Tag: writing (Page 1 of 4)

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

How I found my literary agent

Two weeks ago, I got “the call.” 

You know, the call writers who have agents always talk about? The magical moment a literary agent calls them on the telephone and offers to represent their work.

Most authors believe “the call” will never happen to them. I was no exception. 

Let me explain.


It is a truth universally acknowledged that every author must experience rejection. And not just a single rejection, but continuous rejection over and over throughout their career.

Several years ago, I attended a talk where the speaker—a multi pen name, multi-published author and Golden Heart (a prestigious contest for unpublished romance authors) winner—talked about rejection. She said she won the Golden Heart, found an agent and was offered a three-book deal by a big press. She thought she’d made it until she was…well…rejected after the third book released and had low sales. 

She then went on to sign another book deal for a series with a different large publisher and…you guessed it…was later rejected. Eventually, she self-published a series, which offered her a big advantage over the traditional publisher. No one can tell you no when you self-publish—you’re your own boss. You can’t be rejected unless you reject yourself and who in their right mind would do that? So, self-publishing worked out well for her.

About the time I heard this author’s talk, I was in the throes of dealing with a painful rejection. It was from an agent I had high hopes would fall in love with my work in progress. She said she didn’t see anything worthwhile in the work, and it would be a hard sell to publishers. 

I appreciated her honesty. Really. 

But at the same time, I had also been rejected by my current publisher for my second book in my series. She said my plot needed more work, and what I had in my head wasn’t coming across on the page. She said I was telling and not showing enough in my writing, and she just didn’t “feel” the characters. She said she wouldn’t offer a contract.

Wow.

Harsh words from someone I thought liked my writing. 

If I hadn’t already published two books with two different publishers, I would have probably been crushed at this point. But I reminded myself, if I did it before, I could do it again.

And therein lies the rub. Sometimes the world will give you a resounding “no.” Sometimes you have to block the noise. You have to look deep inside yourself and listen to your heart.

Last year, I picked myself up and finished a new manuscript. The story, SWEET STUFF, finaled and then won its category in the 2019 Stiletto contest.

Great news. 

I figured someone would offer for the book, right? Wrong. The judges liked the book, but apparently, not enough to offer for it. I gave myself a healthy dose of positive self-talk and started my agent search for SWEET STUFF last September.

And got rejected. And rejected. And rejected some more. 

I scratched my head. 

If a contest win and great reviews by critique partners and beta readers didn’t generate results, what would? Maybe I should give up?

I took a breath, ate large amounts of Malley’s chocolates (they’re big in Cleveland), and continued querying. Every time I got a rejection, I sent out two more queries. Every time someone said no, I told myself yes (after shedding a few more tears and eating more chocolate). 

And then one day, an agent I queried asked to read the full manuscript. 

Yay! 

But it was only one request and was followed by five rejections. Then another request came in to read the full followed by more rejections. Then another. And so it went. Soon it was five requests from agents wanting to read my manuscript.

This had to be a good sign, right?

But would any of them actually offer for the manuscript? Two of the agents sent me a nice email indicating they liked the manuscript, but ultimately, it wasn’t quite right for their lists.

What a bummer. I swallowed painfully and sent out more queries.

Soon another agent asked for the full. Would she be the one? Six months had now passed since my first query, and I’d gotten six requests with no offers. I doubled up my research. I loved Hallmark movies, and had a favorite Hallmark writer. I googled and read an interview where she credited her agent with getting her a movie deal. Maybe I should send my manuscript to this agent? It’d be a stretch, but what did I have to lose?

Late one night, I sent my query zipping across the Ethernet. A day and a half later, I received a request for the full. I responded with the manuscript the same day.

And waited.

A week or so later, I was eating lunch with my husband and a friend, when an email notification flashed on my mobile phone. I caught the words “arrange for a call.”

My heart jerked inside my chest. Was this “the call?” 

I texted my critique partner, who’d just landed her own agent, and she suspected it was. Now I was really excited. 

The next day I took “the call.” The agent, Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein with McIntosh & Otis, loved the book, read it in a weekend, wanted to represent my work.

I don’t remember all we talked about during the call, but I do know we discussed a few tweaks (minor) and other ideas I had for new work. We seemed to click. I signed the contract and mailed it off this week. 

And that is how I landed my literary agent.

If you’re a writer looking for an agent, wondering if you’ll ever get “the call,” keep trying. Don’t give up. Rejection is a part of this business. It’s true what they say: writing is subjective. I suspect I’ll be rejected again before too long.

Take it a day at a time, be persistent, have faith in yourself. And when you feel like giving up, which we all sometimes do, reach deep inside, dig for courage, and keep going. Your heart knows the truth, and the truth will carry you to where you need to be.

