Friday, January 20, 2017

Starting the Year with Good News

Hello, all!
I'm happy to share some Good News in this, my first post of 2017:

I finally have a new novel coming out! 

My young-adult historical romance, PLAYING BY HEART, will be published by Vinspire Publishing this fall. The novel is set in 18th-century Milan and was inspired by the life of Maria Teresa Agnesi, one of the first women to compose a serious opera. The story grew out of my research for a biography of Maria Teresa's older sister, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, who is considered one of the first female mathematicians of modern times. (To learn more about her, see this website I created. You'll find a link on this page to a video featuring the music of Maria Teresa Agnesi.)

At its core, PLAYING BY HEART is the story of two sisters struggling to follow their true callings at a time when women had little autonomy. This is the same novel I blogged about in 2014. In that post, I shared about how the manuscript had done well in several writing contests, and even took first place in the YA category of the 2013 Windy City RWA Four Seasons Romance Writing Contest:

Isn't this the coolest plaque? Thanks Windy City!

Unfortunately, the editors and agents who read it all told me historical fiction is a "tough sell" in the young adult market. I set the manuscript aside and hoped the situation would change, as it often does in publishing.

Then, last March, I had the opportunity to pitch to an editor from Vinspire Publishing as part of the 2016 Catholic Writers Guild Online Conference (CWCO). The editor liked the pitch, asked to see sample chapters, and eventually offered me a contract. I'm currently editing the manuscript to prepare it for publication. (To read another Vinspire success story, see my Guest TeachingAuthor interview with A.J. Cattapan.)

While this post's title, "Starting the Year with Good News," happens to contain six words, it is not my six-word memoir for our current TeachingAuthor series. But my six-word memoir is closely tied to my good news, as you'll soon see.

Inspired by the forthcoming release of PLAYING BY HEART, I've decided to explore some new endeavors this year. These include:
  1. Trying out a new software app for my e-newsletter. I sent out my first 2017 e-newsletter two weeks ago using MailerLite. I love all the great features I can take advantage of with MailerLite, but I'm having some compatibility issues with my website. I hope I can work those out. If you're a subscriber but didn't get the newsletter, please check your Spam folder. If it's not there, please email me via my website.
  2. Expanding the content of my e-newsletter. In addition to publishing news and info about my writing classes, the newsletter now contains creativity tips. I hope the bonus materials will inspire my readers in their own creative endeavors. You can click here to read the first issue online. If you'd like to subscribe, see the right sidebar of my website.
  3. Learning to use Twitter to connect with fellow writers and readers. I've been on Facebook a long time, and even have an author page there, but I've resisted Twitter because I didn't want another social media distraction. I finally broke down and activated the Twitter account I created years ago. You'll find me @carmelamartino
  4. Presenting at an online conference. Last summer, I gave the presentation "Coping with Your Inner Critic" at the Catholic Writer's Guild Live Conference (CWCL). On Friday, February 17, I'll repeat that presentation for the 2017 Catholic Writers Guild Online Conference (CWCO). Fingers crossed that the technology will work the way it's supposed to! By the way: I recently learned (via Twitter!) that Vinspire Publishing, which usually accepts only agented submissions, will be open to pitches again at this year's CWCO. If you have a manuscript you think might fit their list (be sure to check them out first), consider attending the conference. For a detailed schedule and presenter bios, see the links on this page.
  5. Trying out voice recognition software. I've been struggling with a painful wrist injury for months now that has been slow to heal. I recently bought Dragon Dictation in the hope of reducing my keyboarding. If any of you already use it, I'd love to know any tips/advice you have.
  6. Making new writing friends. Since PLAYING BY HEART crosses multiple genres, I'm finding it helpful to connect with writers in a variety of organizations. I recently attended a local Romance Writers of America (RWA) chapter meeting. I'm also looking into the Historical Novel Society and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). If you belong to any of these organizations, or have others to recommend, let me know.
Given all these new endeavors, I'm a little worried about getting distracted from my writing. And that leads to my six-word memoir, which is my personal intention for 2017:

Staying rooted while sprouting new branches.

Here's to a successful year for us all!

Don't forget--it's Poetry Friday. This week's roundup is over at Violet Nesdoly/Poems.

Remember to always Write with Joy!


Carmela Martino said...

Testing comments. If you've had problems commenting, please email me via my website:

Sandy Brehl said...

Sometimes the things that fight us with the most vigor turn out to be our dearest treasures. I look forward to reading your new book.

Sheila said...

Hi Carmela,

I'm so happy for you and am looking forward to reading your new novel.

I tried Dragon Dictation but found it difficult (for me) and became frustrated and gave up on learning it. My main problem is that I've always found writing easier than talking. I might try using it again someday. Beth Finke uses some form of a dictation devise, so maybe you could talk to her about it.

Best wishes,

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks Sandy and Sheila.
Yes, we shall see if I can adapt to Dragon, Sheila. There's a whole FB group of writers you use it successfully and I'm hoping I can too.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carmela--mazel tov! Because of your devotion and perseverance, your book baby is being born! And in your latest eNewsletter, I loved when you wrote that expressing our creativity is our SACRED RESPONSIBILITY. Wow--sacred responsibility. What a beautiful way to look at it. This helped me immeasurably.

FernandaGV said...

Wonderful news-- and thanks for the inspiration!!

Paul Martin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.