Friday, July 31, 2015

The Creative Mind



Last night - along with my mom, niece, cousin, and aunt - I enjoyed a concert for country music newcomer Cole Swindell.  While waiting for the concert to start, I got a great opportunity to people watch.  It also gave me a chance to remember how awesome the creative mind really is - through the eyes of others!


At one point, I saw a good-looking man walk by and made a comment to my cousin about his 'look' (style of dress, hair, build, etc.).  She laughed but I told her people watching is great research for characters.  Later, as the crowd grew, so did the potential 'character pool.' My aunt pointed to someone and asked what kind of character he would be, so I thought of a story off the top of my head and both her and my cousin looked at me and asked - "How do you do that?"

Thus, the wonders and complexities of the creative mind.  Honestly, I don't know how I do it, I just DO IT!  I can take a song, an image, a person, or anything and turn it into something more.  What can I say, I've always had a flair for the dramatic!  Sometimes it's just a small scene.  Other times, when I allow my mind to run wild, I can create an entire book outline.  

As in awe as some people can be about how writers can create such stories in our mind, believe me when I tell you I am just as in awe of the ability as well.  It's my superpower - but only when used for good on the pages of a book.  In the real world the ability to create wide ranges of scenarios has lead to a lot of stress and anxiety and even bigger quantities of 'overthinkin' it'.
Because of this, more times than not, I have to 'turn-off' that part in my brain.  Last night was a fun exception, but for every day life I'd never get anything done if I allowed that piece to take control.  Yes, it is freeing and fun and has such liberation when I get to let loose; however, to function in my world I have to stifle it more than I want.

I'm learning to find a balance that brings that creative mind out more into the open.  Writing is one of my joys in life - besides the people I love so much - it is that 'thing' that fulfills me.  If you are a writer or musician or artist or anything - allow that creativeness in you to been seen/hear/felt.  We all have a creative mind for something - find your something, embrace it, and show it to the world!!

  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 


Back to that concert from last night - Cole Swindell put on a great show!  There was no opening act, just him and his band doing their thing.  He sang his songs, hits he wrote for other artists (including Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line), and some 90s country that inspired him to move to Nashville.  If you get a chance to see him or listen to his music - do it!  He's touring solo and also has tour stops with Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney....just keeping that company alone let's you know that country music sees a big future for this rising star!!  Visit his website HERE.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Why I write ...


Happy Friday Readers!

I hope your week has been amazing.  Mine had highs and lows, but to focus on the good I enjoyed 2 movies this week (Magic Mike XXL and Trainwreck) and I totally got in some research for reviving Down for the Count!!

In addition to all the new posts over at the Amy O'Neill Online Facebook page, I'm putting forth more effort to make my presence here known.  With that in mind, each Friday I'll be writing a blog post about anything and everything on my mind...I'm a random rambler (in case you didn't get that from any of my other posts) so the topics could be anything from self-publishing or my favorite books/movies/music or even whatever spews out of my brain in that moment....enjoy the ride!

So this week I'm talking ... why I write ... if you Google the phrase "why I write" there are hundreds of images on why people write.  We all have different reasons, some of us have the same reasons, all we know is that writing is something we just have to do.

For me, writing started when I was in my preteens. I vaguely remember having to write a story in 4th or 5th grade where we got a blank book with a white cover, we had to write a story and design the cover artwork.  I guess had I known then what I know now I would have kept that first book.  All I can recall now is I think it had to do with a unicorn...which is weird because I don't remember being a unicorn fan...but I digress.

As time went on, writing became an escape from things going on with my family life.  I know I've mentioned those things in other posts so I won't rehash them here.  Just suffice to say writing helped me through a lot of dark times over the course of my 37 years so far.  

When I was about 14 years old, I went on my first date.  His name was Eric, he lived across the street from my cousin (who also had a huge crush on him), and his mom drove us to see 'My Cousin Vinny'.  I don't remember how long we talked but it was a short lived romance since we lived in separate towns and I think he ended up moving.  It didn't help that when he found the courage to tell me he loved me all I could say was 'uhhh, ok, have a good night'.  In my defense he said it during that awkward moment when you tell someone goodbye on the phone and then wait for them to hang up....it wasn't my finest moment.

