Tag: novel

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

_______________________________________________________________________________

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.

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.

Cover Reveal: Don’t Miss ‘Race the Darkness’ Coming Oct. 4!

From time to time, I’m featuring area writer’s on my blog who have exciting news to share…

It’s precisely 7:22 p.m. ET, the sun has just set in the Eastern Time zone, and it’s starting to get dark. What a perfect time to reveal the cover of Race the Darkness, a dark, gritty, and emotional romantic suspense novel by a fantastic Northeast Ohio debut author Abbie Roads!

Abbie is a Golden Heart finalist (the largest romance novel contest for unpublished authors–being a finalist is a big deal) and is a member of my writing group, the Northeast Ohio Romance Writer’s Association. Her work as a mental health counselor gives her chilling insights, which play out in her writing. This book, which is on my must read list, is the first book in her Fatal Dreams series and will be released Oct. 4.  Can’t wait to get my copy and thought I would also share the cover and description with all of you.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/22nGnVk

B&N: http://bit.ly/1pwghOK

BAM: http://bit.ly/1RmOgoN

image

Cursed with a terrible gift

Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

That threatens to engulf them…

Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

Here’s what Abbie has to say about this novel:
I wrote Race the Darkness from start to finish three different times, with three different story lines, and with three different titles! The only thing that ever remained the same between the versions was Xander and Isleen. I believed in them and the story they wanted to tell. I hope you love reading about their tragedies and triumphs as much as I enjoyed writing them… All three times! And isn’t the cover amazing, beautiful, gorgeous? I cried the first time I saw it! It made all the hard work to get this book to you worth it!

For exclusive content and giveaways, you can sign up for Abbie Roads NEWSLETTER.

For more on Abbie:
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE
TWITTER

Race the Darkness Cover Reveal by @Abbie_Roads via @AuAuthor Click To Tweet

The Long Road to Publication: How I Got An Editor to Say ‘Yes’ to My Manuscript


It seems like a dream to post this blog entry.

Two years ago, I took the plunge. I spent nine months writing my first book, a paranormal romantic suspense novel called Mind Waves. Whenever I thought about quitting, I reminded myself that I also want to quit running but that doesn’t mean I should. There are huge payoffs when I exercise regularly and the same is true of my writing. Without steady writing, I can’t finish the book, and I certainly can’t improve. Without steady exercise, my overall health suffers, and I gain weight.

My waistline and I are both happy to report that we kept running and writing. By April 2015, I had written an entire manuscript. I can still remember the utter joy and astonishment I felt when the last words hit the page. It mirrored the moment I saw each of my three babies for the first time in childbirth. Although nothing can match that excitement, finishing my book was a close second.

In fact, as I wrote in this post back in May, in many ways writing a novel is like birthing a child: you carry the story around with you for nine months, while you painstakingly nurture it, and then before you know it, the big day arrives, and you are showing your baby off to your friends and family.

A Slew of Rejection
What I wasn’t quite prepared for was the first year of my manuscript’s life. Although I had heard all about the pitfalls of rejection, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to get the attention of an agent or editor in such a crowded marketplace. Since the advent of self-publishing, the number of books hitting the world has swelled from 600,000 a year to some 3.3 million. In fact, I read somewhere that every five seconds a new book is posted to Amazon.

Saying there are a large number of query letters landing in agent and editor inboxes at any one time is an understatement. Although I don’t know the exact number of aspiring writers submitting manuscripts, I can tell you there are so many, that it takes months to get a response (if you even get a response) to your query. And most of the time, these responses are cold, impersonal rejection notices.

“Thank you but your book is not quite right for our list,” or “While an interesting premise, I’ll have to pass.”

Editor Extraordinaire
Although I didn’t know it at the time, I got a lucky break in May 2015, when I joined the Northeast Ohio Romance Writer’s Association (NEORWA) and learned that their annual conference would be held at the end of the month. I signed up and managed to pitch one agent and two editors, all of whom asked for my manuscript. One of those, Ms. Laura Kelly with the Wild Rose Press, took the time to provide me with specific feedback. While she didn’t feel my manuscript was up to Wild Rose Press’s standards, she did provide suggestions for improvement and the titles of a few books on self-editing.

I took her suggestions to heart. Bought the books and read them. I’ve never been much of a “book-learner,” though, preferring to learn by doing. So I continued to seek critiques and tweak my manuscript, while jumping back into the fray of pitching and querying.

Contests Generate Feedback…and Wins!
I started entering contests and kept this up throughout the year. Right off the bat, I was runner-up in the Music City Writer’s Pitch Contest, so I knew then my storyline had merit. More importantly, I found contests to be the best source for gaining professional feedback from other writers.

