Sunday, December 30, 2012

Putting in the work ...


 Last night I was watching yet another holiday rom-com from either Hallmark, ABC Family, or Lifetime...at this point in the year I've watched so many I forget what channels they were on...not that it matters.  Anyway, as I was watching Candace Cameron-Bure star in yet another romance, I thought about all those moments that aren't shown in the movies.  I thought about the heartache that happens when there are really misunderstandings, the dashed hopes in realizing "The One" may be yet another frog.

The movies have a way of making Happily Ever After seem so easy.  Even the romances I write do that.  I hope in my books I give some kind of insight into the emotions we have when we feel like the love of our life is slipping through our fingers.  Us humans have a warped way of pushing love away when what we really want most is to hold it close.  Fear has a way of doing that to us.

Fear does that in all aspects of life.  We think of all the goals we want to accomplish, all the checks to make on our bucket list, but far to often it seems I've let that fear get in the way, as I'm sure some of you have.  In my head, I know how to get from "A" to "Z", maybe not all the steps, but the general path.  So when the road gets rocky I freak and think something MUST be wrong here!  That's usually the time I let fear and doubt stop me in my tracks.

OR ... I've been known to have a goal and be conceited enough to think it's going to be a piece of cake to acheive, only to barely try and then wonder why I seem to be stuck yet again. Nothing ever happens as fast as I want it to!

My mom (Kris) and me this summer
Years ago when I was going through my first divorce and had moved into my mother's basement with my then 3 year old son, I would scour the internet for a job and wonder why I wasn't finding anything.  My mother finally said one day 'Amy, God isn't going to just drop a job in your lap if all you do is sit at home and wait for it."  She also said that months later about me finding a good man....that unless he was the pizza boy I wasn't going to have Prince Charming show up randomly at my door step.  If I wanted to find him, I had to get out and look.  And she was right ... about A LOT of things.


We can have the best of intentions with all of our goals and checklists, but unless we are truly willing to put in the work, roll up our sleeves, and get out 'there', we will never truly find what we are looking for.   I know - this isn't rocket science!  But sometimes I think some of us (me included) think just thinking positive thoughts and putting out the 'good energy' will bring it to us.  At least that is what all those SECRET books told us.

But it does take work. I know eating healthy and exercising will have a HUGE impact on my health, yet just thinking about the treadmill exhausts me.  I know my financial picture would look a lot better if only I cut up the credit cards for good and chip away at paying them off, but then there is some 'emergency' that sends me further into debt.  

And love - don't get me started on that.  I can tell you that writing these romances is cathartic for me in a lot of ways.  It is helping me see more clearly why I do the things I do, think, feel about things.  Real love takes work.  We aren't as luckily as Cinderella or Snow White who find their princes and live in that fairy tale bliss.  Love hurts, it sucks us dry at times, but in the end, finding that true, genuine love is worth it all.

My life has NEVER been easy and I don't know why I still hold out hope that things will magically fall into place and all will be right in the world.  There will always be another goal to reach, challenge to overcome, heartbreak to heal.  But I will face it all and put in the work.  Because I am worth it. And not only that, but in spite of the downers in life, I have far more to be grateful for ... and I am more than words can say.

So, 2013 is going to have a lot of work put into it.  I'm rolling up my sleeves, staring down that treadmill, and preparing to truly put in the work.  This time next year I hope to be writing about what an amazing year I had - with multiple book releases, more book signings, international travel, enjoying friends and family, treating myself as I truly deserve, and finding real love.  I can't wait to get started!

I hope all of you have a wonderful New Year and 2013.  I wish you all love and light and dreams coming true.  Here's to putting in the work and reaping the rewards!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quiet Time

 It's one of those nights again.  The animals are all sleeping, my son is upstairs in bed, and the only noise I hear besides the Christmas carols in my earbuds is the heater kicking on.  The Christmas tree is lit, the smell of apple cinnamon is hanging in the air from my oil burner, and I'm snuggled up in the chair with my leopard print fleece blanket.  Yep, it's one of those nights.

It's the kind of night I take a moment to breathe deep.  It's the kind of night where memories warm my heart, missing loved ones dampens my eyes, and looking ahead gives me hope.  Tis the season.

Having moments like these truly are rare for me.  My mind is always going, thinking, creating, dreaming.  Me and meditation don't get along, but I'm trying to get more than a moment of stillness in a day.  It is the light and dark of the creative mind ... constantly being inspired and expressing itself through thought, yet congesting itself with too many of those thoughts.  

