Thursday, October 02, 2008

Guest -Loucinda McGary

CONTEST WINNER !!! Lily.
Please email us your snail mail info to: BelleBooks @ Bellebooks.com
(no spaces) And we'll put you in touch with Loucinda to collect your prize!

Help me welcome new author Loucinda McGary! Her very first book, THE WILD SIGHT, came out yesterday. The cover is gorgeous (see below) and makes me want to go to Ireland. She writes books of suspense in exotic settings. And with a little taste of the mystic.

The Day Everything Changed

The word change seems to be on everyone’s lips recently.

People want change!
People need change!
Change NOW!

The concept of change is very attractive to me. But when I sat down and gave it some serious thought, I realized that most change doesn’t happen immediately. Usually change is a long slow process that seems to happen organically over time. I can only think of a handful of times when I can say, unequivocally, “That day, things changed for me!”

Shortly after I started eighth grade, I had to change schools. I clearly remember walking into that new and strange classroom, looking at those unfamiliar faces, and realizing that no matter what I did, some of those kids were not going to like me. Quite an epiphany for a not-quite fourteen-year-old, but I remember because that was the day I stopped trying to please everyone. My whole attitude changed.

The day I got married, my life changed drastically. I moved hundreds of miles from all my family and friends and started a new college (yes, I was young and dumb the first time I got married). The only person I knew was my husband, and since I’d never lived on my own before, I suddenly had a whole household to run. I was in charge of all the cooking, shopping, and laundry. Me. By myself. Big change.

The next major over-night change was the day I became a parent. I had never really been around an infant before, not that I could remember, certainly not a newborn. Suddenly this tiny, helpless baby was totally dependent on me. GULP! Very big change!

Other life changing events happened to me over the years, but most of the time they weren’t quite so dramatic. Until… I sold my first book. Like getting married or having a baby, this was a highly anticipated event that I worked hard to achieve. In fact, I worked at it for years.

Like most writers, I didn’t sell my first completed manuscript. Incredibly, once I decided to actively pursue publication, when I sat down at the keyboard, perfect, saleable prose did not flow from my fingertips. What a rude awakening!

I took classes, both in person and online, attended conferences and workshops, listened and learned, and wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of prose. At the same time, I had to educate myself about the submission process, learn about the ever-changing market, and keep trying and trying and trying to sell.

Eventually I got pretty good at the writing (well, mostly, except when the doubt demons sunk their claws into me), I became savvy about agents and editors. I was doing everything right, but I still hadn’t sold. I began to fear that I might never sell. Halfway through my work-in-progress, I even went so far as to tell my critique partners, “If this manuscript doesn’t sell, I’m not sure I can write one that will.”

Then, on the morning of September 14, 2007 everything changed. The very first editor to request the full of my newly completed manuscript called with an offer to publish it. After one short telephone conversation, I went from unpublished wannabe to sold author! Major, wonderful change!

It has been a wild and sometimes crazy thrill ride since that morning, but my debut novel The Wild Sight hit the shelves yesterday! Yes, things changed, but some things stayed basically the same (like those doubts and fears) with slight variations, but that’s the way change goes. I know there are plenty more changes in store for me in the next few months. Most will be gradual, but some might even be precipitous. But I’m looking forward to all of them!

What about you? What are some of the most memorable changes that have happened to you? I’ll be giving away a copy of The Wild Sight to one commenter and some chocolates filled with Bailey’s Irish cream to another. I hope that’s a change you’ll be happy about!

42 comments:

Debra Dixon said...

Yikes! I posted the blog with the wrong date. So, Loucinda, please forgive me!

We're so glad to have you here.

Now I'm going to go read my Blogging For Dummies book, especially the section about prepping drafts before you post for real!

Cindy Gerard said...

Welcome Loucinda. Your cover is gorgeous!! And mega congrats on the release of your first book! How wonderful!
As far as change - wow. There are too many to mention. I guess one of the biggest and the best changes was becoming a grandparent. GRAND is definitely the best word to describe it.

jo robertson said...

Great topic, Cindy! And congratulations on the momentous occasion of your first book's birth. This is one change that's heartily deserved.

One of the most difficult changes I made was leaving my home, friends, and community and moving to the Sacramento area. It was a job change, but dragging seven kids out of their schools, away from their friends, is very traumatic.

Liza said...

Welcome Loucinda! The Wild Sight sounds wonderful, I'll have to look for it at the bookstore this weekend. Thanks for sharing your first call story.

My biggest change happened when I deciede with 2 of my friends to move to Nashville. We were about 2 years out of college and wanted to get away from home. It was one of the best changes I ever made. I found the greatest place to work(after about 3 years) and still live close to of my friends. Now if only I could find my Mr. Right...

Helen Brenna said...

Hey Loucinda and welcome! Love your cover and congrats on your first book being released. It's amazing isn't it?

I can add a change that was a biggy for me - quitting my career to stay home fulltime with my kids. Wow, that was a shocker.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Loucinda!

Can't wait to read my very own copy of the Wild Sight!