By August 2015, I had been awarded second place in the paranormal category in the 2015 Central Ohio Fiction Writer’s Ignite the Flame Contest and had rewritten the story painstakingly several times. I felt it was improved enough to resubmit to Laura Kelly. Shortly after Thanksgiving, she let me know she liked the story but felt certain plot changes would need to be made. If I was willing to make the changes, she said, she would look at the story again.

I felt her suggestions were sound, so it was back to revising. I spent the next two months reconstructing the plot. During this time, I also joined a critique group. The willingness of other members to provide constructive feedback was invaluable.

In January, I resubmitted the revised version. Laura Kelly responded immediately to tell me she would review and be back in touch by May.

Meanwhile, I learned the story received a bronze medal in The 2015 Rudy Writing Contest. For kicks in February, I decided to participate in a Twitter pitch contest, where publishers could favor pitches they liked. My pitch was favored by seven publishers, who after reading the initial chapters, all asked for the full manuscript. Five of these publishers eventually offered contracts, putting me in a quandary–should I accept one of the offers or should I hold out for the editor I wanted, Laura Kelly?

Final Pitch
After some internal debate, a flurry of emails and some googling, I decided to notify Laura Kelly about one of the contract offers, asking if she had had a chance to review the manuscript. She had not, but requested a week to take a look.

Before the week was up, she emailed to let me know she liked what she had read. Although only half way through, she was sending it out to a preliminary reader. Within a few days, I received a notice that it had passed the preliminary reader and was being forwarded to the senior editor for final approval.

Another week passed, while I tried not to worry about the outcome. Meanwhile, Laura Kelly wrote to tell me to relax over the weekend as I probably wouldn’t get a response until the following week. Easier said than done, but I made dinner plans with some old friends and managed to forget about it for a moment or two. Of course, it was while sitting in the restaurant that I received the email from the senior editor,  Ms. Amanda Barnett. Her email titled, “Contract for Mind Waves,” was enough to make me gasp and nearly fall off my chair. Instead, I did the next best thing and ordered dessert.

It’s a Wrap
I didn’t spend a long time reviewing the contract before signing. The Wild Rose Press has a certain reputation as an author-friendly outfit. They’ve been listed by the well-respected Preditors & Editors (P&E) website as “Best Book Publisher” seven years in row. Laura Kelly herself was voted the number one book editor at P & E three years in a row.

It has been long road to publication, but I am thrilled to be entering the final leg of the journey.

Now, it’s time to think about planning a book launch party (or parties!). Although I’m still working out the details, one thing’s for certain–you’re all invited!

#Am Writing How I Got an Editor to Say 'Yes' to My Manuscript via @AuAuthor Click To Tweet

Cooking Up a Book Takes Perseverance

Writing a book calls for a recipe of careful planning mixed with blood, sweat and tears. And don’t forget to stir in confidence, persistence and stubbornness.

And just when you start to get excited, thinking you are onto something, someone tells you the batter looks kind of funny. Why is it that weird orange color? There are no oranges in this recipe!

So you mix and stir and mix some more. This time the recipe will be perfect…won’t it?

Fingers crossed
On a wish and a prayer, you pop the doughy mass in the oven (which in this case takes the form of an email to an editor or agent you think might have interest) and then there’s the inevitable wait, wait, wait and wait some more while it bakes.

What will the finished product look like? A lopsided mess? Or will it, perhaps, take shape and form while it’s baking, rising to the perfection you know in your heart it can achieve?

But even if it looks good, what about the taste? What will the critics think?

And then self-doubt moves in. “What do you know?” the little voice says. “You didn’t go to culinary school. Your degree is in marketing. You don’t know how to cook. In fact, you have no business wearing an apron or being in the kitchen! Just because you made one pie years ago, which your mother and father said was delicious, doesn’t qualify you as a chef. And yes, I know your friends and coworkers all rave about your cooking, but they have no professional experience in the kitchen.

What will it be this time?

What will it be this time?

Looking for love
Still you hope and pray someone, anyone will give you a word of encouragement. Just enough to keep you going another week or day or minute. But the words you crave are few and far between because…well..because everyone else is dreaming up their own recipe and waiting for it to come out of the oven like you.

Ding! The oven timer (and believe me, my email ping, indicating an agent, editor or contest coordinator has responded to a submission, sounds just like my oven timer) has rung. What will it be this time? With shaky hands you open the over door and peer inside, pull the pan out and look it over with a critical eye. Looks and smells okay to you. The dough has risen. One taster even remarks on that. But most of the others agree it wasn’t ready to come out of the oven yet. You should have added extra flour or a bit more sugar.

With heavy heart, you tweak the recipe, which takes weeks and months until you don’t want to fiddle with it anymore. Because the more you fiddle, the more you’re afraid you’ll end up ruining the inspiration for it, which got you excited about concocting the darn thing in the first place.

But finally, finally, it’s perfect and ready to go back in the oven.

