Yet another post for December! It's a busy month in general, but also a busy news-on-the-writing-front month, as well.
I'm very happy to announce that CRYSTAL WAVES, besides being in ebook form, is now out in paperback. To purchase, just click on the cover to the right.
We're not finished with this yet, though. More news is coming out this week, as well as that character interview that I promised earlier this week.
And just a quick note, the topic totally unrelated to this new release: See those links to other pages right under my blog's heading? Bio, Series, Vintage, etc.? I will soon be creating one dedicated to the books that I'll be writing as Consuelo Vazquez, but this page will not include older works written under that pen name. Most of those books are now out-of-print and difficult to find--and besides, out with the old, in with the new! In other words, that page will be listing SEA SIREN (which is my only reprint from the past) and only BRAND NEW titles under Consuelo Vazquez. Just wanted to clarify that.
It's hard to believe that 24 years--over two decades!--have passed since I first told my husband, "I'm going to finally try to do it: I'm going to try to become a published author."
At the time I was 30 years old, a young wife, and the mother of a 5 1/2-year-old and a 2-year old, plus a secretary at a brokerage house. We were living in Union City, New Jersey. Total newby, I didn't have any idea what I was doing, only that I'd loved to write and tell stories since I was a kid, and I really wanted to share my work with readers. I proudly bought my first copy of THE WRITER'S MARKET and used it daily.
For the first five years I sold nothing. Nada. Kept writing, collected oodles of rejection letters, some very impressive, cried a lot, got to know (and stalked) our wonderful mailman, Joe. I wanted to quit just about every other day, but by God's grace, I just kept going.
Then, in 1995, I sold my first story to True Confessions magazine. A sale to True Love followed. The writing bug really bit me then, and in total the magazines published somewhere over 100 of my short stories. I was later hired by one of the editors and became the Associate Editor of True Romance magazine, a job I loved and that ultimately prepared me for the day when I would become--well, getting ahead of myself.
In 1997, I got "The Call" from Avalon Books, which published my first book, RUMOR HAS IT. Two years later I sold AND THEN CAME YOU to Kensington Publishing's Bouquet line. The book was nominated for the 1999 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Bouquet. I also was one of the first authors for Kensington's Encanto, their Latina romance line, as Consuelo Vazquez. SALSA KISS, the first of my Encantos, was serialized on Univision.com. SEA SIREN, which I have obtained the rights to and republished, was among my Encanto books, as well as LEADING LADY, SECOND CHANCE FIANCE and IN YOUR ARMS.
Along the way, I also became a YA author--seeing the publication of THE GHOST OF LITTLE BAY, a middle-grade ghost mystery, and SUBURBAN VAMPIRES, a romantic comedy with teenaged vampires. New Concepts Publishing published THE COP & THE MERMAID and other romances, and I also have had the pleasure of working with Melange Books.
Then, in 2011, I self-published GLIMMERS OF HEAVEN, my first Christian/inspirational romance. That was a turning point for me, the year I became an indie author/publisher. Since then, I have written and published 'TWAS THE SPY BEFORE CHRISTMAS, THE LARKSPUR VALLEY SERIES, CHAMPAGNE TASTE, ONE SWEET DAY and several other novels and novellas. With a lot more to come, too.
I look back at this journey that I began 24 years ago, at how much publishing has changed since I submitted my first story, and all the doors of possibility that indie publishing has opened to me, and I count myself as being very blessed to be a writer in this time in history. In retrospect, I wouldn't change one day of it, and I give the Lord the glory for bringing me this far. Looking very forward to writing and publishing much, much more, continuing to grow in my craft as an author, and hopefully bringing much reading pleasure to my readers!
Happy to report, we're almost there with the paperback version of CRYSTAL WAVES.
It took a little longer because I also ended up revising the ebook version of my new novel. The updated ebook version has now been uploaded and is ready for purchase on Amazon. Waiting for the all-clear on the paperback, too, before announcing my Goodreads giveaway.
