After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.
A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.
It’s been six years since Dylanie and her family visited a Civil War site and the place came alive with cannon fire. Problem was, no one could hear it but her.
Now she’s sixteen, her dad’s moved out, her mom’s come out of the closet and Dylan’s got a spot on Paranormal Teen, a reality TV show filming at historic Oakleigh Mansion. She’ll spend a weekend with two other psychic teens—Jake and Ashley—learning how to control her abilities.
None of them realized how much their emotional baggage would put them at the mercy of Oakleigh’s resident spirits, or that they’d find themselves pawns in the 150-year-old battle for the South’s legendary Confederate gold. Each must conquer their personal ghosts to face down Jackson, a seductive spirit who will do anything to protect the gold’s current location and avenge a heinous attack that destroyed his family.
Five Things I Wish I’d Known Before Publishing
1. Not only will you not get rich, you will lose money if you’re not careful. (Easy on the promos, noob! You don’t really need to spend thousands of dollars on a huge book launch party!)
2. Your readers will make you cry—sometimes from bad reviews, but more often from their touching, heartfelt messages about how they connected with your story. It can be very, very humbling. I’ve also made a number of really good friends (both other writers and readers) during this journey, and I’m grateful for each one.
3. Every publisher is different. Some will hold your hand, some expect you to hold their hand, and others barely keep in contact. Navigate each of these as professionally as possible, but never be afraid to communicate or be your own advocate.
4. Organize, organize, organize—everything from book sales, business expense receipts, emails from your publisher, your publicist(s), fans asking for swag and bookplates, obligations to bloggers, etc. I have nightmares about emails I may have forgotten to answer, forever buried somewhere in the bowels of my inbox. The last thing I want to do is offend someone, but sometimes I’ll read an email on the run, mean to go back to it, but forget to eventually reply.
5. You will never again have the luxury of spending years perfecting a book. After the first, you must learn to write quickly or else you run the risk of losing your readers to the next big thing. Your story and name will quickly get buried if you don’t have something new to show the reading world. Additionally, while you’re buried deep in the writing/revision cave, trends will emerge and fade away. If you don’t poke your head out on occasion, you’ll quickly lose touch with the market and community.
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