The write stuff: Contest win inspires Craig author to increase output |

The write stuff: Contest win inspires Craig author to increase output

At a glance …

Local author RaeAnne Hadley recently won first place in the Extreme Author Makeover contest.

The prize package includes services worth $2,000 from a marketing company.

Listen to Hadley’s first radio interview at

Hadley had two new books published in 2011 — “Shadows” and “Love’s Everlasting Song.” She will be signing copies in coming weeks at Downtown Books.

Each of Hadley’s four published books are available on Amazon, as well as Downtown Books in Craig. For more information, visit the author’s website at http://www.raeannehadley…

A Kindle Fire tablet was among the best of RaeAnne Hadley's Christmas presents from her family.

With the capability of downloading e-books onto the hottest new device, the Craig writer was ready for reading.

But, a phone call a week later alerted her to an equally big gift from people she had never met before.

On New Year's Day, Hadley received news she had won first place in the Extreme Author Makeover, a writer's contest sponsored by Master Koda, a Utah-based literary marketing and publicity firm.

Hadley said her response to the news was joyous.

"I was dancing around and screaming and crying, and my girls heard it through the phone when I won, so we were all dancing and screaming," she said.

After the celebration, daughters Madison, 7, and Ashlie, 5, adorned the walkway outside the Hadley home with chalk to let passersby know that a winner resided within.

The intent of Extreme Author Makeover was to open writers to a bigger audience, and to boost awareness of authors seeking a larger market and name-awareness.

Hadley submitted an entry in November, a one-page letter detailing why she began writing seriously in 2004. Part of the reason was to encourage her ailing father to get back on his feet after a stroke.

"I basically poured my heart out because I wear my heart on my sleeve anyway," she said. "My dad never got the chance to read my first book, 'Mechanics of Murder,' because he died two days after I gave it to him."

In 2008, Hadley and her family moved to Craig.

Her entry also brought up the difficulties of relocating from the Front Range and juggling a writing career with being a wife and mother.

As the contest winner, Hadley will receive a session with a marketing consultant and writer's coach, two professionally written news releases from Master Koda about her books, and a Litflix book trailer, an online tool similar to a film preview.

The overall package is valued at $2,000.

"It's hard to get your name out there when you don't have backing," she said. "I knew that it was pretty big and it was nothing we could afford right now, so it was just a huge gift."

The package also included two interviews scheduled for Hadley on the online talk show, Reader's Rockin' Radio, the first of which she sat in on Jan. 4, discussing her inspiration and future in writing.

The interview can be found at

Getting more involved with the publicity business has been a boon for the author, who has struggled to promote her books, which are distributed through Lulu, an "open publishing" media company.

"I've had requests to do book signings in Florida, Oklahoma and Ohio, so that was really exciting, but I have no idea how to go about setting those up," she said.

Hadley said winning the contest has put her in a state of mind to focus as much as possible on her writing while still keeping up with the other parts of her life, such as working as a teacher's aide at her daughters' school, Sunset Elementary.

Last year was a productive one for Hadley nonetheless.

Following on the heels of her 2010 release, "With Love; Now and Forever," the author came out with "Shadows" in May, a story which she first started in 2008.

Hadley said "Shadows" is much darker than anything she's written, as the name indicates.

Based on research of German and Japanese folklore, the story is about two people who battle vicious unseen creatures that enter the world through reflective surfaces.

"These boogeymen will whisper in people's ears, causing fights and stuff like that, and these two people finally meet and decide to take them on and fall in love in the process," she said.

Hadley held off on the horror in her most recent release, "Love's Everlasting Song," which hit shelves Dec. 11. She will also be signing copies in the coming weeks at Downtown Books.

The romantic novel tells the tale of a female rancher picking up the pieces after her marriage falls apart, only to find love with a musician.

"It's about finding out that love can happen more than once in a lifetime and you can make mistakes and still come back from them and have a 'happily ever after,'" she said.

Hadley said writing in different styles is critical because she doesn't want to be pigeonholed strictly as an author of the paranormal.

"I don't think it's fair to force a writer into just one genre," she said. "We all have different thoughts and different ideas, just like how Stephen King is not strictly horror. He started out that way, but he's branched so much."

Hadley said one of the biggest honors of her life was when a book reviewer compared her prose from "Shadows" to King's writing.

Next on the docket are a sequel to "Mechanics of Murder" and stories like "Dimensions of the Heart," described by the writer as a "dimensional travel romance," and an as-yet-untitled ghost story about a spirit trying to hire another ghost to do his dirty work.

One common theme in all Hadley's novels is love, which she attributes to being in such a happy marriage with her husband, Steve.

"I really honestly believe in 'happily ever after' and I just want people to know how amazing that can be," she said. "Steve and I just celebrated our nine-year wedding anniversary and he's my best friend. We only dated 119 days. We met June 27, and we were married Oct. 17."

Hadley said she believes her books convey the commitment between people who love each other.

"It seems like everybody's trying to get out of relationships instead of working through things, instead of building a concrete foundation," she said. "Everybody fights and argues, and I have my head in the clouds all the time with flights of fancy, but he's strong enough to tell me when to bring it down a little bit or also 'Go for it, go for that dream.'

"I feel I'm a blessed woman."

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