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!

 

April Update

Hi.

I’ve been having some minor blog guilt because I know I’m slacking on cool, new posts (sorry!) BUT I do have a few neat things to share today. Soon, I’ll have some book reviews (because, yay! I’ve been reading more) up, too. But today I just want to update you on a few things.

-My publisher Penner is interested in Weightless. It doesn’t mean they’ll take it, but I’m excited that the premise was intriguing enough. So far, I’ve sent a few chapters and the synopsis. I’d be grateful for some good vibes. I really love this story and I think it deserves an audience.

-I’m back on to the querying game for Witch Lessons! Partly fun, partly brutal, I’m starting out again with a pretty good responses. I’ve gotten some rejections but I also have a partial and a full out right now. So that’s sweet. Another batch is going to go out next week so fingers crossed. I really have had a good feeling about this ms for a long time. I love it, and I hope others will, also.

-As for poetry news, I got an acceptance for SIX poems from a really kick-ass place. I’m still waiting to hear that they’ve received my email accepting their acceptance (ha) so I don’t want to shout it from the rooftops yet because I’m still a little afraid it won’t happen. But still, so far so good?

Beach Glass & Other Broken Things is almost here! Can you believe it? Because I sure can’t! Don’t forget to sign up for the Goodreads giveaway. There’s still plenty of time left to enter and win a signed copy plus an engraved piece of beach glass. Right now I’m just reading through the last proof to make sure all is good on the paperback front, and then that’s it. I can sit back and enjoy my book birthday in a few weeks!

-Deja You: Stories of Second Chances, my BookBesties collaboration is also almost here. We just ordered our proofs and they arrived today, and they are gorg. Now we need to read through and make sure there’s no errors or anything, and then that will be on the way to publication (May 30th). We’ll also be doing a giveaway for that, so stay tuned.

-Fireflies & Fairy Dust. The anthology I’m helping out with is now re-opened for submissions. Please check it out here.

I think that’s it. Besides the mess that is my personal life right now (a happy mess, but still, a mess, thank you house reno), that’s all. Work at the library is going well, family is good, and I am anxiously awaiting completing some of the projects above so that I can get back to the writing. Damn, do I miss it.

Take care, guys. Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

Cover Reveal: Déjà You! 

deja you jpeg image

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

kellycain200x200

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.

authorphotoweb

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.

10254015_492271840927359_9159417025130441003_n

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.

5b26cd_c6727b40380f424a9a8f337501ca0160~mv2

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.

blogging

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.

Save

Proofs Have Arrived!

My proof paperbacks came (early, I might add) and I am swooning over how amazing they look in person! I’m shipping them off to early reviewers this week, and keeping one copy for myself to proofread and make sure it’s in tip-top shape.

So, I’ll be super busy the next few days getting that in order. Just wanted to share 🙂

Thanks!

Two Poems

Good afternoon everyone. I hope your days are all shaping up nicely. I’m feeling a little under the weather today, which is the not-so-good news, however I do have something to be happy about– my two poems “when my arms are full” and “from my body” are now up on Mothers Always Write! I’d be grateful if you’d go have a look-see (looksee?) and let me know what you think.

Read them here

Thanks guys! I’m off to go rest a little, and hopefully start feeling better!

-Amanda

Cover Reveal! Beach Glass & Other Broken Things

Good morning! Today, I am so happy to share my big cover reveal for my upcoming short story collection Beach Glass & Other Things! Its been months in the making, ever since I got a vague idea in my head for the kind of cover I wanted. Something simple yet striking. Something related to the title, more specifically, something featuring actual beach glass. The title also happens to be the title of the first story in the collection, and does, I believe, an excellent job of conveying the tone of the stories and the characters within. And, as a public library employee, I am so lucky to get to be one of the first people there to see all the new books. Day after day, so many beautiful covers come through my room. I get to touch them. Get to see what I like and don’t like. Its definitely given me more of an eye for cover design!