Weeks or months later, I heard this song on the radio - "What might have been" by Little Texas - and while it played I thought about every memory of my time interacting with Eric.  I cried at having missed the boat, I was sad that he never kissed me, I laughed at the funny things that happened.  I wanted to cherish those times as long as I could, so I got out a pencil and paper and wrote it all down.  


As the thoughts came out, I wrote more and more around them.  By time I was finished, I'd incorporated our story into an actual story where the girl hears a song on the radio and flashes back to a different time, but when the song is over she is still in her room with nothing but memories.  I kept that story hidden for several more years, until I was a junior in high school and found the courage to show it to my teacher.  I didn't even know if it was any good, but she entered it into a contest and that was enough to show me someone believed in my gift, even though it took nearly 20 more years before I believed it myself.

After that time life - senior year, college, marriage, babies, divorce - kind of all got in the way of writing.  A few times here and there I would start to write, but would junk it after the first chapter.  It wasn't until after I married my second ex-husband that I began to really write.  

As an avid reader, I belonged to all kinds of book discount clubs so my shelves overflowed.  I'd just cleared out everything and donated it to my local library.  As I was laying in bed I wanted to read but realized I didn't have any good books!  So I opened my nightstand hoping I'd forgotten one, but all I found was an old notebook.  In the notebook was yet another starter chapter.  I read it and realized 'hey, this is just as good as anything published I've read!' ... total sidebar - I have yet to finish that book, still have it written in the notebook but it is on my list of books to write...it will totally get it's day in the spotlight.

Anyway, a few days or weeks later, while at my day job I had all my work done and so I just started typing.  At the time I was thinking of the beauty I'd seen while on my honeymoon with #2... we'd gone to San Diego and I think a part of me got left behind there!  So I started to write about a woman who went through a divorce and decided to start over fresh and move from Michigan to San Diego.  It was an alternate me if I didn't have my son Jacob...if I hadn't had responsibilities that kept me tied so close to my roots, what I would have wished I'd had the courage to do.

Finding Home took 3 years to get published...though the first draft was done in less than three week, it was years of re-writing, editing, and taking time off to go through divorce #2.  But I didn't want to just put another book on the shelf and forget it.  I wanted the world to see my writing.  It wasn't until after Finding Home came out that I read it with fresh eyes I could see that I was showing the world some of my inner demons, fears, doubts.

That is when I knew I really needed to write.  I know I'm not the only woman with those feelings/things inside me and I surely want others like me to know they are not alone.  I'm not planning on changing the world, but if I can get one reader to see she is so worth following her dreams and living life on her terms - well that's good enough for me.  I'm still working on that myself - following my dreams.  Life has a way of getting in your face and making you take a step back, but when you know deep down where your feet need to go, you can't help but follow and forge ahead through anything.

So that is why I write.  Because I am forging ahead on my own path, I am following my dream, hopefully inspiring and encouraging others to not take life laying down. Believe in yourself, have confidence and be fierce!

There is nothing sexier than a confident woman...except a half naked man ....sorry...my. brain. overheat. magic mike.  candy. mmmmmmm  (seriously, go see that movie if for nothing else but the last ten minutes...and take monopoly money, lots of monopoly money!)!!!




Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Revitalizing and reconnecting

Hey Everyone!

I hope you are enjoying the posts this week on Facebook....you are following my Amy O'Neill Online Facebook page right??  If not, click the link!



So what new things are going on???  Each day I will be posting 3 photos of 'inspiration'...sure they may be shirtless, or wet, or totally distracting, but who doesn't love some eye candy in their Facebook feed!  Here is the rundown:

  • Man Crush Monday - any and all kinds of men get included
  • Tattoo Tuesday - oh to be the ink on these bodies!
  • Wet Wednesday - I think I need a cold shower
  • Timeless Thursday - not all historical figures are stiff and plain - these cowboys, knights, vikings, etc. will make you wish for days gone by
  • Fierce Friday - My salute to all men in (or out) of uniform....military, police, fireman, etc.
  • Sophisticated Saturday - Christian Grey isn't the only man who looks good in a suit
  • Soundbite Sunday - Lines from our favorite leading men - or the things we wish they would say to us!