You wipe a sweaty hand across your brow and with churning stomach and a dollop of courage, reach for the over door again.

This time, you tell yourself. This time’s a real winner. I just know it.

Cooking Up a Book Takes Perseverance Click To Tweet

That time I was in two places at once

imageThese days, I often wish there were two of me — one to do the dirty dishes and the other to lounge by the pool.

“If only I had more time,” I say. That’s my new mantra. I grumble it as I leave the house to take my daughter to school or stop at the drug store or run to the post office. Usually, I’m dressed in old sweats and flip-flops, no makeup on and my hair looking like a discarded bird’s nest. If I had a clone, I could catch up on some z’s, and I wouldn’t have to leave the house without a shower.

In my fantasy, I send the clone to the day job and spend the afternoon writing my next novel at Starbucks over a chai tea latte. I’m also 30 pounds lighter and I’m eating a cinnamon roll. (Hey, if I’m going to fantasize, I might as well make it good, right?)

Anyway, in case you are wondering, I do know no one can really be in two places at the same time. I have not totally lost it (yet).

But recently, I got to thinking about this. And then I started googling, and the more I learned, the more I began to wonder….

Law of quantum physics
Scientists say it is possible to be in two places at once — if you are a subatomic particle. You see, in the world of quantum physics, which operates on a different principle than our reality, a tiny object is neither a particle, nor a wave. It is in a constant state of flux and therefore, is a bit of both depending on how it is viewed. This means it can be moving or still simultaneously. In other words, it can take two different paths at the same time. (I sound intelligent, don’t I? Thank you, Wikipedia).

Of course this does not apply in our reality — the real world, so to speak. We can’t be in two places at once…can we?

Famous saints
According to many, Padre Pio could do it. This modern day Catholic saint, who died in 1968, was widely known to have the ability to bilocate or be in two places at the same time. Many witnesses have come forward to confirm this claim. Of course, skeptics say Padre Pio was a fraud. He also suffered from the stigmata — the wounds of Jesus Christ — and was accused of using carbolic acid to create the wounds.

And yet…here I go again diving into something I never thought I would ever write about in a blog post — I have had the experience of being in two places at the same time. My mind, not my body. Let me explain.

Hot date
I am 19 and home from college for the summer. I am getting ready to go to church, a forced commandment in my parent’s home, no matter how disinterested I am at the time. My younger sister is getting ready to go on a date with a new boy. “No fair,” I think. “Why does she get to go on a date, while I’m stuck in church.”

The doorbell rings, interrupting my private pity party, and my sister begs me to get the door so she can continue to prep. I do and am surprised by the boy who is standing there — he’s quite cute — clean-shaven, blond hair and in blue jeans. I’m surprised because my sister’s choices in men are generally more rough around the edges than mine — usually a few tattoos and earrings. This boy looks like someone I might choose.

“Take a seat,” I say, gesturing to a chair in the kitchen. “She’ll be right down.”

I take off back up the stairs so I can finish blow-drying my hair. On the way up, I exchange a few words with my sis.

“Hey, he’s in blue jeans. You’d better change from that fancy dress to something more casual.”

My sister is in panic mode. “We’re going to a movie, and we’re already late. There’s no time,” she tells me, flying down the stairs.”

“Have fun,” I call after her.

And that, readers, is when the magic happened.

Two places at once
You see, I was still blow drying my hair. My mind, however? Well, my mind was curious. It was busy wondering what my sister’s hot date was thinking when he saw how dressed up she was. So, it took off down the stairs after her.

Many hours later, my sister walked through the door, blathering on about her incredible date.

“Do you think he likes me?” she asked.

“Yes, I do,” I told her. “Didn’t you see his face when you came downstairs?”

“No, how did he look?”

“He looked really happy to see you.”

I went on to describe other details. We must have talked for an hour before I arrived at a shocking realization. How could I possibly know what his face looked like or any other details when my sister came downstairs? I hadn’t been downstairs when they left. I had been upstairs blow-drying my hair.

The realization hit both of us at once, and we stared across the bedroom, our startled faces mirroring one another.

“How can that be?” she asked. “I swear I felt your hand on my shoulder as I went downstairs.”

“I know,” I say. “I remember following you downstairs. That’s how I saw what he looked like. I was right behind you.”

“But you weren’t,” she said.

“No, I wasn’t. I never went downstairs. It’s…impossible.”

That night I pondered the mystery. Years later, I am still pondering. My body never left the upstairs. But somehow, my mind did.

Maybe it has something to do with those subatomic particles?

Let your little light shine

image“This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.”

Sing with me now.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.”

Great little gospel tune, isn’t it? It was written by composer and teacher Harry Dixon Loes around 1920. Most claim it takes its source from the bible when Jesus tells his listeners, “You are the light of the world.”

