Tag: book (Page 2 of 4)

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

_______________________________________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________________________________

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

Mind Waves Cover Reveal — Check It Out!

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDERS! DEBUTING OCT. 7!

It’s here, it’s here! Mind Waves is finally here!

It’s been nearly three years since I wrote the book, so as you can imagine, I’m pretty darn excited the day has come for you all to see the cover.

Isn’t it perfect?

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY AT ANY OF THESE LOCATIONS!

The Wild Rose Press
Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iTunes
Bookstrand

Congratulations to all who preordered Mind Waves or shared the buy links on social media and then entered my raffle to win one of  5 $20 Amazon gift cards.  Winners below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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:
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon
Goodreads
Pinterest
Website

Mind Waves Cover Reveal! Pre-order Now #bookcover #reveal #books #readers #TWRP #giveaway #paranormal #ebooks #NEORWA #mindwaves #amandauhl Click To Tweet

How I Plan to Promote My First Book (And Other Scary Tales)


The closer I get to the release of my first novel, the more anxious I grow thinking about how best to promote it.

Ironically, I have an MBA in Marketing. I’m also responsible for running campaigns and events on my day job, so you would think I would have some idea about how to approach a book launch. But no amount of classes or business experiences have prepared me for this next step in my journey to publication.

Writing a book is personal. It’s much easier to suggest creative ideas when someone else will be doing the presenting. Knowing I must be the front woman in this campaign has me waking up in the middle of the night, pulse racing, thoughts spinning and panic flooding my body.

How the heck do I do this?
“Isn’t there a template for this?” I asked this question recently of some of my critique partners. “I mean, millions of books are published every year. Hasn’t some smart author figured this out already?”

“Nope,” they said. “Not that we know of.”

“So what are you going to do when your time comes?”

“We’ll just watch what you do.”

Uh-oh. Now we’re all in trouble.

Why is it so hard?
The more I explore ideas and collect information, the more I realize that there are SO MANY ways to promote a book, even the “industry experts” can’t agree. And the market is shifting, so tried and true methods don’t necessarily work anymore. Here today and gone tomorrow, as the saying goes.

For instance, more readers than ever before are reading their books online. This is much different than say, twenty years ago, when print sales still had the largest market share. And recent reports talk about the popularity of audio books. How the heck do I make one of those?

And what about blogs? I still remember the first time a writer friend explained the concept to me. That was many years ago, when the popularity of blogs was exploding. Last year at a writer’s conference, the speaker stated that blogs don’t generate traffic like they used to, and she wouldn’t recommend spending time on them. Every time I post mine, I question its relevance. Who am I reaching with this post? Will they buy my book when it comes out?

Although I can see by my stats that I tend to have some readership, the number of visitors stays about the same from post to post. What does that mean? Should I quit?

If I had a million dollars…
I don’t. But I recently asked this question on a marketing expert’s site: If you had $1,000 to spend on promotion, what would you spend it on?

The answer I got back? “I wouldn’t spend a cent. Save your money.”

Hmmm. I’d like to that’s for sure. But I can’t imagine I’ll get away with it entirely, can you?

What to do?
Any day now, I’ll be getting my preorder link for Mind Waves from the publisher. While I don’t have a solid plan on paper, I do have a few ideas:

  • Write the Next Book — I know, seems contrary. But the faster I write the next book and the next one after that, the faster I build a following. So I can’t slow down on the writing, even while I’m promoting book one.
  • Do a Cover Reveal — This one is a no-brainer. It seems natural to want to share my cover and a pre-order link in a big reveal. I’ll set up a Headtalker or Thunderclap and ask my friends on social media to participate. I’ll purchase Facebook ads to spread the news far and wide and build my profile on Goodreads. I’ll blog, and maybe I’ll ask a few other writer friends to feature me in their blog. I’ll experiment by commenting on a beach glass site I belong to — since beach glass is featured heavily in this story, it seems like a good idea.
  • Introduce a Newsletter — I’ve been slowly building an email list. Those folks will get my news first. And something special to make them glad they’ve subscribed.
  • Create a Book Trailer — Think movie trailer but for a book. I’d like to do several versions, featuring sites and sounds from Cleveland, and then share them over time via social media. Sounds fun, right?
  • Launch a Street Team — This is a group of supporters who want me to succeed. These folks will help me spread the word and be rewarded with free copies of my books and other special deals. If that sounds like you, let me know! A lot of authors use a private Facebook group for this, but I may use email, since not all my supporters use Facebook.
  • Ask for Reviews — I’m told reviews are hard to acquire. But I’ve already had a few friends commit to doing one. Anyone on my street team who does a review will receive a FREE e-copy of my book. This is a non-shareable copy but is a great deal for anyone willing to post a review. I also have a list of review sites I’ll email. And I’ve purchased a Net Galley membership for September. This is a site that provides the book free to readers willing to post a review.
  • Get Out and About — This one gets me all tingly with excitement. Nothing makes me happier than meeting new people and talking about my book! I have three Cleveland locations lined up to host book signing parties, but I’ll work to host a whole lot more this year and next. I’ll discuss what motivated me to write a paranormal romance, tell a few ghost stories, and describe my journey to publication. There will be prizes, of course, some fun beach glass giveaways, and anything else I can think of to make this a not-to-be-missed party.