Now here is where YOU come in!  Remember to LIKE, SHARE, and Comment on what you like!  Also, I have several Pinterest boards set up, one for each day.  If  you find any photos you think the readers may like, let me know on Pinterest here:


Have no fear, I am writing....and I realized my Village Vixen series, though it definitely has A LOT of sex, will be less romance novel, more chick lit a la Bridget Jones...AND....I need to wrap up the California Dreamin' and Small Town series before the VV comes out.  While finishing the first two series I will be creating the whole 3 book Village Vixens series so that when it finally does launch, the books will release within months of each other.



Thursday, July 2, 2015

BIG SALE this weekend only!!!


This weekend only!!!! 
(click links for direct book pages on Amazon)




FREE
Friday, July 3rd - Sunday, July 5th
(normally $2.99)




99 cents Saturday, July 4th 
$1.99 Sunday, July 5th
(normally $2.99)






99 cents Saturday, July 4th 
$1.99 Sunday, July 5th
(normally $2.99)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Time

For months, years really, I have kicked myself for not getting my books out as fast as I initially

wanted.  I was uber eager at the beginning, swearing I would get 4-6 books out a year.  Can we say overzealous?!

As I continue to work on The Return of Zelda Mae Pearl (Village Vixens - Book 1) I can see how what I thought was lost time was really a blessing.When I first started writing the story, it was a lot of sex....I mean A LOT - she was with four different men before the end of chapter five!  I was being bombarded with the 'sex sells' mantra and was writing something that wasn't what I really wanted to write.

Fast forward to today, nearly eighteen months later, and I'm so thankful for the delays that have come up.  They have broadened my perspectives and helped me evaluate the kind of stories I really want to write.  Yes, there is still a lot of sex in this book - but it is also about more than that.

This story, along with my others, is about the journey of self-discovery, being confident in yourself, and following your heart - wherever it may lead.  I know more than ever I am proud of the book I am creating and I truly can't wait to get it out to you all....but I will take as much time as I need to get it right.  I owe that to you as readers and to myself as a writer.

As if having a full-time desk job, being a single mom, and being self-published wasn't enough, I've also branched out and created my own life coaching business.  I figure the saying about lemons into lemonade is true - I'm taking the hard lessons and bumps and bruises I've endured and using them to help others navigate as they work to reach their goals as well.

If you are interested in learning more about my life coaching business, head over to my other blog.  Don't worry, I won't be bombarding this blog with that information.  I am keeping them all separate and will not be duplicating all over the place.

Stay tuned, I have a feeling by the end of the month I may be doing a first chapter reveal....do you know what that means?  That means the book is almost finished!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Something New

Yes, I'm still here.  Yes, I'm still writing.  Yes, I know it's taking forever!  Believe me, I think the same thing some days.  But then again I really can't complain since I'm not really doing as much as I should (or could) when it comes to writing.


I am trying to find more writing time.  I've made some progress on the Village Vixens Series and I've been thinking about the storyline for Down for the Count.  The 'thinking about it' may not seem like much, but the fact that I have the mental freedom to do so right now is a huge deal.  After the debacle of last year, this year has been a rebuilding kind of time.  In all that restructuring, my focus has been in other areas of my life, but the writing has been calling to me for awhile and I know it's time.

When I severed ties with Smashwords late last year, I didn't really stop to think that it would be cutting out some of my fans and how they read my books.  Well, I am pleased to say I am starting to fix that.  You can now get my books on the NOOK!!


PDF versions are also available for purchase by using the BUY NOW button on each of the books' pages.  The PDF versions are only $1.99!

The wheels are in motion and things are moving forward, slowly but surely.  I hope you will continue to be on this journey of writing with me!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Focus

I don't know about anyone else, but I am definitely happy to see 2014 leave!  It was the most stressful, difficult year for me on so many levels.  I've had terrible, life-shattering events happen before, but that year as a whole was a dud. 

