Tag: Mind Waves (Page 1 of 2)

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Apple
Kobo

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!

Five Reasons You Should Preorder Cross Waves Now #fallreads #readromance #HEA #paranormal #books Click To Tweet

Just in Time for Summer! 99 Cents Earns You a Fantastic Beach Read

MIND WAVES, my award-winning paranormal novel, is 99 cents for the ebook through June 14! You can find it on:

Awards & Honors
It took me a year to write the book, a year of endless edits, and another year to pitch an editor successfully, sign a contract and publish the book. I am endlessly proud of this story.  The book has garnered a number of awards, including:

  • Bronze medal,  Paranormal Category, 2015 Rudy Contest.
  • Second place,  2015 Central Ohio Fiction Writers Ignite the Flame Contest in the category of Paranormal/Fantasy/Time Travel/Futuristic.
  • Runner up, 2015 Music City Romance Writer’s Pitch Contest.
  • Finalist, Paranormal Category, 2017 I Heart Indie Awards
  • Finalist, Paranormal Category, 2017 Kathryn Hayes When Sparks Fly
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What the reviewers have to say
Critics also have great things to say about the book. Here are just a few of the comments:

  • “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
  • “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
  • “What a spectacular story for a debut book and definitely a book I would love to see converted into a movie or a mini series on TV! Yes, it was that good and didn’t fall into the cookie cutter PNR mold.” www.starangelsreviews.com

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Cross Waves is coming soon!
As I gear up for the release of the second book in the series — CROSS WAVES — I thought it would be a great idea to offer MIND WAVES at 99 Cents for a limited time. So, if you haven’t read the book, now’s the perfect time to do it. Read an excerpt from Cross Waves.

 

 

 

99 Cents Earns You a Fantastic Beach Read May 31 - June 14 #beachreads readromance #wrpbks #HEA #paranormal Amazon —> http://amzn.to/2tP9L71 Nook —> http://bit.ly/2c78i4y iBooks —> https://itun.es/us/ce0Feb.l 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


 

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

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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.
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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.
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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

Two sisters talk trash, treasure and parties

Sisters and The Salvaged Boutique owners, Kathy Cruz (left) and Karen Studd.

Sisters and The Salvaged Boutique owners, Kathy Cruz (left) and Karen Studd.

There’s some indefinable magic that happens when two siblings decide to go into business together. Take Wilbur and Orville Wright, for instance. They were just brothers working in a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, when they dreamed up the idea for the first airplane. There was no “I” in the equation for these two–they shared the credit for their invention equally.

And what about brothers Walt and Roy Disney who founded Disney Brothers Studio. They complemented one another with Walt, the creative genius, being the front man, and Roy, the shy and quieter brother, managing the finances.

And then there are these two–Kathy Cruz and Karen Studd–owners of The Salvaged Boutique in Lakewood. As children, they watched with fascination as their mom transformed garage sale fare and flea market finds into beautiful pieces that graced their Cleveland home.

“We grew up poor,” Kathy, the younger by two years, told me. “We learned at an early age from our mom how to repurpose furniture.”

I met the sisters when I attended one of their popular wood pallet sign workshops today. They provided the pallets, stencils and paints, and we supplied the artistic talent.

Me and my friend Stacy with our signs. If I look tired that's because I stayed up until 2 a.m. the prior evening making final edits to Mind Waves.

Me and my friend Stacy with our signs. If I look tired, it’s  because I was up until 2 a.m. the prior evening making final edits to my novel, Mind Waves.

Giving old stuff new life
Despite the lack of funds, their mother wanted to make a beautiful space in which her children could grow. “It was important to her we could be proud of where we came from and where we lived,” Karen added.

The girls watched as their mom brought in old pieces of furniture. “We would just look at them and think, oh my God, they’re hideous. But the ultimate result was amazing. Paint and fabric became a thing of beauty. A lot of people don’t have the ability to look at something discarded and envision something different.”

The sisters noted that their friends loved coming to their house and seeing all the restyled pieces. As they grew, the girls began to take an interest in design, decorating their bedrooms and dorm rooms in college.

“Growing up, I never knew that interior design or fashion could even be an option as a career,” said Karen. “I never knew people would pay for decorating. I always figured I would need to major in education or a medical field.”

