Category: Blog (page 1 of 6)

Expect the Unexpected: Top 5 Surprises from RWA17

My writing buddy Joyce and I celebrating our first ever RWA conference.

From the moment I joined my local writing group, I heard about the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference from fellow writers.

“It’s the largest conference for romance writers on the planet,” they said.

“Everyone goes there,” they said.

“It’s the place to network with everybody who’s anybody in the romance world,” they said.

“Hmmm,” I thought, shrinking a little inside. “I think I’ll just stay home.” I mean, no sense putting myself in front of a crowd of authors, agents, editors and publishers until I’m further along in the publishing process, right?

Little did I know over a year later I’d have two books released in two different genres with two different publishers. The time had come to experience another first in my writing journey: My first RWA conference. So, I talked it over with my writing friend Joyce, and before I knew it, we had booked two tickets to Orlando, Florida, and a room at the Walt Disney World Swan for the end of July.

What to expect?
Before we left for RWA, experienced conference-goers offered a lot of advice.

“Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes,” they said.

“Don’t worry about attending every workshop. It’s not possible to get to them all,” they said.

“Bring a sweater—those conference rooms get cold,” they said.

I imagined myself in a mass of authors, trying to navigate through long corridors into frigid, packed conference rooms in a short-sleeved dress and heels.

“Good advice,” I replied and packed my suitcase with comfy flats and an extra sweater.

Off to the races
Joyce and I soon found ourselves using the handy-dandy RWA conference app on our cell phones to plot our schedule before flying the friendly skies to Orlando.

We arrived in Florida at midnight on a sauna-like Tuesday night, a little tired but definitely ready to experience all the conference had to offer. Little did I know RWA17 would reveal a few surprises—here are my top five:

Surprise #1
It’s the People — Sure there are plenty of workshops on a variety of topics. But the greatest value for me came in the form of people—new authors and New York Times best sellers, rising stars and award winners, agents, editors, and owners from small and large presses, bloggers, librarians, readers, vendors, photographers and a top-notch wait staff. People from all aspects of the business and stages of development seemed willing and even eager to interact with little ole me.

Case in point: Wednesday morning, veteran author with more than 100 books under her belt in five different genres, Sharon Sala, treated Joyce and I and four other first-timers to breakfast. This was Sharon’s way of passing it on, and we couldn’t have been more grateful recipients. Not only did we get to enjoy a sumptuous Disney buffet, but Sharon also shared personal stories, offered advice and was genuinely interested in each of us.

Veteran author Sharon Sala treated me and several other first-timers to breakfast on day one of the conference.

Surprise #2
The RITA Ceremony Was Something Special — And not only because it was like The Oscars, although it was. I write this because I didn’t know one of this year’s award winners, but I shared in their excitement like it was my own. Seeing these authors and editors who had worked so hard to write an exceptional book receive their awards was in turns gut-wrenching and inspirational, adrenaline-pumping and emotional. Hats off to whoever wrote the scripts and put together the videos for the event because they were all of the above as well.

Enjoying the RITAs as VIPs–we innocently sat at the wrong table. Lucky for us, the other occupants (editors and agents) were gracious.

Surprise #3
You Really CAN Meet Your Favorite Author — I’m not much of a “fan girl.” But anyone who knows me will tell you that Jayne Ann Krentz is my favorite author. You see, Jayne and I go back—far, far back—as far back as the 1980’s when I read my first paranormal and fell in love with her work. Jayne says she was too ahead of the genre, and it wasn’t the greatest career move. I know because when Joyce and I decided to take a little break from all the RITA excitement and grab a Sangria at the bar, Jayne was sitting at the table next to us…all alone…nursing a drink. A perfect invitation for me to introduce myself and ask a question or two…or in my case, at least twenty. Jayne confessed she worried no one would show for her workshop the next day that she was doing with her best bud, New York Times best seller and all around rock star Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Really? Jayne Anne Krentz suffers writer’s doubts just the same as I do? Yes, she does. And what’s more, she has the same concerns I have as a new author. Stuff like how to best market her books and create publicity. Jayne even gave me a tip, advising me to “claim” my books on BookBub, as they promote them with emails.

Jayne Ann Krentz and I bonding in the restaurant bar at the Walt Disney World Swan hotel. I managed a calm facade, but my stomach was doing somersaults.

Surprise #4
I Fan Girled Over the Founder of Sourcebooks — Okay, “girled” may not be a word. But, it’s true. She wooed me with data, bowled me over with insight and inspired me with her passion—not just for publishing books but for helping authors succeed in a crowded marketplace.

The company tagline? “We publish authors. Not books.”

This from someone who started the company out of her home with a $17,000 loan from her 401K. The company is now the #10 publisher in the country.

When someone asked her how important it is to Sourcebooks that authors have a social platform, she replied, “The job of publisher is to make it public. We don’t need you to do it. Make great work! What we need from you is to be coachable and to write an extraordinary story.”

I was so pumped after her data-driven workshop, I literally chased her down in the lobby to tell her how truly amazing I thought she was. She was on her way to catch a flight but graciously posed for a selfie with me. How cool is that?

Dominique Raccah is not only the visionary leader of publisher Sourcebooks, she also takes a great selfie.

