Meet my Critique Partner Connie Queen

When I first started my writing journey seven years ago, I was completely lost and had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I joined an online writer’s group and fumbled along for about six months. Then one day I received a message from Connie Queen asking if I’d like to be critique partners. She would read my manuscript and offer advice and tips, and I’d read hers and do the same. I had attempted critiquing as part of a small group with three other writers, but it hadn’t really worked out very well. I was hesitant to try again, but I needed someone to look at my writing who could be objective and honest. So, I agreed to give it a go, and boy am I glad I did.

Connie and I just seemed to click. We discovered that we had a lot in common, and neither one of us minded if the other was a bit…how shall I say…um…blunt when there was something about the other’s manuscript that we weren’t one-hundred percent sold on. I’ve never been a fan of “tiptoeing around” and neither was Connie. This suited me just fine. The number one goal reason to have a critique partner is to have someone help you figure out how to polish your manuscript so it will sell. I wanted someone who wouldn’t just put smiley faces on the cute parts of a story but would be honest with me, even if they didn’t think I’d like what they had to say. Connie was the perfect fit. I had found my first real, honest to goodness, wanted-to-help-me-get-published critique partner. Fortunately for me, Connie wasn’t my last “good-fit-for-me” critique partner, but she was my first.

Over the next five years we both had ups and downs in our publishing pursuits. Revision requests and rejections became the norm. I’ll admit it, two years ago I hit a slump and wasn’t sure if could keep writing just to receive rejections, but Connie stayed strong and kept saying “If they [editors] don’t like this story, I’ll just write another one.” Her example taught me not to take rejections so personally.

Fast forward to 2019. Our dream publisher (Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense) was doing another author search. We’d entered the last three, so of course we had to enter this time, too. When I told Mountain Man that we were entering the contest, he said he was praying Connie and I would both sell this time. He said it only seemed fitting since we’d worked so hard through the years critiquing for each other.

I couldn’t have agreed more. And I was beyond thrilled when, at the end of the contest, Connie and I had both sold our manuscripts!

Let me introduce you to Connie’s debut novel, Justice Undercover, which released this month!

Keeping her true identity a secret is the only way to stay alive.

Going undercover as a nanny brings presumed-dead ex-US Marshal Kylie Stone closer to catching the man who murdered the witness in her protection—and also killed Texas Ranger Luke Dryden’s sister. When someone tries to kidnap the twins in her care, Kylie must tell their uncle the truth…and convince Luke to help her. But will revealing her identity put all their lives at stake?

Don’t you just love that cover!?! And let me tell you, if you want to read a book full of suspense and romance, you really need to read Justice Undercover. I mean, you can’t go wrong when there’s a handsome Texas Ranger and two adorable twins…right?

Connie Queen spent her life in Texas where she met and married her high-school sweetheart. Married for 34 years, they’ve raised eight children and are enjoying their grandchildren. As a child, Connie remembers her mom and sisters reading, but she preferred to be outside. It wasn’t until later, she found the joy of being whisked away into another world. Today she resides in Nebraska with her husband, and Nash, her Great Dane, where she’s working on her next suspense.

Now Accepting Applications…

Rocky Mountain Revenge Launch Team

Welcome! I’m looking to add an additional ten to fifteen members to my debut novel launch team. I need people who will read my novel and help me promote it prior to its release July 1, 2020.

The main role of the launch team will be:

  1. Read Rocky Mountain Revenge in a timely fashion (you’ll have approximately 3 weeks to do so)
  2. Share about the book on your social media accounts
  3. (Most importantly!) Post a review on Amazon, BookBub, Goodreads and other outlets on or before the release date (July 1, 2020).

Those selected for the team will get:

  1. An advanced reading copy of Rocky Mountain Revenge (Launch team members who reside outside the contiguous United States will receive an e-book copy. All other launch team members will receive a paperback copy.)
  2. Access to a private Facebook Group with behind-the-scenes fun with me
  3. Exclusive launch team giveaways

Launch Team Application

Deadline to apply is 10:00 P.M. EDT, Sunday, May 24, 2020.

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED! Thank you to all who submitted an application. I will be sending invitations to join the private Facebook launch team group page, soon.

Do You Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Are you a person who judges a book by its cover? If you are, it’s fine by me. Go ahead…judge my book by its cover…

Didn’t the Harlequin art department do an amazing job creating the cover!?!

Only four more months until my debut novel’s book birthday. I can’t wait for you to meet Grace Porter and Evan Bradshaw. For now, you’ll have to settle for the back cover blurb:

To survive her deadly homecoming

she’ll need to trust a man from her past…

Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out?

My Eyes Leaked Happy Tears

My debut novel, Rocky Mountain Revenge, which will be available in July from Love Inspired Suspense is now up for pre-order on Amazon. There isn’t a cover photo or back cover blurb, yet, but I still cried when I saw it. The reality that I (finally) sold a book became even more real in that moment. I know it may sound silly to some, but I devoted over six years of my life trying to achieve this goal, So, my eyes leaked happy tears!!

I’d love for you to visit my author page on Amazon. Once you are there, click ‘follow’ to receive further updates! Thank you for being a part of my journey!!

“The Call”

If you follow my blog, you already know that I entered The Great Love Inspired Author Search. And boy, am I glad I did! On September 3rd, I received an email from Tina James, Senior Editor at Love Inspired, asking if there was a covenant time to call and discuss my manuscript. I squealed out loud, startling my 7th grade students. I’ve never heard of an editor calling to tell someone their manuscript was rubbish, so I knew this was good news.

I quickly emailed back and said any time would be convenient, and then I went next door to ask another teacher to come into my classroom to watch my students. I also saw my assistant principal and told her what was happening. We don’t have good cell reception in our building, so I had to run outside when Tina called. I was out of breath and had to explain the situation. She told me she could have called after I got off work, but I told her my students were as excited about the call as I was so I couldn’t do that do them.

I felt so bad for her though because I talk really fast (with a heavy Southern accent), and I was a babbling, giddy mess! However, she was so gracious and didn’t seem to mind. To add to the excitement, my assistant principal followed me outside and took a picture of me talking on the phone with Tina, getting the news that they wanted to publish my book.

So, always remember, if being a published author is your dream, chase it with all your might, and when you think you can’t go any further, dig deep and keep climbing, because you’re almost to the summit.