The Art of Going the Distance, 2007, & Worlds of Jessicas

Hey all!

I’m excited to let you know that I’ve got a new book out: The Art of Going the Distance.

chasing normal 2016 promo Coleen Patrick

Click banner above for my books on Amazon (spoiler: there’s a sale)

This is the last book in my YA series, Chasing Normal and while it’s kinda sad to close the book on Grace and Zac, I think they probably need a break from me. According to my word documents we’ve been hanging out since 2007.

going the distance with family

That’s a lot of time and change. My kids are so much older!

It’s possible that the original idea may have been born in 2005. But I’m not exactly sure, because all of the stories I wrote around that time (most of them middle grade) have a main character named Jessica. Back then I believed that the process of deciding on a name before I finished the first draft would yank me out of that early creative writing rush. And so, yeah, I’ve got worlds of Jessicas.

Anyway, The Art of Chasing Normal was never really about being Jessica in a World of Jessicas normal. It’s about Grace dealing with change in her family and friendships, and navigating the idea of what she thinks she SHOULD be doing vs. being herself (turns out I  didn’t need to do any research on this concept).

But at its heart this series is about love, family, and friendship. And a big crazy road trip. (My favorite things!) I may have teased Grace with a road trip in The Art of Second Chances, but it really happens in The Art of Going the Distance.

So if you or someone you know loves books about first love and friendship and road trips, I hope you check out my Chasing Normal series.

It’s a perfect time, because the first two books are only 99 cents on Amazon this week!

Oh and the ART part of all these titles? Grace’s passion is art, and I had so much fun researching this that doodling and art has become something I love and do every day too.

Happy Valentine's ewe doodle coleen patrick

I know I’m a day late for Valentine’s, so consider this a happy wish for President’s Day or if you’re not feeling very political, National Gumdrop Day.

So, what were you doing in 2007? I’d love to know!

Thanks so much for stopping by, hope you have a happy one!!

xo

Book Marketing or Winking at a Boy in the Dark

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The one thing I know for sure about book promotion is that there’s no shortage of information.

I’ve been reading and bookmarking how-to articles for the last couple of years, but when it comes to promoting my writing (and probably flirting), I think I probably resort to that winking in the dark stuff.

But then my very first print copy of my YA book, Come Back to Me, arrived in the mail.

Having a copy of my book made being published feel more real.

Made me feel like I wanted to do a little book flirting.

Which is a good thing, because if you want your book read, then you need to get your book OUT THERE.

Right?

I can’t just sit in my office and wink out of the window while holding my shiny, new book.

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Gotta do some book marketing.

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VLUU L210  / Samsung L210

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An endorsement from Adam Levine? You never know, he could like my “voice.”

 

Speaking of promotion, my book is now officially available in paperback at Amazon (all other formats can be found here). Plus, my book will be experience it’s very first blitzing in May (a promo blitz is kind of like the opposite of winking in the dark). 🙂

Do you have marketing advice to share? Are you any good at flirting? If so, do you know any celebrities?

Have a spectacular kind of week!

Coleen xo

 

Do You Have Tattoo Envy?

Today I’m hanging out at Jenny Hansen’s blog. The topic? Tattoos!

Hop on over and check it out!

 

 

Have a spectacular weekend!

 

 

 

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Choosing Happy: Come Back to Me ~ My New YA Release

 

Big news…my debut YA book, Come Back to Me, is out NOW.

It went live on Amazon last Wednesday, a happy surprise. There I was gearing up for the you’ve-published-a-book-now-what marathon, when suddenly the starter pistol went off.

I think I was tying my shoes or something.

But I got moving. Thanks in BIG part to family, friends, and lots of super cool people like the WANA (we are not alone) writing community.

Although no one mentioned the adrenaline. I could’ve lifted a car.

Anyway, speaking of family, friends, and love…those are big themes in my YA contemporary story. Check it out:

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 Available for purchase at AMAZON or SMASHWORDS 

(paperback and other venues, coming soon)

 

Whitney Denison can’t wait to start over.

She thought she had everything under control, that her future would always include her best friend Katie… Until everything changed.

Now her life in Bloom is one big morning after hangover, filled with regret, grief, and tiny pinpricks of reminders that she was once happy.  A happy she ruined.  A happy she can’t fix.

