So this is how it came to this chat-Mary and Ruthy both emailed me moments apart and without knowing the other was doing it and both were asking me basically for the same thing-“Debbie can you come on Seekerville and talk about the changes you’ve made in your writing life this year?” Since yes, there have certainly been major changes in my writing life this year and all by my own careful choice, I said, “Sure, I’d love to chat!”
Of course once I said that I had to let those two duke it out behind the scenes to see who was going to be my host today-not sure exactly how it went down…I envision a rough fight, left hooks, upper cuts, head locks then Ruthy pulls out the heavy wooden baking spoons and starts swinging hard as Mary runs for the gun closet…as you can see, Mary is my host today! What do y’all think happened?
And now that the dust is settled I’m here to talk. Life, aside from Mary and Ruthy gustily battling over me, has been exciting and full and a sad too…Funny how titles work out to fit this moment. I’m BETTING ON HOPE looking toward NEW HORIZONS and leaving some beautiful SUNRISES behind me.
Y’all know I’ve always written for Love Inspired and have LOVED the books I’ve created there. My MULE HOLLOW and COWBOYS OF SUNRISE RANCH series have been very good to me in building a loyal readership that sent my LI books to the top of the LI charts and it started with book 1 THE TROUBLE WITH LACY BROWN. THANKS to the amazing readers who have been so very faithful to continue to read them-you blessed me with your faithfulness.
3 years ago I knew I wanted to spread my wings by the year 2015. I wanted to experience the feel of independent (indy) publishing and I wanted to fulfil my dream of writing longer books. However, my writing schedule for Love Inspired tight and demanding so to make a change it meant I had to be strategic and I had to be ready to work harder than I’ve ever worked before (and I am already known for being an over achiever) With my hubby on board I made a plan of action, came up with a new series and with my agent Natasha Kern, we sent it out to a host of CBA and ABA publishers. And low and behold offers came in from both CBA and ABA houses-I was thrilled to choose Thomas Nelson which was transitioning into their new spot under the Harper Collins Christian umbrella. And this month my Feb 17 BETTING ON HOPE, is book 1 in the new Four of Hearts Romance series with them! And it is a dream come true for me as it’s out there looking for some love right now!
It’s my first 80,000 word book and full of my signature fun and laughter, but also mixed with deeper issues, tears and struggles, and packed with a love story that I just had to write. I totally loved creating this book and this series. And praise the Lord, reviews are knocking my socks off.
Really, I’m just thrilled at the response from reader reviewers and then there’s RT magazine, they actually said, “the writing is moving and masterful”!!! Okay so that kind of scared me actually. I’ve never been called or thought of myself as masterful so you can only imagine my reaction to those words after being on pins and needles waiting for the first review to come out. I was very grateful and humbled and all I know is that I worked really long, no-sleep laced months to bring my baby into the world and it felt lovely for someone to say such amazing things about my newborn J. Okay so I may have started rambling.
So, back on track. You get it, this wasn’t an easy journey to get to this spot.
I’ll be truthful, the last 3 years have cost me a lot!
I made the jump to TN/HCC and I also committed to making the jump into Indy Publishing. (on a side note to ensure that dream came true I had to make certain that my contracts left every door open for me to become a Hybrid author. And I had already decided that I would walk away from a contract if it didn’t allow me to self-publish. Thankfully TN/HCC seem to recognize the benefit of me doing both. My indy work will draw attention to my traditional work and visa versa. All ships rise together J
Okay so that being said, I was basically writing for 3 publishers at the same time for 3 years: TN/HCC, Love Inspired/Harlequin and myself-though I was just able to squeeze in only 1 indy novella during 2014 because I was juggling deadlines like a crazy woman, not sleeping, and having to post sticky notes on my computer to keep books straight. I was glued to my computer literally night and day…sleeping maybe 3 maybe 4 hours in spurts for the majority of that time if that much.
I say this to tell you choosing a new path for yourself does not come without sacrifice and hard work and planning. I had the blessing of many contracts that had to be fulfilled and shifted and it wasn’t for the faint of heart. I could not have done it without planning.
Any casualties along the way?
Yes, there have been. Thankfully not me but the pace was hard on my health and by the beginning of 2014 I realized I couldn’t do it all. I was exhausted, missed my family time, and play time with my granddaughters! And was making regular visits to the doctor which I had never had to do before. I realized my dreams had to change and had changed!