I heard it often as a child and always thought of it as a metaphor for our spirit or soul — a nice idea or sentiment but not meant for listeners to take literally.

BUT (and there’s always a big BUT when it comes to the paranormal), what if there is a light that shines forth from each of us, unseen by the naked eye, but real, nonetheless? And what if YOU were one of the few that could see it?

That’s the difficulty facing the heroine in my current work in progress, CROSS WAVES. Not only does she see lights around everyone she meets, but each person’s light gives off a different color that helps her make sense of what they are thinking and feeling. And she is so talented at this particular skill, that she can track missing persons by drawing their light to herself. Sound intriguing?

Of course, every good fantasy novel has some basis in reality. In the real world, proponents of the little light call it an “aura,” and they claim that certain gifted individuals can see it. Others say the lights are caused by a medical issue, such as a migraine or neural disorder, and are not magical or mystical.

I would call it all hogwash, accept (gulp, out with it Amanda), I have seen them frequently myself. When I first noticed the strange lights hovering around my teachers and classmates in grade school, I referred to them as my “bad eyes.” I figured I would stop seeing them when I received my first pair of glasses and contacts in high school.

BUT… the lights didn’t stop
Rather, they grew in intensity, and as I got older, I saw them more frequently and in strange venues — conference rooms, restaurants, rock concerts, etc.

To me, the lights appear to correspond to an individual’s energy level, which is why I think I tend to see them around public speakers, who typically are energized. Often, they are colorless or white, but I have seen the lights as blue, green, orange and black.

Is it the shape or construction of my eyes that cause the lights? Do I have a medical problem? Or am I being fanciful in imagining there is something more?

Maybe, it’s a little of each. Whatever the cause, I hope I’m fanciful enough to produce a novel that will keep your interest and stay with you long after the final pages have been turned.

So, let your little light shine. But remember, someone could be watching.


Note: Enjoying these posts? Did you know you can be notified when they are published and read them in an email each week? Just enter your email address to the right to subscribe.

Five things I didn’t know until I wrote my novel

imageIt’s only been a little more than two months since I finished writing my first novel, but I have learned a lot of BIG ideas in that time. Here they are, in no particular order:

1.) Writing the book was the easy part — I am naïve. I thought that I would write the book, send it off to a few agents and editors and someone would express interest in reading the manuscript. Not so. First, comes the pitch, which is your query letter. Your query is a cleverly crafted, succinct summary of your book, free of grammar errors, marketing fluff and cheesy lines. It must describe the plot, the hero, the heroine and the hook — that special something that will draw the agent in and make them want to sell your book. It must not be too long or too short — opinions vary widely on what the proper length is, but if it can be kept to one page, that seems to be about right. Expect to rewrite it dozens of times before you get it right and even then, it may not be right. You’ll know because you’ll send it out to a dozen agents and half will not write you back. The other half will write you a nice form letter rejection. Develop a thick skin. Most would-be authors can expect to be rejected 100 times before getting a bona fide offer.

2.) You must be social media and computer savvy — Worldwide, more than 2 million books will be published this year. It is a crowded marketplace. Publishers rely on authors to market themselves to increase sales. That means you need to develop a following before you have published the book. This seems contrary and intimidating for a new novelist but is a necessary part of the process. If you don’t have a personal website, author Facebook page, and Twitter account at a minimum, you’d best get busy developing these tools. It doesn’t hurt to use other apps like Pinterest and Instagram to post photos that lead to your website, too.

3) You must go to conferences — I did not get any offers to read my manuscript until I went to my first conference — then I got three. Pitching a book in person is A LOT easier than pitching your novel in a query letter. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and showcase skills, such as your ability to be articulate and sell your novel. The agent/editor can get a sense of your personality and whether they might enjoy working with you. Plus, at conferences you can talk to other writers, hear from interesting speakers, take workshops, and buy books. The time spent is well worth the effort and beats the cold query any day.

4.) You must enter contests — Being able to state that you are a contest winner in a query letter is golden. Since agents can get up to 500 queries in any given week, you can use the extra credit a contest win provides to stand out in the slush pile. Plus, entering a contest requires your manuscript to be judged, which means it will get read by other authors, agents and editors, and you will get feedback. Getting professional feedback on your manuscript can help you improve your writing, which will eventually lead to a publishing deal.

5.) You must be patient — Some time ago I completed an exercise in a book called StrengthFinders. It identified my top five strengths based on 40 years of research by Gallup, which analyzed and recorded the traits of highly successful people. When my results came back, I was a little surprised by my number one trait: Activator — a person impatient for action. There’s no worse project for a person with activator in their makeup than writing a novel. The whole process is a lesson in patience. It’s a lot of hurry up and wait. I guess I’m still working on this one.

Enjoying these posts? You can get the lastest in your email box by subscribing to my Newsletter.

© 2021

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