Search Results for: casey

Forever Innocent is launched! And rocketing!

I am shocked and pleased and pinching myself hourly.

web-Forever-Innocent-3DSo, a funny thing happened on my way to releasing my book on October 1. The ebook versions had to go live a few days early so that all the amazing blogs posting reviews this week would have buy links.

But a couple very influential people (I’m looking at you, Mimi Strong!) noticed it was up and the Tweeting began! Before I knew it, my phone battery was dead from notifications and the book was selling like crazy.

So, yes, the book has been a top 500 book on Amazon for three days now. It’s hit the bestseller lists in Romance, New Adult, and Coming of Age. Who could ask for a better launch day! I get a message from a reader about every ten to twenty minutes, which is making work hard, but I’m loving every minute of it.

If you missed the book trailer, it’s in the sidebar on the left. What an amazing thing to get to put the names of almost 200 babies on hand-cut paper butterflies and shoot such an emotional scene from the book! I feel very very lucky to do what I love and to continue the journey that I began in 1998 when my first sweet baby Casey was lost to us.

Thank you!

amazon-buy itunes-buy nook-buy kobo-buy

 

When Hugh Howey comes to town

Hugh signs Kurt’s Nook

In late 2011 I joined the Kboards, an online forum that had become a hotbed of information for indie authors trying to make inroads in selling digital books. At the time, Amanda Hocking’s books were just about to hit brick-and-mortar stores, and everyone was abuzz with what was possible. Getting a traditional deal from indie sales was considered the pinnacle of success.

Fifteen months later, the world has turned upside down again. Many of the Kboarders I am friends with have turned DOWN traditional deals, raking in tens of thousands of dollars a month they know they couldn’t get from old-school publishers. Stories about rights grabs and bad contracts have made everyone skittish, and only a handful of literary agents have the indie seal of approval for truly caring about independent rights.

Into the mix comes Hugh Howey, the newest indie hero, about to start his US hardcover and paperback book tour after securing a landmark deal — after turning down dozens of publishers who wanted his digital rights, he signed a paper-only deal with Simon and Schuster.

Hugh is waking up in Austin today, and last night he met with my Austin Java writing group for a little down time before his US book tour gets grueling. He’s speaking at SXSW on Sunday and will launch his hardcover edition of Wool on Monday at BookPeople at 7 p.m.

It’s always a treat to meet in person someone you’ve only known online. Hugh got on my radar right away, as his little short story had just taken off and he was writing serial sequels as fast as he could in December 2011. As one of the personalities on the forum that other writers could appreciate and laugh with, his hilarious videos for milestones reminded us not to take the journey too seriously, including dancing in clown fish slippers when he hit 100 reviews in February 2012.

The 100-review landmark seems funny now that he has over 5000, but many of us watching Hugh’s rapid ascent were thrilled. If anyone could join the ranks of John Locke and Amanda Hocking and still come back to tell us about the highs and lows of the journey, Hugh could.

As he completed Wool and created an omnibus edition, he ordered paper copies of his new work I, Zombie. Live streaming video showed him opening boxes and signing the copies (sometimes in blood!) Hugh knew how to work a crowd, and his fan base went from appreciative to increasingly intense and ready to buy anything he offered up.

His journey hits an apex today as he is featured in the Wall Street Journal. When we talked last night over decaf, he said he kept thinking everything would slow down, but the sales and invitations and new heights just keep coming. He’d just gotten back to the States from Europe, and after a few weeks on the US tour, heads to Australia (where super fan and fellow KBoarder David Adams is anxious to meet him too!) No doubt if the film rights snapped up by Ridley Scott become an actual movie, Hugh will find himself on another wild ride.

Hugh Howey, Deanna Roy, Kurt Korfmacher at Austin Java

If I’ve learned anything from my friendships on the KBoards, it’s how easily energy created in the digital world can translate to real life. Meeting someone like Hugh, whose journey I had followed for so long, and with whom I’d had numerous posting and commenting conversations with, was just an extension of the fun and sharing that happen in online communities.

And for those of us publishing digital books, Hugh is paving the way for our next journey — navigating from ebooks and pure independent control to one where we rely, at least in part, on publishers for the packaging and distribution of paper copies of our work. Hugh has paved the way, and it’s up to the rest of us to stand our ground for better rights and royalties. Because when it’s done right, when it’s done the way Hugh has managed to do it, we really are in control of our own destinies.