Quiet moments like now allow me to clear some of that clutter.  Throughout my day, in my 'normal' job, I don't even have enough mental space to create clutter.  There is so much to do and remember, my desk literally is a revolving door as I sit at the front desk.  I have the distraction of the UPS guy (though I like that one), there is the distraction of the other courier services, vendors, visitors, co-workers.  Not to mention the constant humming of the printer/fax that is ten feet from me, or the ringing of the main line, or the chiming of an urgent email/IM, etc.

But I know this is life for most of us.  The constant go-go-go of things, the mutli-tasking of things, the need-a-list-to-focus of things.  So these still moments are golden.  Of course as you can tell with the fact that in this moment I am typing, obviously these moments truly are fleeting for me.

Even with all that, I hope we all take a little more time this holiday season to hold onto these moments.  I know as a mother, after the events of last week, I notice more my son's smiles, his jokes, his departing comments as I drop him off at school.  As a granddaughter facing her first Christmas without her last grandparent, I relish the memories of singing carols, hearing the story of the nativity, and making all kinds of candies in my Mamaw's kitchen.



It's in the moments of peace that we get peace.  When we can stop the outside world and find that calm within us, we can open our eyes again and go forward with more clarity, more focus, more love.

So while you are taking a few moments from your quiet time to read these words, I thank you.  I hope with every day, you are able to embrace more peace, more love, more laughter. I hope we can all remember that as dark and scary as this world may seem, as chaotic and ugly as our surroundings look, that there is love, kindness, compassion, and peace.  It starts from within and grows outward to those around us and those around them. 

Now before I turn this into a novel, I am going to log off and tune into the quiet around me just a little while longer.  I am going to take that deep breath and know there is peace on Earth - even if only for a moment and only in my little 'world' here in this chair with the leopard print fleece blanket and snoring animals.   




Good night from Riley the cat, Tigger the beast, and Bella the diva
*************************************************************************

And remember - all my ebooks are currently just 99 cents on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and a variety of other places....Smashwords is the best site to check as it has formats for all eReaders (except Kindle...you have to go through Amazon for those).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Blogger Review!!!

Happy Headache Thursday....I say that because I woke up with such a bad headache that my head got inches from the pillow and that was enough for me to call in to work from home from my 'normal' job.  Praying it's a sinus thing, but the accompanying nausea is so not cool!!

Anyway,  awhile back I reached out to a few bloggers to review my latest novel - Playing with Fire.  One of those reviewers actually read that AND Finding Home for me and posted her review last night on her blog.



Here is the link to Intoxicated by Books blog post about the books .... go check it out!!



And remember - all my ebooks are currently just 99 cents on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and a variety of other places....Smashwords is the best site to check as it has formats for all eReaders (except Kindle...you have to go through Amazon for those).

Hope your day is bright and sunny and headache free! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Getting in the Mood...

It's that time of year again to get in the mood for Christmas shopping.  By shopping I mean web browsing in the safety of my own home in my pjs, without the crushing throng of people that test my ability to not punch them in the throat.  I know, I'm terrible.  But at the end of the day, one of the things I HATE the most is large crowds...

Random realization - maybe that hatred is what keeps the fans at bay at the book signings, like the Universe knows I don't like it so it makes me not have to deal with it.... but THAT is a different kind of crowd.  The fans - you guys - are nice and polite and friendly.  Never would I even think about punching you!! lol

And please know, when I say I wanna punch people in the throat, its not really literally.  Though in my mind I kick ass and take names, in real life I am a total push-over - as in they push me over to get to the toy I was just about to buy! Hence my love for internet shopping.

I am behind the ball this year, I've been so busy trying to sell these books that every weekend instead of shopping I am hoping for shoppers.  I started my Christmas shopping yesterday, if you don't count the check I wrote my dude and told him get something he wants.  With him, it is MUCH easier that way - though he did still manage to look down his nose at the meager stipend he got.  Now that time - punching him in the throat did seem closer to likely than normal.  But his Adam's apple is safe ... for now.

Ugh ... I just realized I was wanting to write about getting in the mood for the season and to write about romance, but it seems deep down there is something in me that is in the mood to brawl!  Let's just say I'm feeling feisty and leave it at that, shall we?? lol


Anyway - back to this mood thing.  On the writing front I'm getting in the mood to kick these books into high gear.  All this time, I haven't really looked at the business of writing as a business.  I mean I know it is, but the rules and restrictions hater in me, well, hates that.  But it's a necessary part of it.  Would it be awesome to sit and write steamy sex all day - You Betcha!!!  But life can't be that fun - at least not yet....but I'm getting there.

