Author Branding

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This blog post is geared toward writers/authors, but please feel free to read if branding & design talk floats your boat 😉

In all seriousness, I have a lot to say, and I *think* (hope) that it’s fairly useful for writers trying to find their way around the overwhelming task of creating a brand. What is a brand, and why is this all so important? I’m by NO means an expert, but I’ve learned a lot in the last six months.

Simply put, a brand is what your audience (readers) can expect from you. It’s not just your books, or stories, it’s what’s in them, it’s what makes you, YOU. Steven King’s author brand is easy to recognize. You know you’ll get scary, right? What about Jennifer Weiner? Her brand has feminist appeal, plenty of snark, and some heart. Name any well-known author and you can probably see where this is going. Think of musicians, artists, etc. We know what to expect because we recognize their brand.

(Graphic from Pinterest)

There’s a lot of great information online from smarter people than I on the subject. There are people who work on branding for a living. But what I can tell you as someone who has focused on her branding (and refocused after I got it wrong) is that there’s several important steps to consider, and you can’t rush it.

Okay, so brand = what your audience expects from you as a product (your books/writing), right? Think about that further with just one more example.

Nike brand = athletic apparel, sports, work-out, healthy living, kicking ass. Their logo, the infamous swoosh, is beyond simple. Yet you see it, you recognize immediately who it is from.

This isn’t just about smooshing all your branding into one simple symbol, however. It’s about how we use each element of our brand design to create a package that is intriguing, consistent, and genuinely us. Or you, or whatever.

Let me back up for just a minute. I promise to be quick. My first book was published, and my publisher chose a cover (which I liked very much):

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After that I then self-published a few short stories. My covers looked like this all together:

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You can see if you look at them all together that nothing really went. Yes, they all had my name. And perhaps a certain whimsy (for some) but that was really it.

Then, a few months ago I decided I better make a logo and business cards finally. I had been learning bits here and there about branding, and I knew I needed to get something set. I was dreading it because as much as I do enjoy creative design, art, etc., it was SO overwhelming narrowing down what I wanted. I went with something that I thought fit my “brand” of work- writing that is emotionally-charged, lyrical, simple-whimsical, and overall feminine in style.

Now that might still be confusing, but you know when you pick up one of my books you’re probably not going to get sparse, stark language, much violence, horror, or fast-action scenes. You will probably get slightly poetic descriptions, hopeful endings (in general), character-driven stories that often use flowers, nature, beauty, and a hint of magic (for most). Now, my branding is probably harder than some other authors because I write cross-genre. I have to create consistent branding between my poetry, my fantasy (both YA and adult), and my Women’s Fiction (one novel, and a short story collection). I totally lean toward fantasy writing, because it’s where my passion lies, but I can’t say ALL my stories contain elements of magic, so I have to do my best. It’s even more of a challenge when you consider my audience. I might have fans of my Women’s Fiction who HATE poetry. Every time I post a poem on social media, I risk them unliking my page (and therefore losing valuable marketing and visibility), for one example.

Anywho, it’s harder to create consistent branding in that case, but not impossible.

I read a fantastically helpful article about branding covers, and I want you all to go read it right now. Go ahead. Please.

Okay, now that you have, is it making more sense? After reading that I looked at all my covers, and was like ruh-roh. It looked like books/stories from four different authors! Truth be told, I’m still working on updating covers. But, after tweaking font, images, and other details, so far…

Can you see where the covers I am set with (so far) are all looking more cohesive? And do you catch the hint of whimsy, magic, femininity, lyricism in them? It’s okay that the colors vary because the most important thing here to me is the style & feel. 

I wasn’t done yet, however (still am not) because I still had my logo to contend with. As beautiful as it was, really, and as much time as I spent on it—I literally placed those floral elements piece by freaking piece—it wasn’t quite ME. I could go off on a whole tangent here about knowing yourself, and even at 34 I’m still figuring out my style and who I am, but I’ll just say not to rush it. Really decide when you’re looking at something if you just find it beautiful OR if it really represents you. It could be clothes, or home décor, or design, or anything else. Is it something you admire or something that truly speaks to you?

