Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interview with Terry Lynn Johnson, author of DOGSLED DREAMS

Today we have the very nice Terry Lynn Johnson visiting on my blog. Welcome, Terry, and thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about the writing and publishing of Dogsled Dreams. And at the end is the summary of Terry's promotional campaign so don't miss that.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing magazine articles a few years ago. I have several non-fiction articles published in outdoor magazines such as Adventure Kayak, as well as being a regular contributor to Dogs In Canada Magazine. Two years ago, I tackled my first novel and was lucky to find a publisher quite quickly--4RV Publishing.

Lucky you! Or should I say "talented you"!! Is Dogsled Dreams your first published book?
Yes, Dogsled Dreams is my debut novel. My second one is on sub right now with my agent, Caryn Wiseman of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. It is also a dogsledding adventure story.

How do you fit writing into your routine of work, family, book promotion, etc?
Sometimes, this is difficult. I work full time, but I have a very supportive family. I don't write every day, but when I get on a roll, I tend to write for long periods of time. Unfortunately, my dog doesn't like that too much since our hiking time is greatly reduced.

Well, you must make time for hiking with your dog, as clearly he gives you story ideas! What was the time frame like, from editing to publication?
The turn around time was speedy in publishing terms. It took me a month to write my first draft of Dogsled Dreams, then another month to finish polishing. I submitted it to twelve small presses, but received rejections or no responses. I then took another look at it, and revised my first chapter again. The next round of submissions I got a contract within six weeks. It took another year from that time to the release date - three months of that time spent working with the editor. 

Thanks Terry, this is really interesting. I am wondering a few more things if you don't mind. When did you get your agent?
After I got my contract for Dogsled Dreams, I wrote my second book, ICE DOGS, and really fell in love with it. I submitted it to a handful of agents, and received three responses within an hour of submitting! I signed with my agent four weeks later.

Wow, that is incredible! So maybe dogsledding stories are the new vampires? What kinds of marketing are you and your publisher doing for Dogsled Dreams? (Pay attention to this list, people)
My publicist, Kirsten Cappy of Curious City, has been very creative in her marketing ideas. So far, this is our list:
1. developed a booklet with the first chapter of Dogsled Dreams, jr. musher contest announcement, and a few reviews, and sent 1500 to many dogsled races throughout Canada and the States for distribution.
2. librarian listserve giveaway of Dogsled Dreams

3. junior musher video contest to be revealed on my website February 1, 2011. Winner will be voted on by teachers and readers. Hope to generate much interest!
4. press release distribution, sell-sheet distribution to bookstores and libraries
5. facebook ad campaign
6. other  - blog tour, goodreads giveaway, book signing events at dogsled races, school visits, library readings, book trailer, bookmarks, Skype visits with classrooms via the Iditarod Education Department

You can learn more about Terry and her books at  and you can purchase DOGSLED DREAMS through the following links:


Barnes and Noble (for Canadians)

Thanks for stopping by, Terry! I wish you much success and may all your dogsled dreams come true.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Do you REALLY want to be a writer?

If you want to be famous then run for office and be a politician

If you want to be rich then become a plastic surgeon.

If you want to have people know your name then be a teacher.

If you want to make a difference in someone's life then have children.

If you want to work alone, feel like a freak, be misunderstood, wonder what the point is, always come up short of time and money, while writing stories that bubble up from within about characters you have never met but are strangely in love with, then be a writer.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

How Finishing My Degree Led to a Career in Writing and Editing

I went back to finish my bachelor's degree at age 50. No real reason, just thought I should. My major was English and American Literature, because I love it and because studying great literature inspires me to write more than anything else.

My last semester, I took a folk lore class to fit in a requirement for my English major because I thought it would be something different than the usual English & American lit classes.

It led to interviewing my mom for a couple of folklore assignments, which led to Farm Girl, which led to getting published, which led to getting my novel, Uncut Diamonds, published 2 years later, which led to editing for WiDo yadayadayada. But it all began in that folklore class.

Moral of the story: Stay in school!

(This post inspired by Carolyn V of Checkerboard Squares)

Friday, January 14, 2011

From Eager Writer to Published Author and Back Again

Last night I completed the final edit of House of Diamonds and emailed it to my editor. He has a new Nook and wants to review it on his Nook, so I sent it as a pdf. file. This is when I change from Published Author and Thoughtful Editor to Eager Writer.  

Has he opened the file yet? Will he like it? I think it's perfect, it's done, complete, ready to go-- I hope he agrees! This is when time drags. What, it's only been 24 hours since I emailed it? How long should I wait before asking him if he's read it? Would Monday be too soon? This is when I need to chill. Who else can I get to read it while I'm waiting? I wonder how the cover design is coming? Should I start planning my blog tour?

This is when I find something else to occupy my time or I go crazy.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In Memory of Lucille Marker Jones, the Nebraska Farm Girl

 My dear mother, who was born January 18, 1917, saw the dawning of 2011. And then she passed away peacefully early on New Year's Day. I had hoped she might make it to her birthday, but at least she made it to 1/1/11. I congratulate her on a life well-lived. I feel very fortunate to have been her daughter.

Now she is once again with my dad who died 8 years ago, and with her parents, grandparents and many other loved ones on the other side.

This is Mother and me on the signing and speaking tour for Farm Girl in Nebraska, two years ago.

                                                       Lucille and Bill Jones, together again.

                                                                       Little Lucille

                                  She loved Christmas her whole life and always made it special.

                                                 Lucille on the fence that surrounded the family farm.

She adored her dad, who died when she was only 30. What a joyous reunion it must have been with so many loved ones welcoming her home.

Until we meet again, farewell to my beloved mother of infinite grace and beauty.