Other rock star authors from the Kboards: Bella Andre, Bob Mayer, Sara Fawkes,  David Dalglish, HM Ward, Elle Casey, Cassia Leo, Liliana Hart

When your life’s calling comes, answer it

Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sometimes when I look around, I see a lot of lost people. Some are justifiably sad—tragedy is happening to them right now. Some have had past losses, and they look to those dark days as the reason why they are still living without joy.

Others are just taking life day by day, waiting for something, the One Big Thing they’ve always imagined, and regularly seem to sink when another night comes, and it hasn’t happened.

I had lost years myself. I spent my twenties in pursuit of nothing special. A whole decade of stumbling around, switching jobs, always wanting something else. The not-now. The better-down-the-road.

Then something big DID happen. Not a book deal or a lottery or sudden fame. The worst sort of thing. As I rolled down what would be considered an ordinary life—marriage-first-house-pregnancy, my baby died. Just died.

This is where my road divided. I had three choices:

  1. Feel stuck and bitter and grief stricken.
  2. Pretend it never happened and move forward.
  3. Turn this moment into my personal call to a life that mattered.

Everyone who is reading this blog knows what I did. I changed everything. Since then I’ve given speeches, run web sites, written books, and made myself as available as possible to any Baby Loss Mom who approached me. It’s been 14 years—coming up on 15 very soon and I haven’t slowed down one bit.

I was lucky. I recognized when life handed me a purpose. Loud and clear I got the message that this terrible event was the thing that could save me. And while I’d certainly trade my life now for the life I could have had with Casey, I made sure, absolutely sure, that I never doubted why I had been brought on this planet, and why he had, so briefly, made his small appearance.

I can tell you — there is a reason for you too. Somewhere in your life there has been or will be a Call to Action. My hope is that everyone sees it when it comes. And that it not only gets you through whatever is happening — life, death, poverty, oppression, bullying, loss, overwhelm — but that you grow so much from it that you expand and envelop others who can learn from what you have endured.

My wish is that you too can take your experiences and turn them into action, mold your life into a passion, review what you have survived and bring about change.

It’s in everyone. The tall and the small. Elizabeth is only ten and she gets it — she made her whole class study epilepsy last year and over half of them chose the Epilepsy Foundation as their non-profit to support in the community service. One purple scarf given to her last month means dozens more will be made in her Knitting Club to give to other kids.

Look around you. Look at yourself. Take what is difficult and turn it into good. Learn from what you did wrong and lift a stumbling block from someone else.

Be the change you’re looking for.

 Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Appearances

Appearances:

Deanna has the BEST TIME visiting schools and doing both presentations and keynote speeches at writing or reading conferences. She’s been an avid speaker since high school, and no crowd large or small, from the teeny toddlers to the professionals, can scare her!

Speaking fees depend on the size of the audience and the length of the day. As a ballpark, you can expect a half-day to be $300 (plus travel if more than an hour from Austin, Texas). Speaking fees are reduced or waived in certain circumstances, particularly if the school or event will be sending out book order forms or selling books, or if the topic is particularly important to her.

Books and topics available:

  • 4-8 year oldsDust Bunnies: Secret Agents, a digital story book app from Polycot Labs.
  • 9-12 year oldsJinnie Wishmaker and the trilogy of magical books for tweens. Deanna is also part of an anthology of short stories for this age: 10 Tales for Tweens. She also does kid workshops on creative writing and has helped classrooms prepare for the 4th grade state writing test. (She’s a former schoolteacher and was a Language Arts textbook editor.)
  • Adults: Deanna is a regular speaker on numerous topics from her adult books. She often speaks about miscarriage (by itself or in writing), epilepsy (from a parenting perspective) and about living life as an artistic creative person. She is considered an “inspirational” speaker.
  • Writers/Publishing: Deanna regularly speaks on the subject of writing and marketing, particularly for independent self-published authors and small presses. She is a six-time USA Today bestselling author under multiple pen names for her self-published works. She owns her own publishing company and is also a founding partner of another middle-grade press.

Some recent speaking adventures:

June 6, 2020 online for the Writers  League of Texas:
Deanna taught her workshop “Launch to Success: Self Publishing in 2020” about the current market for independently published books.

August 16, 2018 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna spoke to t he Writers Special Interest Group of the National Speakers Association about creativity and marketing stories.

February 9, 2018 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna taught her workshop “Making Heroes Out of Misfits” to several groups of second and third graders at Eden Park Academy.

October 21, 2017 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna participated in the panel “Speed Drafting” at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators monthly meeting.