I went from this

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to a much cleaner, simpler this

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I’m so much happier with it. It feels like a breath of fresh air. My logo and branding is starting to really reflect who I am. I’m using this to make all kinds of decisions in my life and home, even. My wardrobe is a mostly-neutral set of black, gray, white, cream, with a hint of blush or lavender. It’s what I’m comfortable in. My home is eclectic but I’m finding much more peace in more minimalistic décor. I like things to be pretty, but not fussy. Feminine but not fluffy. Simple but not stark. Check out

My Author Brand Aesthetic Board

And my Instagram feed is reflecting this all, too:

And it’s definitely not accidental. I’ve worked really hard to be consistent, and the result is something that makes me happy every time I see it. It’s me, it’s my brand, it’s my work, my hopes, all rolled together.

Some of you may not be published authors yet, or you haven’t started really figuring out your brand. You may not have book covers to design, or Instagram feeds to curate. You may think this is too much work, and that I have no clue what I’m talking about. Eek. But the sooner you can get comfortable with your brand I promise the easier it will be. Who are YOU? What kind of work do you want to create? What do you want just the sight of your logo to say to future readers?

Simple ways to start:

  1. Think of 3 keywords that describe your writing. If you have trouble with this ask beta readers, friends, critique partners, etc. I polled people on my author Facebook page awhile back. There were several keywords that were repeated. This helped me focus in on what my readers see. But you also have to keep in mind what you want. Perhaps you only write cozy mysteries but you want to venture into erotic romance. You’ll need to design around the future of your work.
  2. Look at other branding boards. Seriously, just hop on Pinterest, search “brand design” and see how well people pull all the elements together. Save the ones that speak to you. Are you drawn toward funky, colorful branding? Soft, floral? Bold, simple? You’ll start to see a pattern of what draws you in.
  3. Pick a color palette you love. Not just colors you love, but a palette that works well together, and is soothing to you. That doesn’t mean bold colors are out, by any means! But pick colors that feel good to you deep down. If you wouldn’t wear them, or decorate your home in them, then you probably don’t’ really love them. Choose no more than six colors. Mine? Charcoal gray, soft white, muted sage, lavender-gray, blush pink, black.
  4. Look at logo designs. Again, save some that inspire you. What kind of fonts do you like? What don’t you like? What shapes are you drawn to? What elements?
  5. Check out your favorite authors books. Do their covers have anything in common? What is it about them that you like?
  6. Save images, photos, greeting cards, scraps of fabric, or anything else to a mood board for inspiration. If your brand is truly reflective of you as a writer, then the mood board doesn’t just exist as a way to design your brand, but as an inspiration for your work! If you like, do this digitally on Pinterest.
  7. Seek professional help, if you have the means. I did not, so I made my own.
  8. If you make your own logo, cards, etc. there are several great resources. I purchased images from Creative Market, got free ones from Pixaby, and then used Canva to create my logo for no cost. I paid for some of my book images, but others were free stock photos. I used Zazzle to make cards.
  9. Try to expand your branding design to beyond just business cards, logos, or book covers. Don’t neglect your website, your social media headers, your author headshot, bookmarks, and even giveaway packaging. Even the way you wrap books to ship them to lucky readers who win your books should reflect your design. I haven’t yet, but I plan to purchase birch-paper wrapping paper, and lavender-gray ribbon to wrap mine in. See how that just fits right in? 🙂 
  10. Finally, take your time. It can be easy to rush into it, because yes it’s kind of fun. But I spent HOURS working on my busy floral logo, printing 200 business cards, and making headers, only to find it wasn’t ME. So first, get to know who you are, take time with yourself, and your desires.

That was really long, but I hope informative! Please comment below and let me know where you are at with branding. I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks!

Amanda 

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Cover Reveal: Our Wild Magic 

Ta-dah! I’m so happy to finally share the cover for my upcoming book. 😍

Our Wild Magic is a four-part collection of poetry. Wicked explores the parts of ourselves we’d rather keep hidden; Wild, the untamed and forbidden; Charmed, the needs and wishes we have; Ever After brings us into the sweet spot between real life and magic.

These poems explore what is good and bad within, what we desire and need, and how magic & myth have touched those of us who still trust in fairytales even through our all-too-real daily life. It is a spell book in and of itself, for those of you who still believe– in love, in magic, in the beauty that grows wild, in hearts that sometimes let themselves be tamed. 💖

I’m still adding content, and pushing my poetry to be as strong as I can make it. I don’t want to rush. A release date has not been set yet, but tentative schedule is spring of 2018. Please do let me know what you think of the cover (ampersandbookcovers on etsy) and my description. Yay for more poetry books!