Surprise #5
The Literacy Signing Was Well Worth It — I debated over the literacy signing. Should I attend? It’s a great cause. But hundreds of authors partake in this event, most with much bigger names than me. Besides, no one knows me in Florida…who would possibly buy my book? Not only did I sell two copies to strangers, several attendees took pictures to purchase later online. Plus, I was fortunate to be placed next to Rachel Van Dyken, a popular author who was generous enough to give me a free T-shirt, put me on her live video and pass along her business card so I could reach out if I ever wanted to cross-promote. A win-win all the way around.

Receiving support and a hug from fellow Boroughs Publishing Group author, Michelle Pashko from Canada. Michelle and I met up for the first time at the conference.

Home, Sweet Home
I left Orlando early this morning, my brain buzzing with ideas and my heart full of excitement.

Was RWA17 worth it? You betcha.

Will I attend again? Most definitely.

Should you pack a sweater and comfy shoes? Don’t leave home without them.

 

Joyce and I with the fabulous Jennifer Probst, who writes contemporary romance. I can’t wait to read the book she signed for me.

P.S. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, I also managed to pitch three agents while I was there, each offering to look at my next manuscript. Time to get busy.

P.P.S. If you are a member of RWA and you were not able to attend the conference, be sure and download the data driven session sponsored by Sourcebooks.

Expect the Unexpected: Top 5 Surprises from #RWA2017 Click To Tweet

The Lesson of My Mother’s Hands

“Those hands,” my sister says, picking up one of my mother’s gnarled hands where it sticks out from under the sheet of her hospital bed. She holds it a moment and then sets it down gently. My weary eyes follow the movement, stopping to rest on the familiar knuckles, knotted and curled from years of hard physical labor, arthritis in every joint.

It’s hard for me to see my mother like this, so still and silent, this tiny woman who bore and raised fifteen children. In life she was always moving, always busy. My brother said she’d been shelling peas the evening before she had a massive stroke in her sleep.

This morning, the doctors remove her from life support, telling us she probably has no more than 48 hours to live. My father is heartbroken. After 68 years of marriage, he does not have the chance to say goodbye.

One by one, her children and grandchildren, come to her side. Some stroke her cheek. Some kiss her face. Up until this point, I do neither. I find it hard to equate my active and talkative mother to this still, quiet figure alone in the hospital bed.

Now the others have returned home.
Only my husband, sister and I remain, keeping vigil. It’s in this moment, when all is lost, and there’s little hope she can hear me, I cannot resist reaching out and touching my mother’s hand. If she knows I’m there, she gives no sign.

Her hand is warm and solid in mine, surprising me. Can she really be near death? How many tasks have these hands completed?

I run my thumb across her knobby knuckles, worn with 88 years of living. A fragment of memory surfaces. I’m a toddler, tugging on my mother’s skirt while she does the dishes. She talks to me, but her hands keep moving.

These hands changed dirty diapers, cooked meals, washed dishes and scrubbed toilets—all without a word of complaint. And when one of us didn’t feel well, which was frequent, it was these hands that felt our foreheads for a temperature and whipped up batches of strawberry jello or poured Ginger Ale.

More memories burst forth from a well buried deep within my heart.
Her hands rolling out dough to bake pies in the old kitchen in the century home where I was born. As she works, she gives me instructions.

“The secret to pie is to touch the dough as little as possible,” she explains. She gives me a piece of dough and tells me to roll it out and smear it with butter and cinnamon and sugar to make what she calls tootsie rolls. I do it, trying to handle the dough as little as possible.

I watch as my mother makes her signature design in the top of the pie crust, a curved line with individual grains of wheat. Sunlight streams through the window.

“How did you learn to make such good pies?” I ask.

“My grandmother taught me when I was a little girl,” she tells me. “She would give me a piece of dough to roll out and put in a little pan. My early pies did not turn out so well,” she laughs, and I smile as I picture the scene she describes, right down to the tiny toy pie pan she must have used.

We put the tootsie rolls in the oven and when they come out a short while later, they are so hot and bubbly, I burn my hands and mouth trying to eat one. But man are they worth it.

Someone coughs, and I’m back in the hospital room, still holding my mother’s hand. I lay it gently down, wondering if I’ll ever make a pie as crusty and flakey as my mom’s. I never expressed much interest in cooking as a child, and as an adult, I’ve been far too busy to make a pie from scratch. Little did I know that early lesson would be my one and only.

But wasn’t that always the way of things?
My mother’s lessons were never planned. They came in the midst of a multitude of tasks.

Once during canning season, I asked my mother how she could possibly enjoy her life of constant chores and sacrifice. “How can you like this?” I asked. “Don’t you get bored?”

In a rare instance, my mother set down her vegetable peeler and turned to face me. “Never,” she said. “I am very happy with my life…with Daddy and you kids. I can’t imagine a different life. I’ve never once been bored.”

And that was that. She picked up the peeler, finished the mountain of carrots in front of her and went in the house to make enough cheeseburgers and french fries to feed a small army.

I swipe at my blurry eyes that haven’t seemed to stop watering once since I heard the news. My head understands what is happening, but my heart can’t seem to keep up.

Two days later, she is gone.
The day before her funeral is July 4. I don’t have the heart for fireworks, but I don’t want to be alone with my thoughts. I decide to invite the neighbors over for a picnic.