But pay they would. The sisters soon found there was a market for vintage, restyled home decor.

Two years ago, they opened a small web-based business and eventually an Etsy shop. They began blogging on social media and held shows in their homes or friend’s homes. As the business grew, so did their need for space. “We were using our living rooms, basements and garages to work on pieces,” said Karen. “It was crazy.”

Check out the old-fashioned typewriter, just one of the many treasures visitors will find in the store.

Check out the old-fashioned typewriter, one of the many treasures visitors will find in the store.

A home of their own
That’s when the sisters tracked down their present location, the former Lakewood Home Furnishings. With their purchase price, they also received all of the furniture. “The place was jam-packed. We used some of it, held weekend sales and an online auction, and donated a lot to thrift stores.”

At the same time as they were cleaning the place out, they learned they were accepted as vendors with The Cleveland Flea, a growing monthly event, which features local artists and food vendors.

In October 2015, they opened their doors, and the sisters haven’t looked back since. While I was there finishing up my wood pallet sign, there was a steady stream of customers entering the store and buying one-of-kind-pieces.

I told the sisters about my first paranormal romance novel coming out later this year.

“Karen would like that,” Kathy commented.

“Would you consider hosting a book signing party?” I asked.

“Sure,” they told me. “Let’s talk.”

And we did.

Once I have a book release date, I’ll provide a date and time for the party. In the meantime, check them out at http://www.thesalvagedboutique.com and sign up for a fun workshop, like Coloring and Cocktails–who can resist that?

These sisters sure know how to throw a party!

If it looks fun...it was! Plan to join me at this location later this year for a book signing party. You can check out all the unique finds and learn more about MInd Waves, a paranormal romantic suspense novel set in Lakewood.

If it looks fun…it was! Plan to join me at this location later this year for a book signing party. You can check out all the unique finds and learn more about Mind Waves a paranormal romantic suspense novel set in Lakewood.

Sisters talk trash, treasure and book signing party #amwriting #cleveland #ASMSG #vintage #salvage Click To Tweet

What If Your Greatest Frustration Powered Your Next Big Idea?

A writer’s life is filled with some highs, lots of lows and even more waiting around in between. The glacial movement of the publication process can be frustrating, especially for doers like me.

When I began the writing journey two years ago, the only thought in my head was whether or not it was possible for me to finish a novel and have the story make sense. I gave little consideration to what comes after.

I didn’t know I would spend a year querying agents and editors, attending meetings, reading and learning about the craft of writing and rethinking the work until I could barely look at it again without feeling a dead weight in the pit of my stomach.

But that is, indeed, what happened.

Big Idea Rocket

Frustration spurs creativity
The greatest source of my frustration during this period was how difficult it was to be heard and seen in such a crowded marketplace. Ironically, this led to renewed inspiration. I wondered: What could I write that would make me stand out from the crowd? What is the hardest story to tell?

My brain fired back–one that contains humor and is told mostly in dialogue. I happened to be watching Gilmore Girls with my daughter at the time, which contains a lot of face-paced, witty scenes. I’d also just read, Bet Me, by Jennifer Cruise, and the idea for Charmed By Charlie was born.

A star is born
It would be an office romance with several colorful side characters. Charlie, the hero, would be a flirt and a creative genius. Val, the heroine, would be a math whiz, who is wary of charmers due to a bad experience. There would be a mystery to solve–someone is embezzling money from the firm–which can only be resolved by the hero and heroine joining forces. Val would have to confront and adjust her prejudices about Charlie. Charlie would need to give up his freedom-loving ways for Val.

The first chapter wrote itself, and every chapter since has rolled fluidly from my keyboard onto my iPad. I began sharing chapter installments with several beta readers who were enthusiastic about the work. Write faster, they told me.

I, too, want to write faster. I, too, want to know what will happen next.

Last week, I flew into Phoenix for the Desert Dreams conference, where I met with two agents. I had intended to pitch my paranormal romantic suspense series, Mind Hackers. But a few weeks ago, I signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for Mind Waves, the first book in the series, and as a result, neither of the agents were interested in that world. So, I pitched Charmed By Charlie instead, and both agents I spoke with asked for sample chapters.

