The Next Big Thing – 10 Clues and 5 Writers

The Next Big Thing – 10 Clues & 5 Writers

Photo CreditTom de Grom

Photo Credit
Tom de Grom


Tagged by Florence Fois
By: Sheri de Grom

Oh, happy day. I’ve been tagged by the magnificent Florence Fois for THE NEXT BIG THING and I’m thrilled. Of course, this means I must become more serious than ever about what I do when I sit down at the keyboard each day.

Though I love reading blogs, my own writing must now come first. While I learn so much from the blogosphere, there isn’t enough time to devote to both. And there’s Twitter too. It’s fun to engage in a rapid-fire conversation, only to realize two hours later that it’s time for dinner. It doesn’t matter that my husband does all the cooking; I’ve spent hours conversing on Twitter when I could have been writing. Twitter is a wonderful tool but I must learn to use it more wisely. It’s a great place to build my platform, I tell myself once again.

And, yes, I’m also an advocate for mental health reform, Medicare reform, and Veteran’s rights. Additionally, if there’s an animal, child, or elderly individual in need; I’ll take up their cause immediately.

But I digress. Florence tagged me for THE NEXT BIG THING and it’s my responsibility to believe in myself as much as she prods me forward.

Accepting The Next Big Thing tag comes with certain responsibilities. I must answer the following questions and then tag five (5) fellow writers to do the same.

The ten questions:

What is the working title of your book?

‘Not The Man I Married’

Where did the idea come from for the book?

You may have read my blog regarding Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and how my husband lost his entire memory of fifty-five years due to electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT). I want to show in fiction format—via the story of Ava and Elliot Bishop—that with unconditional love, marriages can remain strong in spite of the 90% divorce rate wherein one member of the marriage is bipolar. The story of Ava and Elliot Bishop is based on actual fact with names and some locations changed. However, the mental health care Elliot receives is true along with many aspects of Ava’s career.

What genre does your book fall under?

Women’s Fiction

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My manuscript covers a seventeen year period. I’ve narrowed my search to Gerard Butler for Elliot and Jennifer Connelly for Ava. In the final third of the novel I introduce Ava’s old love, the man she was engaged to when she met Elliot on a blind date. She’s had no contact with this man since she met Elliot, other than to mail her engagement ring back to him. Now, she needs him to help find the missing Elliot. I’ve chosen William Hurt for this role.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ava Bishop is among the growing demographic of women caught between caring for her husband Elliot, while still hanging onto her own extraordinary dreams.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Represented by an agency. I’m holding on to the dream and praying, God’s will be done.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I originally wrote the manuscript as non-fiction a total of seven times beginning in 2001. This included writing the book proposal and all required supporting materials along with the complete manuscript.

It was difficult for me to write my husband’s and my true story as we were living in the midst of his debilitating illness. However, as a mental healthcare reform advocate, I wanted others to know how we survived. I wanted to share what worked for us and what didn’t.

I received eleven requests for full manuscript reads. It didn’t matter that I’d been the keynote speaker at seventeen national mental health conferences or that I’d written legislation concerning mental health care reform and that it had been implemented into law by Congress. It also didn’t matter that I had first-hand experience of living with my husband’s illness for twenty years.

What did matter was that I wasn’t a television personality or other recognizable Hollywood star.

My manuscript was rejected for my lack of celebrity status. Editors deemed it was well-written, a timely matter and valuable information that would help others.

In 2007 I began learning the art of writing fiction. My government career hadn’t prepared me for writing stories and it was time to unlearn government legalize. With more than fifty or so classes behind me, I wrote another novel (now collecting dust) and started the fiction-based manuscript of Not The Man I Married in 2008.

The first draft came in at a little over 400,000 words in 2011. I call this draft the cleansing process. I had to write it all down before I could clean out entire chapters and sub-plots a reader wouldn’t care about.

What other books would you compare to yours?

Outside The Lines by Amy Hatvany – July 2012 – A story of bipolar disorder and a father/daughter relationship. My review of Hatvany’s novel is here.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My own personal journey with my husband’s bipolar disorder. More often than not individuals have far too many misconceptions about those diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It is the most difficult of all mental illnesses to diagnose and treat.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Ava owns a government contracting firm that investigates white-collar crime. She and her team specialize in government contracting and expose fraud for prosecution. The story is set on the central coast of California and Washington, DC.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

I was tagged by Florence Fois http://FOISinTheCityramblingsfromtheleft.wordpress.com/tag/

And now – I tag the five following writers:

Mary Metcalfe http://www.lakefrontmuse.blogspot.com – Mary’s a long-time professional writer turned full-time Indie fiction author. I had the honor of reviewing her novel Winds of Change, the first in her Look to the Future series.  New Beginnings is at the top of my ‘to be read pile’ and I promise you, Road To Tomorrow is a five-star read. Find my review of Winds of Change here.

Chris Hernandez http://chrishernandezauthor.wordpress.com – Chris is a former Marine and continues to serve as a Texas National Guard Soldier. I first met Chris when I sent him a direct message on Twitter asking for his opinion about a blog I wrote. I was impressed with his straightforward opinion. I didn’t have to guess about what Chris had to say. Chris’ first novel, Proof Of Our Resolve, is about the on-the-ground experience of a soldier in Afghanistan. Chris says he’s never met the perfect soldier so you’ll never find one in his novels. I’m delighted I asked Chris for his opinion way back when. I’ve been following his blog ever since, haven’t been disappointed, and I always look forward to his posts.

Patricia Sands http://patriciasands.wordpress.com Patricia’s novel, The Bridge Club, is so much more than just a story of eight friends who meet once a month to play bridge. It’s a must read. Patricia’s blog is full of all things passionate: life, travel, her volunteer work, photography, and of course her writing. She’s also generous with author interviews.