In a rare instance of domesticity, I ask my daughter, who is named after her grandmother, to cut some daisies from our backyard and find a vase for them. She returns from the kitchen, a vintage blue canning jar in her hands. Where she found it, I don’t know. In must have been buried in the back of a cupboard. I gasp when I read the familiar writing, so bittersweet in this moment. Organic Mixed Beans.

In death, my mother’s hands send me a final reminder.

“Life is meant to be lived,” they say. “A life well-lived can be a simple life of baking and canning and taking care of others. In simplicity, we discover true happiness…we find fulfillment.”

The Lesson of My Mother's Hands wp.me/p6dMeM-pt #SundayBlogShare #blog #memories #hands #mom Click To Tweet

Charmed By Charlie Release Day Has Arrived

Everybody Loves Marketing Whiz Charlie Solanger…except the woman he really wants.

I fell in love with Charlie Solanger the moment I dreamed him up one afternoon while bingeing on Gilmore Girls Netflix episodes with my thirteen-year-old daughter. He’s good-looking, intelligent, rich and charming…what more could a reader ask for in a romantic hero? And he just won’t leave the heroine Valerie Wilson alone, despite the fact that she wants nothing to do with such an obvious flirt.

I shared the first chapter with a few beta readers, who like me, wanted to know more. Was Charlie only a ladies’ man? Or beneath his charming veneer, was their depth and substance?

I kept writing and before I knew it, things were heating up at Reynolds Paint Company in Cleveland, Ohio. Poor Valerie doesn’t know what to believe as Charlie knocks her off kilter and keeps her (and readers) guessing throughout the story.

What exactly is Charlie’s story? And will poor Val ever be able to discover the truth and find true love surrounded by such quirky office companions?

At just $3.99 for the ebook and $9.25 for the paperback, it won’t cost much for you to find out!

Available at these retailers:
Amazon
Boroughs Publishing
Smashwords
Kobo
Nook
iTunes

About Charmed By Charlie

PAINT, PROMOTIONS & PERFECTION
Creative genius Charlie Solanger has it all: good looks, money, intelligence, charm. And when he swoops in to save Reynolds Paint Company with a brilliant marketing campaign, he has all the ladies in the office vying for his attention. Everyone except math whiz Valerie Wilson.

Val’s not happy Charlie stole her promotion. Worse, his brand of flirtatious charm is reminiscent of her cheating ex-fiancé. So, how come she can’t get him out of her head? The more she challenges him, the more interested—and interesting—he becomes. What secrets is Charlie hiding, and who or what is behind the sudden mysterious drain on their company’s funds? The only way to find out is to join forces. Then it will be a battle of wills…and a triumph of hearts.

Join me!
What’s a new book without a party? Come and learn about CHARMED BY CHARLIE! This award-winning contemporary romance placed third in the 2016 Cleveland Rocks Romance Writers Contest. Enjoy light refreshments and appetizers, giveaways and prizes. Browse the stores for unique items for sale! Signed paperback copies will be available for purchase.

Wanna win a free paperback copy?
Sign up for my giveaway on Goodreads starting April 21!

#CharmedByCharlie Release Day Has Arrived! #NewRelease #mustread @Boroughspubgrp #Books #Romance #Contemporary #paint Click To Tweet

Cover Reveal: Meet Charlie!

Spring has sprung in Cleveland, Ohio. The days are getting longer and brighter, the birds are chirping in the trees, flowers are blooming everywhere and there’s a new book in town!

Check it out:

Everyone loves marketing whiz Charlie Solanger…except the woman he really wants.

PAINT, PROMOTIONS & PERFECTION
Creative genius Charlie Solanger has it all: good looks, money, intelligence, charm. And when he swoops in to save Reynolds Paint Company with a brilliant marketing campaign, he has all the ladies in the office vying for his attention. Everyone except math whiz Valerie Wilson.

Val’s not happy Charlie stole her promotion. Worse, his brand of flirtatious charm is reminiscent of her cheating ex-fiancé. So, how come she can’t get him out of her head? The more she challenges him, the more interested—and interesting—he becomes. What secrets is Charlie hiding, and who or what is behind the sudden mysterious drain on their company’s funds? The only way to find out is to join forces. Then it will be a battle of wills…and a triumph of hearts.

Purchase your copy today!

Join me!
What’s a new book without a party? I’ll be hosting two launch parties this time around, and everyone’s welcome:

Come and learn about CHARMED BY CHARLIE! This sassy contemporary romance set at the fictitious Reynolds Paint Company in Cleveland placed third in the 2016 Cleveland Rocks Romance Writers Contest. Enjoy light refreshments and appetizers, giveaways and prizes. Browse the stores for unique items for sale! Signed paperback copies will be available for purchase.

SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2017, 1 – 4 p.m.

The Front Porch Cafe & Store
936 West Maple
Hartville, Ohio 44632
330-877-2706
Don’t miss the many handcrafted items for sale!

SUNDAY, MAY 21, 2017, 2-5 p.m.

The Salvaged Boutique
13383 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-416-1461
Unique, refurbished items are a must see!

A note from the author
Charmed By Charlie was born out of a moment of pure frustration. I had been shopping my first novel, Mind Waves, around and dealing with rejection after rejection. Would I ever see the book published? Maybe I ought to write something new — something totally different, something witty and fun and lighthearted. My teenaged daughter and I were watching Gilmore Girl reruns at the time, so I thought why not something like this show with all the silly banter between characters?