Helen, I can relate. I decided to move from a successful corporate career to start my own home-based CPA practice so I could be home with my kids. It was a nailbiter.

Then, of course, leaping from that into becoming a published author. Another change inspired by love *g*.

You go, Loucinda. Yes, more changes are in store, but nothing that you can't handle.

Michele Hauf said...

Welcome to the convertible, Loucinda! That cover rocks! Sourcebooks does some excellent covers. Love them all.
I explored your website. Congrats on the starred review from Publishers Weekly! Very cool.

My most recent memorable change was my son leaving for college. And just an update for blog visitors, I'm still alive, surviving and not crying too terribly much! :-)

flchen1 said...

Hi, AC!! Good to see you with your hair blowing back in the convertible! HUGE congrats on Wild Sight! What a week you're having ;)

As for big changes, I've had some of the ones you mentioned--I think the biggest so far for me is the becoming a parent one. Plus there's NO backsies! Yowsa!!

Gotta brace myself for changes ahead--like the preteen and teenage years!

lois greiman said...

Thanks for riding with us, Loucinda.
Hauf's right, Source Books is doing some nice things. Huge congratulations.

Change seems to come at us whether we want it or not. I'm still trying to adjust to a bunch of stuff, but I think it's probably best to embrace the changes instead of fighting them. So good luck with the new stuff in your life.

catslady said...

Thank goodness all you authors have such perserverance!

Getting married at 18 was a big one, deciding where to work, waiting 15 years to have kids and quit working. One for the future is agreeing to help my daughter take care of her kids (she just got married so I have a little bit of time lol).

Betina Krahn said...

The day I got married has to be the biggest change of my life. . . aside from the birth of two kids. And then of course, the day my husband died. That was a change that has echoed down through my life ever since. A dozen years later it still has consequences in my heart and mind.

Oddly, the publication of my first book was a neat event for me but kind of a low key thing. My sights were set elsewhere at the time. Since then, there have been pub dates and special achievements that were magical. Winning the RITA was fabulous. . . though in truth it didn't change much for me.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Everyone,
Thanx so much for inviting me to ride along with you today!

LOL, Deb! I wondered what happened when I looked for my post a wee bit earlier and didn't see anything. As we all know, STUFF happens! :-)

BIG THANX to everyone with compliments about my cover. I wish I could take some credit, but it was all the Sourcebooks art dept.'s doing and what a GREAT job they do!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Cindy!

Congrats on your wonderful achievement of making the NYT list!

Grandchildren sound wonderful, but my son has already said NO WAY! So I must content myself with my brother's grandchildren. He has 7 and for once, he doesn't mind sharing. :-)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jo,
You never cease to amaze me! I can't even imagine raising 7 children, having a teaching career, and you're a SUPER writer to boot! I know because you've won BOTH the Golden Heart & the Daphne and I know your first sale is right around the corner!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hang in there Liza!
Mr. Right is out there. I didn't meet mine until I was 38, but it did happen and yours will too. ;-)

Helen,
The stay-at-home mom is scary! I did that for the first couple of years after I had my son, and I was shocked at how much I missed going to work. Of course, once I went back, I missed staying home. There seems to be no happy medium for me. LOL!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HUGS, Donna!

Thanx for swinging by from the Bandit Lair to say hi.

I'd say your change to Published Author is going great guns! LURVED your "Mrs. Brimley" and "Trouble with Moonlight" and am looking forward to the next one in a few months.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx for the welcome, Michele, and yes, the starred review from Publishers Weekly was totally unexpected and wonderful!

I know what you mean about getting the kiddo out of the house. I couldn't WAIT for my son to move out, or so I thought. But once he did, and then I didn't hear from him for TWO WEEKS I was an emotional MESS! But then, a couple of years later he moved BACK IN with me for 3 months and we were BOTH a mess. LOL!

Am I sensing a trend here???

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Fedora!
We seem to be crossing paths all over cyberspace, and it is nice to "see a familiar face!"

LOL on no backsies with the kidlets. One of my BFFs says all babies should come with a tatoo on their tush that says, WARNING! This adorable infant turns into a horrible teenager!

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your new book Loucinda! I never thought about it but it's true that so many changes are gradual and you don't think about them. It's like when I started using my treadmill every morning. By using it at the same time each day it became part of my daily routine and then all of a sudden I'm getting some exercise.

Helen said...

Cindy I love reading anything you write
My biggest change was becoming a grandmother I absolutley love it my two little ones are so special to me it is such a different feeling from being a Mum.

Again congrats on the release and I am so glad you never gave up

Have Fun
Helen

Sean and Anna said...

Being in the military means that change is almost the norm, but I have had some wow changes that caused a total shift in direction. The most recent deals with kids- I have been a stay at home mom for a handful of years but last year I went to work at the school my kids go to. It has been challenging and fun. This year I added a bunch of volunteer time as a reading tutor for first graders. These are kids that have fallen behind, for whatever reason, and I cannot tell you how rewarding it is. I am teaching one boy his alphabet and when he gets it, his smile just warms your heart. The change- I'm thinking of finishing my degree and becoming a teacher! I've never finished because I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Helping these kids makes me feel like I am making a positive difference.

