Author Stacey Rourke

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I didn't intend to write a book. Writing has always been something I have done through journal keeping, creative writing or thirty page college papers on mind numbingly boring topics. Yet I never gave it much thought or longed to complete a novel. Until I had the dream. For those of you that have read my book the dream I had was the scene in which Alec's hand appears out of the darkness of the orchestra pit. It was a simple dream, however it stuck with me days afterward.

I jotted down a short story based on the dream which in no way resembled my now completed novel. It was dark. Really dark. And gory. To be perfectly honest the fact that it came out of my own psyche scared me a little bit. To prevent my husband from reading the twisted tale and thinking his wife needed to talk to a mental health expert I tore it up and started over. That meant research. Scouring the web lead me to key points in my story; the gryphon, the Celtic origins, Rhodes College, Gainesboro, The Shamrock Inn, even the clock tower in the center of town. The pieces seemed to fall into place and my story began to take on a life of its own. That is when the game changed. The entire story was trapped in my head and I couldn't get it out fast enough. I would be in the middle of a conversation with my husband and an idea would come to me and I would have to stop everything to go write it down. (He REALLY enjoyed that.) To quote the wise Robert Palmer "my mind was not my own." All hours of the day and night I was planning and plotting the adventures of Celeste and her siblings. I had tapped into my creative spicket and the ideas flowed. Luckily I have since learned the fine art of storyboarding so I can resume functioning normally.

My point is it started with a simple dream. The process that followed of watching the story come together, polishing it up through careful editing and even dissecting it through the feedback of others awakened a passion in me that I had apparently ignored for years. I always wrote, it was just what I did. Yet I never knew how much I would love it if I fed that passion instead of stifling it. God gives all of us gifts that He wants us to use and develop. What's yours and are you using it to its full capabilities?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


If you want to succeed in anything in life you have to risk rejection. Going for a job interview, asking out a hottie, trying to get a loan, in my case trying to get a book published; all are examples of situations that can lead to a big, fat NO!! It is the promise of wonderful things to come from that one magical yes that keeps us pushing ahead. The trick is to try and learn something from the rejections too.

Do I consider myself a master of handling rejection? Heavens no! As a matter of fact I didn't post a blog yesterday because I got a rejection that stung in a major way and I spent most of the day in the fetal position blubbering loud enough that the neighbors complained. I can say though that I have learned to handle it better. Proof of that is that my recovery time from these rejections has greatly decreased. Now I can rebound in the course of a day instead of mopping around for a week in my bathrobe. Thanks in large part for my improvement is owed to my family and friends. Upon receiving my millionth rejection yesterday I fought the urge to insult the guy's momma and instead sought solace with my friends.
"What did he say?" They asked.
"That he's a big, stupid dookie head." Was my mature answer.
Funny that even through texting you can sense when your friends are rolling their eyes at you. "No. What were his EXACT words?"
"That my book was very, very good but he doesn't work with that genre."
"Wouldn't that be considered a compliment?" I hate it when they use logic. It adds a rational element that hinders pouting. "Did he say anything else?"
"That I should contact publishers that represent young adult novels specifically."

The lesson here is to bite back any insults that pop into mind when you are getting rejected, have your pity party and see what you could learn from it and apply to your next attempt. A good lesson I think. Now if you would all please remind me of this when the next door slams shut by pointing to the window that is still open I would greatly appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


For a year I put my heart and soul into my manuscript. I laughed with the characters, cried over the events that unfolded for them and nurtured the story through vigorous editing. When the time was right and I felt it was ready I did what any good parent does and released it to the world to stand on its own. I then got to watch it get beaten and kicked to the ground through countless rejections. Not quite the warm welcome into the literary world I had expected. I was tempted to shelter my treasured work by pulling it back in and hiding it under my bed for its own protection. ( I have had that same thought from time to time watching my kids playing with aggressive, bigger kids. I haven't done it for them either. Yet.)

The most frustrating part of the rejections of my book is that 99% of the people slamming the door in my face haven't read one word of my book. Instead they are forming their opinions on my query letter. A query letter is a one page document that has to explain the entire manuscript and draw in literary agents enough for them to request a sampling of the book. This step is mandatory because publishers no longer take unsolicited manuscripts. If you want a publisher, you have to have an agent. And if you want an agent you have to have an amazing query letter. It's a maddening process and in my opinion represents all that is wrong with our society. Then again I could just be bitter that I am on my fourth draft of my query and have JUST got it polished enough that agents are actually requesting samplings.

How good does the query have to be? Agents get thousands of query letters PER DAY! The letter has to be good enough to stand out in a crowd that large. I once read an interview with Stephenie Meyer where she said her query letter was awful. I'm sorry, but that is just as fictional as the painfully perfect Edward Cullen she created. If her query didn't have some stand out features she never would have been picked up by Writers House and Edward and Bella never would have found each other. We would live in an alternate universe where Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart didn't grace the cover of every magazine imaginable. (If you listen closely you can hear thirteen year old girls everywhere gasping at the horror of that thought.)

I hate the process. I imagine myself as a young Oliver Twist in short pants begging people for a moment of their time. "Please sir, would you read my book?" Humbling and belittling? Absolutely. But completely necessary. Oh, how I loathe it. Four drafts later, here's how the flingin', flangin' query letter reads;

Okay, little side note here. If a psychopathic killer asks if you want to see a trick, say no. That's the smart thing to do. I, on the other hand, responded, "Bring it."
-excerpt from THE CONDUIT

All 19-year-old Celeste Garrett wants is to head off to college and make those fun, yet ill-advised choices college kids are known for. Instead, because of a pact her ancestors made in the 17th century with a mythical creature, she has to save the world.

While normal kids are slamming energy drinks and cramming for exams, Celeste will get her adrenaline rush fighting a fire breathing dragon. She wants to meet friends in the quad to exchange lecture notes, but first she must exchange blows with a shapeshifting demon on the rooftop. Life isn't always fair for a superhero, but at least she doesn't have to do it alone. With her brother and sister as sidekicks, they alternate between saving lives and getting on each others' last nerve. Together the trio encounters unspeakable odds, mystical forces and comes face-to-face with an image that will haunt them forever-- their grandmother in a leopard print bikini.

THE CONDUIT combines action, humor, a little romance and a whole lot of girl power in this 97,000 word YA novel. Thank you for your consideration.

Monday, April 19, 2010

An Epic Adventure

Here I am folks! On my very own blog that I set up all by myself! Didn't have to scream for the hubby even once! What a big girl I am. I think I deserve a Scooby snack for that.

Of course the next logical question is; I'm here, now what? What is the point behind these ramblings? Well, I am an aspiring writer that is desperatly trying to break into the literary world. A task that is proving to be as challenging as searching for the Holy Grail. And to my great regret Indiana Jones is no where around to help me. (Although I do hum the theme music on occassion just for the heck of it. Go ahead and try it, see if it doesn't make a mundane task more interesting.) Anywho, a friend of mine wisely told me, "If you love to write, write!" So that is what I am doing! I plan to blog the ups and downs of my quest to publication. Hopefully, this tale will have a happy ending. And if not it should at least be an adventure!

I'm donning my hat and shouldering my whip in preperation. All together now, "Dum, dum, dum, dum, da-da dum. Dum, dum, dum, dum, da-da-dum, dum, dum..."