Books, Writing

My First Book Contract

I have good news to share. I signed my first book contract in 2023 and the first story in my Best-laid Plans series will publish in June, 2024.

How did this book contract come about, you ask?

I’m excited to share I won the grand prize in the Scrivenings Press #GetPubbed writing contest. My novel, When Plans Go Awry, won first place in the Historical Romance category, and then went on to win the grand prize. The grand prize includes a book contract. My novel is scheduled to be launched into the world on June 4, 2024.

Denise M. Colby won the grand prize in the Scrivenings Press #GetPubbed 2023 contest for When Plans Go Awry, which includes a book contract
The contest results were announced on November 16. I think I will always remember this day. A pivotal turning point in my writing story. Where I went from aspiring to contracted.

What’s amazing is looking back over the past thirteen (yes, 13!) years of working on my stories, making friends, learning, and growing as both a person and as a writer. I’m so thankful for the journey.

The path has been a lot of winding cross-backed, up and down, narrow and wide dirt trails, with a few paved and flat sections along the way. Then, on November 16, these contest results were announced, and everything has changed — and I’m on a new path now!

Scrivenings Press welcomes Denise M. Colby to the family of authors with her first book contract for her grand prize entry When Plans Go Awry which will publish in June 2024

The word CHANGE was the perfect word for me in 2023. 

From a writing perspective I chose this word because I wanted to change how I approached my writing. To not be afraid to change my opening or what my characters said. I wanted to be able to try new phrasing and change my manuscript for the better. I wanted to embrace change in different ways including pitching and trying new contests.

And because of that, I can now add additional changes that have happened this year! 

  1. I finaled in a contest and got to submit my entire manuscript 
  2. That entire manuscript won 1st place in a contest
  3. And then won the grand prize in that contest
  4. That grand prize included my first book contract
  5. My first book contract is now a 3-book series titled Best-laid Plans
  6. And my first book, When Plans Go Awry, will be published June 4, 2024

Very Big Changes in My Personal Life, Too

Change has been up front and center in my personal life this year as well. With one college graduation and our youngest’s high school graduation, we are moving on from being booster presidents and weekly performances or activities to attend. Our middle son asked his sweetheart to marry him, and we are experiencing new things with being parents of the groom. We’ve been blessed with new responsiblities in our day jobs, and been able to travel quite a bit this year.

I’m so excited for June 2024. We will celebrate a book launch and a new marriage.

Celebrate my book contract with me!

To follow my publishing journey in 2024, sign up for my newsletter or follow me on my facebook or instagram pages. I will be building a street team to help with the book launch, so stay tuned for more details in the coming months.

As the year 2023 ends, all of these things are the best changes possible. And I’m so excited for 2024 and what is to come. I also can’t wait to share my 2024 focus word with you. That will be in my next post!

Denise M. Colby loves to write words to encourage, enrich, and engage with others. You can find similar encouraging posts on A Slice of Orange such as meeting writing goals or when your confidence wavers, and on her own website Moments of Encouragement. She also loves to write about her word of the year and share quotes that include that specific word in them. Each word builds a new layer in her writing journey (and her life). In 2022, her word was Work. 2023 year, her word was change.

Books

Writing Words That Encourage, Enrich, and Engage

Denise M. Colby writes about The Purpose of Words in her blog post Writing Words that Encourage, Enrich, and Engage on denisemcolby.com

A part of this post was first posted on the Sliceoforange.net blog on April 12, 2018 (The Purpose of Words)

I love quotes, phrases, and how words are used to communicate. It’s fitting that at dictionary.com, the verb ‘word’ is defined as: to choose and use particular words in order to say or write something. 

Yes, as writers that is what we do. We have a lot to say and we choose our words for a reason.

I’m always amazed at how people put together their words the way they do. Many times, in my head I find I articulate well. But when I write the words down, they don’t always sound the same way they did in my head. Does anyone else struggle with this? I’m thinking I’m not the only one. Or so I hope. But, I digress.

This post is about words. 

Definitions. Synonyms. Words by themselves. Words strung together. I love words. Go figure that Words of Affirmation is my love language (if you don’t know what that means — check out the book Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Interesting insight into why and how people show love differently) and that I got my BA in Communications.

Words are a curious thing. How you say them, spell them, and use them can change what they mean. We have rules for these words and we take classes our entire school career to learn what those rules are. And yet, there’s still a variety of ways people string words together.

What makes us each use words differently? 

I don’t think it’s a new phenomenon. Diary’s and journals have been around since the beginning of time. But most of those private musings never saw the light of day. However, with the internet explosion and the plethora of blogs out there, not to mention the ease of self-publishing, anyone can express themselves however they want and post it for others to read. 

Some writers use big words that I have to mull over and think about before I can continue on, while others write in a way young kids can follow. Some use clever prose, others are straightforward. Some write very long sentences, while others write less. All. The. Time. I find I enjoy reading it all. 

There are several types of books out there that play with words. 

One book series titled, Short & Sweet, is a compilation of one page poems and stories all written in one syllable words. Each book has had a different theme.

Denise M. Colby's Poem Titled, "When God Calls", is on page 77 In this book, The Short and Sweet of It

I submitted a piece titled “When God Calls” to the third compilation, titled The Short & Sweet of It. When the Right Word is a Short Word. 

The focus of this compilation were things that matter deeply to the authors and my piece is based on the Bible verse Matthew 11:28-30 —“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

I wrote a short poem from my heart and I couldn’t be more excited as it’s my first published work. 

The book launched in April 2018, and my piece is on page 77. It’s being sold on Amazonand Barnes and Noble .

Besides one syllable word books, there are more specialized books on words. If you are anything like me, you own more than one dictionary and thesaurus. At used book stores I like to look for unique and different types of dictionaries to use for references. Recently I learned about a new word. You may have heard it before, but it’s new to me. It’s called ‘Etymology’. At first I thought it was about body parts or an animal species. It’s not! 

Etymology: the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history. 

Isn’t that awesome?!

Apparently, this has been a thing for quite some time. I looked on Amazon and there are numerous books on the subject (some of which are now on my wish list). As I researched further on the internet, I found a website dedicated to the topic, https://www.etymonline.com/

For those of us who write historical, this might give us an entire new source of understanding how or why a character would use a word. My favorite part in the few words I tried out, is the listing of slang words. 

For instance, I looked up the word farm. Besides an overview on the definition it lists two slang phrases:

Fetch the farm: prisoner slang for “get sent to the infirmary” 

Buy the farm: world war II slang for “die in battle”.

Now, if I was writing a World War II piece or a Civil War piece, I might use one of these. But alas, I’m not. But, the next time I’m looking for a something more on a word, I’ll use this as a resource and see where it leads. 

All in all, words are wonderful. 

Especially when we use them to communicate to others. Whether it’s in a private letter, an article, a novel or a blog post, words are put together to read and enjoy.

Just like you read and enjoyed this post, right?

Blessings,

Denise