So I've started this schedule for myself.  Tweets on Monday and Friday, blog updates on Tuesdays, Facebook posts on other days.  Really I tend to post funny things on Facebook whenever I see something that looks cute to share.  But I really need to get more going on Twitter and if I post here on a more regular basis than it's just another opportunity for me to use my writing as an outlet for whatever.  Case in point - this blah blog of randomness I got going on today.

All this is preparing for next year. The theme for 2013 for me is all about getting out of my comfort zone.  First up, getting a passport and traveling to the UK for some time with my bestie Stacy.  It's a girl time/research trip that I hope will give me some great ideas for a series I have coming in 2014 (always thinking ahead!)!!  In 2013 I'm also eying a few reader conventions (RT, Rom Com, Romance Novel, etc.).  And I'm looking to get book signings in actual book stores (not just craft shows for festivals).  I'm hoping to get out to other states (or countries if I can get a signing set up when I hop the pond).

So, yeah, 2013 is about getting out there.  Purposely putting myself into the crowd.  And don't worry, your throats are perfectly safe with me.  Because when I am selling books or talking romance and writing, I am in my element.  Everything is right in the world and my brain is focused on that and not going all Bruce Lee on your ass.

In addition to getting myself out there more, I am also setting a goal to release several books...easily 3, but pushing for 4!  And I'm debating on finding an agent to get me even more exposure.  Of course, there really is no greater exposure than FAN exposure.  You guys loving the books and letting friends know goes a VERY long way!  And it is greatly appreciated, I can assure you of that.
 
So besides getting in the mood for the holiday, and in the mood to write, or kick ass, it seems I'm always in the mood to be long winded.  For now I'll sign off and wish you all a great week and Happy Tuesday.

One final note - if you would like to see me at a particular convention or know of a reader focused event (especially romance), please feel free to message me.  I really do want to get myself out there not just to sell books but to meet fans and travel.  I forsee alot of flier miles next year!!

Okay - so one more thing . . . I know I said never, but I'll admit I was wrong!  Now through the holidays, all my ebooks are only 99 cents on Amazon and Smashwords!  



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Finding my way ...

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and all month on my personal Facebook page I've been posting each day something I am thankful for in my "normal" life.  Taking a moment to look back on the last 14 months of my published writing career has given me some perspective as well, hindsight understanding on the past, and a clearer picture of the future.

With all the 'how-to' books I've read, all the advice I've been given, and all the criticism (good and bad) that has come with the writing path, I can honestly say at the end of the day the only person who can point me to what is 'right' is myself.  I don't regret any missteps I've made, I won't say I'm sorry for mistakes - because to regret or apologize for being human means in the end I really didn't learn anything but how to 'make nice'.  I have learned a lot in the last 14 months.  Some of those things were good (like how much fans really do enjoy my writing) and others were harder truths to handle (where the lines have blurred between my public and private lives and how some have shown their true colors).

I'm not perfect, no matter how many years I've spent trying to be.  I say the wrong things, do the wrong things, but who is to really say what is wrong (or right for that matter)? What feels good today could backfire tomorrow.  What I dislike now could be the biggest blessing next week/month/year. Like anyone striving for something more, I am finding my way - blindly, staggeringly, but determined nonetheless.

Honestly, last month was a hard pill to swallow for me.  I was trying to do good things via my writing, but I think people misconstrued what I was trying to accomplish.  I wanted to raise funds for Domestic Violence (and I did), but I think people saw it as a marketing ploy to increase my book sales.  Would I like to have higher sales? You betcha!  But anyone who truly knows me personally can attest to the fact that me giving back to anything is never based from a self-centered, selfish place...let alone sales!

I've always given back, because it's who I am, how I was raised.  Whether if all I gave was a smile, a kind word, a bag of groceries or clothes.  If I have extra and can spare, I will, no questions asked. I've even given more than I can spare because I knew at least I would be getting paid soon.  I've been blessed to have what I have ... and I can tell you it isn't much, if (knock on wood) I got sick again or something broke, I would be in dire straits.  I may live paycheck-to-paycheck, but at least I have a paycheck, and clothes on my back, a roof over my head, food to feed my family. You could take away everything else and I would still be blessed beyond words.

