Wendy Lynn Decker has agreed to participate in our Holiday Book Giveaway Extravaganza with her latest book SWEET TEA.
All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.
The fourth anniversary of Olivia’s daddy and John Lennon’s death is approaching. Like the shot heard ‘round the world, TV and radio stations keep the frenzy alive and recognize Lennon’s life, while Olivia’s mama remembers Daddy’s death. Instead of healing, Mama’s strange behavior keeps getting worse.
After viewing an afternoon talk show, Olivia discovers her mother might have more than a case of eccentricity–she may be mentally ill. When those fears are confirmed, Olivia is faced with more decisions than any sixteen-year-old should have to make. With no adult family members to turn to, she is forced to trust the only people who’ve offered help: one strange man and a friend her mother makes at the mental institution.
Facing the intricacies of her mother’s illness one minute and decisions about her relationship with her new boyfriend the next, Olivia finds that through faith and determination, she can conquer it all in this poignant story of love, intuition, compassion, and hope. Available on Amazon.
SWEET TEA’S JOURNEY:
Since it’s inception, SWEET TEA has taken many lumps, and not all were sugary. The novel actually had two previous titles before it made it to publication. Its first acknowledgment by the literary world occurred after the fiftieth query to a literary agent. Prior to that, I knew I was getting closer because my previous queries had been returned with handwritten notes of encouragement. I had learned this tidbit of information after attending a SCBWI workshop. And then came the day I nearly hung up on a call that I assumed was just another telemarketer using a New York City phone number. That day, the fiftieth agent reached out to me. Not a telemarketer, but an absolutely marvelous agent. The agent said he loved my manuscript, suggested a title change, a few revisions, and within three months my paper-baby sat on the desks of the big six.
As the weeks went by, the agent forwarded me several editorial letters of rejection, all having subjective merit, but he encouraged me not to despair. Then, several weeks later, my baby finally sat on the acquisition table of a well-known young adult publisher. But alas, like the actor who has all of the necessary elements for the role, yet doesn’t get it because another actor was a “better fit,” my hopes and dreams sunk and my first novel headed toward literary limbo.
My agent said, “Sadly, your manuscript has been shopped. Write something else.”
So, I did write something new and sent it to my agent as soon as it was finished. However, I soon learned that my great agent had gotten so great that he was promoted to Vice-President of the West Coast office of his literary agency. To his credit, he made many great book deals in his new position, but meanwhile my new manuscript fell to the wayside. In retrospect, the new work wasn’t exactly ready for submission, and today I’m grateful that it never moved.
Then, as many writers do when struggling to get published, I fell into a “woe is me” pity party for a good amount of time, and focused on reading instead of writing or submitting. Though, my muse lured me back to the keyboard and I found myself in creative motion again.
Not long after, I discovered an independent, hybrid publisher who wanted to work with me, suggesting that jointly we could see my book to publication. I took the suggestion and immediately began working hard and fast to get my baby out there. But once again, my book stalled when I discovered that the publisher had made some unexpected and unfortunate choices that I could not accept.
At that point, I felt my only option was to self-publish, so I rolled up my sleeves once again, and went to work. I saw to it that my book was professionally edited and critiqued by many well-established people in the publishing industry. Marketing was difficult for me, but I had help along the way. Because I sing and entertain in adult/senior communities, much to my surprise my young adult book received more interest from the senior citizens I was entertaining before it ever made it to high school seniors. In addition, because mental illness is a major part of the book’s premise, I found myself speaking on that subject in addition to speaking about the craft of writing. This offered me a platform that I never realized would be a part of my or SWEET TEA’s journey
In October of 2015, SWEET TEA was picked up by Vox Dei, a small, independent publisher who gave it a fabulous new cover and one more round of edits. They then delivered it into the hands of readers once again. Unfortunately, eight months later the publisher folded! Despite yet another setback, I remained determined that my SWEET TEA would never turn bitter. Enter Serenity Books, LLC (my publishing company) to reclaim the rights to SWEET TEA.
As I said earlier, SWEET TEA has taken its share of lumps along the way. But perhaps it’s apropos, because after all, SWEET TEA is a book about survival, hope, coming-of-age, and a family dealing with difficult mental health issues. The novel was inspired by true events, and touches upon issues that many young adults deal with on a daily basis. For that reason, I believe it will continue it’s journey and offer readers an opportunity to be enlightened, entertained and find value in it’s story of perseverance, both figuratively and literally.
Wendy lived the first twelve years of her life in the small town of Garwood, NJ, where she spent most of her time riding her bike or staring out the window of her third-floor apartment dreaming up stories. Toys were scarce, but she could always find paper and a pen. She began sharing her writing with her grandmother, who would pay her small amounts of money for her work. Her grandma also paid her money for creating just about anything. However, quite a few years passed before she received payment for writing again.
She moved around a lot during her teen years, but always stayed in New Jersey. During that time, she wrote poetry, lyrics and short stories, and often got into mischief. However, she always dreamed of completing a novel.
Finally, in 2006, she added the long-awaited title of author to her list. The Bedazzling Bowl is a story about Aly M. Bellisher, a ten year old teller of tall tales, who learns about life while attempting to make sense from words of wisdom her mother leaves hanging from magnets on the refrigerator door.
Wendy, thanks for sharing your book and journey with us. Have a happy holiday.