Book Release Countdown

Happy Tuesday!

Let’s be real; Tuesdays aren’t all that thrilling, although we are having tacos tonight at my house. So.

But today is exciting because I got my final proof for Beach Glass & Other Broken Things in the mail, and even though there was a pretty significant fix I had to make (with help) in order to upload the final, final, final version (HOPEFULLY???) I’m happy and relieved release day is almost here! Just 8 more days until I can take a big breath and let this book out into the world. I’m a little nervous because I am literally out of time to order another paperback proof, so fingers crossed that everything comes out okay and I can double/triple-quadruple check everything online.

What I’ve learned: Self-publishing an entire book is so, so different than self-publishing an e-story (duh), and way different than being published with a (small) publisher. I did not realize how much work everything was going to be for me, or how much stress I’d be under as I neared the release date. The awesome thing is it’s also been really cool, and I will definitely do it again. Someday. LOLOLOLOLOL.

For now, I’m checking things off my long list and have to get final files uploaded to the various sites, contact some local press, set up my FB giveaway, mail out some paperbacks to some early readers, and things like that.

Next Wednesday will be a great day, and I will be back then to share my release day links. Make sure you come back, too!

 

Cover Reveal: Déjà You! 

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TITLE: Déjà You
PUBLISHER: Emerald Lily Publishing
RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2017

In Déjà You, five authors share stories of second chances, as varied in telling as the writers themselves.

Kelly Cain’s We’ll Always Have Oahu takes us on a whirlwind New Adult romance set in the 80s between a young woman on a high school graduation trip and a handsome Navy sailor.

Bianca M. Schwarz transports us to 1760 in The Pearl with the story of Marcus Landover, who attends a card party and ends up with more than he bargained for in the beautiful Sophia Chelmsford.

Amanda Linsmeier’s Joy and Sorrow reunites lovers separated by death in a Women’s Fiction tinged with the unusual.

The Eyes of the Heart by Jamie McLachlan gives us Rosalina, who is forced to confront her attraction and the truth about her blindness when a new gardener is hired at the Greystone house.

Finally, C.H. Armstrong brings us Mr. Midnight, where tragedy reunites two star-crossed lovers, but misunderstandings soon rip them apart. Now, six years later, the stars are realigning with the help of the smooth voice of a late night radio DJ.

Some of the stories are sweet, some sad, some steamy, but all carry the same theme. Déjà You is a collection of stories for those who believe in love, but most of all, second chances.


The Birth of Déjà You

About two years ago, a group of five novice writers signed with the same small publisher, each inexperienced in the publishing world yet committed to understanding the process and finding success. Through their mutual dive into unchartered territory, Amanda Linsmeier, Bianca M. Schwarz, C.H. Armstrong, Kelly Cain, and Jamie McLachlan reached out to one another and became instant friends, sharing laughs, tears, and the struggles of life and writing. We soon dubbed ourselves “Book Besties.”

During the fall of 2016, we decided to write a book of short stories together. As friends, we wanted to combine our talents to create a collection that would inspire hope and happiness. After much deliberation, we chose the theme “Second Chances” and decided to title this anthology, “Déjà You.” Though each story contains the same theme, they all are as unique as the author who wrote it. Including New Adult, Women’s Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, and Contemporary Romance, each short offers a different take on the theme and involves varying heat levels, from sweet to steamy.


About the Authors

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Kelly Cain has published a multicultural adult and new adult romance, but she writes across genres and age groups, currently penning book one of a young adult urban fantasy series. Most of her stories are set in Texas with frequent travels to her home state of California, and all of her stories have an excess of food weaved throughout.

If she’s not writing, she’s probably reading. Or maybe cooking. Check out her website for recipes for dishes featured in her books, and some other fun stuff. She has two adult daughters and lives in a suburb of Houston, Texas.

Kelly is the author of Altered, a new adult multicultural romance available wherever books are sold and Connections: A Steamy Short Story exclusively available on Amazon. Visit her on her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Tumbler.

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Bianca M Schwarz was born in Germany, spent her formative years in London, and has a US passport, but she considers herself a world citizen. She lives in Los Angeles because that’s where they make movies and she used to work on them. She writes novels because that’s kind of like making a movie in people’s heads and because she just loves books. Bianca has one son, because that’s all she can handle and she tolerates her husband because, well, she loves him and there is no help for that. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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Amanda Linsmeier is the author of Ditch Flowers and Beach Glass & Other Broken Things. Her writing has been featured in Portage Magazine, Literary Mama, and Brain, Child Magazine. Besides writing Women’s Fiction, she loves reading and writing fables, fairytales, and fantasy, and sometimes she pretends her Hogwarts letter is still coming. She can be found blogging about writing and books at amandalinsmeier.com. When she’s not writing, she works part-time at her local library and brings home more books than she has time to read. Amanda lives in the countryside, surrounded by trees, with her family, two dogs, and two half-wild cats. You can Amanda’s blog for book reviews and random musings, or check her out on Twitter or Facebook for more information.