Trying to be a writer has been a gift - to make a dream a reality, but it has also been a tremendous financial burden.  I have spent more money trying to get my books out than I have brought in.  If you look at the last 14 months I am in the RED.  But maybe next year will be better, and the year after that.  Eventually I will find that footing and hold to it.  Eventually the hard work, long hours, sleepless nights, will pay off. 

So yes, while I was trying to do a good thing and give back to Domestic Violence victims I was also trying to save from putting myself further into debt to live my dream (because at some point it will be my full income, it just takes time).  Sure I was able to raise some funds (and I can tell you that almost all profit did go to thehotline.org, even if it meant going further in the hole).  In spite of  my best intentions, my sales actually tanked - as in ZERO sales on Amazon for all of October and November so far.  The saving grace was Smashwords.  Even lowering my prices to 99cents did nothing to get a sale.  So I jacked the prices (which I think backfired, even though my books ARE well worth the price).  It was a huge misunderstanding on a lot of levels that really left a bad taste in my mouth and me second guessing myself.  I hate that!


While I was trying to tie my writing into my philanthropic pursuits, in my "normal life" I was also giving back.  After a brief conversation with the local women's shelter, I understood there was a need for bedding.  So I started OPERATION: LINENS.  All October I collected bedding, toiletries, even some clothing, to donate to the local women's shelter. By time the month ended, with the help of A LOT of people, we were able to collect over a dozen large bags of blankets, several bags of clothing, crib bedding, and a bag of travel sized toiletries. I started OPERATION: LINENS to help, not for profit or kudos, but to fill a need for someone who maybe didn't have the ability to gain it for themselves.

I am in awe of the giving hearts of those who have helped with that endeavor and with the funds I raised through my books.  Without all the support, I know I couldn't have done any of it alone.  To know some small gesture could make a difference in someone's life is humbling and makes me appreciate even more all that I have. 

some of the donations collected
And as much as I want to merge my personal philanthropic initiatives, I almost feel like that isn't possible right now with my writing.  At least at the moment.  Maybe readers need to get to know me more, know my heart and intentions more.  Maybe I will just have to keep my charity work on the down low.  Eventually I would like to highlight a different organization each month (in addition to gathering bedding throughout the year for OPERATION: LINENS to be distributed in November to as many places as possible).  At the moment, there is no fundraising.  But in 2013, I hope to be in a place that I can give back more.

I guess the whole point of this post is to say: Please don't misunderstand that a push for sales is only about the dollar amount to fatten my pockets.  It isn't.  I push for sales because I believe in my books, I believe in my readers when they say they love the stories, and I believe the more I sell the more I can (and will) give back.

When I look at the future and the 'bigger picture', there is so much more in the things that can be accomplished through my writing.   There is the giving to those in need, there is coaching other aspiring writers to believe in themselves and go for their dreams, and (as a mother) there are the lessons in teaching my son what it means to think of others, make an impact, and never take anything for granted.

I do appreciate every last sale I get.  I appreciate every review left on a book, I appreciate the encouraging thumbs up I get at the signings and the "you go girl" comments when people see me out living my dream.  If you all knew just how in awe I am that this is my life ... words just can't express what I feel. 

I am humbled to be where I am - because I know where I've been. I know the broken dreams I've had to lay to rest and the heartbreak that has nearly done me in.  I also know the grace of a new day, the faith that the sun shines behind the storm clouds. 

As I race from one family gathering to another tomorrow, as we bow our heads to pray, please know you are all in my thoughts.  This year had it's ups and it's downs, and next year will be even better.  I pray you will stay with me on this journey.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sorry for the delay in updates on the October Fundraiser.   

Final total raised was $125 

I wasn't able to meet my goal, but it's more than I could have given before.  So thank you for your help with raising money for www.thehotline.org 


I'm going underground for awhile...this next book isn't going to write itself and unless I step away from technology for a bit, I won't be able to write it either!!  It's a double edged sword us self-published writers have to wield....on one hand we need it to get word out about our books, but on the other, it can really take up more time then what we have available.  Then again, I'm sure most facebookers, tweeters, bloggers can say the same thing!

You only get this life once, make every second count.

