Post Campus. I received a special award for my writing on the paper, The Lawrence C. Lobaugh, Jr. award in journalism. When I decided to become a librarian and enrolled in the Palmer School of Library and Information Science also at Post, I volunteered to edit and publish the graduate school newsletter, Annotations.

debbieaward1After college, I wrote articles for cat magazines and published a short story in a mystery anthology called Cat Crimes Through Time. I also joined the Cat Writer’s Association and am still an active member today. In fact, I just won their Glamour Puss Award sponsored by the Hartz Mountain Corporation for my article, “Brush your cat for Bonding Beauty, and Better Health.” I received a beautiful plaque for this award and a check from Hartz.

cloudyrainbowAfter my beloved cat Floppy died, I self-published a novel, Cloudy Rainbow, and made him a character in it. My daughter was young at this time, and I stopped writing for some years following the publication of Cloudy Rainbow, but I started back up again after taking some Gale Online Writing and Publishing Courses that my library offers free to library card holders. I began submitting articles and stories to various publications and was published in my local paper and Catster.com, an online cat magazine.

stonesthrowamazonIt was at this time, that I also began writing my mystery, A Stone’s Throw, that was published in November 2015 by Limitless Publishing after their managing editor liked my tweet on a twitter event called Pit2Pub and the publisher offered me a contract after reviewing my manuscript. I had found out about this event as I became further involved in social media to help promote my work. Here is a link to my interview with Kristin Kristin D. Van Risseghem, the organizer of this event. http://bit.ly/1Yxazt8

Once I became traditionally published, I learned much more about the publishing business. The amount of time and effort that authors put into marketing and promoting their books was an eye-opener. By networking and interacting online with other authors, I discovered what happened after your book is published. I found out about book blogs, blog tours, Facebook and Twitter parties and events, newsletters, mailing lists, book talks, author signings and conferences, and much  more. It was overwhelming at first, and I’m still finding it hard to balance the time between writing, marketing, and working a full-time job as well as spending time with my family.

Currently, I am working on the sequel (possible 2nd in the Cobble Cove Mysteries) series and am very close to announcing some great news about it. I also have a completed manuscript for a psychological thriller that I’m hoping to submit to an agent for a chance at having my work considered with a larger publisher.

Below are some interviews and articles about me that include further details about my publishing journey. I have also included my social media links and website where you can sign up for my author newsletter that features a monthly contest and updates on my writing and books.

Interview for Lifestyle & Literature Blog

Interview for Jane Hunt Writer Blog

The Braille Club Interview

Interview with Natalina Reis on her blog, Never Too Late

Local Author Releases Second Novel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-De-Louise/e/B0144ZGXPW/

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.com