I began to type and the first chapter rolled onto the page effortlessly. As the characters came to life, they drove the story line and nagged at me to keep writing. So I did. Soon I had finished ten chapters.

And then a wonderful thing happened. The Wild Rose Press offered a contract for Mind Waves. The long wait was over. My frustration eased. But still, I couldn’t stop writing Charmed By Charlie. The characters hounded me to tell their story.

Lucky for me, I did, because in a stroke of luck, Boroughs came calling. “Did I have anything to show them?”

I did. They signed Charlie on the spot.

I can’t wait for you to meet the whole cast of characters at Reynolds Paint Company. I hope you love them as much as I do!

P.S. I’m happy to say, I’m no longer frustrated.

Check out the #coverreveal for #charmedbycharlie release day April 18 from @boroughspubgrp! Click To Tweet

Saying Goodbye Is the Hardest Part


There’s not much more I can say. It’s all been said. Your sister sang you a lovely song at your funeral. My husband and countless others expressed beautiful and funny sentiments during the service and on social media. My daughter–your Goddaughter–played her violin accompanied by your cousin on the ukulele. You loved the ukulele so much you painted one and gave it to my daughter. She pulled it from the chaos that is her bedroom shortly after we learned of your passing. “Mom, will you restring it for me?” she asked through her tears.

The restaurant in North Carolina, where you loved to eat, gave out your favorite biscuits free in your name.

You were a surfer who claimed the ocean, or at least one small part of it by the old lighthouse in Buxton, for your own. It kept you sane through bouts of epilepsy and depression. And then it claimed you for your final resting place.

There’s not much more I can say or tell. And yet the words come pouring forth this cold January morning just a day after your funeral. Words are my canvas and so Jordan, from the bottom of my heart, these words are for you.

In memory
You were my cousin by marriage, so I didn’t witness your birth and early years. I first met you when you were five years old, running down the family cabin lane in search of salamanders or snakes or some other critter in the woods. Your cousin, a pastor, read a touching letter you wrote your parents once, begging for a snake. You got the snake. Who could resist your natural charm and boyish enthusiasm? Certainly not your parents, whose hearts are full of sorrow and grief.

I remember telling you and your cousins ghost stories in the tent at the cabin, your eyes big and wide. You didn’t sit still for long, though, always moving, searching for adventure.

You must have been eight when we got married. You were thrilled to be the ring bearer in our wedding. You did the job proudly, walking up the aisle intent on your mission and with a big smile on your face.



And then the teenage years hit, and the small mischievous boy I remember grew into a gorgeous heartthrob. The girls came in droves. You seemed to take it all in stride. You didn’t dwell on your looks. Beneath them pumped a kind heart, filled with compassion for the weak and innocent. You went on mission trips and loved the Lord, often speaking with candor and openness about your faith. I loved that about you.


You chose to work with children after college. I was not surprised. You gave them your attention, and they responded in kind. When it came to selecting a Godfather for our daughter, I couldn’t think of a better man for the job. You took the role seriously and soon were bringing our little girl gifts from the ocean, poems you wrote for her, amazing surf photos and drawings or paintings. She reciprocated, baking you cookies, sending you drawings, and searching you out at every family event. You always had a big hug and kind word for her.


Until we meet again
Once when you came back to Ohio for a camping weekend, you and I had a heart-to-heart chat. You shared with me some of your struggles, and we talked about our mutual faith in God. I was touched to relate to you on such a deep level and grateful for the spiritual support. You understood as only another true believer can.

You reminded me of that talk on several occasions afterwards. I found this note in my messages: “You always have been awesome to me,” you wrote. “Do you remember our long talk that one night at the cabin?”

Jordan how could I forget? And now that you are gone so suddenly, I find myself dwelling on that single moment in time, so grateful to have it in my memory banks. Thank you for gifting me with that. I will carry it with me the rest of my days.

Thank you for reaching out to an older cousin and wanting a relationship. Thank you for sharing your love of God through your words and paintings and videos of the ocean. Thank you for being YOU — unique, compassionate, gifted.

I love you and will miss you Jordan, more than you’d probably guess if you were still alive. I’ll think of you often, surfing the friendly skies, laughing at the wind, and giving the hang loose sign to the other angels in heaven.

Saying Goodbye Is the Hardest Part #surfing #remembrance Click To Tweet

A Little Birthday Advice To Rev Up Your New Year


No, it’s not a national holiday, and no one famous has died (at least I hope not). It’s just an ordinary day. The second to the last day of 2016. BUT it is my birthday (and LeBron James’). It’s also “No Interruptions Day.” So excuse the interruption, but this entitles me to share a few thoughts, right?

You see, I’ve picked up a bit of wisdom this year, what with writing and publishing a book and all. I figured today would be a good time to impart a gem or two to whoever is reading this post. YOU!

Consider this your lucky day.

Don’t Give Up (Too Soon)
I read a recent blog post encouraging the reader to toss out anything in their life that doesn’t make them happy. Stuff like their job that’s less than satisfying or a spouse or a friend who never gives back. It’s all about focusing on yourself the writer urges. Hmmm. Seems a bit…I don’t know…selfish?

The truth is the job is not always going to be satisfying even if you love what you do for a living. As I wrote in a previous blog post, I don’t like to write. Writing takes hard work and discipline. I have to force my butt in the chair, day after day, month after month, year after year. I have to suffer through gobs of rejection from readers, critique partners, reviewers, editors, agents, friends, family or anyone else who has an opinion. More often than not, writing sucks.