I wanted my life back-or at least some of it. It wasn’t that I couldn’t have it all, I kind of could if I was willing to kill myself lol and I’m not. I came to understand that for me having it all meant time with my family meant more to me than writing for 3 publishers.
So I had to make some tough decisions and the one I made was to pull back and discontinue writing for Love Inspired. It was a sad decision for a lot of reasons, but it was the right one for me. From here on out the books that I once wrote for Love Inspired will be Indy published by me, utilizing the wonderful editors I’ve been blessed to have come on board with me on the Indy side. I’m looking forward to what’s to come. I’ll be doing both print and ebook forms and audio.
I love the control that I have over these new books and the series I’m working on at the moment is a continuation of Mule Hollow. Book 1 came out last March HER MULE HOLLOW COWBOY, book 2-RAFE: New Horizon Ranch of Mule Hollow is on Pre-order right now and doing great! It goes on sale March 16 and over the next few months the other 3 to 4 books in that series will release CHASE, TY AND DALTON, 1 every 3 months and are connected to my beloved Mule Hollow gang!
And coming in August from Thomas Nelson COUNTING ON A COWBOY book 2 in the Four of Hearts Romance series! You’ll meet the hero of this book in BETTING ON HOPE. Ok I’m rambling and shamelessly self-promoting-which Mary said I could do. lol
Bottom line, y’all this business is tough and can be hard on writer’s minds and health. What I know: we have to protect the muse.
We have to protect the place within us that God blessed us with where the ideas and the desire and drive and passion for our work comes from. And to do that we have to have some rest and a life!
We have to have balance.
All that being said, I am so very excited about the future. 2015 is going to be the year for me to enjoy my life while I’m creating these books I love to create.
Hybrid author-boy do I love the sound of that.
I love the fact that I will have more control of my career. See I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was
20 years old and opened my first hair salon. I love business
ownership and being an Indy author is very desirable to me and I’m finally diving
into the pool to play with ownership and control of one area of my writing
career. While at the same time I get the joy and benefit of working with my
publisher Thomas Nelson and seeing my work on book shelves across the country
and the exposure they are able to give me.
|Debra's book with |
Robin Lee Hatcher
& Margaret Brownley
At the end of the day it’s different for each person what your goals are and your long term plan and only you know what is right for you. Make the plan and don’t be afraid to adapt your goals-each of us have different reasons for choosing what works for our careers so do what is right for you.
My reasons aren’t your reasons.
This is my 10 year anniversary of being a published author!!! Amazing to realize that THE TROUBLE WITH LACY BROWN was released in September 2005! WOW does time fly when you’re having a blast!!!
So it’s about the future now.
|Debra, Mary, |
Robin and Margaret
My joy in writing has always come from creating unique characters and story plots and BETTING ON HOPE filled that joy perfectly. I LOVE creating my new worlds, small towns filled with unique characters who love each other, meddle a lot and sometimes do a little matchmaking and this book has it all. A new ranch and a family of brothers for my readers to fall in love with excites me. I loved digging deeper into the sub-plots in this book that give readers a bigger story to dig into. I hope y’all will grab a copy of BETTING ON HOPE and join me and the town of Wishing Springs as we watch this clutzy advice columnist and this hunky champion cowboy fall in love. As many readers have said, you can’t go wrong betting on hope and that’s exactly what I’m hoping for!
Stepping out and seeking change was hard and exhausting, but I’m completely ready for 2015 and what lies ahead with writing for Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins Christian and Debra Clopton Parks Publishing J.
So, what do you want to chat about? Coming up with your have a plan? Me being chased by a chipmunk? The creating of a new world of characters? The inspiration behind The Four of Hearts Romance series? Knowing when the time is right to make the move into hybrid? (that is a biggie I think) I’m all yours ask away or let’s just chow down on the gluten free blueberry pancakes I’ve brought and drink pots of hot coffee!
And Thanks Seekers for having me on Seekerville! Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for the book of your choice from Debra's back list.
A bet gone wrong. A small town’s meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch.
Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it’s beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie’s bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career—and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.
Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he’d like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru’s fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do—for her own good.
In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart’s desires.