Welcome Bonnie Schroeder!

March 16, 2014

Bonnie Schroeder ‘s first book has been published ! A most special appening (I think!.)  I asked  Bonnie(1) to come and talk about her experience. Her book, Mending Dreams, is marvelous–and that’s  high praise from a diehard mystery lover! Not only is  her novel well written, but her protagonist is  wonderfully drawn, and yes, I was rooting for Susan all the way! Here’s Bonnie…

Bonnie Schroeder

Bonnie Schroeder

On September 30, 2013 my life changed forever, but in a very good way. That was the day I got an email from Champlain Avenue Books, telling me that they wanted to publish my novel Mending Dreams.

For a few minutes I sat in front of the computer, mouth hanging open, trying to figure out if this was some sort of cruel joke. It wasn’t. So I got up, did the happy dance, and started spreading the joyous news. One of my friends, a published writer herself, said “Welcome aboard the Crazy Train. You’re going to love the ride.”

She was right, on all counts. This has been a wild ride! Along the way, I learned a few things that I’d like to share. If you’re already a veteran of the publishing process, these may be old news to you, but my eyes were sure opened by some of the things I encountered.

  1. Think the work’s been done when you find a publisher? Guess again! Besides their offer letter and book contract, the publisher sent me three pages of requested changes, plus an annotated copy of my manuscript. I had to set aside my pride of authorship and acknowledge that their revisions (in addition to being tactfully phrased) were right-on and would strengthen the manuscript.
  2. Prepare to be humbled by the errors that slipped past you on your “last” edit. I consider myself a fairly careful proofreader, but when the publisher sent me the next proof of the book, which I had to read to be sure all the changes were made, I was surprised by the number of typos and style lapses I had overlooked. Missing quotation marks, wrong words (“being” instead of “behind”, e.g.), and overuse of words (“just” is one of my pets, I discovered.)
  3. The day you see your book cover is one of the most amazing days in a writer’s life. It starts to feel real at that point.
  4. Have your marketing ducks lined up in advance of publication. This one caught me by surprise, because my publisher moved fast. I didn’t even have a website until I got the publishing contract. I’d taken some courses on website development, enough to convince me this was a job for a pro, and I found a good one! But good websites don’t just write themselves. They take time and thought.

I was also clueless about the ins and outs of “social media” marketing. (Some might say I still am.) No Facebook Author Page. No Goodreads Page. No Amazon Author Page. And you know what? Each of those accounts takes time, and—you guessed it—more writing! And I have only scratched the surface.

  1. The writing community is one of the most generous in the world. This was a happy lesson. I’d sensed it before, but not until this whole publication train got rolling did I truly appreciate the friendship and support of my writing friends. Madeline Gornell started it when she suggested I contact Champlain Avenue Books, which is also her publisher, and she let me use her name: that opened the door.

And of course, long before the book reached its publish-able state, I had the advice and support of some terrific writers who read my work and helped me shape it and revise it and make it stronger. One of my earliest critique groups universally disliked the main character, and that was such a valuable observation. I reworked Susan’s character over and over to soften the edges and let her inner goodness peek out so readers wouldn’t slam the book at Page One because they didn’t care what happened to her.

Rosemary Lord, Bonnie Schroeder, Jackie Houchin, Gayle Bartos-Pool, and Miriam Johnston

Rosemary Lord, Bonnie Schroeder, Jackie Houchin, Gayle Bartos-Pool, and Miriam Johnston

But the part that really struck me was this: every one of my writer friends, without exception, was happy for me when I got the publishing contract. We had many celebrations, and the smiles and cheers of my friends were genuine. I came from a background in Corporate America, where backstabbing is practically an Olympic sport, so this outpouring of support was an unexpected joy. Even people I didn’t know all that well offered advice and encouragement. We’re all writers, and we’re all in this together, and I am so proud to be a member of this special tribe.

So the journey’s not over yet. I have a lot more promotion work to do, and I hope a lot of books to sign, and when the dust settles a bit I can finally get back to the novel I’d drafted and was beginning to revise when I got the publishing contract for Mending Dreams. With any luck, it will buy me another ticket on the Crazy Train, and I’ll take that ride in a heartbeat.

To me, Bonnie’s happiness “Crazy Train” experience is so exciting! Admittedly, I’m doing a bit of retro-vicarious reliving those special moments. For me, Aberdeen Bay and Andy Zang took a chance–and Bonnie is so right–life changed. And all for the better.

Much success Bonnie!

Mending Dreams

Mending Dreams

Susan Krajewski seems to have it all: career, boyfriend, strong social network. She’s even stayed friends with her ex-husband Frank, despite the fact that he left her when he fell in love with another man. Beneath the surface, however, you’ll find a different Susan: a woman masking seriously damaged self esteem and great emotional pain. When Frank is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Susan’s carefully structured world begins to disintegrate. Although she’s convinced herself that she’s no longer in love with Frank, when he and his life partner, Clayton, ask for her help, Susan can’t refuse. She stands by Frank in his final days, juggling his needs with those of her boyfriend Noah, and with the demands of her career. Susan pays a steep price for her loyalty. Caught up in his own family crisis, Noah abandons her. She loses her job. Then Frank dies, and Susan is ambushed by a riptide of grief she can’t control. In the aftermath of Frank’s death, Susan quarrels with her best friend Margaret, who doesn’t offer the kind of sympathy Susan wants. But how could anyone know the depth of Susan’s loss? She’s worked hard at hiding her feelings. As Susan sifts through the wreckage of her life, she wrestles with her fears and emotional scars and comes to accept that she can’t heal without help. She acknowledges all that she’s lost and realizes all that she still has. Along the way, she finds love and support in unexpected places, and as she begins to heal, she comes to understand that, painful as they can sometimes be, it’s her ties to others that make life worth living.