    This seemed to be a hit at my first book reading, so perhaps I'll make some more.

    Beach glass candy seemed to be a hit at my first book reading, so perhaps I’ll make some more.

  • Stock Local Stores — Okay, I’ll admit. This one is more ego than anything and will probably end up costing me money. A printed book purchased through a small publisher like mine is not cheap. They don’t distribute to book stores, so I’ll have to purchase the book myself and then mark them up to make any sort of profit. Although I receive a discount, I’m told the shipping cost is astronomical. But I do plan to invest some money into purchasing printed copies for book signings and to stock a few around town, especially in small book stores and gift shops that sell beach glass. If those sell well, I’ll stock a few more.
  • Donate a Copy to the Local Library — This is a great way to give back to the community and make sure readers can find my book. Hopefully, they’ll like what they read and want more.
  • Donate to Charity — I’m looking for a local, Cleveland charity to donate a portion of sales from each book. I’m interested in donating to food banks and hunger centers, so if you know a worthy organization, let me know.
  • Pitching the Press — I’m hoping to garner articles in local newspapers and alumni publications from my alma maters. This is when it helps to have a sister who runs a newspaper and a friend who’s a reporter. And there are some great websites, like Cool Cleveland, I might approach.

What won’t I do initially?
Pay for blog tours or other advertisements. I’m going to wait a bit before considering anything costly. The marketing guru may be right. After all, this is a business. It would be smart to understand my revenue before shelling out big bucks for promotions.

So there you have it. What am I missing? I’m sure there’s something…scratches her head and tries to calm her racing heart

Check Out Haunted Souls — Great New Romantic Suspense Novel

From time to time, I feature a few special writers and their books on my site. Kathryn Knight is a fellow author with The Wild Rose Press. This month she released her newest paranormal romantic suspense novel, a military ghost mystery called Haunted Souls. Check it out!

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Description
Four years ago, Emily Shea and Staff Sergeant Brett Leeds agreed to part with no strings attached. Sparks flew during their brief affair, but fate intervened, sending Brett overseas. When an unexpected pregnancy derailed Emily’s own plans, her attempts to locate Brett were soon overwhelmed by the challenges of single motherhood. Now, Brett has returned home, and Emily is forced to share her secret.

Despite feeling betrayed, Brett is determined to forge a relationship with their son, Tyler. As the former lovers battle both their inner demons and their mutual desire, another presence enters their lives—Tyler’s imaginary friend.

Soon, however, the chilling evidence points to a different conclusion: a ghost has formed a dangerous connection with their son. Emily’s attempts to help both a lost soul and a friend in need spiral toward a deadly confrontation, and Brett must race to save Emily before he loses her again—forever.

To order
Kindle link: https://www.amazon.com/Haunted-Souls-Kathryn-Knight-ebook/dp/B01EZLQX9G?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

Nook link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/haunted-souls-kathryn-knight/1123684427?ean=2940158295799

imageAbout Kathryn
Kathryn Knight spends a great deal of time in her fictional world, where mundane chores don’t exist and daily life involves steamy romance, dangerous secrets, and spooky suspense. Kathryn writes contemporary romance spiked with mysterious hauntings as well as YA paranormal romance filled with forbidden love. Her novels are award-winning #1 Amazon Bestsellers and RomCon Reader Rated picks. When she’s not reading or writing, Kathryn spends her time catching up on those mundane chores, driving kids around, and teaching writing classes. Two of her ghost story/romance titles, Gull Harbor and Haunted Souls, are set on beautiful Cape Cod, where she lives with her husband, their two sons, and a number of rescued pets. Please visit her at Kathryn Knight books on Facebook, @k_knightbooks on Twitter, or at www.kathrynknightbooks.blogspot.com.

Check Out Haunted Souls! #military #romance #NewRelease #ghosts #EOD Click To Tweet

Age and Experience Sweeten the Cup for Writers

Old vintage books and cup with heart shape on wooden table
Two and a half years ago, I found the courage to go after a dream. I sat down at my dining room table and typed the first words to a story that would later be titled Mind Waves.

That first chapter would be edited and re-edited and eventually deleted all together, as I sought to improve the storyline enough to catch and capture an editor’s interest. It wasn’t easy.

Finding a publisher
I met my editor, Ms. Laura Kelly with The Wild Rose Press, at the first conference I ever attended. That was more than a year ago. She was the second editor I pitched. It took almost a year of rewrites and dozens of contest entries (to garner feedback) before Ms. Kelly said yes to the book (and me:)

I thought those ten months were the most agonizing, depressing ten months of my life. Like a wild roller coaster, my mood would swing up with a kind word from a beta reader or down with a contest failure. Up with a contest win, then a sudden plunge down, down with a barrage of rejections. When the future is uncertain and there’s no end in sight, it can be difficult to stay on course.

