Guest post by Rebecca Scarberry
In 2011, before I self-published any of my books, I struggled with the editing of my first novel. An editor told me I needed to practice writing. Author Seumas Gallacher told me about two short story contests I could enter. He said it would provide me with some good writing practice. This sounded like a great idea. I immediately went out on my front porch with a pad of paper and a pencil.
I sat there wondering what sort of short stories people might find interesting. According to the contest rules, the stories could only be 1,500 words long. I knew I had my work cut out for me.
Suddenly, a red-winged blackbird landed on my porch bannister and stared at me for the longest time. His beady black eyes made me think about my older cousin Johnny’s birds. When I was five years old he used to raise carrier pigeons, and showed me how well they could deliver messages. I immediately started writing Messages from Henry, a mystery for young adults. Henry is a carrier pigeon, trying to save his owner from death by the hands of her kidnapper.
After I wrote Messages from Henry, I started writing Rag Doll, a crime drama for adults. Ever since I moved to Arkansas in 2007, I’ve been eager to search for gems/diamonds in the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Therefore, I decided to write a twisted little mystery about a murder in the diamond park. There are many twists in the story, and readers are warned not to rush through this book. They need to pay attention for the ending has a huge twist.
After entering both of the short stories in two different contests, I posted the stories on my blog. So many authors suggested I lengthen the stories and publish them. They gave me many examples as to how I should do this. Therefore, I lengthened both of them and sent them to many beta readers. I also went to a local library with printed copies of Messages from Henry and asked many young adults to read it and tell me if they liked it. They loved it and this gave me the encouragement I needed to continue editing the book.
It took Seumas Gallacher months to talk me into self-publishing Messages from Henry, and I’m so glad he did. Six months later, I self-published Rag Doll. Both of these very short books are free samples of my writing capabilities, and continue to receive rave reviews.
In June 2013, while my husband was driving down a busy city street, I looked out the passenger side window and saw a big red beach ball rolling along the curb next to our vehicle. The wind had blown the ball out of a large wire container, in front of the general store. It continued rolling next to our vehicle for a quarter of a mile. When Rick saw the ball he told me I should write a story about the ball. When we got home, I quickly jotted down an outline. Weeks later, while I was writing Jumper, I decided to write the sequel to Messages from Henry since the book was so popular. I wanted the novel to be set in England. I’ve never been there, so I asked several British authors if they’d like to collaborate. Three of them wanted to do this. I chose author Francis Potts. He’s the author of the novel entitled Flying Lessons and five other books. We published Where Love Takes You on December 15, 2013. The novel has received all five star reviews so far.
After self-publishing four volumes of Jumper (illustrated children’s series in eBook and print), I wrote the script for one episode of Jumper. I wrote the script because many parents told me their children love Jumper and want him on television in an animated cartoon. I’m currently in touch with the Public Broadcasting Service’s producer of children’s programming in Virginia.
By the way, I never published the first novel I wrote in 2007.
Messages from Henry is a highly original young adult novella about a very unlikely hero, a homing pigeon. Henry is trying to save his owner from death by the hands of her kidnapper. It’s a mystery thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, rooting Henry on, and praying for Evelyn’s safe return.
About the Author
Rebecca Scarberry was born and raised on the southern coast of California. She lives on a very secluded non-working farm in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas with her husband and four cats. She has devoted the last five years to her love of writing fiction.
She has published seven books in four different genres: mystery/suspense, romance, crime drama, and a series of children’s picture books. She has written the script for one episode of her Jumper series of children’s books. She will soon be sending the script to several television producers who’ve asked to read it. Writing for young children is her most current passion. You can find Rebecca on Twitter, at her publisher’s website, and at her Amazon author page.