Mae Clair  http://maeclair.net/2012/09/06 Mae’s debut novel, Weathering Rock is romantic suspense interwoven with elements of time travel and the paranormal. I’m not sure how I met Mae but of one thing I’m positive; she’s a jewel. Long before I knew anything at all about social media, Mae ever so gently walked me through baby steps. From following her ‘six-sentence-Sunday’ blogs she led me straight into purchasing and reading outside of my normal genre. The link I’ve provided for Mae is one of my all time favorites. I couldn’t pass up Weathering Rock. Mae’s voice is lyrical, the story is believable (even though I know it isn’t , the dialogue precise, and her descriptions are exquisite torture. Treat yourself and order Weathering Rock today. Mae is under contract for a second novel and currently writing a third.

Nic H. Vidocq: Nic H. Vidocq is the pen name of Defrosting Cold Cases—Unsolved Homicides That Haunt Me. http://defrostingcoldcases.com Nic’s blog is an absolute necessity for any one wanting to know the truth about crime/cold cases/forensics/preserving evidence/and most importantly how investigative work is accomplished and not as television and many books (some non-fiction) would have us believe. If fortunate, you might find Nic on a park bench thinking about the novel he’s writing or at his favorite coffee shop—writing the thoughts into scenes for the characters developed while enjoying the park bench.

That’s it – my NEXT BIG THING. Thank you Florence for tagging me. A special thank you for hanging in there with me while I’m still in recovery mode. I’m now trying to read and comment as often as possible on all blogs I follow – I find myself sleeping more than I thought I would be at this stage of recovery.

For those I’ve tagged – The Next Big Thing Rules:

***Use this format for your post

***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

When you’ve written your post and have queued it up, send me the dedicated URL/permalink so that I have it for my post to link your upcoming one. There’s no need for you to give me the names of the people you’re inviting. Just go ahead and invite people to participate on the week after your post runs. You include their links and also include mine as the person who invited you.

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About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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15 Responses to The Next Big Thing – 10 Clues and 5 Writers

  1. cindy knoke says:

    You are serious about what you do when you sit down at your keyboard and it shows and I am in awe. You have taught me stuff. Keep on, keeping on~

    • Cindy – I’m humbled by your kind remarks. I had to go back and read this blog and it reminded me of how much I owe other bloggers, including you. I have many other awards I ‘need’ to acknowledge that came in before I went to a no-award blog. I should have made that decision sooner but have had to look inside and wonder, was I feeding my own ego. This blogging business has taught me so much about myself, and continues to do so. I’m attempting to put up a new mental health blog today but am having trouble moving my word document into the body of WordPress. I’ve been fighting it for two days and still don’t have it.
      Again, thank you so much for your continuing support.

  2. Mae Clair says:

    Sheri, many thanks for tagging me and all the wonderful things you said about WEATHERING ROCK and my writing. Being familiar with your own story from your blog posts and emailing, I imagine writing NOT THE MAN I MARRIED was therapeutic and heart-wrenching. What a story you have to share! I’m amazed that the non-fiction version wasn’t picked up, but I have no doubt the novel will be. I’m sure it will be a compelling, bittersweet and heart-tugging read. Thanks again for the tag. I’ll have my post up by the weekend!

    • Mae – I love your new picture – Tom and I both love hats. I do believe your hat adds a certain swagger. I’m looking forward to your post – but by all means – don’t press yourself. I know you have a ton of blog hops going on, etc. You are certainly entitled to more than a week to respond. I’ll be the first to admit that I pushed the envelope and went a week over, with permission of course.

  3. Denise Hisey says:

    Sheri, now that NaNo is over, I can start reading again! I’m adding many of the books you’ve listed to my GoodReads.
    You’ve encouraged me to be patient with my drafts -I’ve only just barely begun to edit my 2010 NaNo novel.
    Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  4. Sheri, yours is a story that needs to be told and I also have no doubt it will be published. I love what you have accomplished and that throughout, you have continued to be an advocate for those who have no voice. Great post … and remember … YOU are the Next Big Thing 🙂

  5. Sheri, thanks so much for tagging me! I’m very excited about this as it will really be the first time I disclose the details of my next novel. I’m in the middle of my last batch of edits and hope to publish by February. Don’t worry about trad publishers not picking up your manuscript. I know you have learned by now that good quality writing will rise to the top going through the indie process and this wonderful writing community of which you are a valuable part will be here to help you every step of the way.

  6. I have no doubt that you will get this book published and that it will be a success. It sounds wonderfully researched and heavily “lived” and I know I’ll love it.

    • Thank you, Patti. I love your term ‘heavily lived.’ I’m going through some of that at the present time. Dec. 7 is the anniversary date of Tom’s first hospitalization and each year as that date approaches, I feel the air thicken and darkness prevails no matter how hard Tom fights it. We’ve been through it before and we’ll make it again but it never fails to remind me that Bipolar Disorder is a deadly disease and every case is different.

  7. What an incredible journey to write this book. It sound amazing and I can’t wait to read it. It’s sad that publishers didn’t jump on it when it was a true story which I would have loved…but the important thing is for the story to makes it way into the world where I know it will help so many….waiting with bated breath….

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Natalie. I’m in the process of cutting/cutting/cutting. I see my darlings languishing about on my office floor. Often they squeal, “Save me, oh how eloquent I am.” Or there’s that macho guy that barks, “Did you see that, boss? I saved our rears and the investigation.” And, I love writing description. But – if it’s gotta go, it’s gotta go.

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