How I found my literary agent #amwriting #ampublishing #books #book Click To Tweet

First Time EVER! Charmed By Charlie $.99 Cents, May 2-22

It’s May, winter is over, and the sun is—hopefully—shining. I’m in a great mood and celebrating with a special deal. For the first time ever, the award-winning Charmed By Charlie is on sale! May 2-22, 2018, you can find the book for just $.99 cents on:

This is a great price but it won’t less forever. But if that doesn’t convince you, here are five great reasons why you might want to check this book out:

  1. It won a bronze medalist in the 2016 Cleveland Rocks Romance Writers Contest.
  2. It was the recipient of Books & Benches Reviewer’s Choice Seal of Excellence.
  3. Library Journal calls it “A lighthearted and engaging read.”
  4. Long and Short Reviews gave it five glowing stars and named it “Book of the Month” for November 2017.
  5. It may be a long while before you see this price again.

But if that’s not enough to convince you, the book is featured as part of this special Love and  Laughter Contemporary Romance Giveaway. Enter May 2-22 for your chance to win. You could be one of 7 lucky readers to take home a Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire 7, ebook prize pack, or Amazon gift card.

(Sponsored by the 34 authors listed below)

Allyson Lindt • Amanda Uhl • Chiquita Dennie • Christine d’Abo • Daphne James Huff • Diane Louise • Donna R. Mercer • Eva Winters • Holly Cortelyou • Jacqueline Diamond • Jacquie Biggar • Jennifer Vester • Joanne Dannon • Karina Kantas • Karly Morgan • Kat Drennan • Leigh LaValle • Lori Sizemore • Lucy Lakestone • Marlow Kelly • Michele Barrow-Belisle • Michelle Jo Quinn • Mimi Barbour • Monique McDonell • RM Alexander • Robyn Neeley • S.L. Sterling • Shaniel Watson • Soraya Naomi • Stephanie Queen • Tara Wyatt • Victoria Pinder • Weston Parker • Aileen Harkwood

Plus, shop the book fair where you’ll find Charmed By Charlie for 99 pennies and plenty of other books for $2.99 or less. There’s  even  a bonus giveaway!

Enter the LOVE & LAUGHTER GIVEAWAY at Bookwrapt.com and you could win a Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire 7, Ebook Prize Packs, or Amazon GCs. https://bookwrapt.com/love-laughter/ #IARTG Click To Tweet

Wisdom for new authors: Don’t rush the process


“I finished writing my first book…now what? Any advice?”

I saw this post by a new author in a writing group yesterday and felt compelled to comment. I prepared a lengthy response and was all set to offer my advice when…poof. I got distracted and my amazing, insightful words vanished under my fingertips.

“Nooooo!” I bellowed, exchanging a few curses with my mobile device. Was that how this would end? Would the world never know the incredible wisdom I had to offer?

Then I remembered I have a website and a blog—a ready platform to share my views on writing or whatever else is on my mind. And I haven’t written a post in some time. So I got busy.

Why do I feel compelled to offer advice?

Not that long ago, 2015 to be exact, I was a new author. Fresh off the high of finishing my first manuscript, I stared at my keyboard wondering: What next? Who should I send this labor of loveliness to? How do I publish my first book?

Lucky for me, I joined a writer’s group with members able to offer advice. Still, no one told me what I’m about to tell you now.

Take your time.

Three little words but they’re critical to success. They spell the difference between good and great, between ho-hum and amazing, between a simple pedicure and the deluxe, between a slice of cheese pizza and one loaded with your favorite toppings, between a single taco and the entire enchilada…okay you get the picture (and now I’m hungry).

I know making it to the end of a manuscript is a miracle akin to welcoming a child into the world. You’ve dreamed about this moment most of your life, never thought you had it in you, and spent many years dredging the courage to begin let alone finish. You want nothing more than to see your finished cover and book in the hands of readers.

But please, take a deep breath and go back to your manuscript.

Did you rush the ending? Even a little? Did you catch every possible mistake? Did you eliminate clichés and make sure your writing is fresh?

Once you’re certain that your ending is as fantastic as your beginning and there’s no saggy middle, take your manuscript and send it to as many contests as you can find.

Yes, you heard me.

Don’t send it to a single agent or editor until you’ve entered contests…lots of them.

Why? Because contest judges provide a whole lot of feedback from professionals. Feedback you can use to evaluate and shine your manuscript until it sparkles. You will need this pizazz to compete with the millions of books in the marketplace and the thousands of new ones released every day.

Your book must be the BEST you can write. Only then should you share it with agents and editors and hopefully, one day with readers. You’ll know you’re ready when you place in your first contest.

Which brings me to my second reason why you shouldn’t rush into publishing.

The publisher.

Part of the learning curve to becoming a successful author is to find the best venue for your work—one that will give you the greatest reach in every format (print, electronic, audio, etc.). Roughly sixty percent of book sales are impulse buys. This means a reader happened to see your book somewhere and decided to buy it. Your book needs to be everywhere your readers are—which is literally everywhere. Will the publisher you sign with provide that kind of reach? Is this something you can garner on your own if you self-publish?