So, she is counting down the days until she leaves home for Colson University, cramming her summer with busywork she didn’t finish her senior year, and taking on new hobbies that involve glue and glitter, and dodging anyone who reminds her of her old life.

When she runs into the stranger who drove her home on graduation night, after she’d passed out next to a ditch, she feels herself sinking again. The key to surviving the summer in Bloom is unraveling whatever good memories she can from that night.

But in searching for answers, she’ll have to ask for help and that means turning to Evan, the stranger, and Kyle, Katie’s ex-boyfriend. Suddenly, life flips again, and Whitney finds herself on not only the precipice of happy but love, too, causing her to question whether she can trust her feelings, or if she is falling into her old patterns of extremes.

As she uncovers the truth about her memories, Whitney sees that life isn’t all or nothing, and that happy isn’t something to wait for, that instead, happy might just be a choice.

 

So, it’s been an exciting week.

But wait! I’ve got one last, but very special thing to share.  You may have read a post I wrote about signs.  In that post, I mention how I equate ladybugs with hope, and to my brother (who passed away six years ago).

So, ladybugs found a way into Come Back to Me–and into my book’s acknowledgments, where I wrote, To my brother, Dan the Man, Thanks for the ladybugs.

Then, last Wednesday, in the middle of the awesome hullabaloo of seeing my book on Amazon, I ran up the stairs to grab my slippers (because it was a snow day–and cold!).

Halfway up the stairs I saw this:

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 Thanks for the ladybug, Dan.

 

Have an AMAZING, hopeful week!

The Creative Life: Following your Bliss vs. Taking the Sensible Path

This weekend I heard a middle school choral director speak about supporting kids’ creative passions.    

He said, kids often don’t continue with music (or art, photography, writing, etc) because somewhere along the way they are told it’s not sensible, that it’s not a “clear and trusted” practical career path.   

But, he asked, what if a career in the arts is your bliss?

Photo credit: Mallari Sizemore 

 

Dreams are important. When I was a teenager, I concocted big ideas for my future. One involved me owning horses, a show barn, and 537 acres of land, not because I loved horses, but because apparently riding horses with “your hair whipping away from your face” primes the creative pump. Either way, you get the gist, writing was pretty important to me.

 

 My diary dreams.

But, now that I’m a parent of kids sitting (precariously) close to the edge of our family nest, I admit the dreamy thing makes me cringe a bit. There’s an element of fear.  

Fear is the thing that can derail a dream.  

And fear can send a parent into the You Need to be Practical speech (you want your kids to be happy, but you also don’t necessarily want them living in your basement at thirty.)  

Except I also know that it’s not my job to define their happy. So, so hard to remember after years of telling them when to sleep, eat, and blow their noses.  

This whole following your bliss thing can be complicated.  Do you take the risk, or stick to the more sensible pursuit?   There’s a character in my YA contemporary, Come Back to Me, named Evan Foster, and Evan believes without question that you should go “balls to the wall” when it comes to your dreams. Now, balls to the wall is an old aviation term that refers to pushing the ball-shaped grip on the throttle all the way forward, i.e. full speed.  

Full speed, like with your hair whipping in the wind and all that.

 

 I don’t think there’s one answer, or one way to follow your bliss. Sometimes you are not exactly sure of your dream, sometimes all you have is a wispy idea.  

Write those wispy ideas down.  Listen to your heart.   Talk to people who do what you want to do. Take classes. Keep learning.  Continue moving forward.  

If it’s your passion, find a way to keep creating.  

Me? I got a degree in criminal justice, worked in a library (and a whole slew of other odd jobs, like delivering phone books), got married, became a mom (best job ever), worked some more odd jobs (selling makeup, crafts, and gutters—but not all at the same time), and now I’m writing again.  

No, it wasn’t a straight path, and nothing about it felt particularly “clear and trusted.” But still I’m where I wanted to be.  

And I’m picking up some momentum . . . I think there may even be a little hair whipping happening.

 

What do you think about following your bliss? Do you think you can balance the sensible and your dream? What’s the oddest job you’ve ever had?

 

Happy Monday!

Oh and I hope you stop by on Valentine’s day–I will be participating in the Indie-Kissing Blog Fest hosted by the INDELIBLES. 🙂