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Jamie McLachlan is the Canadian author of Mind of the Phoenix, an Amazon Bestseller in Dark Fantasy and the first novel in the Memory Collector Series. The third, Rise of the Phoenix, is set for release in summer of 2017. When not writing, Jamie reads, dabbles in various crafts, and spends time with her family. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

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C.H. Armstrong is an Oklahoma-native transplanted in the Midwest. A life-long lover of books, she made her author debut with the 2016 release of her historical fiction novel, The Edge of Nowhere, which was inspired by her own family’s struggles during the one-two punch that was The Great Depression and The Dust Bowl. Armstrong is currently working on two young adult novels and is a regular contributor to the Minnesota-based women’s magazine, Rochester Women. Visit her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.


For more information on Déjà You or the Book Besties, visit their website, or find them on Twitter or Facebook.

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Cover Love #2 December 2016 

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At work today my boss asked me to relabel some books. I worked on four and a half carts in my three hours this morning and as I worked, I set aside six that caught my eye. I loved the whimsical, slightly romantic selection of these. I haven’t read any yet, but after admiring the cover art only to open the books and read the jacket blurbs, there are a few I’m adding to my TBR list!

Clockwise from top left:

1. Jacob’s Folly by Rebecca Miller: That swoopy text! The colors! The Renaissance  (?) lookin’ lady! Pretty.

2. The Stargazer’s Sister by Carrie Brown: Half a mysterious face, and oh, those gold stars, which you probably can’t see from this shot. Very nice.

3. The Red Hat Club by Haywood Smith: So, I’ve *heard* of these red hat gals, but haven’t ever seen the book. It’s just darn fun with a dash of sass

4. The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss: I love that this looks like a Jane Austen heroine mixed with some magic. Enchantment has to be one of my favorite words.

5. Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto: This cover seems bittersweet with that old book, the locket and flowers. I wonder what’s inside…

6. How to be Both by Ali Smith: If you look closely you’ll see those aren’t petals on a normal flower. They’re eyes. Intrigued, party of one!

Thanks for checking out Cover Love #2!

Running E-book Release!

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I once awoke from a dream.

In the dream I was desperate to escape an abusive husband. I had a very short window of time in which to run—in fact, I had to climb through a literal window in a back bedroom, and set out on foot before I was discovered. Panic and adrenaline rushed through my body as I scrambled to gather a few necessities for the journey. It was incredibly vivid, you know, one of those dreams that feels like being awake. Luckily it was only a nightmare, and not reflective in any way, of my real life.

I woke with my heart racing.

At some point, I found a pen, and wrote down a scattered few sentences for a story. That became the original story Running, which placed as a Runner-Up in the WOW! Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest in 2013. Their blog, The Muffin, said it “packed a powerful punch”. When a friend read it recently, she told me she wanted more, and so I have obliged, adding to the original 500 word story bringing it to about 2,500 words. You can read the most recent version for FREE on Smashwords, where you can download to read on multiple devices! Soon it’ll be up on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Amazon as well.

And don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list, pretty please!

I’ll be back with more releases in a couple weeks, when I’ll have another two stories up—they are brand new! And I am really excited to share them. One is about a woman who swaps places with her bird, and the other about a woman coming to terms with the end of a long-term relationship. Enough about those, though. Now go read my story! ::wink wink::

Thanks everyone,

Amanda

 

 

Book Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

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One day at work I was walking past a cart of new BCD (Books on CD) and saw Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’d read Eat, Pray, Love probably around the time it came out and became a huge Bestseller, and I also read The Signature of All Things. Since I’d enjoyed both of those books (Eat, Pray, Love more so than the other) and I loved the description of Big Magic, I picked it up right away, and listened to it every day during my commute until it was through. Being only 4 discs long, and taking just 5 hours of time, it was a fast listen!

Big Magic was eye-opening, brilliant at times, and very timely for me. As many of you know I’ve been having a wonderful creative surge the last couple of months, and I really feel in love with the art of writing. In Big Magic, Gilbert talks about living a creative life. She talks about how to be playful, joyful, how to not take yourself or your art so seriously, about how to put yourself and your words (or other art forms) out into the world, how to take risks, how to love what you do. One of my favorite things she said was that the universe hides jewels inside each of us. It is our job to unearth those jewels.