You get one chance to make a first impression. Once you publish your work, it’s out there. You can’t take it back. The publisher holds the rights to your book for the period of time in your contract. No agent or editor will touch it—the same holds true if you self-publish. What’s more, most publishers have the right of first refusal in their contract, meaning they get first dibs on every other book you produce in that series.

So why not take your time and make sure you find the venue that will give your book the biggest boost?

Keep writing while you pitch, and when you find your dream agent and publisher, you’ll not only have one masterpiece, but two or three or more in the making.

Don’t settle for the temporary thrill of seeing your words in print. You only get one shot to wow your readers and keep them returning for more. Perfect writing, like fine wine, takes time.

Don’t aim for a field goal, go for the touchdown. Shoot for the stars but don’t settle for anything less than the moon.

‪Wisdom for new authors: Don’t rush the process #blogpost #Writer #books #AuthorTip #writingtips #writerslife ‬ Click To Tweet

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Charmed By Charlie Release Day Has Arrived

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Charmed By Charlie

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

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

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

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

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

A Little Birthday Advice To Rev Up Your New Year


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

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

Consider this your lucky day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop. Now. Today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

If You Put a Writer In a Window…

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how it went down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A little encouragement from a spectator.

A little encouragement from a spectator.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Keeping Up When You’re Feeling Down

Up and Down
The title of this blog post came easy. The rest I’ve rewritten at least a dozen times. And that’s pretty much how its been with me lately. It’s all a little twisted. Like I put my shirt on backward or got out on the wrong side of bed.

Not that I’ve done those things. But every time I start to write, the words seem somehow wrong. No sooner do I type, I’m hitting the delete key. I write, rewrite, edit, write some more. Then I scrap the piece and start over.

It’s frustrating, annoying, downright depressing.

Why do I do it?
Sabotage my writing before it has time to sit on the page. This week, it’s due to a large dose of negative feedback.

The first came on Monday from an agent I had queried a while back for my newest work, Charmed By Charlie. “I couldn’t connect to the story as much as I wanted to,” she wrote.

Okay…I get it. Not everyone will like your work. But I had such high hopes for this one. I’ve been offered a contract from a great publisher. How could the agent not see how beautiful, wonderful, special this story is?

She seemed nice when I met her back in June. I really wanted her to be the one.

Bummer.

And then on the heels of this email, I received word the manuscript also failed to final in a contest I entered. What? I was so sure it would do well. I read over the feedback. The judges made statements such as, the goals, motivation and conflict weren’t clear.

But I plotted out the goals, motivation and conflict before I began writing. What went wrong?

Major bummer
Before I knew it, I found myself sliding, slipping, drowning in a sea of self-doubt. How could I write another word of my current manuscript, which is only sixty-six percent complete, with this kind of feedback?

The answer is I couldn’t. I stopped writing, walked straight to the freezer and downed the rest of the vanilla ice-cream left over from my son’s birthday party. Then I gorged myself on cottage cheese and granola bars–two late night snacks that have no business mixing together. And the next day…well, you don’t want to know how I felt the next day. Let’s just say, it wasn’t good. I’m grateful I can work from home.

Getting back in the chair
I started thinking about what drives me to write. From where does the passion come?

I love the feeling of starting a new project–the spark of inspiration, which motivates me to type for hours when I should be sleeping or doing laundry. Or the surge of excitement I feel listening to a favorite song or movie or reading a good book. Or the exhilaration of seeing the sun set or spotting the perfect piece of Lake Erie beach glass.

A favorite shot of beach glass I gathered from Lake Erie with a quote from my upcoming release, Mind Waves.

A favorite shot of beach glass I gathered from Lake Erie with a quote from my upcoming release, Mind Waves.

These are the stuff of creativity. They stir the pot of ideas and keep me moving. They’re a jolt of energy telling me I can take on the world or at least my small piece of it. Nothing’s gonna hold me back.

Until someone throws out a negative comment about something I’ve written, and I come crashing back to earth with a resounding thwack.

It hurts.

And then I calm down
Time brings perspective. I go back and reread the letter from the agent.“I’d definitely be open to seeing something from you in the future,” she wrote. “So please keep in touch and hopefully we can work together on a different project.”

Hmm…she must like my writing to offer to look at new material.

I also take a closer look at the contest feedback. The final question asks for overall commentary. Here are excerpts from the judges:

“The important points being brought up indicate a strong storyline being crafted: a boring boyfriend, disappointment at work, an unpredictable best friend, a hot new co-worker…all these are excellently introduced. I think the story will be very compelling once some pacing issues are addressed and the hero makes his GMC known to the reader.”

