Tag Archive | Finding Gessler

A Hint of Celebrity?

Now that Ken and I spruced up our home with a few pieces of new furniture, a washer and dryer, and new kitchen chairs, I decided it was time for a little Barbara upgrading. Yup. I spent some coins on myself, and I didn’t do it at the thrift store. 🙂

The items I wanted included a pair of new glasses, some wrinkle cream and skin spot remover, along with a couple pair of new sandals. (I still think we may have at least a couple of days of summer in the near future.)

On Saturday, I went to pick up my new specs. For once the sun was shining, but little did I know in a few seconds it would shine on me. When the receptionist requested my name, I replied, “Barbara McCloskey.”

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One of the customers turned around with a surprised look on her face and said, “Barbara McCloskey? I know that name. Sure, there’s somebody by that name who is an author.”

I replied, “That’s me!”

The customer’s voice went up an octave as she said, “No kidding?”

I whipped out my business cards I got for such opportunities and gave  one to each customer in the store.

bus card

For a couple of seconds, I felt like a big shot. Fame shown it’s fickle light on me and I smiled in the illumination. Even though I hadn’t been facially recognized, somebody did recognize my name.

I’ve emblazoned this scene in my mind with the exception someday I will be facially recognized, and my “fan” will have read all of my books.

I truly believe this is the first step to fulfilling my dream–to become a successful author. This first step is simple, but necessary.

Here’s the bottom line to this tale. I don’t believe dreams happen. Having a clear vision of what we want to achieve is key, then we must share it with others. In the meantime, put your nose to the grindstone and work, work, work. In my case, I need to read and write everyday. Persistence is key–you can’t give up even when the ugly face of writer’s block crosses you path. Then grab opportunities when they come along. Do radio interviews. Get your name in the local paper. Pass out business cards advertising your genre and titles. Get your book reviewed. Don’t hide your light under a bushel basket — no one can shine hiding. Perhaps you might even get a little “luck” as you go through the actions of working toward your goals. No one can turn down good luck, right?

My only caution is to be careful what you ask for. . . there’s a good chance you will get it.

A Review is In!

Latest Novel from McCloskey

Latest Novel from McCloskey

After writing a novel, getting it published, implementing some kind of marketing plan, there’s one more step a writer must face to let people know you’ve written a story worthy of readers’ time. That step my friends, is to open up the book  to reviewers. Yesterday I received a review from Miranda Prather, a professional reviewer who posted her thoughts on GoodReads.com.

Here’s what she had to say:

Set in the World War II era, FINDING GESSLER, by Barbara Celeste McCloskey shows the tragedy and heroism of that time by focusing on a single young family torn apart as the Nazi’s rise to power begins and falls. Fans of McCloskey’s previous historical fiction will not be disappointed here in the attention to detail this writer is rightfully known for. She does not leave to chance that her fictional account is anything less than authentic when it comes to the fact of the era. Old and new readers alike will find in the Gessler family a tender portrait of just what it was really like to have families torn apart by the horrors of anti-Semitism. Through all the tragedy though, McCloskey makes sure to emphasize that hope is greater than all, turning the horrors into a moment of inspiring courage and love that will uplift readers. The author populates her pages with enough intrigue to keep readers guessing, along with well imagined characters. This book will not disappoint anyone looking for solid, meaningful story-telling with engaging characters that readers will invest their emotions in.

Here’s the link, should you want to read the same thing again! http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/682353052

Needless to say, I’m happy about what she had to say.

At the same time, my next novel has been selected for publication. I thought about self-publishing this one through Amazon.com, but when I saw it would cost me over $1,000 to go that route, I had to shelve the idea. PublishAmerica might have faults with the publishing community, but at least I get my stories out to the world without having to pay upfront. Their staff has proven to be easy to work with, and I’ve been happy with the look of my books. Now if only Barnes & Noble would be more cooperative to put my books on their shelves! Maybe with their huge distribution I’d stand a chance of seeing some royalties. Until then, I’m looking for the “Novel Gods” to intercede and bring my stories to the attention of a big, rich publisher who believes in my work and will pay me well.

