Deadly Lucidity by Julie Achterhoff

Caught in a tangled web of dreams and nightmares, Marie Reilly is being
hunted by a psychopath in the dream world she can’t escape. Her single ally,
a Ranger named Murphy, may be her only hope. He must help her reach the
Great Fortress, where they’ve been told there is a way back to her reality.
Together, they fight their way through the twists and turns of Marie’s mind
so she can have her life back. But what of their growing passion for each
other? How can Marie leave the man she has come to love behind in this
nightmarish world he has called home as far back as he can remember?

What have you learned about being an author since you started writing
professionally, Julie?

Gosh, I’ve learned so much! I started out reading a couple of books on
how to write and taking a women’s literature class at the local community
college. That was ten years ago. I started writing professionally three
years ago, starting with a novella titled Native Vengeance, which was
published on the Demon Minds website for their Halloween edition that year.
That experience taught me that I might have what it took to write a full
length novel. I started out small because I thought I’d test the waters and
see if anyone thought I could write well. I was pleased to get my first
acceptance letter, as well as recognition for my writing skills. Learning
that someone else enjoys what you’ve written is one of the biggest thrills
I’ve ever experienced!
I had some idea because I got an “A” on my class final, which was to
write something. I went way overboard and wrote an entire three-act play
titled Angel in the House! I wrote that in six weeks, too! So that gave me
some validation about my writing. That’s when I also found out there just
wasn’t enough time to write anything and homeschool my five children at the
same time
So I waited until most of them were out on their own to start writing
my first novel, Quantum Earth. While writing this book, I learned all about
the predictions for the year 2012 from the Mayan calendar. I also learned
that I could create characters and scenes that would last through to the
very end. It took me several months to write Quantum Earth. It takes up a
lot of your day to day thinking to write a book. It keeps you up late at
night, too.
Then I learned about writing query letters and synopsises to send out
to publishers and agents. They have to really hook them from the very start.
I learned that different publishers require different things from a
potential author. Some want just a query at first, some want a query and a
synopsis, and some want these plus some pages from your manuscript. You
absolutely have to follow what they want exactly. If you don’t do this part
just right, that alone will cause them to say no. I found out that some
publishers are very nice, sometimes even giving you advice, but some of them
aren’t very nice, and can say some rude things to you.
I had to find sources for publishers. I used Writer’s Market and
Duotrope mostly. I learned to keep track of whom I sent out to so I wouldn’t
duplicate my efforts. Then I learned the pretty painful feeling of being
rejected over and over again. That was very hard for me because I don’t take
rejection well! Those were a tough few months of sending out my work very
carefully, and getting nothing back but negative replies.
I had already learned that there were people who liked my writing, so I
tried not to give up hope. I tried to see every no as one step closer to
that magical word, “yes.” Finally, after sending out at least fifty
queries, synopsises, and/or pages, I got a very big yes from an e-book
publisher. She said Quantum Earth was exactly what she was interested in and
loved it from start to finish. But one thing I had learned was that e-books
were just sent by email. They are not really a solid book you can hold in
your hand. This put me off a bit, so I contacted one of the publishers who
said they wanted more about Quantum Earth and asked them if they were
interested in publishing it. They said yes, too! Now I had a decision to
make, and not much information about the pros and cons. But I knew I wanted
to see my book in print as a real book, so I ended up having to be the one
to say no to the first publisher. That was a twist. She was very
disappointed, but understood.
So it happened that All Things That Matter Press was the one to publish
my first real book. A year later they published my second book, Deadly
Lucidity. For this book I learned all about lucid dreaming, among other
things. During the time I’ve been with ATTM Press I’ve learned so much from
Deb and Phil Harris. They run this small press, and I couldn’t be happier
with them. Deb has taught me everything I could possibly want to know about
editing, and Phil has taught me all about promoting books and creating a
name for yourself. They are experts at what they do. An author has to learn
how to sell their own books by doing interviews, blogging, publicity,
creating an author platform, and many other ways to get people to buy their
books. It’s not an easy process. I work on this almost every day.
I’ve also learned so much from other authors, especially the ones that
are also published at ATTM Press. We have a yahoo group where we keep in
close touch, sharing ideas and supporting one another. Another source for my
education is my friends on facebook who are also writers. I have learned a
lot from these and other sources, and continue to learn what it takes to be
a writer. Now I’m at the point where I am starting to do some teaching,
myself. I recently got an offer to teach at a writer’s retreat next January
in Georgia. I’m very excited about that, and hope that I can help others on
the path to writing.
As of this writing I am finishing up my next book, Earthwalker, which
will be available by Christmas.

Link to video trailer for Deadly Lucidity:
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