Congrats to both Cindy and Loucinda!

Debra Dixon said...

Anna! How great that a volunteer position may be leading you to an understanding of what is fulfilling and worth the time it takes to get a degree!

Loucinda- I'm so sorry I screwed up the blog. When I didn't find it this morning, I thought I'd gone nuts. Then I posted it again and it still didn't show up. That's when I realized that I needed to go change the darned date! Duh.

Estella said...

Congrats, Loucinda!
Changes in my life were marriage, motherhood, being a grandmother and retirement.

Malena Lott said...

Congrats, Loucinda!
I'm really a change addict. If it doesn't happen to me, I make it happen! My favorite though is the change in seasons. I get to drag out new home decor, new recipes and have seasonal themed parties. The next three months are my favorite by far!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Afternoon Everyone!

Catslady, WOW! Waiting 15 years and then having children must have been an extreme change.

Betina, losing a spouse is such a HORRIFIC change. Kudos to you for hanging in there and overcoming it.

Lois is sooo right. Sometimes we have to change whether we want to or not. Definitely the case with losing loved ones. :-(

Robin said...

Congratulations! I just read an excerpt of The Wild Sight and immediately put it on my Amazon wishlist. Look forward to reading it.

Changes: When got married and became co-owner of my new husband's business. When I had my first and only son at age 39 and decided to be a stay at home mom. Big change when we decided to home school. Another big change at age 48 to go back to college finish my bachelor's degree. Big change and challenge - taking on trying to write a novel last year and enjoying it.

Life is ever changing and I'm enjoying every moment. Enjoy your moment in the sun!

Robin of mytwoblessings

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Maureen, GOOD FOR YOU on using that treadmill! Every morning I look at my exercise bike and think, "tomorrow." OOPS!

HUGS Helen!
I can't tell you how much your support means to me. And I'm still hoping that one of your new grandbabies will be born on my birthday!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Sean and Anna,
Thanx for sharing your inspiring story! I tutored when I was in college (about a hundred years ago) and enjoyed the one-on-one. Student teaching... not so much! But I think I was too close in age to the high school students I was teaching.

I admire you for taking on the tough challenge of going back to school! I'm sure you can do it.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Estella,
Congrats on those wonderful changes. I LURVE "retirement" and highly recommend it!

LOL Deb on not knowing the date. I think the only reason I know my own name lately is because people keep yelling it at me. ;-)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Malena, my Casa Sister!

Thanx for mentioning the season changes. I know you live in an area that experiences all 4 seasons. We don't have anything that dramatic here in Nor Cal, but I do love the beautiful fall colors, even if it is very short lived and the leaves clog all the storm drains.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Robin,
I admire your courage to go back to school! I know that if I hadn't finished my degree when I did, I probably never would have. Once you lose that momentum and leave the "educational" mentality, that would be a hard transition to go back.

Also, don't you love people who think writing a novel is just a matter of sitting down and typing out words?!?! Ignorance is indeed bliss in their cases. :-)

ArkieRN said...

I think getting my bachelor's degree in nursing was a really memorable event in my life. It marked the beginning of when I could get a job that paid well enough to support my son and I without needing family help or having to work lots of overtime.

Dina said...

I see you're at another of my fav sites AC.

Congrats on your book.

Jane said...

Hi AC,
Sorry, I'm late to the party. Congrats on the release. I think the biggest and most memorable so far was transitioning from college graduate to becoming a full time worker. Entering the workforce for the first time as is a pretty scare task.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Dina!
This is a fun blog too! Great to "see" you here!

Same to you Jane and you too Arkiern.

I really appreciate all of you coming out and supporting me and my book. And BIG THANX to Deb, Helen, Lois, Michele, Cindy, Betina, and the other great authors for letting me ride along with them today!

AC

Nathalie said...

Hi,

Thanks for blogging with us and congrats on your debut novel! Must be great to see your name on the shelves :-)

Nathalie said...

I forgot to answer the question... I have not had a memorable change yet, though now that I am thinking, this year I will be graduating from college and that will bring change!

Lily said...

Changes: When I got acceepted into med school 4 years ago. It really changed my life and made a much more mature person.

buddyt said...

Hi Loucinda,

I see that a lot of fellow writers have commented on your book.
Well their commetnts are probably a lot better than any that I could make !

So congrats on your first and lets have lots more.

All the best Carol

ddurance said...

I'm certain that my biggest change came about when I became a mother at the age of 17. Motherhood definitely changes your life and the direction that it will ultimately take.

Deidre

robynl said...

one of the greatest changes was moving to another province upon being kicked out by my then husband; very little money, an old car that was too expensive to fix anymore and had been too costly to quit fixing. I was far enough away from my family and yet could see them whenever I wasn't working at 2-3 part time jobs. I am a better person for it.

Debra Dixon said...

CONTEST WINNER !!!!

Lily, you've won.

Please email your snail mail info to : BelleBooks @ Bellebooks.com

No spaces. Thanks and Congrats!