If you’re interested in reading FINDING GESSLER, you can get a taste of it on Amazon.com in a few days. I have authorized them to produce a “Look Inside” tease to make you want to read more!

 

Finding Gessler is Released! Get ‘Em While They’re Hot!

Latest Novel from McCloskey

Latest Novel from McCloskey

It’s here! It’s here! The UPS guy delivered my sixth novel this week. I don’t think opening the shipping box and looking at a new work will never grow old. FINDING GESSLER  is a beautiful book thanks to Sue,  my sister-in-law. Shee did the cover art again, and I’m convinced the cover will entice readers to my books. I’m sorry to say, the covers PublishAmerica created for two of my novels pale in comparsion with Sue’s covers.

Between my support staff of Heidi editing, Sue providing the art, and Linda helping with the proofreading, this book is one of the best I’ve produced. I’m just saying. . .

It’s exciting to see the progression of my writing, too. Writing is just like any other art, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Sometimes I wish I could rewrite the early books, but writing is a process. I’ve learned to use other people and even a digital editor to help me improve. It’s true. We all fight natural tendencies of using the same words too many times. We all fall into the trap of overusing certain sentence structures. I am particularly lazy with the verbs I choose. Now, however, after six novels and help from my band of helpers, I am growing. Exciting stuff.

If someone would have said I ever could write six novels three years ago, I would have laughed. “Me? No way.” That’s probably what I would have said. But circumstances in my life gave me the time and the angel of inspiration lit a fire under me. And Voila! I have six books with my name on them sitting on my bookshelf. My goal is to fill the shelf before I pass on to another life. 

Somewhere I heard the advice not to quit your day job before you have produced TEN novels. I’m almost there with  STEPHANIA IN AMERICA in the rewrite stage. Heidi read the novel and gave me her critique. Now it’s my job to satisfy her questions. I trust her judgment and appreciate her help. And so it goes.

Oh, did I mention my staff works for free? (I do give them a book after I order my initial copies.) They are people who believe in me enough to give me their time and talent. What a gift!

Last Chance for Fixes

Latest Novel from McCloskey

Latest Novel from McCloskey

Yesterday I missed writing my blog because I had to anchor my big butt in my writing chair to proofread FINDING GESSLER for one last time before it goes to press. This is a necessary step because my publishing house doesn’t provide editing or proofreading. so the responsibility falls on the author. After the book has been formatted to go to press, the author is given 48 hours to comb through the text one last time to make last chance corrections. I always feel a lot of pressure at this stage because it’s my last shot to look good in the eyes of my readers.

This time I thought there would be less to “fix” in the 419 pages because I had added one more layer off scrutiny to my team. Linda is a wonderful proofreader, so I thought between me, Heidi (my editor) and Linda I would breeze through the manuscript and find very few things to change. Not so. I still found missing words and wrong word endings–two of my most notorious errors in my prose–to the tune of 4 pages of corrections. Damn! And because the manuscript is sent in a PDF file, I had to make a spreadsheet designating the page number, paragraph number, line number, prose to be fixed, and how it should read to indicate to the publisher where the errors were. It’s a very tedious process, and it took me from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. to get it done. (I did allow time out for potty breaks and lunch and dinner.)

As much as I dislike this part of the process, I know it is so important. In many ways, I wish I could take another whack at my first novel because now I see many things that got missed or could have been better. Maybe someday that will happen if we do a second printing.

In my writing classes, I try to impress upon my students that we all make the same kind of errors over and over again, and they should analyze their writing and spelling errors to uncover what their personal shortcomings are. Knowing your weaknesses is a strength. But like many of my words of wisdom,  more often than not, my tips fall on deaf ears. The fact that the students don’t heed my warnings maybe do to the fact that most of them are not writers. They are struggling to get down a paragraph and be satisfied with their first draft. They don’t believe me that writing is a process. They just want to endure the pain once, get the assignment in, and get out of the class as fast as they can.

So, now that I’ve confessed to you my weaknesses, it’s only fair that you share your writing traps. After all, they say misery loves company.

Grow Where You’re Planted is The Secret

Woman writerEvery morning, I give thanks I no longer have to wake up to the jarring noise of a blaring alarm clock, tear myself out from under the coziness of my bed before I’m fully awake, drag myself through showering, dressing, and then breakfast–only to fight traffic on the way to a job I hated.

