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My Debut Novel When Plans Go Awry Releases June 4, 2024

May 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , , ,

The time is finally here! I’m so excited to announce my debut novel, When Plans Go Awry, launches on Tuesday June 4, 2024. I have a pre-order link on Amazon for the digital version. If you are interested in an actual book, Amazon does not allow pre-orders (which I find absolutely frustrating). Anyway, you’ll be able to snag it for the special pre-order price of $3.99, if you order now. Click on the book cover to take a peek.

Book Cover for Denise M. Colby's Debut novel When Plans Go Awry

Debut Novel and Author Things

As I mentioned in my Debut Author Book Launch Checklist post, I’m learning all the variety of things needed to launch oneself as a debut author (and for a any new book debut). I’ve been busy creating author and book accounts at AmazonFictionfinder and GoodReads, building a new logo, and getting everything ready for my launch team. 

For my logo’s, I wanted to focus on the one-room schoolhouse theme, since that’s the setting for my books. I seem to use this word a lot, but it’s so true. Excited for how these came out.

I have loved partnering with my family to launch my debut novel. My son, Kyle, drew the one-room schoolhouse. He also drew the map I included in my book. My husband drew the journal shown at the beginning of each chapter.

For so long I was building my platform without a book to promote. I’m finding it so fun to finally have a book cover to include in all my author accounts. Here’s my new Facebook author cover.

Also for my debut novel, I’m partnering with Silver Dagger Book Tours and she created this lovely blog banner from my book cover. If anyone runs a book blog and is interested, I’ve included the link here where she is taking signups still to participate.

The blog banner for debut novel When Plans Go Awry for Silver Dagger Book Tours

Launch team for When Plans Go Awry

My launch team fun for my debut novel, When Plans Go Awry, begins this next week. I’m so looking forward to this. It’s not too late to join us. Click on this link to signup. When Plans Go Awry Launch Team Application.

Thank you

I just want to say thank you to all my author friends for their support. I have been on this unpublished journey for over twelve years. If not for my writer friends, I wouldn’t have stuck it out and made it to see the day I could say I have a debut novel!


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All the Emotions with Designing My First Book Cover

March 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

This month I have had the pleasure of experiencing all the emotions of designing my first book cover. We all know how important book covers are. Book covers sell your book. They communicate what’s inside. And there are numerous blog and social media posts just on covers. So EVERYONE looks at book covers, because they are very important. 

Blog Header with title All the Emotions with Designing My First book Cover by Denise M. Colby and photo of a book with a plain brown cover

Initial thoughts for book cover designs

I think many of us newbie authors visualize what we think we want for our covers at the beginning of chapter 1. So I knew going in that I had an opinion. And ideas. Lots and lots of ideas. So how do you put all those ideas together into something appealing. A design that sells your book?

I have a graphic design background. Sort of. Things have kindof evolved since I was in college over thirty years ago, and even though I work in the field of marketing, my years of experience is more on layout now then specific design elements. I’m also a visual person. So I like to see something to see how it would work. 

My publisher, Scrivenings Press, has a questionaire we fill out to add our ideas and thoughts behind the story for our book cover design. This is useful to communicate key messaging and visuals desired. I might’ve had a lot of ideas written down on my sheet. I certainly didn’t fill it out like a work project. Many emotions were tied into all my ideas. And it was hard for me to land on just one set.

Can anyone else out there relate?

Taking out the emotions when looking at book cover design

So I have to give a shoutout to my husband who asked me some very pointed questions like he would a marketing packaging project (he works in product marketing), since my book cover is my packaging. 

This discussion was not emotional based, but true design and product packaging based. He asked me what is the main element of the story that you want people to know? And then asked to look at some books and guessed what the stories were inside.

When I told him what elements were most important, he agreed that those were in my cover design.

Our Emotions Can Get In The Way of Our Decision-Making 

And this is when I realized I had a slew of emotions tied up into my cover design.

First, we spend years writing our first novel and agonize for weeks on the verbiage we use, editing continuously our words. My book cover was designed in less than a week. Something as important as a book cover shouldn’t be done overnight, right? But I have to remember my publisher makes mulitple covers a month and know what they are doing. They have standards and expertise. I need to trust that and get out of the way.

Second, we have so many ideas to convey the story on the front of our cover, but then realize that all those elements would make it way too busy and really don’t work the way we think it would’ve. Simpler really is better.

Third,  I’m terrified how my cover will be received. But I’m also terrified on how my entire book will be recieved. So my emotions may not be just about the cover.

A Moment to Grow 

Now that I’ve realized these new things (remember GROW is my word this year), I can learn from them. Processing emotions is an important step for me (and writing this blog post has helped me immensely).

I do not make decisions quickly. I kindof over think things a bit (Hello! Remember twelve years working on book 1). With a contract and deadlines (I love saying those words and wrote about that last month), everything is moving so fast and it’s all new territory. 

There’s bound to be fear, uncertainty, and second-guessing. I need to allow myself room to feel those, but also know that this is all normal and not get caught up in them too much.

Clearly, I will have a much better handle on the process and my emotions for the next round (right?)

Now to agonize on how to do the cover reveal!

Denise’s first book, When Plans Go Awry, will launch June 4, 2024. Watch her facebook page and instagram page for her cover reveal

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2024 is My Year To Grow

January 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

Happy New Year! I’m super excited for all this year will be. You see, 2024 is going to be my year to GROW. Last year was all about change and I found a fabulous quote that illustrates the connection between last year’s word and this year’s word.