I found a stunning listing on Etsy for engraved beach glass (often referred to as sea glass as well), and contacted them. These pieces are used for wedding or party place cards, but I felt they’d make a gorgeous cover image, and I was right! The seller was wonderful, and shipped super fast, so click the link if you want your own. Seriously, look at these beauties:

il_570xn_1112269700_5ppx

I also got some extra pieces made for giveaways, but more about that later 😉

Once I had the glass, my wonderful photographer Peter took it from there. I brought the glass, the sand, and the old boards my loving hubby had dusted off and cut for me. Side note: If you want to guess how much a bag of sand from the hardware store weighs, add about fifty pounds to your guess, and then picture it stuffed into a long, skinny. slippery bag, with a tiny sprout of a handle about half an inch long. Then picture me, in heels, just coming from work, trying to load it into my car, where it proceeds to slide directly out of my wimpy arms once I managed, after four (yes FOUR) tries to pull it out of the cart, and onto the slushy parking lot ground. Rinse. Repeat. I finally heaved it into the floor of my passenger seat after dragging it inch by inch on the wet ground, and I swear, my car groaned. I may have sworn a few dozen times myself.

Sorry, I digress.

The photo was taken, and I could already see it was going to be great, and then it was off to  Harper Skye Designs, who worked some magic and made it complete. I am in love with the design, and so thankful for everyone who had a part in making it! And without further ado, here it is:

ebook-beach-glass-jpeg

Gahhh! So gorgeous, amirite?? I hope you like the entire cover when you see it, but for now, just a front cover reveal. Pretty soon the book will be available for pre-orders. Right now I’m going through my editor’s notes, and deciding what to keep or cut. Until then, feel free to spread the word and share the cover with friends and all your reading buddies! I will definitely keep ya’ll posted as I have more fun milestones to share. Next up will be presales and hopefully ARCs arriving for my early readers! All this time, YEARS of writing some of these stories, and building this collection, and months of planning, plus you know, blood, sweat, tears, and sandbag humiliation, and it is finally almost here. I am one happy gal right now. It is different, and yet similar in lots of ways to how I felt when Ditch Flowers was released. Surreal. Exciting. And a little bit nerve-wracking. But, above all, I’m thrilled. And I’ll be posting a couple big giveaways soon, so please keep checking back!

Thanks for being a part of my journey! (That line may or may not have come from The Bachelor).

Mwah!

Amanda

Sonja Uncaged E-book Release

 

sonja-uncaged-cover-minex2

Hi everyone! I am happy to share another short story is available now for you to read. Sonja Uncaged is an 8,000 word story I wrote this fall about a woman who swaps bodies with her bird. Side note: I had someone close to me, who is a great graphic designer, make the cover, but it turns out I’m an incredibly stubborn perfectionist (lol) who wanted something I couldn’t vocalize, so I played with his design and tweaked it a little until it was as close to my imagination as possible. What I learned: It’s NOT easy making a cover, or even changing an existing design (and I’m clearly an amateur!). But, it was still fun! Hopefully it looks okay 🙂 But, back to the story. It’s a fantasy Women’s Fiction, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Here’s more about it:

A short story about a lonely young woman riddled with panic attacks and agoraphobia. Sonja’s only friends are her fat cat Louie, and her new bird Phinny. Despite her crush on her mailman Ben, she is unable to form relationships because of her crippling anxiety. And then one day, everything changes. Sonja wakes up inside her canary’s cage. She and her bird have switched bodies. Sonja is now a human in a bird’s body, unable to speak, barely able to fly. Phinny is mute as a human, even more terrified to leave the apartment than Sonja was, and fascinated and yet still terrified of fat Louie the cat. But before long, the story shifts even odder, and Ben the mailman and Louie find themselves in their own conundrum. Can a cat and a bird fall in love? Can a woman stuck inside a bird’s body learn to love her life in a cage of her own making, or will she force herself to leave it and truly fly beyond what she thought ever possible? Sonja Uncaged is a story of longing, of fear, and the kind of love that makes us spread our wings, and fly.

Read an excerpt:

The bird was a gift. Kind of.