Monday, October 15, 2012

October Fundraising Weekly Update #3

Mother Nature didn't play nice this weekend during my last outdoor show.  The Tecumseh Appleumpkin Festival saw rain showers on and off (mostly on) and chilly temps on Saturday.  Sunday was warmer but the wind gusts were too much and most all the vendors on my street were gone or packing up several hours before the festival was to end.  We didn't stand a chance up against wind gusts close to 30 mph!

But in spite of the weather, people still came out and I managed to sell some more books.  I also got to meet more fans, visit with old friends, and connect with a fellow writer.  All in all, I call it a successful weekend. 

The festival was the last show for the month so any more funds raised are all going to happen by a combination of self-promoting, word of mouth from my friends/family/fans, and a measure of being at the right place at the right time.  Irregardless of how much is raised, I know that it is going to a good place with www.thehotline.org


Thanks again for all your support!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

So What's It Worth?

Firstly, let me just say that as a book lover - I still scoff at the prices some writers want to charge for books.  Granted some of them really are too high, but as a writer myself, I now see the necessity of it.

For the last year I have been putting myself out there, doing whatever I could to sell a book, but I think all it has done is cheapen the worth of my books. And by no means am I judging when I make this next statement, cause Lord knows I've done it enough myself - but I feel like a woman who's given it up too soon.  All in an effort to be liked.

And I do want to be liked.  As a writer, as a humanitarian, as a person.  But I also want to be respected in the morning.  I want people to know that I know my worth and value what I have to offer. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm not trying to write the next American classic.  BUT - I do believe my books are good ... my fans believe they are better than good!  And it is them and my family who have been telling me for so long to stop "giving it away."

I've heard the words, but the reader in me - the one who remembers buying $3.95 books at the grocery story only 10 years ago - well that person has held me back.  People are frugal today, I'm one of them.  Watching every penny and getting the best value for the price.  It is that part of me that dropped my books so low.  But in the process it has devalued all those hours of research, writing, editing, and tossing and turning until my book(s) are done.

I know there could be a backlash from this and I am willing to deal with that.  But as of tomorrow, all of my pricing is going up.  I may still sell my paperbacks for $10 at book signings, but online they will be starting at $14.99.  And say goodbye to the 99 cent ebooks.  They will all be going up to $4.99.  I may drop the price in the week before a new novel comes out, but I don't know that I will make it any lower than $1.99.

I've put out so much money trying to market and get the word out and right now I feel like I'm swimming against the current.  So I'm going to make the reader in me stop fighting and go with the flow of what any other author trying to make a living would do.

I have a few more book signings this year (check my EVENTS tab for deals), but otherwise, I'm going into writer mode now and so my tweets, Facebook updates, and even blog posts won't be what they were.  It's time to get down to the business of writing and stop putting out the "NEEDY" energy.  I truly believe when we think "I NEED THIS" or  "I DON'T HAVE THAT (e.i. more Facebook/Twitter/Blog followers, sales, etc), that the Universe answers us but not giving us what we want.  

My fans are out there.  I have been bless to meet some of you and your love of my books and wanting of more is what keeps me motivated to put out material that IS worth the wait and the cost.

And for you who won't buy my books now because of the cost, that's okay too.  


Friday, October 12, 2012

All Books only 99 Cents on Smashwords all this weekend!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

Fall is in the air and I love it!!

This weekend I'll be at the Tecumseh, MI Appleumpkin Festival . I always look forward to getting out and meeting fans, this time especially so because it is so close to the small town I lived in for most of my teens.  Can't wait to see old friends!

As a THANK YOU to everyone who has helped so far this month by reposting my blog feeds, tweets, and Facebook comments, I just dropped the price on all my books to 99 cents on Smashwords!!  The Sale ends Monday so get caught up on California Dreamin' or download Taking Chances and be introduced to a group of small town friends who love to laugh, flirt, and find love where the blacktop ends!  (Book #2 - Down for the Count will be coming out Winter 2012!!)!!



I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  I'll post again on Monday to let you know the newest fundraising total ... can't wait to see what can be raised in the next 2 days!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Great Expectations

You would think, after 34 years of learning already, that I would "get" that life doesn't always go how you plan.  God in his infinite wisdom doesn't look down and say "You know, [insert name here] knows what she's doing, so I'm going to give her free rein and let all her hearts desires come true."