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”

Gail Sherry
Blog header with book, flowers, glasses and words titled My Year to Grow by Denise M. Colby

What does it mean to grow?

I love looking up synonyms for my word of the year. For grow, there are several other words that help communicate what I’m thinking. Those include evolve, build, cultivate, develop, product, sprout, thrive, and stretch. Each word jumps out at me at different times. Right now the one that makes me laugh is sprout. My plan for 2024 is to sprout out of my little seed as a writer and bloom into something more.

Growing as a writer

My goals this year include learning new things. Most of these will be related to publishing my first book. When Plans Go Awry will be launched into the world June 4, 2024 and there are many steps to finish this story’s journey. To support the launch, I’m interested in growing my newsletter list, building a launch team (more to come about that), and all the other things needed to ultimately grow sales. There are a lot of new things to learn about all of this!

Growing in my relationships

In my personal life I hope to grow as well. First, our family dynamics will change. We are growing as a family when my son gets married this year and we gain a daughter-in-law. I’m also wanting to grow in my walk with Jesus, and grow in my relationships with friends and family by spending more time in these areas. I’m also looking to continue to grow in better health. I spent a lot of time in 2023 working on things to make changes and I hope to continue in this area as well.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

2 Peter 3:18

All in all, I’m excited about 2024 and what it will bring. You’ll see all sorts of reminders for my word throughout the year. I made a mug with all my words on it, so I could be reminded of the magical journey picking words to focus on takes me. Here’s my first reel I made about my mug, which was too large for me to post here. Instead I’ll share a pic of me using my mug!

Denise M. Colby holding her handmade mug with all her words of the year on it with GROW, her 2024 word, the largest.

I love choosing a new word every year. It is by far one of my favorite new years traditions. If you have a word for 2024, I’d love to hear what it is. Just make comments below. Here’s to growing in our word we’ve chosen for this year.

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Attitude is Everything

November 12, 2023 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

Why is attitude everything when it comes to our writing? Because it is our own choice what our attitude will be. And if it isn’t great, we have the choice to change it.

Attitude is everything quote above a pic of Yosemite Half Dome from Glacier Point created by Denise M. Colby

How we react to feedback or the different set-backs on our writing journey can make a difference. I have had plenty of negative feedback, disappointments, “where do I go from here” moments. But I’ve also encountered encouragement that has helped me pick myself up off the floor and get back at it.

In some ways, my writing journey has been a great life lesson of growth for me.

And I want to encourage you in your writing journey.

Change your attitude

My word this is year is change. One definition of change is to become different; be altered or modified. I also love the definition to replace with something else, especially something of the same kind that is newer or better. For me, attitude was part of the change I wanted to make this year in how I approached my health, my time, and my writing.

Writing is such a mental game

Attitude becomes a philosophy – if you think negatively, you will be negative. If you think positive, you’ll be more positive.

If you think you can’t do it, you won’t.

When you think you can, you will keep moving forward and not let the negativity stop you. Our attitudes in every little step will allow us to keep moving forward. 

Be willing to learn and accept feedback

Write and write some more

Try and try again.

Don’t give up.

Denise M. Colby loves to write words to encourage, enrich, and engage with others. You can find similar encouraging posts on A Slice of Orange such as meeting writing goals or when your confidence wavers, and on her own website denisemcolby.com , including a blog post about Moments of Encouragement. She also loves to write about her word of the year and share quotes that include that specific word in them. Each word builds a new layer in her writing journey (and her life). In 2022, her word was Work. This year, her word is change.

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How My Life Changes Affect My Storytelling

September 12, 2023 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

I have made the realization this year that as my life changes through the years, the way I view my original story has changed. Change being the central word here. And my word for 2023. So what type of changes in my life am I talking about?

Blog header titled How My Life Changes affect my storytelling by denise M. Colby

Life is full of changes

I knew there would be several big life changes this year on a personal level. Two children graduating and one getting engaged being among the largest change. I also have been making strides in some health choices, adding in yoga daily and working with a doctor to heal specific areas of my body. And then the bonus life change was the addition of our puppy, Ace, in June.

But the other reason I chose the word change this year was for my writing. I wanted to change the way I edited my story. Change my phrasing. And not be afraid to change my characters. All for the better, of course. I felt focusing on the word change could help me mentally make significant changes in my story to make it stronger.

Age changes us

What I didn’t plan for was really thinking about my story from a different perspective. An age perspective. See, when I started writing my story over ten years, I was in a different time in my life. My kids were younger, I was younger and my relationships were younger.

Young love looked different to me. And I’m not as naive as I once was. Life changes over the years have exposed me to new perspectives.

But I’m not upset about all of this. I’m just more aware. And have to make decisions now based on this new awareness. Taking some time to figure out what I believe in, how I view the world, and what’s important to me will help me write better stories. My own life changes can help me develop stronger characters who go through their own life changes.

Change is important

I have enjoyed learning about the word change this year. Change allows us to move forward in life and experience new and exciting things. We all change and evolve daily, weekly, yearly.

I think our writing changes and evolves with us as well.

Do you think your writing changes as you grow older? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Denise Colby loves to write about her word of the year and share quotes that include that specific word in them. Each word builds a new layer in her writing journey (and her life). In 2022, her word was Work. This year, her word is change.

Change Quote by Eckhart Tolle for blog post about life changes
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