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I’ll be back this week with book reviews and an update on queries. Have a great day!

Publishing: The Aftermath

DUN DUN DUN

Hi. It’s a rainy, dark day here this Monday morning, perfect for writing in some comfy sweats, and not too bad for a bit of reflection, too. I realized recently I have this thing that happens to me after almost every single book/story/poem I publish. Without fail, it goes something like this:

-With completed manuscript in hand: Wow. I’m proud. I wrote this? It’s not perfect (nothing is) but I love it. I love my characters. I have to share this with someone. Maybe I should publish it someday…

-Pre-publication (months or years later): I’m soooo nervous! I’m excited! I’m thinking about all the tiny details, reading over every word, choosing carefully, hoping release goes smoothly, hoping I sell some copies, hoping people like it.

-Release day: Holy shit! I’ve published something! That’s amazing, and I’m proud, and I’m humbled, and can’t believe it. And yay- people are buying!

-Post-release: People are liking it?!?! Are they telling me the truth? Are they just being nice? All my confidence is gone. I’m embarrassed. I’d change so much about the story. What was I thinking? Am I a total loser? Is my story complete garbage? Why did I do it from point-of-view? Why did I filter so much? Why did I write it to begin with? What gave me the balls to think I should put it (and myself) out there like this?

-Post-release (long-term): Person: “Oh? You wrote a new book, right?” Me: ::Blushes furiously, fumbles with words, finally answers in apologetic tone:: “Um, yeah.”

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???

Really. What is that about? I get publishing-remorse after almost everything. I would say not my anthologies, perhaps because I am more confident in those stories. For the rest, I know in part it’s because having something put out in the world that is my creation, that opens my work up to criticism, is difficult. Particularly in the case of my poetry book– I’m still freaking out over that being live. Because what if I’m blinded by my own love and affection for each project? What if it’s really a mistake to publish? Despite having beta readers, critique partners, professional editing, etc, what if it’s just not good enough? What if I’m not?

It’s been almost two years since my debut novel was published, and since then I’ve published another 3 books, and numerous short stories and poems. Two years is not long. Maybe this feeling will go away eventually. I’m still a baby in the publishing world. I’m not sure if I just need more confidence, or a stronger sense of “what’s done is done” but something needs to change. It’s not that I’m not still proud, of myself, or my work. It’s not that I’ve been bludgeoned with awful reviews–because I am proud, and my reviews have mostly been very generous and kind. It’s just…I second-guess everything. I keep thinking of everything I’d change. I need to stop looking backward, take a deep breath, and take compliments better, instead of getting a sick feeling in my stomach every time someone tells me they’re reading my book!

Because really, so what if some people don’t like my books? My intent is to have readers love my work, so it’s hard to be cavalier about but the simple truth is not everyone will. And I won’t lie, I’ve had a couple of low reviews that stung. In general, maybe because they pointed out critiques that I myself have of my own stories. Like, damn it, they mentioned XYZ, and I had a feeling that was a weak point. It makes me want to smack myself a little, to be honest. But I am not perfect. And I never said my work was either. You guys know that, I’m sure.

Why do I keep forgetting?

With that said, please consider supporting this awkward, emotionally-complicated, yet lovingly quirky author by buying one of my books. Head on over to the Books & More tab if you’re unsure where to start.

Thank you for reading,

Amanda ❤

 

 

 

Book Birthday! 

Hi, everyone. Today is release day for Like Waves: Poetry! Can you believe it? I can’t. It seems like a whirlwind, especially looking back and realizing how much I’ve accomplished this year, what with publishing 3 books, getting individual things published, and everything else. Phew! 

I am happy for these milestones, and hope you’ll share your support of my newest release. About the book:

A collection of poetry by Amanda Linsmeier, Like Waves dives into the author’s complex relationship with her body, told in three sections: Before, During, and After/Still. The first part centers around her struggle with low self-esteem and depression, the second throws the reader deep into the years of recurrent miscarriage, and the third, with the acceptance of her own imperfections. 

These poems evoke emotion and offer a deeper understanding of not only the author’s experience within her own skin, but her connection to the bodies and minds of others. This book is a labor of love, blood, and tears, the story of one writer’s journey from girlhood to motherhood, from resentment to gratitude.

