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03/23/2010

Tuesdays with Friends Introduces Stacy Juba

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This week's guest is my good friend Stacy Juba. I had the pleasure of reading her current book, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and her upcoming book Sink or Swim several years ago when they were still works in progress. I enjoyed them then, and I can't wait to read them again and see how the final product turned out. Welcome to Tuesday's with Friends, Stacy.

 Recently, I gave away two copies of my mystery novel Twenty-Five Years Ago Today in a Goodreads First Reads contest.  I trudged out in the pouring rain to mail the books to the winners. When I returned home, I checked my e-mail and discovered that by sheer coincidence, I had won a book in a Goodreads giveaway. Since I’m an avid reader as well as a writer, I had entered several giveaways for fun.

I chuckled when I noticed the title of the book: Living Like You Mean It: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want by Ronald J. Frederick. What a perfect book for my collection. The phrases “power of your emotions” and “get the life you really want” reflect the positive mindset I have adopted over the past few years. One area I had focused on a great deal was my long, rocky journey in the publishing business and where I wanted that path to lead.

It all started so well – or so I thought. At 16, I wrote a young adult novel called Face-Off (under my maiden name Stacy Drumtra) and entered it in the Avon Flare Young Adult Novel Competition. To my delight, my manuscript won first prize and was successfully published by Avon Books my freshman year in college. I naively believed that selling subsequent novels would be just as easy. 

Not quite.

I wrote one rejected young adult “problem novel” after another, until I reached my mid-twenties. While working as a newspaper reporter, I outlined my first mystery book.  I finished that manuscript, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, shortly after I got married. I’d sit behind my desk, telling the story of Kris Langley, an obit writer and newsroom editorial assistant who stumbles across an unsolved murder on the microfilm. She grows intrigued by the cold case of Diana Ferguson, an artistic young cocktail waitress obsessed with mythology. 

After a couple years, I finally found an agent, but my books still didn’t sell. Editors had championed my novels before Publishing Committees, but my raised hopes always deflated with the inevitable rejection.  After our contract ran out, the agency didn’t renew it. Although they would be happy to see my next novel, I was only a few chapters into it. How could I sacrifice my time to pen another book that might never be published? 

Then, my novel-in-progress won the $1,000 William F. Deeck Malice Domestic Grant, and I couldn’t quit knowing that the grant committee believed in my work. I used the money to take on-line mystery writing classes and I pursued every opportunity for my completed manuscripts. For two years in a row, my novels finaled in the St. Martin’s Press Malice Domestic Contest for the Best First Traditional Mystery – and when good news failed to come, I scolded myself for letting my hopes escalate yet again.

Frustrated at coming so close, I read inspirational books like Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, The Power of Intention by Wayne W. Dyer, Your Heart’s Desire by Sonia Choquette, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Every book was different and each supplied me with valuable information. I also created a vision board showcasing my personal and professional goals, and made lists of fears or doubts associated with achieving those goals. When I heard an exciting new independent publisher called Mainly Murder Press was seeking mystery novels set in New England, I sent off Twenty-Five Years Ago Today. 

Then the acceptance letter arrived and relief washed over me – relief that I had persevered and that I’d finally found a publisher willing to take a chance on my work. It took nine years to sell Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and a total of 18 years to hold my second published book in my hand. Mainly Murder Press is scheduled to release my third book, the mystery-suspense novel Sink Or Swim, in December 2010. The book chronicles a reality TV show contestant who is stalked after returning to her normal life.

Where this will all lead, I’m not sure. I have my goals and hopes, and view the road as wide open. I do know one thing with certainty. I don’t believe in coincidence…I believe in synchronicity.  In the jacket copy of Ronald J. Frederick’s book, it describes how the contents will help readers to break through old patterns, communicate better, and “be more present” in their lives.  These are topics that all of us can benefit from in this fast-paced world. You can bet that I’ll be reading carefully as I prepare for the next step in my journey. 

25 YearsFrontCover web version
 

Stacy Juba is the author of the mystery novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and the upcoming Sink Or Swim. She is a former journalist with more than a dozen writing awards to her credit. Her web site is www.stacyjuba.com. Check out the Twenty-Five Years Ago Today book trailer here

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