So, why did I keep at it?
I’d like to tell you it was one activity or person that inspired me, but it was not. The gas in my tank was a stubborn refusal and belief in myself and my writing skills. This is what I needed to carry me through the long haul of disappointments and lack of interest. Whenever I got a rejection, I would remind myself that I could do better and then go at it again the next day.

One thing I didn’t do was stay still. And I’m glad. Because failure one day would lead to success on another. For instance, on a day when I felt particularly frustrated, I began writing a new story to shake off the doldrums. That story placed third in the contemporary long category of the Cleveland Rocks Romance Writer’s Contest.

Ironically, what I found agonizingly slow, other writers tell me is fast. They marvel at how quickly I navigated the process. One writer friend compared my journey to a snowball rolling down hill, picking up speed and size. (I love the imagery of writer friends.) That’s when I first began to consider and appreciate my age and experience in this business.

I’m no spring chicken
I have been writing in the corporate world for more than twenty years. I’ve produced news stories in an hour with someone standing over my shoulder, urging me to type faster. I’ve pulled together marketing brochures and posters that have gone on to win awards. I’ve accepted and incorporated feedback over and over again from clients who don’t like the way something is written.

Last weekend at the Cleveland Writing Workshop, I met a lady who wanted to write military novels at nineteen but was told she needed more experience. So she joined the military and became a medic. She has since retired from service but has spent the past twenty years perfecting the craft and has more than six books under her belt.

In the writing world, age and experience are not a liability. Like fine wine, they enrich and sweeten our work.

Age and Experience Sweeten the Cup for Writers #TWRP #Romance #Amwriting Click To Tweet

Late Night Ghost Auditions: No Callbacks Allowed

young woman in bed with alarm clock and eyes opened suffering insomnia and sleep disorder thinking about his problem on dark studio lighting in sleeping and nightmare issues

It happened last night.

I awoke to see a dark stranger standing by my bed. My heart leaped out of my chest, forcing a gasp, as adrenaline rushed through my body. I scooted across the mattress, nearly pushing my husband over the edge in the process. He, poor man, groaned, rolled over and went back to sleep. But I lay there sweating. What was that…thing?

I didn’t know. When I tried to take a closer look, it disappeared.

In the warm light of day, I brush this encounter off as an over-active imagination. I am a fiction writer after all. And I did have that chocolate mouse for dinner last night. That has to be it, right? RIGHT?

Ghostly encounters
“Ghosts are all around,” my writing buddy Joyce tells me. If anyone would know, it’s Joyce, who I met through a local writing group–the Northeast Ohio Romance Writers Association (NEORWA). She’s a member of a ghost-hunting group, called EVP Mediums and carries the title EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) investigator.

“Aren’t you afraid of ghosts?” I ask her, while visions of my mysterious late-night visitor dance in my brain.

“No, I’m not. The spirits don’t feel threatening. To me, they’re just people.”

Dead people, I think on a shiver. The thought of getting close to a ghost, let alone inviting one to speak, is, in a word, terrifying. I’ve been avoiding them my entire life, though they insist on appearing at my bedside on a routine basis and adding a dose of realism to my books.

Joyce doesn’t share my misgivings. She regularly volunteers to investigate sites known to be haunted along with other intrepid ghost hunters. They routinely tape apparitions speaking and observe dark shadows in eerie places. They even do…gasp…sleepovers.

EVP Investigator Joyce Caylor takes a break at her first overnight outing with the ghosts at Malabar Farms.

Not my kind of pajama party
Armed with camera and audio equipment, a psychic and an ordained minister, they call out to spirits, asking questions guaranteed to invoke an answer. What is your name? How old are you? Why are you here? What do you want?

In the old Mayflower Hotel in Akron, Ohio, which used to house drug addicts, the gang hears shades cry out for their drug of choice. At the Slovak Club in Lorain, ghosts are recorded speaking in…you guessed it…Slovak. At Malabar Farms in Lucas, the spirits issues words of support, uttering “I’m happy,” “He’s going,” and “Pray with you,” after the team performs a cross-over ceremony. The ceremony is performed by the group’s minister to encourage ghosts to “go to the light.”

“We always get ‘help us,'” says Joyce. “I don’t know why.”

Maybe it has something to do with being…gulp…dead.

“Has this been detrimental to your faith?” I ask.

“It’s strengthened it,” says Joyce. “I don’t worry about death. It’s made me think about my relationship with God and why this work is important to do. I kind of feel like this path opened up for me.”

In addition to the spiritual growth, there’s another benefit ghost-hunting is providing Joyce — material for her novels. She has a whole series planned, including five story ideas.

Not bad.

Hollywood has even come calling. Six members of the group (before Joyce joined) have been featured in a new series pilot on Lifetime called American Murder House.

Maybe I should encourage my late night visitor to audition?

At least he won’t have to worry about ‘breaking a leg.’

Eeks! Late night ghost encounters @EVPMediums #amwriting #ghosts #paranormal #psychic Click To Tweet
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