My novel sold! Let’s party in Chicago!

I’ll get to the book sale in a second…

I’m here in Chicago, gearing up for the Summer Craft and Hobby Convention. This is the first time I’m here as a designer, instead of a media person. Of course, I’ll still be scouting out new goodies to write about in my craft column, but first and foremost I’m here to represent Duncan!! We are going to be demoing an altered tin clutch, and helping booth guests make them.

Here at the hotel, the place is buzzing with creative energy. Lots of designers, and people to chat crafts with. Today I had a late lunch with Leslie Ohnstad, owner of Luminarte Inc and inventor of one of my favorite products ever – Twinkling H2Os! She told me her story of going from a car dealership finance manager to inventing a line of high intensity paints – and ultimately several other product lines. Now she has a crafty empire, everyone loves her products, and like me, are addicted to them.

I like to share success stories like Leslie’s because it proves that as long as you have an idea, and focus on it – find resources, etc – you can make it happen. Maybe even make a living off of it. Swear to God and cross my heart. Twice. It doesn’t matter how crazy or insane that idea sounds, go for it! You will feel so good once you finish.

This week, I’m proof of that too! My novel, “Love Shine”, sold today! Not only one novel – but TWO! My agent and I officially accepted a dream-come-true-somebody-pinch-me-please two-book offer from Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books). It was a very long, but exciting process that began last week. I’ll share more as details develop.

It did not come easy. I spent many, many hours for this. I sacrificed time with my family and friends. I bet I got extra grey hairs and wrinkles from the experience. But they are wrinkles from smile lines!

I started my manuscript in November of 2004. It was the first fiction piece I ever wrote (not counting grade school and high school), and I had no idea if it would sell. I didn’t care. I wrote it because I loved the characters and story. These days, I like to look at my past blog entries during that time. At one point early in the game, my agent had me go back to the drawing board. I shed tears. I could have given up. But instead, I spent the next year redoing the book. Recently, I had my friend, Kathya, read the entire book (she also read my first manuscript back in the day). When she gave me back the manuscript this time, she said, “This is it Kathy. This is your book.” My amiga, Yoli, read the entire thing too, and said the same thing. Thank you, ladies! I love writing, period. Now I get to do more of it, and use words as my glitter and varnish.

My advice if you have a book idea: follow through, baby!!! Do not look for agents or editors, or bounce your ideas off of anyone. FIRST write your book. That’s all. Don’t do it for any other reason other than that you want to do it. If it is meant to be, it will come together for you, it will be rough, but stick with it. Again, finish your book! Or if it is non-fiction, write your proposal. Read, read, read. Let it consume you, stay up late at night if you need to. I wrote my book between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. several nights a week. Sometimes during the weekend too.

I never thought I could do this. “I can only write craft books and entertainment stories”, I thought. Who says I can only do that? No one but ourselves. We can do whatever we put our minds to. I always dreamed about someday writing a book about hipster Latinas. And then Alisa came out with The Dirty Girl’s Social Club and my jaw dropped. I read that book cover to cover in days, and was motivated to read other novels. Here are some fun author suggestions: Mary Castillo, Marta Acosta and Lynda Sandoval (look at their links for other authors!).

Eventually, the writing bug bit hard.

It was the best feeling to tell Patrick and the kids about my book sale, because they feel like they own a part of it. There were times when I sat them all on the couch and read them chapters and they offered input like, “Make Star’s eye twitch when she tells a lie, Mom!”

Well, I need to get to bed so I can wake up bright and early tomorrow. Today at the Phoenix airport, I decided not to check in my little overnight case. Bad idea. They confiscated my beloved Victoria’s Secret lotion and worst of all – *bites knuckles* – my hair smoothing cream!!! At this moment, I have a fro big enough to hide a cherry danish. Or two. I have no idea how I’m going to fix my hair for tomorrow. I don’t to look like the Wild Woman of Barcelona. i jsut want to look normal.

Have a nice night!

***
Author of Crafty Chica’s Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life ($19.95, Rayo Books, an imprint of Harper Collins).
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