Another thing that stuck out was the idea that we should be putting our books, stories, and our work out there. That it does nobody any good to have it lying around hidden forever. A perpetual fear I have is of leaving this world behind with a computer full of things that nobody will ever read. I’m working harder to get things submitted traditionally, and published indie, in part because of this. We, as writers, or creators, can get so stuck on perfection, or fear, that we miss opportunities, and we deprive others of our joy. It doesn’t mean you have to send out subpar stuff, but let’s face it—the work will NEVER be published if you’re waiting for perfection. There will always be something to fix, or something you wish you’d done differently. Get proofreaders, find beta readers, edit, revise, and then for goodness sake, get out of your own way and let it be born. Are there things in my stories that even now make me cringe? Yes. But, a slightly imperfect novel is better than no novel at all, in Gilbert’s opinion, and now mine as well. You can, and should, always try to improve yourself, and your work. However, do not mistake improvement for perfection.

The most fascinating part of Big Magic, besides listening to Gilbert talk about her own process and evolution of success, was the idea that IDEAS just want to be made manifest. That they are actually things with energy, with will, and that if you choose not to make a project, it will move on to someone else. The part where she talks about how her Amazon jungle novel fell out of her head into her friend’s actually gave me chills. So neat. Ideas are looking for partners to collaborate with. They will find creators. Sometimes you will want the Idea that comes, and other times, it may not be the best fit. Gilbert suggests being polite, gracious, and even thanking your Ideas aloud, whether you accept their proposition or not. I love this idea. In fact, I’ve started doing it in my own life. “Thank you, for coming to me. Please, stick around for a while until I get this story figured out. I really appreciate it.”

If you’re looking for a quick read or listen, give Big Magic a try. Gilbert has a pleasant voice if you’re going with audiobook, and I think there would be something in there for everyone, writers or otherwise. This book got me thinking, it made me feel, and more than once, it made me say YES! 5 stars for this book. Check it out here.

 

 

Clementine E-Book Release!

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Today is the release of my new (old) e-book short story Clementine!

Let me tell you a little bit about the story. It began as a short flash fiction assignment in a Creative Writing class which I took as a returning adult student. I had never heard of flash fiction before that.

I am beyond bummed that I can’t find the original story, but if I recall, it was something like:

Frances walked in and saw her husband tangled up with another woman. She dropped the bag of oranges at her feet, and turned around and ran, slamming the door behind her as she went.

Very brief, huh? Ha, if memory serves it was a 35-word challenge, and that comes in at 34 words, so it’s probably fairly close to what I had.

Obviously, if you’ve read the version that was published with Portage Magazine then you’ll see it changed quite a lot since that mini challenge (including the main character’s name). In the last week, I’ve given some more love and attention to the story, and it has gone from about 1,000 words to almost 3,000. I also hired an editor, had formatting done, and got a cool cover.

Here’s the synopsis:

In this short story, Clementine makes an unfortunate discovery, and takes the ultimate sweet revenge on the one who betrayed her.

Please download it out for FREE on Smashwords, where you can read it on multiple devices! I’ll update my Store tab once I can list it on Amazon free, too.

And also, don’t forget to add it to Goodreads and leave your rating, or review! It means so much to me to have your support!

MWAH!

Amanda

Rousseau E-book Release!

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I had a little bit of an ah-ha moment the other day (again?? What’s with all these ah-has lately? Not that I’m complaining…) It’s not all that huge, but still pretty neat for me. Back in 2012 I had my first flash fiction piece published online, actually, I think it was my first fiction piece whatsoever, when I placed as a runner-up in the WOW! Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest. It was a wonderful boost for my confidence, and helped me to continue submitting other work. That story was Rousseau

Just a couple days ago, I decided that to boost visibility I would publish it as an e-book story. Perhaps some readers will come across it on Amazon or other channels who wouldn’t normally find my work. If nothing else, it was fun giving this older story a little love and attention! I went ahead and purchased a cover, had it formatted, and most importantly, revised the story, so it is slightly different than the original. Since I have the full story already linked in my “Published Work” tab, and you can read it for free on the internet, I’m not charging  (except temporarily on Amazon just until I can get them to lower the price!) so please pick up a FREE copy to read on your tablet, phone, whatever, through Smashwords.

I’ll add it to my store tab as soon as it’s up on all channels (Amazon, Kobo, etc) at the correct price (free!). Until then, please go check it out through Smashwords, and then please get thee to Goodreads to add your rating, and review! 😀 The best part is Rousseau is only about 1,000 words and is a very short read. A little bit about it:

Rousseau is the story of an overweight girl who finds, and loses, love on the internet, but may end up finding and loving something even more important- herself.

(Fun fact! Rousseau was daydreamed up in a college class, when I saw a pretty, zaftig girl who exuded so much confidence (I was quite jealous!). As someone who struggled with body image, especially at a younger age, I really wanted to explore the idea of confidence, and how it can evolve over time. The original was under 750 words. This newer version is over 1,000.)

Thanks for supporting me, and my work. Happy Friday, ya’ll.

Amanda