If that were really the case, and rainbows really spewed out Skittles and laundry did itself, life would be different.  The 17-year-old Amy thought when she was the OLD age of 34 she would be on a beach somewhere with her coconut oiled babies running around in the sand while her sexy-as-hell surfer lovebug was out on the waves.  In the vision, each night we would return to our modest beach hut and sit by the campfire in our poncho sweaters and words like 'brah" and "wicked" would be tossed around like a hacky sack...I blame Bill and Ted for this...and Point Break!  Damn you Keanue!

But, reality is SO far from what I thought I wanted.  Truth be told, I know in another 10 years when I look back and think of what I wanted at 34 will be different from the reality of 44. And I have to believe that all the 'things' that go on right now will make the life at 44 all the much more enjoyable, that I will appreciate it even more than I appreciate all I have now.

I laugh with my family about things that stress me out now - getting nervous to speak in front of groups, worrying about how to increase my book sales without spamming (and annoying) the hell out of all my friends and family.  I joke that one day, when I'm the guest speaker at the Romance Writers of America convention or the subject of Oprah's Next Chapter, that I will laugh at myself for stressing about things now.

But I do stress.  Because to me, writing isn't just a creative outlet.  It isn't a way to live out my fantasies with random men (though the visuals are nice :D).  I want this to be my livelihood, my way to make my way in this world.  The path will be long and I hope at some point the terrain will be a little more smooth.  But I also know that these bumps, costly detours, and roadside distractions, will all be worth it in the end. 

Because in the end, I will be following my heart, living my dream, and (hopefully) inspiring others to find and follow their own passions.

I have no clue where life is going to lead me in 10 minutes, let alone 10 years.  My guesses have been wrong most of the time.  And after having spent thousands of dollars on psychics (yes - THOUSANDS - no, not proud of it),  I have learned one thing - nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.  But if we move one foot in front of the other and can keep hold of even the tiniest mustard seed of faith, our journeys will be all we could ever want and more.  It's looking past the struggle, moving around the roadblock, and pressing forward with a determination to make a difference - in our own life and the lives of those around us.

So to all you struggling artists, tired Superwoman-moms, ambitiously gutsy dreamers ... remember this - a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.  Every day I take another step and then another.  The key is to keep moving forward, don't stop and stare, and never - EVER - look back.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Fundraising Weekly Update #2


Happy Monday!
 

I can only say that because I have gulped down an X-Large English Toffee cappuccino and the sugar is kicking in!  Really I would love to be back in bed, cozied up with my man and the plethora of animals that think they need to sleep with us (2 dogs and 1 fat cat)!!

This is just a quick post to let you know how the fundraising is going for the Domestic Violence Hotline.  Here are the dets …

 This week I got $14 closer to my $500 goal!  So only $411 more to go!  This weekend I have a 2 day festival, so I am hoping that my donated funds will raise a good bit!  

 There is still plenty of time to make your book purchases count … 24 days to be exact!  Remember,


$2 of every paperback book sale will go toward the charity
$1 of every eBook sale will go toward the charity 
 
Thanks again to all of you who have helped me reach this point in the fundraising...I can't wait to see how much further we can go!
 
ALSO - I'm still trying to get to 250 LIKES on Facebook for my author's page.  There are only 32 more LIKES to go!!
 
Right now, Playing with Fire (and my other 2 books) are all $2.99 on Smashwords, BUT, if I can get to 250 "LIKES", I'm willing to drop all my books down to 99 cents, for one week!
 
YES, even during this fundraiser I am willing to drop the price of books!  Which means I make nothing off these books during the week I mark them down.  That's totally fine by me since it is going to such a great cause!!!!

Cheap(er) books are on their way.  How soon depends on how fast we can get the word out!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Right Out of the Gate ...





I don't know how the skies were wherever you were this weekend, but Southeastern Michigan was PERFECT ... blue skies, cool fall breeze, trees are changing colors.  Fall is my favorite season!

This weekend I was out at the Clinton Fall Festival selling my novels.  I kick-started my Domestic Violence fundraiser off there.  And I have to say, I am very pleased with how things went.  Even if I didn't sell a book, I had some great conversations, met some new friends, and helped spread awareness about domestic violence.   

For the next month, each Monday I will have a short (or as short as my long-winded self can get) blog with the total raised for the week.  Don't worry though, you'll still get some of my wit, charm, and sarcasm in sporadic posts in between.
 

Thank you to everyone who bought a book this weekend!  And I look forward to seeing how much can be raised.


So without further ado... this week I got $75 closer to my $500 goal!!


Also, I realized that 25% of proceeds isn't all that much, and it varies between novels, so instead of that, I will be using the following breakdown ...