September 22, 2017 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna participated in the panel “Marketing Your Novel” at the Writers League of Texas monthly meeting.

July 1, 2017 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna participated in the panel “Identify Your Audience and Market Your Book” at the Writers League of Texas Agents and Editors Conference along with Caroline Casey (Coffee House Press), Colleen Devine Ellis (UT Press), and Elena Meredith (Publicist).

February 25, 2017 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna taught a class entitled “Succeeding in the Current Self Publishing Market” at St. Edward’s University for the Writers’ League of Texas.

January 25, 2016 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna was the guest on the Up Late Austin cable show with host Jake Martin.

July 22, 2015 in New York, New York:
Deanna is signing her new book FOREVER BOUND at the Literacy Signing at the Romance Writers of America National Convention. She is also moderating a panel on Saturday, June 25 during the convention.

June 26, 2015 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna taught a workshop titled “Ten Characteristics of Highly Successful Self-Published Authors” at the Writers League of Texas Agents and Editors Conference.

May 23, 2015 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna was a featured author at An Austin Author Event book signing at the Renaissance Marriott Arboretum.

Oct. 20, 2014 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna taught a workshop on Self Publishing for the Austin Arts and Service Celebration, a week of classes where veterans learn more about working in the arts.

Sept. 27, 2014 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna taught a half-day class for the Writers League of Texas called Writing What You Love in Marketable Packages.

August 9, 2014 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna was a panelist on Alternate Publishing Options at the SCBWI monthly meeting at Bookpeople.

July 23-26, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas:
Deanna signed FOREVER SHELTERED at the Literacy Book Signing at the Romance Writers of America National Convention.

July 17, 2014 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna was a panelist on self-publishing at the Writers’ League of Texas Third Thursday meeting at Bookpeople.

June 27-29, 2014 in Austin, Texas:
Deanna was a panelist at the Writers’ League of Texas Agents and Editors conference on the topic, “Big House, Small House, My Own House” with editors Jill Meyers, Jason Pinter, and Michael Signorelli in the Hyatt Regency Texas Ballroom.

May 13-18, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana:
Deanna had two fan events at the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention.

Nov. 17, 2012 in Lakeway, Texas: 
Deanna was a part of a panel on publishing with the Lake Travis Fiction Writers.

Oct. 28, 2012 in Austin, Texas: 
Deanna was at the Texas Book Festival as part of the Writers’ League of Texas booth events.

Oct. 6, 2012 at St. Edward’s University
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Digital Conference: The Nuts and Bolts of Success. Deanna conducted a one-hour presentation in the morning on “Marketing Your Digital Story Book” as well as lead a hands-on activity with attendees in the afternoon to create a story time presentation sure to turn visitors into fans.

July 25, 2012 at KOOP radio: 
Deanna was part of a panel on publishing in the modern era for the talk show Writing on the Air. Go listen to the broadcast!

May 15, 2012 in Pflugerville ISD: 
Deanna presented her Digital Storybook app Dust Bunnies Secret Agents to six kindergarten classes. In one day! And didn’t die from cuteness overload!
 
May 10, 2012 at Baby Earth in Round Rock, Texas: 
Deanna was invited to do the story time at this environmentally friendly baby store with  Dust Bunnies: Secret Agents.
 
May 2-3, 2012 in Eanes ISD: 
Deanna presented Dust Bunnies: Secret Agents to four kindergarten classes.
 
March 2, 2012 at Learning Ally: 
Deanna participated in a Record-a-Thon fundraiser for the blind and dyslexic along with local celebrities and Louis Sachar, author of Holes.
 
Oct. 15, 2011 at The BookSpot in Round Rock, Texas:
Deanna launched her adult novel Baby Dust.
 
Oct. 8, 2011 at St. Edward’s University: 
The SCBWI Digital Conference. Deanna led a one-hour presentation on “Standing Out in the eBook Crowd” to writers and aspiring authors.

The story behind Baby Dust

Fourteen years ago, a book saved my life. I had just lost my baby, inexplicably, when a sonogram five months into my pregnancy showed a motionless baby  floating in his amniotic sea. No one could give us a reason. They told us just to have faith, to hope, and to try again.

I didn’t have that faith. I didn’t have any hope. My life had become consumed by fear.

The book was Empty Cradle, Broken Heart by Deborah Davis. My then-husband and I read it together and worked through everything she told us about allowing ourselves to grieve.