I’d had dogs as pets before, and six years ago acquired a large, gray cat from the animal shelter, but birds were new territory for me.

“You’ll love having a bird,” my neighbor Constance told me. She was a singer—a beautiful singer with tawny skin and lips she painted merlot, which made her teeth flash whiter than white when she smiled. She wore printed dresses and tall heels, and had gotten a gig in a Broadway show. It was her big break, and she was moving closer to the city. She couldn’t bring the little bird with her. When she’d asked if I’d like her, for free, all supplies included, I’d said yes without hesitating. It was very unlike me. Hesitation was my middle name. And if Hesitation was my middle name, FEAR was my first. Capital letters. FEAR Hesitation Morris.

“I’m sad to be leaving her,” Constance said with a sincere frown. “But I know you’ll give her a good home. You’ll love her, Sonja. Sing with her. That’s what I do.”

“Mm.” Nodding in a non-committal way, I tried not to look as though I were second-guessing this all.

I was no singer, and as far as loving a bird went, I had my doubts, though I suspected I’d like her well enough. However, I couldn’t find fault with more company. Besides, I’d always liked birds in nature, and this was a sweet-faced little canary who trilled in her cage. It wasn’t a bad gift…or, um, donation. Scooting a stack of books and squat, green plant to the side, I set the bird’s cage in the middle of the antique pedestal table in my living room. It looked perfectly at home there, amidst the vintage, old-lady chic décor I’d mostly inherited with the apartment.

“Wait,” I said, as Constance left quickly, possibly afraid I’d change my mind and the spontaneous decision to accept the bird. “What’s her name? Does she…have one?”

“Of course.” She laughed. “Her name is Phinny.”

When the door closed, the bird stopped singing, slanted her head to one side, and assessed me.

“Well, hello, Phinny,” I said, awkwardly. And then I laughed. Why was I nervous about a bird? “Nice to meet you. I’m Sonja.”

And she opened her beak and sang again.

* * * *

Sometimes, I called her Phin, and she cocked her head and hopped as if she approved of the plucky nickname. When I opened the door of the cage and let her fly free, she stayed high, near the moldings of my old apartment’s ceiling, afraid to get too close to Louie. He, I watched with caution, lest he somehow manage to catch her, despite being a rather hefty cat with a sagging belly, and, I suspected, less-than-stellar hunting skills.

In time, we fell into a rhythm.

For a long time, it was just the three of us. The girl, the cat, the bird.

* * * *

I quickly grew accustomed to having a bird, and Louie loved to watch Phinny from his perch on the back of my armchair, or from the windowsill. She eyed him warily, and flapped away in fright if he got too close. If he heaved his sturdy self up onto the table where I’d placed her cage, I’d give him a healthy squirt of water from a spray bottle I kept nearby. Not only did I become protective of my little bird, but I looked to her for comfort. When I was sad, or bored, I liked to fold myself up in the armchair next to her table and peer into her cage, watching how she moved and how she watched me in return. Sometimes, she would sing and I’d mimic the tune, although it was just to show her I was listening, not so much to prove my skills at birdsong. Occasionally, when I took my place in the chair with a book or sketchpad, Louie sat on my lap, and I stroked his short, thick fur while he kneaded my chest. But whenever Phinny sang, even Louie stopped to listen, and the whole apartment became quiet. The outside, bustling city stilled, and everything seemed to make sense. The fear in my heart subsided, and I was able to breathe deeply.

I did so love to hear her sing.

* * * *

Like what you read so far? Then please click the buy links to download the full story!

Buy it on Amazon or Smashwords. (It’ll be available from other retailers sometime soon.)

Add it to your Goodreads list.

And finally, TELL YOUR FRIENDS.

Thanks everyone for your support. I couldn’t keep writing these stories without having someone to write them for. As an aside, Sonja Uncaged will not be including in my upcoming short story collection (Beach Glass & Other Broken Things) but it will be part of a future magical realism/fantasy/fabulism collection. But, shhhhh. Not quite talking about that yet…now, go read.

Have a fabulous New Year!