“This is a manuscript worth pursuing. The setting is interesting, the characters compelling, and the writing make me want to turn the pages!”

“This is really nearly there. Your voice is good, easy to read and entertaining, and you do banter well. Some very funny lines.”

Okay, so the manuscript needs some work. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great story. Stop listening to the world and listen to your gut. It knows what no one else does.

“This is gonna be a great one,” it says.

Okay, where’s my iPad? Time to get back to work.

Keeping Up When You're Feeling Down #amwriting #amediting Click To Tweet

Need a Shot of Inspiration? You Can’t Beat Lakeside Ohio

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Our cottage this week at Lakeside.

My happy spot is a gated community on the shores of Lake Erie called Lakeside. My family and I have rented a cottage this week and are busy taking in the sights and sounds of the summer season.

Like its more famous cousin in New York, Lakeside is a Chautauqua-style vacation spot dating back to the late 1800’s. Visitors breathe in its history and shroud of vacationing happiness from the moment they pass through the gate. Writers draw inspiration from the ivy crawling up the sides of the quaint, and sometimes creepy, Victorian cottages. At least I do.

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Vines grow up the sides of this old cottage. Could it be haunted? If so, they’re happy ghosts.

Something for everyone
Lakeside has entertainment galore for young and old alike. The kiddies can run and shout in the splash pool, collect sand in their bottoms on the beach, or jump and climb on one of the many playgrounds sprinkled throughout the grounds.

Felix

Felix Cavalieri’s Rascals at Lakeside, Ohio

Teens can play video games, ping-pong, foosball or good old-fashioned board games in the teen center by the lake. And people of all ages can compete in shuffleboard, miniature golf, tennis, and basketball or enjoy nightly entertainment in Hoover Auditorium. On Saturday, we were entertained by Felix Cavalieri’s Rascals.

If games aren’t your thing, well then, you may want to sign up for an art class at the Rhein Center, take a yoga or cooking class, set sail on a sailboat or enjoy a walk by the lake. This week, I’ll turn hammered silverware into plant markers and make a lighted glass block. I’ll also connect with fellow author, Jena Henry, who teaches a class on self-publishing each week during the season.

There’s ice-cream and shopping, too — half the fun is moving around by bike or golf cart from store to store.

To have and to hold
This is our twenty-third year for Lakeside. (Don’t I feel old.) My husband and I first drove through the gate to celebrate our one-year anniversary in 1993. Lakeside grabbed a hold of my heart on that visit, and we’ve returned every year since, eventually bringing our children, friends and extended family with us.

From time to time, I try to articulate what makes Lakeside unique in this day and age of exotic vacations and four-star hotels. The accommodations are not fancy. You bring your own sheets and towels in most of the cottage rentals. It’s not uncommon to sit on mismatched furniture or sleep in beds with patchwork quilts. In the cottage where we are staying, family photos decorate the walls in the dining room, along with a collection of teacups. Harmless bugs, called Mayflies, swarm in from off the lake and roost in the rafters on the outside patio. The houses are built so close together, the smell of the neighbor’s dinner on the grill drifts into the yard, making my mouth water.

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Family photos on the walls of our cottage rental.

 

Mayflies cling to the roof on our patio.

Mayflies cling to the roof on our patio.

 

Tea for two or more...Lakeside have its own tea room but these teacups are on display in our rental.

Tea for two or more…Lakeside does have its own tea room, but these teacups are on display in our rental.

No the accommodations are less than desirable, and yet, I find myself relaxing into the cushions on the wicker chairs and soaking in the ambience of the place, like the air plant on my kitchen window at home after a long period without water. Today, I churn out 1,000 words on my current manuscript, and I write this blog.

One of the many beautiful flower displays, which grace the grounds of Lakeside.

One of the many beautiful flower displays, which grace the grounds of Lakeside.

Indefinable
“Smell that?” My mother-in-law asks, peering into the window of the cottage across the street, which is for sale.

I dutifully take a whiff. The musty smell of old wood and damp, like a thousand storms off the lake, assaults my nostrils.

“That’s the smell of old houses.”

“I love that smell,” I say. Even as the words leave my mouth, I realize I do love that smell.

“You do?” she asks.

“Yeah,” I say, but I find myself at a loss for words to explain why.

Perhaps that is Lakeside’s magic. One hundred years from now, you and I won’t be here, but Lakeside will still welcome tired vacationers to its shores — to be rejuvenated, to soak in its history, and to try and put words to its mystique and charm, which has us returning year after year.

A step back in time. My husband and I pose by the inn we stayed at 23 years ago.

A step back in time. My husband and I pose by the inn we stayed at 23 years ago.

Need a Shot of Inspiration? You Can't Beat Lakeside Ohio #TWRP #Lakesideoh #NEORWA Click To Tweet

Check Out Haunted Souls — Great New Romantic Suspense Novel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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