But then there are those precious moments, few and far between, when the long days of writing, critiques and bouts of insecurity reap dividends. Like the moment I wrote the last word of my 86,000-word manuscript or the time I won a writing contest or the day I saw the cover of my published novel for the first time. The high during these moments can’t be bought or manufactured. Their worth is measured directly by the effort I devoted to achieving them.

People will fail you.
Whether it’s your spouse or family or friends, they’re bound to disappoint. The easy choice? Dismiss those people who annoy you, hold you back or cause you pain. Why not? Won’t that make you happier? Maybe. But maybe you’ll miss out on some of the most satisfying relationships life has to offer.

After twenty-five years of marriage, I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t moments when I wanted to strangle my partner. There are times we can’t see each other’s point of view no matter how hard we try. There are moments of resentment and anger when it seems we argue about the same stuff, like we’re trapped on an endless merry-go-round spinning in circles.

We could jump off and save ourselves the pain and nausea. Or we could stay on the ride and work together to bring it to a satisfying end. It’s a choice we make. Walk away or hang on tight. We choose to hang on tight. The ride isn’t always easy or fun, but it’s now bigger, better and more exciting than we could have ever imagined starting out.

Don’t get me wrong. There are instances when no amount of hard work can keep a relationship alive. But if you give up at the first sign of stress, how will you ever know the heart-warming laughter of a deep and abiding friendship? The friends I have who go way back–back to college and first jobs–are some of the most enduring, loyal and truest friendships I possess. These are the friends who made a choice to stay during life changes or arguments. They’ve put up with me, offering a rare and precious gift I’ll treasure forever.

Don’t be afraid to try something new
Fear is a thief, robbing us of future joy. Often it’s easier to stay in a situation we know is not good for us or allow ourselves to be placed in a role that doesn’t fit. We grow beyond the role or situation but are afraid to move for fear of failure. We let other people’s view of us define who we are.

Stop. Now. Today.

Don’t do what I did. It took me forty-six years to drum up the confidence to focus on my writing. I made dozens of excuses to keep me in the same place. I let others opinion of me and my fear of the unknown guide my thinking.

The last two and half years after I took a giant leap into the unknown have been the truest, most productive and satisfying of my life. I only wish I would have made the jump sooner.

A few weeks ago, I met a local Cleveland author who survived cancer twice. She wrote about her trials and what she learned from them in her book, A Beautiful Journey. She told me she’s now living for a higher purpose. It took a dreaded disease to shake her from her comfortable life and move her into a profession of blogging, speaking and authoring books.

Sometimes we need these life events to shake us up and show us what truly matters. But you don’t have to wait for something tragic to happen.

So do it. Follow your dreams. But work hard, stay disciplined and don’t give up on yourself or others too soon in the process.

As my birthday buddy, LeBron James has said, “You can’t be afraid to fail. It’s the only way you succeed.”

Great #Birthday #Advice for the #NewYear! Click To Tweet

 

If You Put a Writer In a Window…

All settled in the window at Appletree Books and ready to write.

All settled in the window at Appletree Books and ready to write.

A few Fridays ago, I spent four hours surrounded by glass, struggling to type the words to my next novel, Cross Waves. Appletree Books, a quaint bookstore in Cleveland Heights, has been hosting writers all month in honor of National Novel (NaNo) Writing month, which takes place each November.

Cross Waves is the second book in my Mind Hackers series, but that doesn’t make it any easier to write than the first. Also, my job as a communications manager doesn’t leave much time to write.

So I was expecting big things from my day in the window, eagerly anticipating its arrival. But like most things in life, anticipation is the half the reward. We never know what’s in store.

Here’s how it went down.

…They’ll give it a try.
I attempt to start my car, but the battery is dead. Not even the keys will work to unlock the doors. That’s when my terrific husband figures out I left the lights on the night before.

I call the store to tell them I’ll be late, arriving at my destination an hour behind schedule. I push a dollar in quarters in the meter, knowing I’ll need to return two hours later to feed it some more.

Starbucks is next door, so of course, I visit the coffee shop to purchase my Chai Tea.

Back at the store, hot tea in hand, I size up the window. There isn’t a lot of space for my cup, laptop, iPad, purse and glasses. But I promised to sit in the window, so I set my belongings on the small table, kick off my boots, and hike myself into the tiny seat, making a mental note to start that Yoga class soon.

Heating up
The weather is unseasonably warm for November–a balmy 72 degrees. Sunlight streams through the tall glass. I open my laptop, hands poised above the keys. Sweat beads on my forehead.

I’d received a few tips from writer friends who’d sat in the window earlier in the month to dress in layers. I strip. Off goes my vest, shirt and socks. There I sit in t-shirt and jeans, my bare feet resting on my purse, feeling a bit like a plant in a greenhouse about to die of heat stroke.

A little encouragement from a spectator.

A little encouragement from a spectator.

My fellow writer in the opposite window is a local whose friends stop by in a steady stream. One of them holds up a sign to spur me along. I’d better start writing.

I push my laptop back an inch and bump my tea. I watch in horror as it dumps to the floor, muddy brown liquid dripping on the wood and into my open purse. Ugg. Down from the window I go in search of paper towels.

