Monday, November 1, 2010

Review and Guest Post: Unbroken Connection by Angela Morrison

Book: Unbroken Connection by Angela Morrison
Genre: Romance
Rating: A
For: Fun
From: I bought it from Amazon.

Early last year I came across Angela Morrison's book Taken by Storm and loved it. What an  intense emotional love story! Besides that, I loved the writing. When I found out there would be a sequel, I was quite happy and really looked forward to it. 

However, the author came across a few bumps along the way (I've included her story about that below if you're interested) and I wasn't sure we'd get to read that next book after all. But with lots of perseverance, Angela made it happen and this last week I managed to get a hold of the book, and it was one of those times when I felt the need to to drop everything else and just read.

It did not disappoint, I totally enjoyed this continuation of Michael and Leesie's story. They are in different parts of the world for this book, carrying on their "friendship" through email and chat. Michael's teaching diving in Thailand, and Leesie's at school. They think they are not really together any more, but they don't really know what's going on now, do they? Yeah, things get pretty complicated and it appears there's going to be no real solution in sight. I feel for them. 

In the end, a whole new complication arises, one that I didn't see coming and yes, there were some pretty good weepy moments! So be prepared!

Like Taken By Storm, this book is told in three unique ways. From Michael's point of view by way of his dive logs, which is basically his diary. Then there's Leesie's  raw emotional poems which she shares with no one. And then we have Leesie's chats with her brother, her friend, and of course Michael. I really enjoy this fun set up, and it makes for really quick reading.

Bottom line: I loved it!

Other Reviews:

Once Upon a Bookcase
Windowpane Memoirs

Angela Morrison's official website

As an added bonus, she has started a new blog, Cayman Summer, where she is sharing the whole process of  writing book number three in this series. Be sure to check that out!

Finally, here Angela tells the publication story for Unbroken Connection:

Getting UNBROKEN CONNECTION, the second novel in Michael and Leesie's saga, to readers has been quite a journey. When I first pitched it to my editor at Penguin after TAKEN BY STORM went off to the presses, she told me they loved the story, but they wanted me to write stand-alone titles, like Sarah Dessen or Janette Rallison. Razorbill's publisher asked me to write the same story for different characters. I, gulp, refused. Like any writer, my characters are very real to me. UNBROKEN CONNECTION was Leesie's story and nobody else's. I told them I'd save it for her. I couldn't give it to strangers. 

So to fill the second novel spot in my contract with them--they signed me for two books when they bought TAKEN BY STORM--I had to come up with a whole new novel pronto. That led to my second Penguin release, SING ME TO SLEEP (March 2010). SING ME TO SLEEP was inspired by a dear friend's son, and I wrote it to honor him and the Amabile Choirs of London, Canada--that were a huge part of his life. That was an amazing experience I'll always cherish. I keep hearing from readers who are deeply touched by it. The Amabile guys choir was so enthusiastic about it they recorded, "Beth's Song," for my trailer. I wrote the lyrics for the book, and the extraordinary LDS artist, Harriet Bushman, composed the music. You can download it on iTunes and help support their music. 

By the time SING ME TO SLEEP was done, I'd signed with an agent. We submitted a proposal for UNBROKEN CONNECTION as my option book. My contract stipulated that I must submit my third YA novel to Razorbill. The proposal was met with silence.

Perhaps I should have written another stand alone title, but as an artist, I needed to continue Michael and Leesie's story. They wouldn't leave each other alone. They wouldn't leave me alone. I prayed. And started writing. When I finished the novel, my agent loved it. We sent it to my editor.

More silence.

Three months later while I was packing for my trip up to Canada to celebrate SING ME TO SLEEP's release and Amabile's 25th Anniversary Festival, I got a call from my editor. She was leaving Razorbill--venturing out on her own. UNBROKEN CONNECTION lost its best advocate at the company. 

The following Monday morning--after an amazing weekend in London, Ontario signing books, getting to finally give my friend Joyce a long awaited hug, and hearing Amabile perform "Beth's Song" live--I got an email from Razorbill's publisher rejecting UNBROKEN CONNECTION. 

My agent was at a loss. He faded away into silence and then dropped me when I reminded him of my existence.

But my readers and bloggers rallied around. One of them started a FaceBook group to support UNBROKEN CONNECTION. Another had her graphics designer create an icon to share around the web. Their encouragement gave me the guts to release it independently.

Remember "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost? I memorized it in grade school--not because I had to, but because I loved it. I think it's the only poem I can recite. Do you recall the ending?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

Life is full of "no"--whether you're a writer, a three-year old, a teen, or a parent.

Remember, "no" isn't the end of the journey. It's simply a redirection--a new path. Maybe a better path. 

If you are an aspiring writer, don't let rejection stop you. Rewrite your query letter and send it out to more agents and editors. Seek professional critique. Take classes. Revise your novel to fit a market better. Publish an ebook. Blog your novel. Investigate independent publishers, regional presses, and print on demand services like CreateSpace.

I'm not going to lie--publishing with a giant New York publisher is a heady whirlwind, and I'm doing my best to land a new agent and another contract. But it can also be a muddy, frustrating road full of pot holes. It can maim you artistically if you let it. And these days there are many, many roads in the woods. I'm having a lot of fun following a new one.

All my love,



  1. Sorry, I still have this mental block against these books. I do plan on reading, Sing Me To Sleep, but the others scare me.

  2. Just finished this book last night. Was a lot deeper than I thought it would be. I think I liked it better than the first.
    Thanks for including the authors struggle to get it published. I found it very interesting.



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