$2 of every paperback book sale will go toward the charity
$1 of every eBook sale will go toward the charity

Friday, September 28, 2012

25% of October Proceeds to Domestic Violence Charities


As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month … But did you also know it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

10 years ago, I was a Domestic Violence Advocate, working in a county shelter.  At that time the statistic was that 1 in 4 women were victims of REPORTED abuse … which means that the numbers are even higher considering how many abusive encounters go unreported.  Helping these women, and children, meant a lot to me, because I know what it is like to be in their shoes, both as a child and an adult.

The sad truth is, in these last 10 years, that statistic hasn’t changed much, and in fact, the numbers are staggering.  To read more of these statistics, visit http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/.

But there are organizations that are there to help, www.thehotline.org is one of them.  This is the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which is open 24/7 and can put callers in contact with safe houses, legal advice, set up a safety plan, and a wealth of other resources.

To shine a light on this matter, for the ENTIRE month of October, 25% of the proceeds from ALL my book sales (both paperback and eBook) will be going to the hotline.  Last year I was able to raise $125 for a cancer walk from just one book signing at my work, so I am excited to see how much I can contribute through opening the event to all the shows and signings, online and offline, sales I have in the month of October. My goal is $500, if not more!!

I would be grateful for any help you can give in assisting me to reach this goal.  Yes, I would love to sell more books and get my name out there ...  BUT at the end of the day, this fundraising is truly about helping the women and children in my area, and the country, who feel they have no way out.  There is a way and we can all help them by getting them the resources needed for a better, brighter future.

***If you would like to pass this along to friends or family, by all means do it!  You can also follow me on Facebook or twitter, or my blog http://amyoneillonline.blogspot.com/.  I will be keeping a weekly tally through the month of October to show how much has been raised.


If you are interested in making a personal donation to the hotline, click here: https://donate.ncfv.org/donate_now_ndvh
 
On behalf of myself and the voices that go unheard, I truly thank you for any donations made or assistance given.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Taking it to the next level



I'm realizing word of mouth really is worth it's weight in gold. I've also learned that hiring a "marketing" company to send out random tweets for me doesn't connect with the fans as much as ME getting out there does.

This week I'm working on a goal to increase my Facebook fan base.  This morning I had maybe 50 people, 40 of which were friends and family.  So I set up a Facebook Ad and crossed my fingers.  It's the end of Day 1 and I'm at 85 fans and counting ... only 1 new addition is someone I know!! 

So I've got a little motivator for my fans to find me on Facebook.  Right now, Playing with Fire (and my other 2 books) are all $2.99 on Smashwords, BUT, if I can get to 250 "LIKES", I'm willing to drop all my books down to 99 cents, for a limited time only.

Cheap(er) books are on their way.  How soon depends on how fast we can get the word out!

 


BY CLICKING HERE

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bigger than a Book

At a young age, I remember my paternal grandfather (the late Rev. Tommy Miller Sr.) telling me that God gives everyone gifts and our goal in life is to not squander those gifts, but to share them with the world.  My grandfather (also known as Papaw) lived these words.  Whether through his ministry or service as a foster parent or in the simplest of gestures like a smile or a acknowledging nod of the head.

So it's no wonder that I would sit and contemplate what he would have to say about the things that are going on in my life now, especially the opportunities that have arisen since I became published.  See, Papaw has been gone for just over 17 years now, and just a few months ago, his beloved wife (grandma Ruth aka Mamaw) joined him.  I know how delighted she was to see me accomplishing a goal and living a dream.  I will never forget her smile at seeing my face on the back of a "real" book.


Some would think I'm being silly to get teary-eyed over a simple invite to speak at a literary luncheon, but I don't think it's silly.  For as loud and eccentric as I can be, deep down I am just a humble small-town girl (no seriously, stop the hysterical laughing Mom!!).  I honestly blush at compliments, I get shy over praise.  I am not one to really 'toot my own horn'.

A perfect example of this is last week.  I have a dear friend, Stacy, who is hopping the pond and moving to the UK with her husband and daughters.  I met the girls and another dear friend, Pammie,  for a farewell lunch.  Pammie is my little cheerleader.  It is not uncommon to receive a random text from her with a message along the lines of "write, write, write". She is my motivator to keep living the dream.