My “retirement” came quite unexpectedly three years ago when I couldn’t find a job after I had asked my boss in the insurance business to fire me. I was burned out and disgusted by the whole scene. (Someday, I ‘ll tell you about it.)

My intention was to return to Marketing/Communications in some big company to live out my working years. However, there were two problems with this plan. First, the economy had tanked and these jobs were nonexistent. Second, because I had taken a left turn into the financial industry, nobody in marketing believed I still had what it took to be a viable talent. The situation became scary when the unemployment cheeks stopped, and I was forced to exhaust dip into my retirement savings to survive. But, we must go forward, right?

Looking back on the whole ugly mess, I think this happened because God wanted me to stay home with Ken and have a chance to do what I really wanted to do. Write.

So, after a month of  recovery, I embarked on a journey to produce my first novel. A  former client had a story she wanted to tell, but she didn’t have the writing talent to do it. It was a fascinating tale of a witch in a hospital. NO really, that’s what MercyLess Memorial Hospital is all about. It was Cindy’s story with my fictional twist. But when she decided to self-published the book with her name on it as the author, I was pissed annoyed. I thought we were co-authoring this book, after all, I did all the writing. If I had been smart, I would have charged her s ghost writing fee  and gotten paid. But being the sap nice person I am, I did it for FREE.

What this experience proved to me was I could write a decent story. Before I knew it,  my own series of novels started pouring out of me. I chose a time period when the world went crazy. World War II was a classic struggle between freedom and oppression. Good and Evil. The Devil and he Savior. If you watch the History Channel even a little bit, you get an inkling of what men went through during this time. But, like usual, the stories of the women are not told. It’s as if the opposite gender never existed, so I wanted needed to tell stories of my mother’s generation.

Apple Pie and Strudel Girls, Stranger in the Spotlight, Tea and Biscuit Girls, The Love Immigrants and now Finding Gessler have not blown the minds of any major market—YET. But things maybe a changin’.

Recently, I have hired a literary agent for the third and fourth books, and they are now being presented to publishers in Europe and across the United States. I keep telling myself it will only take one to buy the rights. And with the success of that one—I’ll be on my way to prosperity. I still have a vision of that writing room that looks out to the ocean, remember? And seeing the “experts” say, don’t quit your day job before you have written 10 novels, I’ve decided I’ll continue producing books until I fill my bookcase with  my work.

And until that day, I will grow where I’m planted and keep producing seeds of writing. After all, the good book says we all will reap what we sow.

“Finding Gessler” Coming Soon!

Latest Novel from McCloskey

Latest Novel from McCloskey

Good News! Good News! Yesterday, my latest novel, FINDING GESSLER, was accepted for publication! This is the fifth book I’ve had published through Publish America, and I’m as excited this time as I was the first time.

The cover art is compliments of my dear sister-in-law, Sue. She captured exactly the look and feel of the book. I just love it! Thank you, Sue!

Now a bit about the storyline. It’s a novel about a father and has family who were separated by war. Edward Gessler is in Paris when Warsaw was invaded by the Nazis in 1939. Believing his Jewish family is now dead, Edward becomes a double agent for MI-5.

After the war, Edward’s eldest son, David, has come of age and longs to know the fate of his father. Thinking that he might have escaped to Israel and joined a Polish Kibbutz, David travels across the world to find his him.

David was only six when his mother Dora and their nanny Heidi fled Warsaw as the bombs fell. He only has childhood memories and no true knowledge about his father.  When he gets to the kibbutz, he must face hard truths that shake up his personal world.

Like all my stories, this one brought me into the world of research, which is my second love next to writing. Some people have told  me they don’t like war stories because of the inhumanity and violence–and that’s okay. But my stories use the war as a backdrop of the times and  focus on the strong relationships that develop between people because of the hardships and pain the characters have to endure.

I’m  so looking forward to signing the contract, getting off the final  manuscript, and then seeing my work added to my bookshelf. Then it’s on to the next novel — God only know which WIP it will be.

This is a joy that will never get old.