PS  – Bonnie has a gorgeous new website at: http://www.bonnieschroederbooks.com/  and click on cover to buy Mending Dreams on Amazon

_____________________________________

(1) Bonnie Schroeder was bitten by the writing bug in the fifth grade and never recovered. Among her published short stories are “The Go-Between,” “What’s in a Name?” and “A Losing Game.” She was also a finalist in the 2012 ABQ Writers Co-Op bosque Fiction contest for her short story “Intervention.” In the nonfiction arena, she wrote a weekly column in Drama-Logue on the subject of “survival skills” for actors and other theater professionals and has written e-newsletters for a chapter of the American Red Cross. She has also completed two feature-length screenplays, one of which, Smoke and Mirrors, was a semi-finalist in the Monterey County Film Commission’s competition. Long-form fiction, however, remains her first love, and Mending Dreams is her first published novel. Bonnie lives in Southern California with two very spoiled German shepherd dogs and two equally pampered cats and is currently finishing up her next novel.
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22 Responses to “Welcome Bonnie Schroeder!”

  1. Madeline, thanks so much for letting me visit your blog–it was big fun!

  2. mmgornell said

    Thank you, Bonnie, for a wonderful post! Much sucess and so happy for you. Madeline

  3. Thank you, Jackie Vick. You gave me such good feedback on the manuscript and have always been an important part of my “cheering section.”

  4. All I can say in, “Hurrah!” For anyone in the area, Bonnie will be at the Flintridge Bookstore at 1010 Foothill Blvd. in La Canada March 26th starting at 7 pm. I can’t wait to get her signature on my copy!

  5. Thank you Heather. It’s great to know subsequent publications are just as thrilling, and I hope I get to find out for myself!

  6. Welcome aboard, indeed, Bonnie! Once you’ve bought the first ticket, there’s no turning back, which is a welcome relief as you hang on for the ride. Wonderful blog entry. Your words really resonated with me. My first acceptance did much the same thing to me–I read and reread it with my hand over my mouth. I stood up and cheered when I read my latest acceptance. The exhilaration feels just as good with the subsequent publications, and I know you’ll enjoy it each time as much as I do.

  7. Hey Paula, my Website Ninja: thanks for giving me such a fine public face. I love my website and owe it all to you!

  8. Yay, Bonnie! It was great working with you on your website and I will see you at your book signing on March 26. In the meanwhile, everyone can take a gander at your site:
    http://www.bonnieschroederbooks.com

  9. Marja, thanks. Glad you enjoyed the Crazy Train analogy, which came to me courtesy of Heather Ames. It fits the experience like nothing else.

  10. Kathleen, thanks for your kind words.You’re right that it helps us all to know that dreams can come true.

  11. Thank you Patrick, my dear little kid brother who has been MY role model too: it did take a long time, but I am living proof of the power of persistence. It really can work wonders!

  12. Gayle and Jackie: you were part of my early critique “posse” who helped me refine those pages, and I shall be forever grateful for your input and your ongoing support. I am so lucky to have you in my life!

  13. photojaq said

    So proud to be among your crowd of cheerers! I’ve seen you work and rework and revise the book, then send out those many, many queries and receive rejections back. But YOU MADE IT! You perservered and won. May that “train” take you many places before you are though!

  14. Pat Huston said

    I knew since you were a teenager you’d be published some day. (Although I must admit it took longer than I thought.) I’ve long admired your strength and resilience. You’ve taught many of us more than you know. Thanks and congratulations!

  15. Congratulations and welcome to our world aboard the Crazy Train. By the way, I love that title. It’s so descriptive and true. Best wishes for this book, and many more.

  16. Thanks, Madeline, for having Bonnie on your blog. Congrats, Bonnie, on the publication of MENDING DREAMS ~ a dream come true! Thanks for sharing your experience once you heard the magic words. Every writer should share his/her experience, it benefits all writers. It’s all a learning experience. Best wishes on this exciting journey!

  17. Your book, Mending Dreams, has a depth that came when you went back over those pages and discovered who Susan was and you put her beautifully on those pages. And then you added those marvelous characters who surround Susan and who brought out the person she was and whom she might have lost had she not gone on that journey. Best of lucky with this marvelous book and all the others waiting inside.

  18. Thanks, “jtzortman” and Patricia, for your good wishes. Nice to know others have shared this wild experience. And thanks to Madeline for letting me visit her blog–what fun!

  19. jtzortman said

    I remembered the excitement when my own book was published last June by reading how you felt. Yes, nobody understands what a tremendous job writing/publishing a book really is unless they’ve gone through it. But the friends we make along the way are well worth it all. Good job on this blog and much success with your book.

  20. Bonnie,
    I smiled as I read your post because I’m a very visual person and an image of all of us aboard the Crazy Train popped into my head! I could almost hear the conductor yelling, “All Aboard,” as we scrambled to take our seats. Great post!
    I wish you much success with “Mending Dreams.”

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