Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Spread the News On "Secondhand Shoes".

I've been going through some extremely hectic times and thus, it's time for a time-out to join in a celebration, a "Blog Party" at Shelly's site.  Information can be further read here : Tomorrow : My Blog Party and the Indie-Recon Conference

Shelly's Blog Party runs from February 19 to February 21.  Shelly will be giving away two 15 dollar Amazon cards and two autographed copies of her novel "Secondhand Shoes", next Tuesday.

Author Bio

"When she was nine, Shelly Arkon's mother advised her not to write a novel because no one would publish it...but she wrote it anyway.

Shelly Arkon has never stopped writing since she wrote that first novel as a child. In spite of more family drama than most of us could handle—as the mother of five daughters, drama is unavoidable--she's been writing most of her life. She says most of these stories, written in longhand in spiral notebooks, have been about vampires.

She now lives in New Port Richey with her husband and two dogs. She’s also a member of Florida Writer’s Association and Writer’s of Mass Distraction.

Currently, she’s working on a book series. It’s’about two grandmothers, one a New Age hippie, and the other, a Southern Baptist, their grandbaby, their grown children who are pill heads, their extended dysfunctional family, and a dangerous drug dealer.

The two grandmothers find themselves in a dangerous pursuit to save their grandbaby while finding an unlikely friendship between them."


Interview 

Why do you write? 
"There is a constant chatter going on in my head all day. Ideas and dialogue come quickly where I have to write them down. If I don’t, I may miss an opportunity to get it down the way I heard it the first time. Even characters get perturbed when you don’t relay their information correctly. They want their stories told in the right way. Not to mention, all of my characters bug me until I do-I have a tendency to work on multiple projects at a time." 

Can you explain the trials and tribulations of writing your first novel or writing in general? 
"There’s a ga-zillion of those. My first set of trials and tribulations began in the first grade when teachers stuck me in a slow class because I couldn't grasp reading and writing like the other kids in my class did.  

One afternoon, one of my teachers handed me a stool, an eraser, and a piece of chalk. I was to write, say each letter to my name, and then sound it out and repeat. This tiny feat took up an entire afternoon.  

First grade through the third were the most tedious years of my life. But I'm thankful to all my teachers for their patience and persistence. By the fourth grade, I was further ahead than most my classmates in reading and writing along with my big love for both. 

Once I took off in reading and writing, I read everything I could get my hands on. And I had an affinity for diaries, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, and daydreaming. My imagination ran wild with stories and poems. I wrote non-stop as a child and teen. 

Unfortunately, there were people and even myself who discouraged me from writing. Many times I heard ‘no one would publish you’ or ‘there’s nothing special about what you write’ or ‘so-n-so writes way better stuff than you do.’ Negative self-voices are the worst. So you have to find your positive self-voice to talk you out of the bad conditioning. This is something I'm always working on. 

Not only do people and yourself get in the way of writing, but so does life. Marriages. Children. Divorce. College. Work. Mundane chores. Traumatic life events. These can really put a damper on one’s ability to sit in a chair and write out your characters’ problems when you have your own.  

In 1998, I sat down one evening and wrote the first chapter to Secondhand Shoes. My thoughts were I would be able to finish it within a year, but I found myself suddenly a single mother of five. So I tucked it in a folder and stuck it in my closet. For years, I made notes and wrote dialogue for it and tucked it away. 

Several years later, and down to two children in the household, I plunked myself back into a chair and wrote. I wrote it four times over. The first version, I hated and couldn't relate to it at all. It was like reading a Monday night movie on Lifetime for Women. The second version, the protagonist was a real whiner. When I finally finished the third version, I could finally see the forest through the trees, and the fourth version of Secondhand Shoes was born. 

Somewhere between the first and second version, in 2008, I became a member of the Florida Writer’s Association. Every second and fourth Monday evening, we meet at the Barnes and Nobles in Carrollwood. There, we edit and critique each other. The girls and one guy in the group are my checks and balances as I am theirs. 

Once I got the okay from my group members that it was ready, it was onto the next stage in the writing experience. Finding an editor. Well, I had the gem of all editors. Kaye Coppersmith. She was a longtime member of Florida Writer’s Association and halfway through my manuscript when she passed. That was this past April. At the time, I felt like God and the Universe had stolen her from me. And the negative voices ate at me again. 

But I rose above it, wiped my tears, and went forward. It wasn't easy finding an editor who could keep my writing voice. So many editors out there try to change everything so much so they lose the characteristics of your characters and their voice. I also found a lot of people labeling themselves as editors, only to find out they didn’t know much about the profession."  

And how did you publish? 
"I ended up going Indie (self-published). Yes. I did try the traditional route but after sending the requested manuscript to agents and publishers, most times I didn't even get a rejection. Not getting a response bothered me more than not receiving one. It would have been nice to at least hear they didn’t think my novel was marketable. To this day, I haven’t heard back from one agent who requested my manuscript ‘as is’ in 2010. Getting published isn't as easy as one thinks. No one writes a novel and becomes instantly published."