I return and get settled again. The writer is changing in the next window. My friend Marin arrives, taking her turn behind the glass.

“I need a water,” she says. Off she goes to the Starbucks next door.

A fairytale bookstore--I want these steps in my home.

A fairytale bookstore–I want these steps in my home.

Time to write
I type a sentence or two. I haven’t worked on this story in six months. I struggle to recall the plot. I reread.

Marin returns, water in hand, which makes me wonder what time it is. I look for my cell phone. It’s gone! I must have left it in the car. What if someone needs me? I scramble down from my perch, slip on my boots and grab my keys.

Off I trot to the car to find my cell on the front seat. Good timing as the meter needs fed. Except my change is in my purse at the store. Sigh.

Back I go to retrieve my purse, my heels clunking on the hard pavement. You should be writing…you should be writing…they seem to chant.

I feed the meter and return to the store. Up I climb in the saddle again.

Photoshopped
A man comes by with a large, expensive-looking camera. He motions to take my picture. I nod. Dutifully, I smile, wondering where the photo might end up.

I write a few more sentences, fanning my face in between. Sweat trickles down my back. Marin tells me she’s had enough and exits the window for a cooler table in the next room. I briefly contemplate doing the same. But then, what’s the point? I came out here to write in the window and write I will!

I place my determined hands back on the keyboard. A few more sentences appear on the page. Yahoo! It’s now a paragraph. I’m writing. I’m writing!

My gracious hosts at Appletree Books. Notice the book wallpaper behind the counter.

My gracious hosts at Appletree Books. Notice the book wallpaper behind the counter.

Bippity-boppity-boo
The store owner approaches. “I’m heading to Starbucks. Would you like an ice-water?” she asks.

Would I like an ice-water? “Yes, please,” I say, looking at her like she’s my fairy godmother, and I’m going to the ball.

I write a few more sentences. The words are coming easier now. I check my word count. 500 new words. Yay.

The store owner returns with the largest ice-water I’ve ever seen. “Bless you,” I say, and I mean it.

I wrap my hot hands around the giant cup and bask in the instant relief. Now all I need is a sandwich.

I check the time on my cell phone. Two o’clock. My time under glass has come to an end.

Marin decides she’s heading back to the office, so I take a solitary lunch at the restaurant next door, selecting a seat far from the window.

I prop open my iPad and churn out a thousand words.

What happens when you put a #writer in a window? Celebrating #nano at #appletreebooks. #amwriting #amediting #writingtips #asmsg Click To Tweet

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No Tricks Here! Win a Free e-Copy of Mind Waves

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I’ve experienced several firsts this month:

  1. imageI launched my first book, MIND WAVES, worldwide on Oct. 7. That was a biggie.
  2. I threw my first book launch party at a store in my local Cleveland neighborhood. What a thrill to describe the journey to my family and friends. You can check out a video on my Facebook page.
  3. I signed my first books--50 of them to be exact. Wow!
  4. I got my first reviews, so far all four and five-stars. Yippee! I can certainly use more, so if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, please consider giving it a “star” ranking on Amazon. If you can add a few lines describing what you liked, even better. Reviews really help an author promote the book to others who might enjoy it.
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Here I am, signing books. Tip for new authors: Write down some fun sayings ahead of time. I used Pinterest for inspiration. Also, bring a good pen.

Today, I’ve got another first to tell you about. I’m participating in my first BLOG HOP. What’s a blog hop? It’s a fun way to visit or hop from author site to author site, learn a little about their books and get great giveaways.

Today I’m offering a free e-copy of Mind Waves for one lucky visitor:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter the Hopwide Giveaway for a chance to win one of several gift cards. Winners will be chosen on Nov. 1.

#mindwaves #Giveaway FREE EBOOK! #twrp #neorwa #bloghop Click To Tweet

Here’s a brief description

If he can control her mind…
Government operative David Jenkins is skilled at controlling his emotions. Feelings are lethal when your job is to infiltrate minds, erase and implant thoughts, and guard the nation’s intellectual capital. But even he can’t fight his strange attraction to Grace Woznisky. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect her from a madman intent on possessing both their minds. Neither suspect their dangerous enemy has a larger motive, and David may be Grace’s only chance for survival.

Can he control her heart?
All freelance artist Grace wants is steady-paying work and to see her flighty sister to the altar. But after David offers her a job, she finds herself in the middle of a mental tug of war—one that has her reeling from nightmares and fighting for her life. She must decide: Are her growing feelings for her new boss authentic, or is she a victim of his mind-altering abilities?

A short excerpt is available here –> http://wp.me/P6dMeM-12.