One of my critique partners suggested I enter the first few chapters into the long contemporary category of the 2016 Cleveland Rocks Romance Writers Contest. On Monday, I learned that Charmed By Charlie was a finalist in that category. Winners will be announced on May 21. I couldn’t be more excited.

When the going gets tough
Sometimes, when we feel like giving up, we just have to keep going. We have to ignore the naysayers (we all have them) and the little voices in our head that keeps us from going after what we love. We have to use the roadblocks in our way as fuel to take a different stance, look at the world a bit differently, and try something new.

It could be our greatest hurdle will produce our next big idea.

First Things First: Why I’m Jumping in Feet First As a New Author

My first book reading. Check out the cool beach glass candy. Photo credit goes to Philly Love Photos.

My first book reading. Check out the cool beach glass candy. Photo credit goes to Philly Love Photos.

The learning curve for a new author is intense, and it doesn’t stop even after you sign a contract.

As far back as the week I finished my manuscript, I was told I’d better start promoting myself as an author. Don’t wait until the book is published, I was warned. Get out on the Internet and social media now.

I took that advice. I learned how to build a website and a blog. I opened my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I began to post and tweet. I even started a board on Pinterest and began pinning novel covers I liked.

And then last week, the big day arrived. I signed a contract for Mind Waves. The long wait was over. I was going to be published. I would just need to work with the assigned editor, choose a cover, and write my author blurb. All new challenges, but I was ready for it.

But wait? What if no one reads the book?
I’d heard how critical reviews are for an author.

My writer friends and the publisher offered advice. Don’t wait for the book to be out to ask for reviews. Many reviewers won’t touch a book once it’s published. Write a press release and approach local media. Join helpareporter.com and look for PR opportunities. Who is your audience? Do you know? You must get creative and think “out-of-the-box.”

But wait, I thought that is what I was doing by writing a fiction novel in the first place? Frowns all around. Never mind.

Clearly, I have a lot to learn.
Here are a few more firsts that I participated in just this week:

  1. First Edits — I received my first round of edits from my publisher for Mind Waves. I was a little worried about what they might uncover, but I’m happy to report most were easy to follow. A few will take some work on my part to incorporate. But all in all, not bad for my first time out of the publishing block.
  2. First Signups — I participated in my first party, asking for email addresses. Okay, the party was not technically for me. It was a retirement party for a family member. But still, I drew up a quick sign describing my book and asked for email addresses AND I got a few. As of today, I have about 60 names on my list. A good start. I’ll continue to add more over time.
  3. First Book Reading — Perhaps most nerve-wracking of all was a book reading I did for some of my coworkers at a team event. I am fortunate to have some super friends in the office, who have been following my progress and were about as thrilled as I was when I finally signed a contract. I shouldn’t have been surprised when they asked if I would do a reading over the lunch hour. But I was surprised and thrilled and deeply touched.

Me starting to collect email addresses at a family party.

Me starting to collect email addresses at a family party.

Since I don’t have a book cover, I don’t have much for giveaways right now except my business card. But after some thought and searching on Pinterest, I came up with the idea to make beach glass candy. Turns out, it’s not hard and the finished product is cool (if I do say so myself). I made about 25 samples in cinnamon and lime favors, and they all disappeared.

The reading was more problematic. I wasn’t sure what passage or how much of the book to read. I didn’t want anyone falling asleep. After careful thought, I settled on providing a little background on how I came to write the manuscript, presenting a brief description of the novel, and then reading the prologue. My coworkers asked a lot of questions, and no one’s eyes glazed over, so I marked that down as a success.

Here’s a look at the book description for those who are curious….

MIND WAVES

Coming soon from The Wild Rose Press!

He has been in her mind.
________

He knows her thoughts.
________

He will do anything to protect her.
________

David navigates deadly brain waves.
Hacks into human minds. Protects the nation’s secrets.
But a powerful enemy wants the woman he loves.
And he won’t rest until David is dead.
________

Grace is an ordinary girl.
Or so she believes.
But a madman haunts her dreams.
And David may be the only one who can save her.
________

The ordinary is about to become extraordinary

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