There were some high points, especially finding love again in the latter months with someone who has been amazing and with whom I can truly be myself for the first time ever.  The best part is he sees all I am and STILL stays around...I figure he must like me some if he isn't running.  We make a good pair and balance each other.  It's also great that our kids have been accepting of us and each other.  They have all been a huge blessings.

Now, I could say the goals and resolutions I have for 2015 ... I could go on and on about how I intend to keep them, but you and I both know there is some non-truth to that.  My best intentions are to get books out and eat healthier and exercise more and a list of other things, but the odds of me reaching every goal don't look to bright.

All I know is this ... what got me through the last part of 2014 is what will catapult me through 2015 and beyond...my goal is to follow joy.  Every day I hope to find the good in it, the small things that make me smile, the big things that take my breath away and make me cry tears of joy.  Even on the days where I feel and look like ass, I will follow the joy of that day - just waking up, or getting to sleep in.


So this year I am doing 2 visual aids to help me reach at least that goal and my goal to save money.  I've created a gratitude jar and also using it to store my savings funds.  For the gratitude portion, every night before bed you reflect on the day and write down something you are grateful for, then put it in the jar, at the end of the year you have 365 different things to remind you what a blessed year you had!!  The savings plan is super easy, every week just add a dollar amount that is equal to that week's number...the first week of the year add $1, the last week of the year your deposit is $52....buy the end of the year you have $1378!!!!



I've already started my gratitude....today I got to hear my great uncle say he loves me...it may seem small to you, but to me it means everything.  He is my papaw's brother (the preacher grandpa I have referred to many times in this blog).  They looked alike, down to the hair on their knuckles.  And they even sound alike so when he said those words today, I heard my grandfather and it really did bring me to tears.  It was like he was coming through the veil for just a moment to say 'You got it this year kiddo, this is your year." {This is one of my favorite photos with him, usually he was always in the white undershirt.  Grandpa, my lil sis (Jamie), me, and my lil bro (Tommy). circa 1984}

I hope you all have an amazing year.  I hope we all achieve the goals we set for ourselves now and throughout the next 365 days.  Blessings and joy to you.

Until the next post, all my love,

Amy O'Neill

Monday, November 17, 2014

Buh-bye Smashwords

After a lot of thought and consideration, I've decided to end my partnership with Smashwords and the sites it distributes to.  It may take a few weeks before my books stop showing up in the Apple Store, Sony, etc. but the cords are being cut.  I may be working directly with Barnes and Noble as that is the second place I sell the most ebooks (first being Amazon).

But for now, until November 30th, my books are still available over at SMASHWORDS directly.  They are only 99 cents (Amazon is currently $2.99). 



Click the image below and download your copy now!!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/89301
Finding Home (California Dreamin' - Book #1) 
Avery is the quintessential Midwestern girl who relocates to San Diego after a nasty divorce. She’s done with letting fear (or a man) lead her life. But mysterious Damien has other plans for her heart.
Damien's spent the last four years in a downward spiral. But the feisty Avery ignites something in him. Their happiness depends on believing in love more than fears that could destroy everything.
 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/229480
Playing with Fire (California Dreamin' - Book #2)
PLAYING WITH FIRE follows the intertwining paths of Noelle Dupre and Officer Trent Torres. Noelle is on the run from the abusive ex-boyfriend she left behind in Arkansas. Trent has been a ladies man for the better part of his life. When Noelle meets Trent, it isn't his ability to uphold the law that she doesn't trust - it's the pounding in her heart and the thoughts running through her head.  
Find out how this fiery redhead and spicy Latin lover face the flames and tame the fire between them!




Taking Chances (Small Town Series - Book #1)
What happens when the 'one that got away' wants you back? Dane walked away from Myra four years ago, thinking he wasn't the man she needed. But time has only proven one thing - she's the woman he needs.

Myra has moved on with life and healed the hurt Dane's leaving caused, but one look at him and those feelings come back. Can she trust him with her heart again or will he take it and run?