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THESE RETAILERS
Mind Waves can be purchased as an ebook and in paperback at any of these locations:

The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/2bR06aC
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bPR62X
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2bAG3No
Nook: http://bit.ly/2c78i4y
iTunes: https://itun.es/us/ce0Feb.l
Bookstrand: http://bit.ly/2ciKHR3
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2dph4Aq

AWARDS & HONORS
Mind Waves received a bronze medal in the Paranormal Category of the 2015 Rudy Contest. It took second place in the 2015 Central Ohio Fiction Writers Ignite the Flame Contest in the category of Paranormal/Fantasy/Time Travel/Futuristic. It was also runner up in the 2015 Music City Romance Writer’s Pitch Contest.

zIMG_6537_ppcrpABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Uhl has always had a fascination with the mystical. Having drawn her first breath in a century home rumored to be haunted, you might say she was “born” into it. After a brief stint in college as a paid psychic, Amanda graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in theatre and a master’s degree in marketing. Over the past twenty years, she has worked as an admissions representative and graphic designer, owned her own freelance writing company, and managed communications for several Fortune 500 companies, most recently specializing in cyber security. Amanda is an avid reader and writes fast-paced, paranormal romantic suspense and humorous contemporary romance from her home in Cleveland, Ohio. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find Amanda with her husband and three children, gathering beach glass on the Lake Erie shoreline or biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Visit her online at www.amandauhl.com and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amandauhlauthor or Twitter at @AuAuthor

JOIN ME
I’ll be getting out and about in the Cleveland area.  Come and meet me and get your book signed, too!

GET IN TOUCH
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon
Goodreads
Pinterest
Website

CONTINUE FOLLOWING THE HOP!

FREE #giveaways. Oct. 26-31. 75 participating authors! Don't miss the Snarkology #bloghop #TWRP Click To Tweet

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Mind Waves Release Day

Mind WavesToday’s the BIG day. My novel, Mind Waves, is unleashed to the world! Buy the book, either as an ebook or paperback, at any of these locations:

The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/2bR06aC
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2d0KIbJ
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2bAG3No
Nook: http://bit.ly/2c78i4y
iTunes: https://itun.es/us/ce0Feb.l
Bookstrand: http://bit.ly/2ciKHR3
Google Play:  http://bit.ly/2dph4Aq

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Readers are saying
“When I got half way through the book, I was thinking – this would be a great series and I was thrilled to see if will be one. I absolutely can’t wait to read the next one. Wow!!” — Goodreads Reviewer

It was a mixture of genres and it was woven together in such a way that you did not see the distinction between genres. It just works! — www.thegenreminx.com

A delightful, fast paced story, with all the elements necessary for a great read. Mind Waves has plenty of action, romance and danger, creating a captivating read from Amanda Uhl. This story will stay with you long after you have finished the last page. – Readers’ Favorite

“Finished it!! And really, really enjoyed it!!! You nailed the characters of David and Grace–David was so intriguing and mysterious and completely like able. Grace’s mental commentary made you feel like you knew her and made her relatable right from the start. All the characters for that matter were really well developed and unique. I loved the story line as well. Such a cool concept. I kept wanting to read more, especially as the book progressed and their predicament was building. — Advanced Reader

WOW WOW WOW!!!! Amazing read! From the start up to the last, I was hooked on this book! – http://msme28.blogspot.com

I look forward to reading more books by this author! The concept is intriguing, and I loved how she incorporated it into the modern world. Great book! – www.ladywithaquill.com

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Here’s a brief description:

If he can control her mind…
Government operative David Jenkins is skilled at controlling his emotions. Feelings are lethal when your job is to infiltrate minds, erase and implant thoughts, and guard the nation’s intellectual capital. But even he can’t fight his strange attraction to Grace Woznisky. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect her from a madman intent on possessing both their minds. Neither suspect their dangerous enemy has a larger motive, and David may be Grace’s only chance for survival.

Can he control her heart?
All freelance artist Grace wants is steady-paying work and to see her flighty sister to the altar. But after David offers her a job, she finds herself in the middle of a mental tug of war—one that has her reeling from nightmares and fighting for her life. She must decide: Are her growing feelings for her new boss authentic, or is she a victim of his mind-altering abilities?

A short excerpt is available here –> http://wp.me/P6dMeM-12.

Tell others you liked it
I lot of work went into writing and pitching this story, so I do hope you enjoy it. If you do, please consider writing a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Reviews really help an author spread the word about their book and raise visibility on Amazon. Even just giving a book a “star” rating is appreciated.

If you enjoyed Mind Waves, I am hard at work on book two in the series, Cross Waves. Read an excerpt.

_______________________________________________________________________________

zIMG_6833_ppcrpfxfAbout the Author: 
Amanda Uhl has always had a fascination with the mystical. Having drawn her first breath in a century home rumored to be haunted, you might say she was “born” into it. After a brief stint in college as a paid psychic, Amanda graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in theatre and a master’s degree in marketing. Over the past twenty years, she has worked as an admissions representative and graphic designer, owned her own freelance writing company, and managed communications for several Fortune 500 companies, most recently specializing in cyber security. Amanda is an avid reader and writes fast-paced, paranormal romantic suspense and humorous contemporary romance from her home in Cleveland, Ohio. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find Amanda with her husband and three children, gathering beach glass on the Lake Erie shoreline or biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Visit her online at www.amandauhl.com and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amandauhlauthor or Twitter at @AuAuthor.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Want a signed copy?
Connect with me at an upcoming event.

Losing Faith? Read This Post

Mind WavesPardon me for the long blog post. I have a story to tell. It’s about answered prayer and dreams come true. It’s about magic and mysticism and this thing called faith. I must tell the entire story to do it justice. I hope you’ll spend five minutes reading it through.