Like Waves is available here. Thank you for the likes, follows across social media, and for supporting my work. ♡ 

Have a beautiful day! 

Cover Reveal: like waves

I am so happy to finally, FINALLY, share the cover for my upcoming poetry book, like waves! I’ve been waiting for months, and I simply cannot wait any longer! Without further ado…

A collection of poetry by Amanda Linsmeier, like waves dives into the author’s complex relationship with her body, told in three sections: before, during, and after/still. The first part centers around her struggle with low self-esteem and depression, the second throws the reader deep into the years of recurrent miscarriage, and the third, with the acceptance of her own imperfections. 

These poems evoke emotion and offer a deeper understanding of not only the author’s experience within her own skin, but her connection to the bodies and minds of others. This book is a labor of love, blood, and tears, the story of one writer’s journey from girlhood to motherhood, from resentment to gratitude.

I am in love with this cover from Harper Skye Design! And though I’m nervous about releasing a book so personal, I am also very excited. So, with that said…

If you’d like to read some of my already published poems, please click this link

And, you can pre-order the e-book here! Prefer print books? Paperbacks will be out on release day! I’m planning a mid-Auguust release, so I’ll be back with more updates, including info on getting yourself an ARC! Until then, support an indie book and pre-order while it’s on sale for just .99! 😉 
Thank you! 

Release Day- Déjà You is here!  

RELEASE DAY: 

DEJA YOU

E-books 99¢ RELEASE DAY SPECIAL
Paperbacks $10.99

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

Amazon | B&N Paperback | Create Space Paperback

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

kellycain200x200Kelly 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 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.

10254015_492271840927359_9159417025130441003_nAmanda 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.

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!

 

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!

Sonja Uncaged E-book Release

 

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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!

 

Poetry Book Delay, But…

Happy Saturday!

I hope you are all doing well today. I haven’t had the easiest weekend thus far (read: sick kiddo), but I’ve got two batches of macarons ready to go in the oven, and it’s sunny, and I have at least ten minutes here to write a post while my littlest naps. So, that’s good!

I wanted to share an update on my poetry collection Like Waves, and just give you a heads up (in case anyone is waited with baited breath for it) that the book is going to be out later than expected. First off, because it just needs a lot more work than I thought. And secondly, because I *really* want to get at least one, but ideally more, accepted into some literary magazines/journals. Why? Well, blame it on my need for approval, acceptance, and validation. I guess I just feel it’s not quite good enough. Out of the dozens (err…hundreds?) of times I’ve submitted poems to places, only ONE has been accepted. Granted, I’ve had a lot of “almosts” with some really fabulous places. But, still. I just want at least one more to make it out there, before I release the whole thing. I’m still worried I’m just not a good enough poet, I suppose. Sigh.

However, I am feeling generally confident with Beach Glass & Other Broken Things (my Women’s Fiction short story collection). It needs some editing, sure. But overall, it’s where I want it to be. So, I’m doing a kind of publishing swap. Beach Glass will be released on April 26th, 2017 instead of Like Waves. Then, I’ll be looking at a late summer release for the poetry book.

So, that’s it. That’s pretty much my news. And if I don’t seem excited, don’t worry—because I am! I am thrilled that April isn’t that far off, that I’ve had some good reviews (keep ‘em comin, guys!) for the short stories that have been released individually, and my favorite stories haven’t even been published yet! I can’t wait to publish this collection, and I thank you for your support and patience as I’ve been dangling stories in front of you for a while hinting for some time about the bigger collection. Soon, it will be here soon. By the time the holidays are over and we start the New Year, I should be getting cover art ready (it’s going to be GORGEOUS, ya’ll), and sending it off for editing. Look for a cover reveal come February and a mini blog tour at some point around then, as well.

Readers—who is interested in an advance review copy? I’m looking for at least ten bloggers/reviewers to read the collection before the release and post their honest reviews on at least two places, such as Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, their website, etc. Please get in touch with me to let me know if that’s something you’re up for! Keep in mind that advance reviews can be pre-editing, so sometimes there’s typos and such.

And thanks again guys, for following. I couldn’t be an author without readers.

Now, I’m off to go take care of those delectable French cookies, and then later, send some more agent queries for my novel manuscript. Au revoir!

 

Amanda