In the years that followed, as I developed my own web site to help other women in the same predicament as me, I sold hundreds to thousands of copies of Deborah’s book. It was one of the few I could whole heartedly recommend. And I still do.

But publishing changed during those years. Books I read and suggested to grieving mothers became rarer. The midlist shrank, and with it, niche books like ones about miscarriage and stillbirth disappeared. I found I had little to tell these women to buy.

In 2007, I could see a big hole in the market but wasn’t sure what to do about it. I had been a journalistic writer all my life, but anything longer than ten pages was a stretch for me. Still, I knew there were women who needed stories that would help them, and the anthologies of anecdotes, while wonderful, all dealt with the acute stage of grief—the actual miscarriage and its immediate aftermath. My site was almost ten years old and no one was helping the women over the long haul, most especially those who never had children at all.

And so, I started a little blog (it is still up!) where I asked women for their stories. As I put together the characters in Baby Dust, I took those real accounts of pain and despair, and success and joy, and shaped what I hoped would be something that would not just tell the story of loss, but of surviving it.

Many times along the way, I didn’t think the book would go anywhere. The agents I submitted to believed in the book, and complimented the story and the writing and the message. But it was too small a market. A publisher wouldn’t want it. It wouldn’t sell well enough. All I heard was, no, no, no, no.

So I did the only thing I knew to do. I started my own publishing company. And since then, Baby Dust, and another title I put together, a memorial book for babies for whom traditional “Baby’s First Year” books would never work, have been the basis of my new life.

Since I published Baby Dust in 2011, I’ve had the amazing pleasure of corresponding with Deborah Davis about her book and mine. When I see on Amazon our two books “frequently bought together,” I am overwhelmed by gratitude that she was there to lead me through my dark days, and that with her help, I could move forward to help women through theirs.

__________________

Learn about Stella & Dane, two characters from Baby Dust who got a book of their own, to be released July 15, 2012!

The mixed blessing of the holidays

I don’t think anyone who has lost someone close to them ever feels purely happy during the holidays.

I remember as a child, having a very clean joy. I was full of anticipation of presents and cookies and days off from school. In Texas, we never knew if it would be cold, or if we’d be wearing short sleeves, and I only recall one white Christmas in all those years living at home. In fact, I was lucky. Because my parents were young, my grandparents young, I didn’t lose anyone close to me until I was an adult, the biggest loss of all.

But the Christmas prior to the bad year was not too happy either. We’d been trying to get pregnant since March. Babies were popping up all around us. My parents finally knew not to ask anymore, realizing something was awry.

There is a picture of my husband and me that year, by the tree. I’m wearing a shiny gray outfit, my hair up in a bun, and I look perfectly miserable, annoyed that someone is taking my picture. I’m devastated to be around family, but grateful that babies are not appearing yet. Tucked just a room away, within the drawers of my nightstand, were sheafs of basal body temperatures. I was trained to recognize ovulation and pregnancy, but only years later, when I became much better at reading the charts, would I see what was happening. Early miscarriage after early miscarriage. Cycles that I thought were wildly erratic, going from 25 days to 45 days, were not normal cycles at all, but low progesterone cycles, failed implantations, and early losses that were not even picked up on the tests of those days, where 100 was the minimum hormone threshold for a positive (today it is 20.)

What I didn’t know as I took that frowning picture was that I was indeed pregnant. And that by some miracle, it would stick for twenty long weeks. But only twenty weeks. And by the next Christmas a new ornament would appear on my tree. Casey’s.

This year, Elizabeth found Casey’s ornament first. She tugged it out, puzzled over the name for a second, then realized whose it was with an elongated, “Ohhhhhh.”

She brought the little plastic soldier bear to me. “I think you should put this one on,” she said.

I could not have pictured this moment that Christmas, that one day one of my children would hand me the ornament bearing the other’s name. I just knew then that I couldn’t carry babies, and that yet another one in my belly that year, the second or sixth, however you might count them, was in danger. My high-risk doctor was hopeful that I would make it to 25 weeks and give the new baby a chance of surviving. But that Christmas was strained and frightening, and the holiday never returned to that purity of joy I had before my twenties.

Now, with two lovely daughters and so much to celebrate, I make sure their Christmases are as lively and pure as my own (although this year it looks like we might be wearing SHORTS!) Elizabeth hands me an ornament, but the pain doesn’t stick to her. And once I put it on the tree, and admire it for a moment, I also return to our task, decorating and cooking and wrapping, for a holiday that can be as merry and bright as I am able.

A Mother’s Day Request from Me to You–Yes, YOU!

