The Over 50 Writer

MY 50TH BIRTHDAY PRESENT by A. S. Mackey
Thursday, March 4, 2021 by Patti Shene

FEATURED BOOK:  The Edge of Everywhen

AUTHOR:  A.S. Mackey

PUBLISHER:  B&H Kids/Lifeway

GENRE:  Middle Grade Fiction

SERIES OR STAND ALONE:  stand-alone

TARGET:  AGE: 9-12

 

 

 

IT IS MY PLEASURE TO WELCOME AUTHOR A. S. MACKEY TO THE OVER 50 WRITER. SHE SHARES HER WRITING JOURNEY AND WHAT SHE HAS LEARNED ALONG THE WAY.

 

 

 

AUTHOR A.S. MACKEY IS OFFERING A GIVEAWAY! SIMPLY LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO ENTER THE DRAWING FOR A SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY OF  THE EDGE OF EVERYWHEN.

 

MY 50th BIRTHDAY PRESENT

 

 

 

by

 

 

 

A. S. Mackey

 

 

 

My first book was a steno pad full of poems given to my parents as a gift when I was 8, way back in 1976. As a child I remember being given an assignment to write a poem, and the teacher was convinced I had plagiarized it. All through my early teen years I wrote the requisite angsty poetry. My first novel was a sci-fi novel at age 15 and it was so very VERY very bad! I went to college and worked at the Oglethorpe Echo newspaper for about a year as a reporter and editor, and in 1991 I graduated from UGA with a degree in English literature (which, as I found out, you can’t actually “do” anything with). I wrote here and there as I got married and had kids, and every now and then my sister and I would work on some kids’ books, but we never really got serious about it because I didn’t think I had time, and I truly didn’t believe in myself.

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo was a catalyst for me. (National Novel Writing Month, where your goal is 50,000 words in the month of November. See www.nanowrimo.org ). I have done NaNoWriMo since 2011, and I have completed (or attempted) a novel each year since then. I wrote a murder mystery, and an inspirational story, and another murder mystery. But in 2015, I wrote the first draft of a middle grade fiction novel during NaNoWriMo, and I knew that there was something different about this one somehow.

 

 

 

After I finished the novel in 2016, I enlisted beta readers and took their feedback seriously. My target reader is a 12-year-old girl, so I found 9 girls (children of my friends) and they were all happy to be beta readers. I had adult beta readers, as well, and listened carefully to all of their feedback and made more changes.

 

 

 

Then I set out to find an agent. This is why I chose to pursue representation by an agent.

 

1) Agents don’t make money until you do, so it behooves them to get you the best deal they can.

 

2) Agents with reputable publishing houses come with lawyers that protect your intellectual copyright and look out for your bottom line. Mine did and they were INVALUABLE.

 

3) Publishers who take on authors directly expect you to have a detailed marketing plan and do far more marketing. I personally didn’t want that; I wanted a traditional agent with a traditional publishing house that has a marketing plan and a dedicated publicist with strategy and experience.

 

 

 

After I thought the book was ready, I bought the 2016 edition of The Writers Market, and searched for agents accepting new manuscripts in my genre. Then I sent 43 queries the first go-round – resulting in all rejections, or no responses (which is a rejection in my book). But I didn’t give up! I figured something must be wrong with the book.  So I set the novel aside and read EVERY book I could get my hands on about the craft of writing so that I could make the book better. I highly recommend these 4:

 

On Writing by Stephen King (warning, lots of F-bombs in that one, but read it anyway)

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle

The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass.

 

I took an online master class by James Patterson. This class did not meet my needs at the time, as itt focused on marketing. 

 

 

After I read these books, I completely rewrote my novel again. Once I had a new and improved finished product, I researched winning query letters online and worked hard on drafting a killer query. I think I rewrote my query at least a dozen times, honing it and tweaking it. (If you’d like a copy of the query letter I sent, email me at [email protected] and I’ll send it over!)

 

 

 

I am a follower of Jesus, and it was at this stage that I had an in-depth prayer session about my novel, and completely surrendered my own agenda, asking for God’s favor in this whole endeavor, and for His will to be done. Then I sent 31 of the new and improved queries out in the fall of 2017, and one agent fell in love with my book and offered to represent me a month later. Yes, I cried!

 

 

 

Since this is the Over-50 Writer blog, I have to mention that the official publication offer came in a week after my 50th birthday, on Christmas Eve in 2018. What a gift! My debut novel, The Edge of Everywhen, was published by Lifeway on May 12 of 2020, and it has gone on to win the SCWC 2021 Notable Book Award for Fiction. www.theedgeofeverywhen.com.

