Sunday, February 1, 2009

Zamora's Ultimate Challenge

I was going to continue with another ghost story, but I had to get a little promo time here in on the blog because I am super excited about my children's fantasy Zamora’s Ultimate Adventure out tomorrow. Never in a million years did I think this book would be published, and that isn’t because I didn’t believe in the book. In fact, I may believe in this little book more than anything that I’ve ever written.

Zamora’s Ultimate Adventure was truly a labor of love for me. Almost nine years ago when I became pregnant with my little girl the doctors put me on bed rest not even half way through my pregnancy. For those of you who don’t know me, all I can tell you is that putting someone like me on bed rest is just plain mean. I do not rest well. For those of you who do know me, I can see you laughing and nodding your head. However, my baby was my first priority and so I settled in for the long haul and tried to think of the positives—and the big positive I came up with was that I could write another book, and this time I could whip that book out quickly because I wasn’t making dinners, I wasn’t picking up the boys, and I wasn’t doing the household chores (hmmm—there are many positives to bed rest). God bless my mother-in-law who came out and took care of us during those months. I owe her big time!

I also was not a published author at the time, and what I had been writing up to that point was some pretty dark thriller stuff. The problem was that I could not come up with anything dark and creepy, and when I did, I shoved it out of my mind. There was no way I could even consider doing the research on the dark and creepy, and so I was at a loss. I think it was the baby growing inside of me that was saying, “no dark and creepy, Mom.” I listened.

I thought, “What am I going to write?” And then, it came to me. I decided that I wanted to write a book for my three kids. It would be a book that they could have and enjoy and give to their kids one day. It would have some dark and creepy stuff, but not so heavy and it would be the kind of stuff that the kids in my book could and would conquer. The themes would be about light, love, family, and a sense that you can do anything you set your mind to. There would be obstacles and some serious nasty villains, but if the brothers (Mason and Clover) in the book followed three rules (and these are my own personal rules in life) then they would be able to achieve their goal (to save their baby sister from the evil wrath of Queen Zamora). The three rules that the boys are told by their sage Seyem are: 1. Believe in yourself and the gifts that you have been given. 2. Believe in your brother/sister and the gifts they have been given 3. Trust there is always something bigger than you in control of it all, and having faith in that is the key to life.

I wrote the book. I read the book to my sons and gave copies to friends who read it. My boys were six and eight at the time. The boys loved the book. Their friends loved the book. My dad loved the book (no duh, he is my dad), and I loved the book. And then, I put it aside and after my daughter was born I went back to writing thrillers, and then onto mysteries. The mysteries took off, and I never thought much about The Clover Brothers and Zamora.

Fast forward to eight years later, and I am at a writers’ conference talking about how to write mysteries. I meet a lovely woman named Karen Syed. Karen is the publisher at Echelon Press and Quake (the YA line at Echelon). We had a nice rapport and I really liked her thinking about the business and about writers in general. She is one, so she gets us. We talked about her new YA line and how she was looking for books with boy protagonists. I brought up Zamora to her and she asked if she could see it. I said, “Sure, but first I’d have to find it.” Thank goodness my mother-in-law saved a copy on a disc I had sent her. My organizational skills are lacking. It didn’t take long before Karen was in touch and wanting to publish the book.

I did a polish and made some revisions and now the little book that I thought would simply wind up in the hands of my kids and then on to their children one day, has been given wings. I am grateful to Karen for asking to see the book, and it’s my hope that children all over the nation find it and love it. Because if there is one thing that I can tell you about this book, it is this: This little book was created purely from a place of love. It was created from a deep spiritual place within me, and although it’s a fun book and a fantasy that is all about a video game and the adventures within the game, it is much more than that. So what was once meant only for my children, is now also for yours. The really cool thing about is that my little girl who is now eight is reading the book herself (bound and with the cover on it—makes me teary-eyed to even think about it).

Also out this week is the fifth book in the Wine Lover's series (Corked by Cabernet).This is another whacky, fun installment in the series with Nikki finding dead people and solving the murders with the aid of the boys of summer. I hope you'll check it out.

Please visit my site this month for all sorts of cool contests and new recipe ideas.

Thank You!

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