Tag: love

Cross Waves: Five Reasons You Should Preorder Now

Cross Waves: Five Reasons You Should Preorder Now - Picture of book cover | Amanda Uhl

In 2015, I sat down and wrote my debut novel, Mind Waves, the first book in the Mind Hackers series, little knowing the book would eventually find an editor and a home with The Wild Rose Press. It finaled and placed in several contests and generally received all around favorable reviews. Readers call it “fast-paced,” “intense” and “not your cookie-cutter paranormal romance.” I eagerly started working on the second book in the series, Cross Waves.

But then I got distracted (which happens a lot with writers) and found myself writing a whole different story, a contemporary romance called Charmed By Charlie. The words poured out of me and the finished manuscript quickly found a home with Boroughs Publishing Group. The book also finaled and won a contest and received numerous five-star reviews to thrill my writer’s heart.

So then I went back to finish Cross Waves.

And I couldn’t.

What had once seemed easy and exciting, now seemed difficult and frustrating. I wrote, rewrote, edited and wrote some more. I floated the book to beta readers and critique partners, hired many editors, and labored over the plot, until I felt like giving up.

But I couldn’t. This story needed to be told. This “child” must be born. I couldn’t abandon it. But I couldn’t bring it into the world with developmental issues. Which brings me to reason number one why you should buy this book.

1.) It’s a labor of love. From start to finish, it took me four years to perfect the storyline. Four years of continual revisions. Four years of twirling my hair, biting my nails, and fretting over the plot. I promise you the finished product
is well worth the wait. You are gonna love this story. The copyeditor I hired enjoyed the story so much she offered a contract to bring it to a new serialized romance app called KISS. She said she thought it would do well on that platform. Which brings me to my next point.

2.) It’s fast paced and keeps you reading. Pacing is an issue a lot of writers face: How to keep the reader’s attention so they continue reading until the end. As an avid reader myself, there is nothing worse than not being caught up in the storyline. I want the books I read to keep me up past my bedtime. I want to be so engrossed in the story I must turn the page.  I want to be left guessing what happens next. Early reviewers are using phrases like, “a non-stop reading experience,” “fast-paced,” “heart-pounding,” and (my personal favorite), “I couldn’t put the book down.”

3.) You won’t guess the plot. As I mentioned, I labored over the story line. I don’t like stories where you can guess the ending, which happens far too often for my taste. To me, having the unexpected happen is what makes reading so much fun. I promise you, Cross Waves’ ending is surprising, which prompted one reviewer to label it “explosive.”

4.) The characters are fun, unexpected, and likable. The heroine possesses a dangerous talent. The hero guards a dark secret. The hero’s grandmother plays a pivotal role.  And one character, who you’ll meet towards the end of the book, surprised even me, seeming to appear on his own without conscious thought on my part and setting the series up nicely for the yet unwritten book three, Dream Waves.

5.) And finally, there’s a fantastic incentive. But it won’t last. From now until Oct. 19, you can purchase the ebook for only $2.99 on Amazon (40% off the regular price). And if you preorder the book, you can enter a special raffle to win one of two $10 Amazon gift cards, which you can apply to purchase other books you love.

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So go on, give Cross Waves a try. I promise you, you won’t be bored!

Amazon
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P.S. And if you haven’t read Mind Waves, you should give it a try, too. The book is only 99 cents on Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble through Oct. 16!

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Rain or Shine, We’re Sisters

I am five years old. She is the sun.

She pulls me into the ancient bathroom and sits with me on the claw foot tub so we can “talk.” I hear the drip-drip of the leaky faucet and the sound of cars racing by on the street outside the window. Her light brown hair circles her pretty face like an angel’s halo. She grabs my hand. She holds it in her own.

“I’m getting married,” she says. “Do you know what that means?”

I nod. Of course I know what getting married means.

She watches me carefully, her blue eyes peering, perceptive. “It means I won’t be living here any more.”

I wonder: Why does she think I won’t understand? She and her boyfriend had gotten engaged. There was to be a wedding. I would be the flower girl. I knew all of this. Had known it for weeks now.

Dark days
But I didn’t understand. Not really. Not in the deepest part of me that knew she was always available in a way my mother couldn’t be. With a smile. Or to bring me treats or small toys. To give me hugs or advice or whatever my little five-year-old heart needed at the moment.

It would only be later, much later, in the dead of night or in the ordinary humdrum of a day, the truth would come crashing in, bearing down on me with all the force of a locomotive steam engine. After I had thrown a temper tantrum at her wedding, my tears soaking the pink roses on my chiffon dress and small fists pounding the church floor. When I sat alone in our dark house and watched outside the kitchen window as my parents and older siblings spread manure on the garden amidst a first November snowfall. When I awakened at night, cold and shivering with the sheets steeped in my urine. That’s when the ugly truth of her leaving wormed its way into my young heart and made its home there.

I'm one sad little girl on my sister's wedding day.

These pictures say it all. I am one sad little girl on my sister’s wedding day.

image

My angel sister–the one who taught me to walk, who saved my first lock of hair when I cut it myself, who made me hand-sewn outfits and bought me my first Barbie–this dearly beloved sister was gone.

Oh not forever, of course. She was only a forty-minute drive. But my mother didn’t have a license. Visits were reserved for the occasional weekends my sister came to our house or the week I spent with her every summer.

A bone-crushing isolation descended on me like a claw, pinching and scraping the tender walls of my heart. At five years old, the long, solitary road of my existence stretched out in front of me like the barren railroad tracks that ran next to our house, the trains cranking out a lonely whistle every hour of the day.

In a reoccurring nightmare, my sister and I made our home in a tent in our yard. I begged her to run away with me. But my mother stood outside the house and called us in, her worn hand beckoning, like a priestly summons. In the dream, we could never ignore the call.