 

 

 

I know that if I had believed in myself at an earlier age, I would have pursued a writing career much sooner. Perhaps my perseverance became stronger with age. Perhaps I know myself and my abilities (and limitations) better, as we all do when we’ve gone around the sun for a few decades. That said, I was a cocky know-it-all in my twenties and thirties, so there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have been able to accept constructive criticism then the way I can now, and age has brought me so much wisdom and grace in this regard.

 

 

 

Book Blurb for The Edge of Everywhen

Tragedy is sometimes followed by mystery, at least that's what faces 13-year-old Piper and her brother, Phoenix, who has autism. Mourning the loss of their parents, they must move a thousand miles away to live with their insufferable Aunt Beryl. But it is in their aunt's cavernous library that Piper and Phoenix hear a mysterious book calling to them. Its name is Novus Fabula, and its story will change their lives forever.

 

Amazon Buy link

Available in paperback, Kindle, and audible!

 

 

DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE PLACED IN THE DRAWING TO WIN A SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY OF THE EDGE OF EVERYWHEN BETWEEN NOW AND SUNDAY, MARCH 14TH AT MIDNIGHT MST. (U.S. residents only eligible for print copy).

BY LEAVING A COMMENT, YOU GRANT PERMISSION FOR YOUR EMAIL TO BE REVEALED TO THE AUTHOR IF YOU ARE THE WINNER TO FACILITATE RECEIPT OF YOUR BOOK.

 

 

 

Author A.S. Mackey is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the American Christian Fiction Writers organization (ACFW). She serves as secretary of the Shoals Writers Guild in Florence, Alabama where she currently lives with her husband. She is represented by Elizabeth Bennett at the Transatlantic Literary Agency, and her debut middle grade fiction novel was published in May of 2020 with Lifeway.

If you’d like to connect, visit these links:

Website:          https://www.asmackey.com/

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/AuthorASMackey/

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/AuthorASMackey

Instagram:       https://www.instagram.com/author_asmackey/

Amazon:          https://www.amazon.com/Edge-Everywhen-S-Mackey/dp/1535992611

 

 

 

SUBSCRIBE TO PATTI’S BLOGS HERE

 

 


Comments

Jackie From Colorado At 3/13/2021 2:47:16 PM

Wow! So much patience and faith required!! I’ve got 3 voracious readers and 1 learning to love reading in my house, so we are always looking for good books!! Thank you!!

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Jackie. Thank you for stopping by and entering the contest. So glad to hear about young people who love books!

Joan Estes From Alabama At 3/13/2021 12:07:04 PM

I have three grandkids, two are adopted. Ages 10, 10 and 12. I am hoping to find books for their age group. They all love reading.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Thank you for stopping by and entering the contest, Joan! I love to hear about avid young readers.

Amre From Idaho At 3/6/2021 11:00:23 AM

Hello! Thank you for sharing your publication story with us, and congrats on that endeavor! God bless you as you continue to write for Him! :)

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Amre! Thank you for visiting and letting us know you were here.

Natalya Lakhno From CA At 3/5/2021 6:40:38 PM

Thank you for sharing your journey! I have a 10 and a 12 year old ;)

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Natalya. Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us.

Greta Picklesimer From MI At 3/5/2021 10:55:57 AM

I love that you shared about your failures as a writer trying to get an agent. I would love a copy of your query letter and will send you an email to request one. Thank you for this opportunity. Blessings on your writing ?journey.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Greta. Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm glad to see you take up the query letter offer.

Dave From Alabama At 3/5/2021 5:23:10 AM

A. S. Mackey's middle initial should be P. for Perseverance.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Yes, Dave! You are absolutely right! Thank you for stopping by.

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P
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WELCOME AUTHOR JUNE FOSTER
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8/4/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR ELLIE GUSTAFSON
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7/28/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR GAIL KITTLESON
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6/2/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR JO HUDDLESTON
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5/19/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR CAROLE BROWN
Patti Shene
5/4/2016

The Tenacity of an Arachnid by Sandy Kirby Quandt
Patti Shene
4/21/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR BONNIE ENGSTROM
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4/7/2016

REVIEW OF SAINT'S ROOST by TERRY BURNS
Patti Shene
3/30/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR ANNETTE O'HARE
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3/17/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR DONNA SCHLACHTER
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3/3/2016

REVIEW OF HANNAH'S CHOICE BY JAN DREXLER
Patti Shene
2/27/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR WADE WEBSTER
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2/17/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR PAT JEANNE DAVIS
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2/3/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR DEBRA E. MARVIN
Patti Shene
1/20/2016