If you’ve been following my posts, then you know a few things about me and the launch of my first book, Mind Waves:

  1. Beach Glass Is Important. Both in my life (I collect it) and in my book, where the heroine uses beach glass in her artwork. The hero offers her a piece of glass twice in the story–early on he presents her with a piece of red glass (a rare find) in the shape of a heart. By story’s end, he hands her a piece of green glass, matching the color of his eyes. (Check out the front cover and his glowing green eyes and the heart in the lower-right corner.)
  2. I’ve Had Multiple Paranormal Experiences. Past blogs have told of ghosts encounters, prophetic dreams, palm-reading analysis and auras, which fueled many of the scenes in the book.
  3. I Have a Strong Faith in God. I didn’t always. (That’s a story for another post.) My faith has partly stemmed from encounters with an invisible world–if I believe in ghosts, it’s not a big stretch to think I’d believe in God. I pray often and have asked the Lord to guide me in my writing life, which is fraught with rejection. Despite my beliefs, I sometimes doubt or ask him to reveal himself, particularly when I’m struggling to stay on course.

And that’s where this story begins.
I spent Labor Day weekend on the shores of Lake Michigan with extended family. My husband and I were both stressed leading up to the trip. The week before he’d been in bed with migraines. I’d spent the week launching Mind Waves on social media.

Our first day on the beach, our sixteen-year-old son, Sam, disappeared. He had gone ahead of his dad to check out the waves. By the time my husband arrived, he was nowhere in sight. And when I finally made it there two hours later, Sam still had not returned. He’d left his cell phone behind in the cottage, too, a rare occurrence. It wasn’t his nature to disappear without telling someone. We started to worry.

Our day at the beach, Lake Michigan.

Heading to the Lake Michigan beach to learn Sam had gone missing.

Searching for Sam
The family split up to search. Grandma went back to the cottage. My sister-n-law checked the volleyball court, and my husband and I strolled up and down the beach. After a few minutes, I encountered my sister-n-law, who was on her way back. Instead of searching for Sam, her head was bent over the sand.

“Did you find Sam?” I asked.

“Yes, he’s fast asleep.” She pointed in the distance, where I could make out his form in his black bathing suit, lying on his beach towel.

Relieved, I stopped to consider her. “What were you looking for?”

“Here,” she said, handing me a piece of green beach glass. I noticed immediately the color was darker and smoother than my normal finds at Edgewater, like it had been tossed around in the Michigan waves a bit.

“That’s so cool.” I started to hand it back.

“You keep it,” she said, knowing I collect glass.

“Thanks.” I pocketed the glass, and she headed back to tell the others.

Lord, please send me beach glass
Since Sam was okay, I decided to stay and scan the sand for more glass. Surprisingly, I found a few pieces. That’s when I had my God thought.

Lord, I prayed. Can you please send me a great big piece of glass so I know you are here?

I smiled inwardly at the thought of asking God for beach glass, adding, I don’t need the glass to believe in you, of course. I always believe. It’s only I’m tired and scared of what I’ve got myself into with this book launch and want to feel your presence. So, why don’t you just send me glass.

And I laughed out loud at the thought of God sending me beach glass.

That’s when two women appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. Excited and full of questions, they wanted to see what I had found. I pulled the small handful of glass from my pocket and showed them.

Heart-shaped glass found on the beach.

Heart-shaped glass found on the beach.

“Oh my gosh, it’s a heart,” the first woman spoke, pointing at my palm. She was tall with clear skin. Her head was wrapped in a colorful scarf.

“That’s amazing,” the second one added with genuine enthusiasm. She had freckles and her hair was in pigtails. She looked to be in her early twenties and wore a bikini.

I studied the green glass in my hand. It was a heart! I hadn’t seen the shape until the woman pointed it out.

“Do you live around here?” I asked.

“No, we live in Chicago,” the taller one said. “We’re yoga instructors. We’re taking a class.”

“They gave us fifteen minutes so we thought we’d check out the beach,” the shorter of the two said. “So great to find you. How long have you been collecting? What do you do with it?”

The questions continued until eventually, I told them about Mind Waves and how it was inspired by beach glass.

“That’s so amazing,” they younger of the two said with passion. “I’m definitely reading it.”

“Me, too,” the other added. “This is so exciting.”

How strange, I thought, and said aloud, “You two are not going to believe this, but I’d been praying for God to send me a piece of glass, as I’m worried about my book launch, and instead he sent me two potential readers. And I guess I got the glass, too,” I said, holding up the green heart.

“That’s so cool,” the taller of the two said. “I will definitely check out your book.”

“Me, too,” the other added.

And as quickly as they arrived, they departed on a flurry of energy.

If the Lord is for us…

Me with my mother and sister 'n law shortly before our beach glass discovery.

Me with my mother and sister ‘n law shortly before our beach glass discovery.

Dazed, I returned to our beach umbrella, where the rest of the family had gathered. “You’re never going to believe what happened.” I recounted the experience.

“That’s so weird,” my sister-n-law said. “I just got finished telling everyone a similar story. I was thanking God for letting me find Sam and asked him to send me a piece of glass. I looked down and saw the piece of glass I gave you at my feet. I couldn’t believe it. Then you showed up.”

My sister-n-law has not read Mind Waves. “Did you realize the glass you gave me was in the shape of a heart?”

“No way,” she said.

We stood a moment and marveled at the glass and the not-so-strange coincidence. A great peace descended. A peace that surpasses human understanding.

“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 118-6

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

Losing #Faith ? Read This Post #TWRP #mindwaves #God #beachglass Click To Tweet
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