Mother’s Day is a really tough day for a lot of people. Some were expecting a baby, but tragedy struck, and this Mother’s Day will be spent in grief rather than celebration.

Other Moms will be celebrating with their children, but lost their own moms or grandmothers this last year, making this the first Mother’s Day without them. I lost two grandmothers last fall myself.

I’m asking everyone I know to reach out to these people on Mother’s Day in a very simple way.

I have designed several digital cards that recognize that Mother’s Day often comes with mixed feelings. These cards emphasize peace and love for those who may not feel joyous on the holiday this year.

So choose the one that you think fits that person in your life who may be having a bittersweet Mother’s Day. Then right click to Save As and email it this weekend.

Feel free to upload them to Facebook if that’s where your friends are.

They are also already uploaded on Facebook if you just want to use the “share” feature. Find them on one of these pages

My Personal Facebook Page (You don’t have to be my “friend” to see them, but feel free to friend me!)

A Place for Our Angels Facebook Page

Casey Shay Press Facebook Page

And bloggers, feel free to post them in your own blog posts to help them spread. They are free to use for personal use.

Even if you aren’t close to some of your Facebook friends, take note if you saw things happening to them this year. Do something. Remember. Reach out. It’s amazing what a difference such a simple thing can make.

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day: Light a Candle


Light a candle for babies lost to miscarriage and stillbirth at 7 p.m. in your local time to create a continuous wave of light around the world to remember our lost little ones.

Several years ago, one determined mama and some friends went on a mission to get this day officially recognized in all 50 states.

She succeeded.

Both here and on my web site at www.pregnancyloss.info, we make sure that this day does not pass unnoticed.

IF YOU ARE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS, we are meeting at the lighted fountains at the new park by Palmer Events Center at 6:45 to light our candles together. Feel free to email me at deanna@austin.rr.com to coordinate.

I light candles for

Casey Shay
December 1997 to April  1998 gestation

Daniel
June – July 2001 gestation

Emma Hope
August – October 2001 gestation

Here are the girls at our candle lighting in 2007, where we floated our little lights on Town Lake.

Flashbacks

Today, having sent Baby Dust to be copied for a few readers to take a look at, I decided to focus on the rest of my to-do list and get my 2006 receipts entered for taxes.

On top was a pile of medical things. I went to the file cabinet to see what folders already existed. Under medical, I found a packet rather unusually titled “old stuff.”

So I pulled out this folder to see what might be inside.

A medical bill. No surprise. Several, in fact. I scanned the list to see what they were for.

  • Prenatal 1-3
  • Antepartum Care
  • Mycoplasma Culture
  • Prolactin
  • TSH

Right about here I realized what I was looking at but read on, much as someone might rubber-neck a car accident.

  • Lupus Anticoagulant
  • Prothrombine time
  • Thromboplastin

I knew the date I would see. May 1998. These were the tests they ran to try and figure out why my baby had died. They didn’t figure it out then; I’d be pregnant with Emily before we understood the reason. If there should ever be a reason for something like that.

Strange I would come across this bill the same day I set Baby Dust aside, the first draft done, a whole trove of stories just like mine contained within its pages. Maybe Casey needed me to remember that they were little people, not just graphic incidents, or maybe he wanted to remind me why I was qualified to write it at all. Or maybe he just wanted to drop in, to show me he knew it was a big day, and to sprinkle me with luck as I start to send it out to agents.

Doesn’t matter. I can make it anything I want to be. And I choose to get dusted with hope.

Life and Light Passing

My grandfather died last night. He’s the guy standing on the right side of this picture in the flowered shirt. I took the image in March when we visited their nursing home in Wichita Falls.

He had been in a lot of pain, and just had surgery the week before. He hadn’t been able to eat in weeks. His passing gives him ease from all that.

Tomorrow I assume I will leave town, depending on the day of the funeral. It’s a hard time of year for me–I have 10 holiday shoots booked this weekend plus NaNo, a write-in I was in charge of and a photography class. But these things happen when they do. We rearrange our lives in honor of the lives that passed before us.

I wish before my grandfather died I could have told him to pick up our little baby Casey–well, gosh, I guess he’d be 8 by now and embarrassed by that–so maybe pat him on the shoulder, ruffle his hair. I’m always anxious when someone passes from this world to the next. It’s my chance to send along a message, my love, my missing my babies.

But because of all the good things in this world–love, support, care, empathy, understanding–I’m sure my grandfather already knows.

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