Release Day- Déjà You is here!  

RELEASE DAY: 

DEJA YOU

E-books 99¢ RELEASE DAY SPECIAL
Paperbacks $10.99

deja you jpeg image

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.

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_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.

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.

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

 

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!

 

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

How to Get Unstuck E-book Release!

how-to-get-unstuck-high-resolution-version-2

How to Get Unstuck is the final individual story I’ll be publishing from my Women’s Fiction short story collection Beach Glass & Other Broken Things (announcement coming soon on the collection). It’s new! Never been online or published before, unlike Rousseau, Clementine, and Running*. Reminder: those stories are FREE! Here’s the synopsis for How to Get Unstuck:

A 3,000 word short story about a woman named Marty and how she copes with her break-up from her long-term partner. Will she finally learn to be alone? Or will she inevitably move on to a new relationship— as her ex Raina insists she will because Marty just “can’t be alone”? When Marty runs into a former student, the attractive, tattooed Shae, she has to cross the professional line she’s been so firm on holding, and fight her desire for companionship…right? Perhaps she’ll be better off on her own, or maybe she’ll stop caring so much about what Raina thinks, and give in to what she really wants. Which choice will make her happier? How to Get Unstuck is a story about one woman who loves relationships, hates to be alone, and must either accept or overcome those parts of herself.

Estimated reading time: 15-20 minutes.

I hope you’ll take a little time and spend the .99 to download it from Amazon or Smashwords. At some point it will be up on other sites, too.

Also, don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list!

Thanks for your support, my pals. Look for my next short story coming, about a woman and her canary and the Freaky Friday-like situation they find themselves in, which will be a departure from the realistic stories I’ve been doing lately. Sonja Uncaged will be “flying” your way in the next week or so (hopefully, just waiting on custom cover art).

But, back to the story of the day. Here’s a short excerpt:

Marty was a stuck woman. She was unsure how to get unstuck. She poured herself another vodka and sat in the vintage armchair in her living room. She’d kept the chair, insisted upon it, even though she and Raina had picked it out together in Chicago, and really, it was because of Raina that they had it in the first place. It was during one of their routine visits to the bustling city that Raina had dragged her into an overpriced boutique where they sold things with hefty price tags and always a “re” in front of the description: recycled, repurposed, reclaimed. Marty had tagged after her around the store, trying not to hover, yet attempting to appear interested whenever Raina looked over with the rapt expression she wore when she discovered treasures to bring back home. Raina liked having Marty’s full attention.

Besides the chair, which Marty had begrudgingly come to love, they’d also brought home hand-carved end tables, which were so “rustic” they appeared to have been attacked by a knife-wielding toddler. Raina had taken those, and good-riddance. Marty thought they were ugly as hell. Raina teased her that she just didn’t have high-end taste like her. But, the chair remained. A parting gift, Marty thought now, both hating the idea, and being rather pleased she’d gotten to keep it. Still, it was just a stupid chair. She swirled the alcohol in her mouth, and swallowed hard. She leaned back and golden strands of her hair fell against the cognac leather of the chair. The apartment was too empty after ten years of Raina’s company. Marty had forgotten how to be alone.

Sometimes it seemed as though Raina had moved out two years ago, and other times it felt like only two days, as if she would walk through the door any minute, throw off her coat, and ask Marty how classes were and what she was making for dinner. Marty had been the one who cooked; Raina had never mastered more than cheese trays for their dinner parties.

Without Raina in the background, the silence was too loud. It wasn’t so bad in the mornings, when Marty was rushing to get ready for work. It wasn’t so bad when she had papers to grade or a good book to read. However, in the time between tasks and pleasures, the solitude was deafening. Marty pushed herself up and walked across the living room, which Raina had decorated, to turn on some music, but the somber verse was too reflective of her mood, and she returned to the iPod dock with a stomp and switched it off right away. Then she slumped back in the chair, and took another long, cool gulp of vodka because she didn’t know what else to do with her dark mood. There seemed a black, cavernous emptiness on the left side of Marty’s chest. She hated it. She took another drink.

Marty knew their relationship hadn’t been perfect lately or even for the last few years. But she’d never been a seeker of perfection, even from her college students. She expected everyone to try, yes. She wanted passion, and interest, and effort, whether it was in her classroom, or in her relationships. Raina had been enough for her, and good in many ways. Marty needed companionship more than she needed perfection. She liked their messy life, with weekends at the farmer’s market, lunches with friends, and concerts. Raina was a music connoisseur. She collected vinyl records and mp3s the way some people collected salt shakers.

It was a Saturday night. Raina was probably at a show for a cool, indie musician (Marty loved The Beatles) or at an art gallery for a new artist’s opening, or out dancing, having a good time. She was only a few years younger than Marty’s forty-three, but much more fun. At least that’s how Marty had always felt. Or worried that Raina felt that way. Even now, brooding alone, Marty second-guessed her coping methods, and wondered if she should call a friend, or book a trip, somehow find something to celebrate. And then she resented that she couldn’t even be confident in her own choices, even now. But she had always cared too much about what Raina thought.

She’d liked that Raina had thought she was smart, funny, interesting. When Marty spoke about historical events—she was a history professor—her face was radiant. She talked with her hands. She made jokes that were actually funny. And Raina did love to laugh.

But then things stopped being funny. Instead of laughing at her jokes, Raina would stare at her blankly, as if waiting for a better punch line. Instead of reaching for her, Raina would turn away. Marty knew it was ending long before it ended.

***

Like what you read so far? Go read the rest of How to Get Unstuck! And happy Saturday!

*Running is free everywhere but Amazon. If you would help me out by “reporting a lower price” they may change it to the correct price faster. Thank you!

Running E-book Release!

running-high-resolution

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