Sunshine
The funny thing about life? If we wait long enough, if we endure through painful moments, happiness has a way of breaking through the dark shrouds, reviving the dead parts.

Time passed. I learned how to live without her daily presence like a person without an arm. You always know it’s missing but can get around pretty well without it. This severing and learning to adapt was necessary. My sister was not my mom. She needed to move on with her life as a new wife and later, mother of two daughters. I needed to forge a stronger relationship with my mother.

Flower tarts, made with love

Flower tarts, made with love

Last Easter, my family and I paid my sister a visit in Arizona, where she lives with her husband. She pulled out all the stops–purchasing our favorite snacks, decorating for Easter and making beautiful flower cutout cookies, buying my daughter a birthday cake and present. Once again, I found myself basking in her unconditional love and caring.

My twelve-year-old daughter felt it, too. “I really like Auntie,” she told me. “She’s so kind. It’s like…she and I have a special bond. We like the same things. You know what I mean?”

For a moment, I am transported back in time. The sun peeks out from the clouds and shines down on us, its radiant heat nurturing, protective. “Yes,” I tell her. “I know just what you mean.”

Love this photo of my daughter and my sister.

A favorite photo of my daughter with  my sister.

My mom, sister and I

My mom, sister and I

Via @AuAuthor, Rain or Shine, We're Sisters #amwriting Click To Tweet Via @AuAuthor Sisters are friends for life #amwriting #sisters Click To Tweet

How a Whispered Prayer Wrought An Umbrella and My Future Husband

I once prayed for a good man. I didn’t really believe the prayer would be answered. But I was a bit lonely my freshman year in college, so it felt good to tell someone who would listen and not ask a lot of questions.

The thing about prayer, though, is that God always answers. Sometimes his answers are immediate, but more often, at least for me, they take time to come to fruition.

The umbrella
Shortly after I said that prayer, I met my future husband in a theatre class. Of course, I didn’t know he was my future husband. I paid more attention to his umbrella.

“Excuse me,” I asked him. “Can you move your umbrella?” It was one of those long, skinny, masculine ones with a large, black handle, and it was in my way nearly every day as I tried to slip past him in the auditorium style classroom.

“Sorry. No problem.” He would reach out to nab the offending object and quickly pull it under his seat, allowing me to slide into my seat next to him. Once when I did this, I noticed an open notebook on his lap where he had scribbled some words. I tried to read what he had written but was unsuccessful.

Fundamentals of Theatre
“Are you a theatre major?” He spoke, his tone friendly.

“Yes, what about you?”

“Oh no. I’m a telecommunications major. I just took this class as an elective.”

I noticed his clothing; artsy for a guy. He looked like a theatre major. Later, I would learn that his mother, a hairdresser, bought all of his clothing, but in the moment, I just noticed it as a casual observation. I was not interested in talking, so I settled in, opening my book.

“Welcome to Fundamentals of Theatre I.” The professor began his monologue. “Attendance sheets are being passed along.”

As he spoke, the girl seated to my left handed me a white notebook. I scribbled my name and passed it along to the young man with the umbrella.

Years later, he would confess that he had memorized my name on the attendance sheet, writing it in his notebook. But he was too shy to ask me on a date. Good thing he didn’t, because I’m not sure I would have accepted. I didn’t handle attention from the opposite sex well, and I didn’t go on a lot of dates. Plus, I had just met another boy at a party, and I was a bit infatuated.

And truthfully? If God had whispered in my ear that day, saying, “I’m answering your prayer. See that boy? He’s the one,” I wouldn’t have believed it.

Just like I wouldn’t have believed if the voice said, “You will be struck by lightening. Or you will win the lottery.”

I never forgot the boy or his umbrella, though. Long after we completed the class, I would see him on campus. Each time we’d run into one another, I’d ask, “Are you taking any theatre classes?”

And he would answer, “No, Amanda, I’m not a theatre major.”

There were no umbrellas on our wedding day. Although it did rain that morning, the sun came out before we said "I do."

There were no umbrellas on our wedding day. 

First comes love
And then, one day, the stars aligned. We ran into each other on campus and as he tells it, “It was now or never.” He finally screwed up his courage to ask for my telephone number. (This was before the days of cell phones and texting.)

And I, who had sworn off dating, but wasn’t above going out as friends, gave him my number.

We went on a few dates, which led to a few more. My future husband, I learned, had a great sense of humor and was universally liked by everyone he came in contact with. We complemented each other well. He was outgoing; I was introverted. He taught me not to take everything so seriously. I taught him how to take everything more seriously.

A few weeks later, we had a major “Back to the Future” moment. You know, the one where Marty’s parents finally kiss and his future comes to be? Yeah, it was that kind of moment.

Then comes marriage

Our three beautiful children.

Our three beautiful children.

Some twenty-three anniversaries later, we have three kids, a dwindling mortgage, and a jet ski.

Times have not always been easy. There was a period, shortly after college when we both lost our jobs and couldn’t afford a wedding. We called ourselves “the trash couple,” because it seemed like we never slept or had money to buy anything nice.

There was another time, shortly after our second child was born, when I had a raging temperature for days, while our jaundice son lay in an incubator next to me.

We survived frequent job changes, loss of loved ones, health emergencies. When I lost my two front teeth in an accident, he took me to the dentist and held my hand. When my daughter lost hers after jumping and missing an obstacle course at school, he held my hand as we watched the dentist reinsert them.

Through all of lives’ joys and disappointments, we’ve held on tight and cherished one another.

I can’t imagine going through life without him by my side.

I can’t imagine a life without him.

To those who say God doesn’t exist, I say, try praying for something that really matters. You just might get what you asked for.

And be sure to look out for the umbrella.

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