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

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How to Get Unstuck E-book Release!

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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!

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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 Besties Announcement

Hi guys!

I want to share some cool news today. As some of you may know from prior posts, and frequent tweets, that I have become really good friends with four of the authors who are also published with Penner. (I’ve (online) met a few other Penner authors who are also super nice, especially sweet romance author Jim Cangany). But for the last year+ I’ve grown particularly close to Jamie McLachlan, Kelly Cain, C.H. Armstrong, and Bianca M. Schwarz. We’ve (lovingly) argued, laughed our butts off, and helped each other with writing projects, and creative woes, not to mention sharing personal problems and milestones, as well. Despite the fact that we are different ages and backgrounds, and all wrote totally different debut novels, we’ve grown close. We respect each other, and each other’s work. We’ve been critique partners, and the kinds of friends whose shoulders you cry on…except we’ve never actually met.

The news is that we’ve decided to collaborate on a book! That’s right. The five of us will be publishing a collection of short stories sometime in late spring of 2017. The stories will be romantic, or love-themed, and based on the idea of “second chances”. The title is Déjà You, and I can tell you the cover is GORGEOUS (though I can’t share it yet…but soon!).

The book will be available in e-book AND paperback. There will be five stories, at roughly 10,000 words each, and I can’t tell you how neat it is to not only be able to work with these amazing women, but to get first-crack at reading their stories! I’ve only heard a few details from them (stinkers) but I can tell you not only is each story going to be different from the rest, but they are all truly interesting concepts that I’m dying to read. I will tell you just a tiny thing about my story—the title is yet to be picked, but the story was completely, and utterly inspired by the melody, and some of the lyrics from the song Kocaine Karolina by Elle King. I can hear the strumming of the guitar in my head even now! It’s about a woman who loses her lover to a sudden death, and a decade later, gets another chance with him…in the afterlife. I’ve started it, and can’t wait to see where it goes. So far it is heart-breaking, lovely, and bittersweet, at least that’s what I’m aiming for!

To stay up to date on more details, please visit our new collaborative Facebook page Book Besties. We’ll post about our project, but also share things about each individual author at times.

Follow our group on Twitter!

And if you’re not already, please check out each one of my friends. Just click their names above to learn more about their books! There’s something for everyone—romance/erotica, multicultural, NA, Fantasy, and Historical Fiction!

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Thanks for sharing in our news. We can’t wait to bring you even more details soon.

Amanda

 

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

 

First, I Was a Poet

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👆 (Yep, that’s me. Try to ignore my faux-surprised late 90s selfie, and check out the literal writing on the wall)

Before I ever wrote fiction, I was a lover of poetry. I grew up reading the words of Maya Angelou, Langdon Smith, Shakespeare, Francis Euclide, and more. I cut out the lyrics from CD inserts and saved them. In high school I took permanent marker and wrote my favorite quotes and poems all over my bedroom walls. (Yes, my parents were cool.)

I wrote poetry during my angsty, broken-hearted teen years. I wrote poetry during times of happiness, but, more frequently, when I was struggling. It was an outlet to release my emotions in a productive, creative way.

A couple years ago, my poem The Game of Life was published by Literary Mama. It was written during a time I was going through recurrent pregnancy loss. Many of my poems center around understanding and accepting my own body, from puberty to post-partum. I write about pregnancy, miscarriage, sexuality, body shame and pride, and what makes sense to me as a woman, and a mother. I write as I see, as I feel, and I hope my work resounds with others. I don’t have the training that many, wonderful poets have. But I write from my heart, and I’m pushing myself as a poet to grow my skills.

The news here, is that I have decided to release my first collection of poetry. The collection is called Like Waves, and is slated for release April 26th, 2017. I have absolutely gorgeous cover art (no sneak peeks yet guys, sorry!) and a wonderful new editor who I will be likely working with again for this manuscript. I plan to release at least in e-book and paperback, but potentially hardcover as well.

But, Amanda, you say, that’s over 6 months from now. Why so far off?

Well, when you think about it, 6 months is really not that far away. I still have a lot of revision to do. I don’t want to rush it. Spring seems like a great time, a new beginning. A perfect time to release my collection. I also need to save some funds (because DAMN) so that I can turn out the best possible book for you, my readers. In addition, I want to build some buzz! I’ll be reaching out to book bloggers and review sites to see I can get a little excitement going before the book is released. If you’re interested in reviewing Like Waves somewhere around January (once I’m hoping to be done editing), please let me know!

Thanks for sharing in my news. I can’t wait to share my words with you!

 

Amanda

 

 

Short Story Release!

Today is the day. I’m a bit nervous. Mostly, though, I am happy to share that my new short story is available now on Amazon Kindle! The story is called The Peony and the Sun, and is somewhat of a magical realism/fabulism story. 

It is about a flower, and a little boy, and the relationships in both their lives. The first line came to me out of nowhere, as I mentioned in my last post, and then the story took off from there quickly, with plenty of motivation and passion. I was driven to write it. It holds a special place in my heart, and I hope others will enjoy the story. It is bittersweet, touching, and poignant, and suitable for older children to adults. Plus, The Peony and the Sun is perfect for those who are short on time (who isn’t these days?) coming in at 19 pages total. 