The Blurb

"The shoes didn't fit. It was an omen.

Eighteen year old psychic-medium-germ-a-phobe Lila should have listened to her ghostly Gram’s advice the morning of her wedding, “Take off that dress and those shoes. And run.”

En route to the honeymoon, she decides to listen after too many disagreements with her groom. It doesn’t pay to go along to make everyone happy.

Still in her wedding dress and shoes, she escapes out a diner’s bathroom window into the Florida woods despite her fear of snakes and germs with her dead Gram’s direction.
So she begins a journey of finding her inner strength, putting her on a deadly run from her psychotic groom and his deranged friends.

Will she ever get past her fear of germs and snakes? Will she survive her honeymoon?"

Her novel, "Secondhand Shoes" is now available on Amazon either in paperback or as an ebook. Paper back is $13.50. Ebook is $4.99. But from February 19th through the 21st the ebook is FREE to everyone. Here is the link to Amazon : Secondhand Shoes : Shelly Arkon

And here is a photograph of Shelly Arkon.  Time to party and all the very best to Shelly.  Please would you be so kind as to join her party and check out her novel.  Thank you.


32 comments:

  1. Yeah for Shelly! And you are officially first to post for her. (I have to wait until my next post day, Wednesday.)
    Shelly is just the most wonderful person and can't wait to read her book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Alex. But you're more better.

      Hugs and chocolate,
      Shelly

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  2. ghostly grans, psychotic grooms, germaphobe 18 year olds...just another day...ho hum.

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    Replies
    1. Hugs and chocolate to you. Ho hum.

      Delete
  3. I haven't met Shelley yet! Off to fix that... :)

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    Replies
    1. And it was very nice to meet you, Jemi. Thank you for stopping by.

      Hugs and chocolate,
      Shelly

      Delete
  4. How cool! Kudos to Shelley - for sticking with it, following her heart, and making her dreams come true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kim. And I'm working on more.

      Hugs and chocolate,
      Shelly

      Delete
  5. Thank you so much. Hope you feel better.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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    Replies
    1. Hey Shelly,

      My pleasure and thank you for the well wishes. I'm exhausted but I'm keeping an upbeat mood. I shall continue to send hopeful and positive wishes to you during such tough, challenging times. Thank you, Shelly.

      In peace and hope,

      Gary

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  6. Awesome that you stuck with it no matter what and sure many more will come from your hut.

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  7. What great stories0 her life and her fiction. And I think she just opened my eyes to why writers hang with other writers. It's way harder to do entirely alone. And it's damn time I put a fire under it and finish some things. Thank you both for this.
    Laura
    x

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Hugs and chocolate.

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  8. That is what is known as "hanging in there." And Shelly is very pretty.

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  9. Nice to meet you Shelly! What an inspiring story about perseverance. So glad you stuck with it, and now your book is out, it must feel great! Secondhand Shoes sounds like my kind of book too! Congratulations!

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    Replies
    1. Elise:

      I am, too. Working on a few more, of course. Thank you. Hugs and chocolate.

      Delete
  10. Best of luck Shelly and your story really struck a cord with me. Very inspiring!

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  11. Congrats to Shelly! It was nice learning about your back story, and I'm impressed that you were able to raise five children on your own. I'm glad that you didn't let all of the criticism stand in your way. I can't wait to read Secondhand Shoes!

    Excellent interview Gary!

    Julie

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your support, Julie.

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  12. 10 out of 10 for tenacity. Congrats Shelly. You deserve whatever success comes your way! All the best.

    And Gary, I hope you are doing OK? Thinking of you.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Wendy. Thanks for coming over to my blog.

      Hugs and chocolate,
      Shelly

      Delete
  13. Thank you for sharing your story, Shelly. It couldn't have easy. But look at you now! Bravo.

    Hi Gary. Hugs for Penny.

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    Replies
    1. Anything worthwhile is never easy. Hugs and chocolate to you.

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  14. Hello Gary:
    It is always of interest to read into the mind and motivation of a writer.

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    1. Hi Jane and Lance,

      Quite right and shows the determination, the resilience of Shelly. It was my honour to share her story and her book on here. Thank you, Jane and Lance.

      Gary

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  15. Congrats, Shelly. I need get your book today.

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  16. So glad you didn't listen to your mom--at least this one time! Good luck with your book, Shelly.

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  17. Wow, what a story. I totally admire you're perseverance and all the odds you had to overcome. You're an inspiration to me. I'm still writing my first novel...and have been for some time. But like you said, that whole family thing does prevent a lot of time to write...
    Thanks for the free book! What a treat!

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  18. Just wanted to thank everybody for commenting on this posting about Shelly's life story and her book.

    And Shelly, all the very best and continued fulfilling writing, your way,

    Gary

    ReplyDelete

I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.