HAPPY 2016 FROM WRITER SANDY KIRBY QUANDT
Patti Shene
1/7/2016

WELCOME AUTHOR GAIL KITTLESON
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12/18/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR JUNE FOSTER
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12/3/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR TERESA IVES LILLY
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11/19/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR NIKE CHILLEMI
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10/14/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR KELLY IRVIN
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10/1/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR PATTY SMITH HALL
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9/17/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR HOLLY MICHAEL
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9/4/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR CONNIE MILLER PEASE
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8/19/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR JOHNNIE ALEXANDER
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8/5/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR TERESA POLLARD
Patti Shene
7/16/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR GAIL SATTLER
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7/9/2015

WEIGHT LOSS DEVOTIONAL FREE ON KNDLE
Patti Shene
6/20/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR YVONNE ADERSON
Patti Shene
6/5/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR SHERRI STONE
Patti Shene
5/21/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR MARIANNE JONES
Patti Shene
5/6/2015

REVIEW OF INDEBTED BY BRAXTON DeGARMO
Patti Shene
4/29/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR DEANNA K. KLINGEL
Patti Shene
4/17/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR TERESA IVES LILLY
Patti Shene
4/2/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR PEG PHIFER
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3/19/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR DARLENE FRANKLIN
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3/4/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR MICHELLE GRIEP
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2/20/2015

NEGOTIATING THE LEARNING CURVE
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2/6/2015

WHEN ENCOURAGEMENT COMES YOUR WAY
Patti Shene
1/30/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR SANDY NADEAU
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1/14/2015

I AM A WRITER--OR AM I REALLY?
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1/1/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR GEORGE DUNCAN
Patti Shene
12/3/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR MARTHA ROGERS
Patti Shene
11/21/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR EDITH EDWARDS
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WELCOME AUTHOR GAIL KITTLESON
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10/16/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR CAMILLE EIDE
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10/2/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR FRANCES SUSANNE BROWN
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9/18/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR AVA PENNINGTON
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9/4/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR LILLIAN DUNCAN
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8/21/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR CYNTHIA TONEY
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8/6/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR CARRIE STUART PARKS
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7/16/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR & PUBLISHER TRACY RUCKMAN
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7/3/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR JANET SKETCHLEY
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6/18/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR ANE MULLIGAN
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6/4/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR REBECCA CAREY LYLES
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5/15/2014

DARK BIOLOGY BY BONNIE DORAN
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5/1/2014

BY THE WATERS OF KADESH BY CAROLE TOWRISS
P
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WHERE HOPE STARTS BY ANGELA D. MEYER
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THE CHARM BRACELET BY SUSAN PAGE DAVIS
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3/20/2014

Love Redeemed by Kelly Irvin
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3/5/2014

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley
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2/20/2014

WELCOME WRITER DELORES LIESNER
Patti Shene
2/5/2014

The Heartbeat of the Novel by James R. Callan
Patti Shene
1/15/2014

Don't Let Bible Contradictions Rob Your Faith
Patti Shene
1/2/2014

Welcome Author Lilliann Duncan
Patti Shene
5/30/2013

Confessions of a Reluctant Reader
Patti Shene
5/9/2013

WELCOME AUTHOR LENA NELSON DOOLEY
Patti Shene
5/2/2013

WELCOME AUTHOR KATHI MACIAS
Patti Shene
4/24/2013

Review of Congo Dawn by Jeanette Windle
Patti Shene
4/18/2013

I'm back
Patti Shene
4/11/2013

Welcome Author JoAnn Durgin
Patti Shene
2/14/2013

Welcome Award-Winning Author Susan Page Davis
Patti Shene
2/7/2013

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks
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1/30/2013

Introducing Jeanette Windle and Congo Dawn
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1/23/2013

Author Carole Johnson on Perseverance
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1/17/2013

The Value of Social Media
Patti Shene
1/9/2013

A Glimpse Into the Future
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1/2/2013

Welcome Author Jo Huddleston
Patti Shene
12/20/2012

Give Some Holiday Hope for Just $3.99
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Great Christmas books from Lena Nelson Dooley
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Welcome to Author Jude Urbanski
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

A Writers Journey Part IV
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Interview with Author Kelly Irvin
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Whose prophecy do you believe?
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Welcome Author Michal J. Webb
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Meet Author Sharon Shrock and the Women of Valley
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Welcome Author Lillian Duncan
Patti Shene
11/13/2012