Check out the cover reveal, synopsis and buy link below. Thanks for sharing in my self-publishing debut. It was both easier, and slightly more difficult than I thought. I found it interesting, and almost without stress, though. And I plan on doing it again. Someday. For today, I’m focusing on this:

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“There was once a flower who fell in love.”

So begins this short tale of a flower and those around her. The Peony and the Sun is a story, old-fashioned in its telling, about the ways love can manifest in different relationships. It is a fable, simply told, about the power of actions over words, the beauty of nature, and the tenderness and strength of the heart. Yet, it is first and foremost a love story, between two flowers, between partners who have lost their way, and between the peony and the little boy who saves her—or tries to. The Peony and the Sun is a bittersweet story about friendship, expectation, and above all, love.

Duration: 19 pages

Estimated Reading Time: approximately 15-30 minutes

Buy it now

Add it to Goodreads

See my Pinterest board

Check out my cover designer and editor

Thank you, everyone! ♡

 

 

Here Comes the Sun (Happy writing post, and some news)

A couple weeks ago I went through a very dry spell with minimal writing. I didn’t do anything creative, in fact, unless you count the overactive imaginings of an anxious and uneasy mind. I had no ideas, except the ideas I did have were awful. I had oodles of problems in current manuscripts that I knew needed fixing but I had no clue how to do it. I was understandably upset by this. I felt like I was sucking at life. Perhaps a bit of an overreaction, but if you’ve ever been blocked, or lacked inspiration or enthusiasm, or just felt downright bad about your writing (or whatever), then you get it. The bad news is it was a few days of black rain clouds over my head and instead of lifting my pen and writing, I pretty much just lifted nachos into my mouth…

The good news is, it passed. The sun is out again! I am writing! Now, I still have a few problems I don’t know how to fix in those manuscripts. I have stopped stressing about that, and am taking a little hiatus from those for a little while. I will come back to it when I come back to it. That’s the thing that works for me. Stuck on something? Move on to something else. When the answer is there, you will find it and go back. Writing something else at least keeps me writing!

In any case, this sunny explosion of creativity began when I was lying around on the couch and lazily musing about a story idea. “What if…” just came to me and I got the idea for short story #1, and I jotted down some notes. Then later that night as I was falling asleep I got a single line in my head “There was once a flower who fell in love.” And that became the first line in story #2, and it was that second story that I ended up writing first. (Still working on #1)

I actually made myself get up from bed, (well, fine, I mean I reached over and grabbed my phone) to put that line down, and I could just feel it was taking me somewhere. I fell asleep, anxious to wake up and write.

In the morning as soon as I could open my laptop I began writing. And writing. It was short, I think only 9 or 10 pages, but the flower story was there, and I loved it. I wrote the whole thing in about an hour. It was rough, of course, so I sent it off to a few wonderful, lovely friends and readers. They gave me plenty of feedback. I edited the story and added, and took away, and came out with, thus far, 18 pages, and a bit over 4,000 words which is actually a REALLY long short story for me. My longest short stories are usually about 1,000 words, but my average is probably about 700. So this was different, and it pushed me. I plan to get more editing done so that it is as perfect as I can get it.

You see, once the story was written I knew what I wanted to do with it. What is that, you ask? Well, I’m happy and excited to share I’m going to be releasing it as an e-book short story on Amazon Kindle soon! That’s right, everyone, I am going to be a hybrid author. I have always had an open mind about self-publishing for myself. I’m thrilled Ditch Flowers was traditionally published, because that’s the goal I set for it, and I worked damn hard for it! I am actively seeking a literary agent for my middle grade novel and my short story collection so they will be traditionally published, too, I hope. Though I may end up self-publishing the collection, who knows—those of you who are in the know are probably aware there are very few agents who take short story collections, and only slightly more small presses. So.

However, with this individual short story, I knew from the get-go after I wrote it that I wanted to release it on my own. I was SO excited to select cover art, and a title (both of which I’ll share in my next post! Sorry to tease you.) I can’t wait to share it with the world. It’s a learning process, for sure, but I am having fun with it. I’m telling you, the absolute high I got while getting some of the details figured out is just the coolest. I know it’s just a short story, not the next great American novel, but if you follow my blog at all you know I really, really LOVE short stories. And I am letting myself be hyped up about this story and the decision to self-publish. It is fun, and after the clouds over me lately, I am enjoying some positivity. The writing funk is over. Wahoo!

This path feels right for this project. And that’s all you can really do in this amazing world of writing. Follow the right path for you.

Self-publishing gurus- any tips for me as I move forward?

Thanks for sharing in my excitement, everyone. Stay tuned for my next post!

Amanda

 

 

Facebook Launch Party

Hooray! The time has finally come; Ditch Flowers e-books will be released on Monday! Weee!!!!!!!!!! That means it will be available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.

I decided to celebrate with a “virtual” launch party on Facebook. Some of my author buddies are participating with giveaways of their own. l myself will be offering at least 2 free Ditch Flowers e-books along with e gift cards.

It starts at 12 central. This Monday the 28th. Please feel free to invite friends on Facebook, and join us for a fun time- maybe you’ll win some goodies!

Ditch Flowers Launch Party