Saturday, 3 September 2011

Guest Post with Author Leslie Deaton

A Journey to the Publication of my First Novel

First, I’d like to thank the Secret Writer for giving me an opportunity to share my publication journey with you. It has been a long, exciting, sometimes lonely road but one I will definitely travel again without regret.

A little background about me, like so many other authors in the world I lead a double life, working full time as a consultant during the day and then, dreaming up another world at night. After reading this post, take a closer look at your co-workers, there may be one of us lurking beside you every day! We’re often the person who bolts at the end of the day only to return in the morning, looking like we’ve been up all night. When you ask us what we were doing, our answer is usually ‘nothing really’. It’s because we’re not really doing anything, yet. We’re stay up late, writing, researching, reading, learning and noting everything we can – while we build enough courage to start writing.

For me the courage came when I finished reading Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series a few years back and visited her blog. I was so intrigued by how she simply GOOGLE’d ‘Forks’ and made it the perfect setting for her whole series. A few clicks, and viola, her story had a home. It made me want to find a home for my story, so I finally started working on it.

My friend Justin helped me with the rest. He told me no more excuses, just write, so I did. I drafted an outline using the stuff I already knew. I knew I wanted to write young adult lit because it’s what I like to read, and I knew I wanted to write about magic because I think we should all believe in a little magic. Believing in magic can make all things possible, even when reality says they aren’t. I mean, come on, who can argue with magic, right? I also knew that I wanted my protagonist to be a teenage girl, who represented all the things I loved most. I wanted her to be confident, proud of her family history, and smart enough to find the strength to survive. Enter Lyla Mercer, a sixteen year old girl and my protagonist.

For the next three months I wrote EVERY DAY from 6pm-10pm and on weekends for about 8 hours a day. Sometimes I worked on whole chapters, sometimes on a piece of the outline, sometimes I just did research, but I worked on my book every day. It took a million little tricks, to keep going, but I surrounded myself with encouragement (my sister critiqued the work as I went along) and I kept writing.

Next, I started the querying process, and after 6 months of rejections I actually got a YES. This was a great experience because the agent helped me improve my story line by adding more detail and less dialogue. Unfortunately, my work with the agent was short-lived because she left the firm and I was forced to start my agent search over again. This hit me hard, I won’t lie. I was crushed. 

Again, I found my way back to writing by reading a fellow author’s blog. This time I read the ‘how it all started’ blog, on Amanda Hocking’s website. Ironically I had just purchased her book ‘Switched’ for my Kindle, so imagine my surprise at finding out how she had self published. After reading through the recap of her journey, I decided I was going to try it myself. 

Six months later here I am. My book ‘A Marked Past’ is coming out on October 1st 2011. I read everything I could find about self publishing, created a GoodReads profile, started a blog, set up a Createspace account, listed my work on LULU and the rest is history! I'm still working every day checking e-book files and paperback files, passing out flyers, bookmarks, and setting up book signings at local shops. It’s possible; you just have to start writing! 

A Marked Past: The Mercer Legacy is - A story of sixteen year old Lyla Mercer’s journey of discovery, sacrifice, and love, set against a background of magic, mystery, and family duty.

Lyla Mercer’s life changed the moment her dad was murdered, and again when she heard that she could be next. Forced to move to Salem for safe keeping, Lyla soon discovers her family has a dark history in the small town, and when a glossy black moon appears on the back of her neck she becomes the newest part of that legacy. Her family is marked and being hunted, but now Lyla may be the weapon they need to survive.

Lyla attempts to ignore the danger, pretending to be normal, but whispers and rumors follow her everywhere. She thinks nothing can ever be normal for her again until she meets Caleb, the minister’s son, and the absolute wrong boy to be dating a witch. He’s everything she wants to be, just a normal kid from a normal family. At least that’s what she thinks, but nothing is as it seems in Salem. Caleb has secrets to keep about his family that rival her own. Until recently, her father's murderer has managed to keep his true identity a secret, but when Lyla uncovers the truth about him, nobody is safe, especially her.

‘A Marked Past’ is will be available online at, , (for Nook)

If you would like to know more about Leslie Deaton and her work please visit:

International Giveaway
Leslie will be hosting a free book giveaway on . All you have to do to enter the giveaway is join Goodreads and register to win. Entry for this draw will close on Monday 31st Ocotber 2011. The winner will then be announced as soon as possible after this date. Good luck everyone!


  1. This is a fabulous story that should encourage other writers not to give up on their dreams. Patience and determination are key!

    Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :)

  2. Hi Rachel! It's good to see you here and thanks for joining as a follower of my blog:-) I'll certainly call by your blog later, when I manage to get a free moment. Patience and determination is a definite requirement when writing. Have a great day!


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