Author Guest Post
My Writing Process
By: Steven Manchester
I suppose I discovered the writing world by accident – or perhaps it discovered me. I’d just returned home from Operation Desert Storm, and was working as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?” Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.
I’d written a lot at my job (report writing), but it all started with my college professor’s challenge. Perhaps because of my age and experience, I understood right away that writing is a craft that takes time to evolve; to mature, so I spent the next several years PRACTICING my chosen craft. Under the pen name, Steven Herberts, I wrote in every venue of print I could get my name in: newspaper, magazine, etc. I also penned two collections of poetry, and wrote drafts for two more books. After five solid years of writing, I finally believed that I’d found my voice; MY STYLE – and was ready to contact an agent.
The greatest challenge for me has been time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there are other responsibilities that need my attention. Yet, my passion to write has constantly gnawed at my soul. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day – chasing my dreams on paper.
It has taken thousands of words, hundreds of pages, before I finally identified with a particular genre. I decided that my voice was a more sensitive one: a male perspective to a female audience.
Now that I have nearly two decades of writing and getting published under my belt, I enjoy trying to help new writers break in. My advice is always the same:
o Be true to yourself, always.
o Write constantly.
o Keep the faith!!!
o And NEVER, EVER, EVER quit. Most people in this industry would agree that more than talent or skill or even luck, perseverance is the one trait that will always get the job done.
o Knock on every door you can, and keep knocking. I promise that eventually someone will open and the warmth you feel on your face will more than validate every hour spent alone in the darkness.
About The Author
THE STORY PLANT - AUTHOR PAGE
Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Format: Paperback - 355 pages
Kindle - 716 KB
Nook - 2 MB
Genre: Contemporary Romance
BUY THE BOOK: Pressed Pennies
BARNES & NOBLE
THE STORY PLANT
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book by the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by The Story Plant.
Rick and Abby grew up together, became best friends, and ultimately fell in love. Circumstance tore them apart in their early teens, though, and they went on to lives less idyllic than they dreamed about in those early days. Rick has had a very successful career, but his marriage flat-lined. Abby has a magical daughter, Paige, but Paige's father nearly destroyed Abby's spirit.
Now fate has thrown Rick and Abby together again. In their early thirties, they are more world-weary than they were as kids. But their relationship still shimmers, and they're hungry to make up for lost time. However, Paige, now nine, is not nearly as enthusiastic. She's very protective of the life she's made with her mother and not open to the duo becoming a trio. Meanwhile, Rick has very little experience dealing with kids and doesn't know how to handle Paige. This leaves Abby caught between the two people who matter the most to her. What happens when the life you've dreamed of remains just inches from your grasp?
Pressed Pennies is a nuanced, intensely romantic, deeply heartfelt story of love it its many incarnations, relationships in their many guises, and family in its many meanings. It is the most accomplished and moving novel yet from a truly great storyteller of the heart.
My Book Review:
In his latest novel, Pressed Pennies, author Steven Manchester weaves a captivating romantic tale of broken hearts, family dynamics, love rekindled and second chances.
Abby (Gerwitz) Soares and Rick Giles were childhood sweethearts until Rick's family moved away, eventually losing touch with each other.
Now in their early thirties, Abby and Rick have both suffered through horrible marriages ending in divorce. While at a mutual friend's neighborhood party, Abby and Rick are unexpectedly reunited and the old feelings of love are rekindled as they get reacquainted and reminisce while taking a stroll down memory lane. But real life has a way of stepping in the way when Abby is cautious about starting a romantic relationship with Rick, especially since her number one priority in life is her nine year old daughter Paige. Can Abby and Rick's spark of rekindled love become a reality when a little girl's fear and objection to their relationship stands in their way of finding true love and happiness?
Set in New England, the reader is easily drawn into Abby and Rick's lives: from their nostalgic memories of being childhood sweethearts; to the struggles and demise of their marriages; to their unexpected reuniting that rekindles their love for each other; to the obstacles that face them as their relationship is put to the test; their love story unfolds in a heartwarming, smooth flowing, and richly descriptive writing style that author Steven Manchester has become known for.
Pressed Pennies is a delightful romantic story that will captivate the reader's attention with its memorable characters; engaging dialogue and dramatic interactions; and a realistic storyline that deals with complicated family dynamics, relationship issues, rekindled love, and second chances. The author easily transports the reader into the heart of the story with the rich descriptions of the sights and sounds of New England. This is an enchanting story full of romance, nostalgic flashbacks to the past, and two people willing to overcome obstacles to get a second chance at love and happiness. Pressed Pennies is a wonderful story that takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride, it will make you feel the full gamut of emotions, and leave you with a feel good fuzzy feeling, a sigh, and a satisfied smile on your face!
Be sure to look out for the two forthcoming companion novellas to Pressed Pennies: Wilbur Avenue, that is the backstory to Abby and Rick's childhood sweetheart years, and Just In Time, that is the mature second-time around love story of Rick's grandmother Eunice and second husband Bill Stryker.
RATING: 5 STARS