My apologies! I'd hoped to have the paperback version of CRYSTAL WAVES out by Christmas, but it looks like that will be delayed by a week or two. The paperback is now in the final proof stages, so it should be available soon, to give as a gift to a friend, to your church library, or for yourself, of course!
Besides working on the paperback, I'm editing a book written under another pen name and preparing to bring back my pen name of Consuelo Vazquez in 2015. I *believe* I announced that a while back, but now I'm actually ready to do that, now that I'm clear as to a direction.
A few notes about my CV books:
* Since most of my Connie Keenan books have been Christian mainstream/Christian historical/ Christian women's fiction/ inspirational and/or sweet romance, I've decided to keep it that way. Books written under Consuelo Vazquez will be sweet romance, historical, women's fiction, fantasy, with often Hispanic characters/heroines.
* Consuelo Vazquez was the name I wrote under for Kensington's Encanto romance line, but she's all mine now!
* SEA SIREN, originally published by Encanto (the rights of the English version, which have now reverted to me), is the only previously published title. If you haven't already helped yourself to a copy, please do so! It is my gift to you, a perma-free title. Please note that SEA SIREN is a sensuous romance (tame by today's standards) and deals with adult topics. All titles to be published from here forward will be brand new, never-before-published books under the Consuelo Vazquez name.
* Kicking off CV's books will be that novella that I mentioned here previously. Please note: It WILL be sweet, so you can still share it with your daughter, granddaughter, niece, or other special young person.
* There IS a Consuelo Vazquez blog which I started up 4 years ago (!), and you can find it here. However, in the interest of keepin' it simple, I'll be making announcements for the books here, differentiating between CV and my inspirational works. Life is complicated enough without having two separate blogs, don't you agree?
* More news on Consuelo Vazquez books are on the way!
Though I'm planning on writing and publishing 2 titles for CV in 2015 , the majority of books to be published next year will be Christian/inspirational under Connie Keenan. I'm planning to begin writing the CV novella this week, in between editing another novella and preparing the CRYSTAL WAVES paperback. CRYSTAL WAVES will be my last book for 2014, and CV will kick off 2015.
The third and final book of the JOYFUL NOISE series will follow the novella (more news on that later, too), and I'm also planning to do a historical Christian romance with a mail order bride.
And that's all in between preparations for Christmas, which we love in this family.
Most writers will tell you there's always a story behind the story. That's no less true with my newest Christian mainstream, the tale about a Jersey shore town where very strange and yet amazing things start to happen!
Here are a few fun facts, the story behind this particular story.
1. CRYSTAL WAVES was actually the first full-length novel that I wrote right before launching my career as first a freelance fiction author, and then a romance and YA novelist. This Christian novel was then never published, forgotten by me, and now that I've come full circle--once more writing Christian/inspirational fiction--it has finally been published, over a decade later.
2. The town is loosely patterned after Ocean Grove, NJ.
3. The movie theater where the character of Jessica "Jessi" Tipton works, the Cinema, is named after the movie theater in Union City where I would go faithfully to see movies as a teenager, often with my best friend, Linda. The Cinema is no longer there, so this was an affectionate namesake.
4. The character of Carissa Brilhart was renamed after my niece, Carissa. The reporter's original name was Cory.
6. In the original version, the character of Katie was named Cecilia, and she worked as a radio DJ in the town rather than a waitress at the local diner. There was a male reporter in the original who fell in love with Cecilia. Her radio station was at the top of a lighthouse, which never made an appearance in the new version.
7. The character of Marilyn is also named after a personal friend.
8. One of the miracles is based on a dream that I had some years ago; this same dream worked its way also into ONE SWEET DAY, my book about the rapture.
9. The JOYFUL NOISE SERIES was interrupted to rewrite and publish CRYSTAL WAVES.
10. It's not mentioned at all in the book, but the name of the town, Crystal Waves, is taken from a scripture: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. - Revelation 22:1
11. The character of Pastor Lou DePalma is patterned after the late and beloved Pastor Nunzio Leggio of West New York Assembly.
12. The novel begins on July 8, 1972...the 8th of July being my late dad's birthday.