At this lunch I gave her a copy of my 2nd book.  Most people would tuck the book in their purse and go from there, but not my dear Pammie ... oh no, she walked right up to the hostess desk (and the lobby of people waiting for tables) and proudly announced they were in the midst of a published writer, saying 'How many people say they can write but never do?  THIS girl did it, 3 times in one year and she's WONDERFUL!!" 

I politely smiled,ducked my head, and beelined it for our table in the corner.  Needless to say, it took Pammie several minutes to get to us as she was surely promoting me the entire way.  Even when she did come to the table, she asked for my business cards and then went BACK and handed them out to people!  And she had our waitress, and me, in tears at the heartfelt words she said about me following my dreams and overcoming so much to succeed. Even now I am in tears thinking of it.  And I feel bad that the farewell lunch wasn't about who it was supposed to be about! 

I don't write just for praise, I write because that is what I was born  to do.  I write because I hope to give the reader just a little glimmer of hope in the happily ever after, in whatever form they see it.  I write because I believe God brings us to and through events to help make us stronger and to use the experience help others.  I write to not squander my gift.

So now that I am good and sniffling, the biggest awing, humbling event that has happened to me since my first book got published (367 days ago to be exact) is that I was asked to come speak to a group of women about writing and domestic violence.

A few weeks ago I was taking part in a craft show and I was approached by several women who are part of a literary group.  This group invites 3 Michigan based authors a year to come and speak at their annual luncheon.  As I was talking to a few of the women, one of whom decides who will be their authors, I was telling them about PLAYING WITH FIRE and how it touches on domestic violence.  The woman asked if I knew about domestic violence and the answer is YES.  Not only have I experienced it as both a child and an adult, but I have also helped others through it as an advocate at a domestic violence shelter.

The sad truth is, in 2002 (when I worked in the shelter), the national statistic was that 1 in 4 women are victims of REPORTED domestic abuse ... that bares repeating ... ***1 in 4 women are victims of REPORTED domestic abuse  That means that the number is even higher since a lot of abuse goes unreported.  As of my last check, that statistic hasn't changed much.

Everyone knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but did you also know it is Domestic Violence Awareness month?  Last year when my first book came out I donated a portion of the sales at an event to a Breast Cancer Walk.  This year, the ENTIRE MONTH OF OCTOBER, a portion of ALL my sales will be going to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Like my grandfather said, I want to use my gift to help others.  Not only will I be continuing to do that through my writing, but also through the various charities I can support through that writing.    And that "literary group' - I was invited on the spot to be their "Mission Author" ... and turns out they are part of ZONTA International ... a group of women dedicated to the empowerment and advancement of women.  Now THAT, is a humbling thought, that a group like that would ask 'small-town Amy' to speak to them and share my passion of writing with a cause I am passionate about.

So my question to you is ... what is your gift? And are you squandering your talent or are you sharing it?


*** If you, or someone you know, are currently in an abusive relationship, you are not alone. Statistics show one in four women have been a victim of reported domestic violence.

But there is help, to find out more call 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or visit http://www.thehotline.org/ for more information on how you, or your loved one, can seek safety.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Playing with Fire now on Amazon!!

That's right, you read it right!  Playing with Fire is FINALLY done and available now on SMASHWORDS and AMAZON 


Also - please, please, please - make sure to pass this info onto the other book lovers in your life. According to my editor - it's my best work yet!





Visit SMASHWORDS or AMAZON now!



Playing with Fire now on SMASHWORDS

That's right, you read it right!  Playing with Fire is FINALLY done and available now on SMASHWORDS.  It should be available on Kindle within the next 24-48 hours.  I'll post that link as soon as I have it!



Also, please, please, please - make sure to pass this info onto the other book lovers in your life. According to my editor - it's my best work yet!

Visit SMASHWORDS now!

FYI - within 5 minutes of it being available, people were already snagging a copy.  That's a new record for me!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Coming to an eReader near you ...

I'm within days of being done with the writing on Playing with Fire, after that it's just fixing the edits from my editor...that should go fast since she's already edited everything else.  I'm hoping by Sunday evening to have a sneak preview for you!!

Like with my previous novels, I'll be posting the first few pages to give you a taste of what's to come!  I really think you'll enjoy this story.  It does have some serious moments (like getting out of an abusive relationship), but it also has those tender, sweet, sassy moments that I love to write!  And steam, we can't forget that!

SSOOOOO....  without further ado, I wanted to share this book trailer I made for Playing with Fire.  Book trailers are a newer promotional tool, but like a movie trailer, it gives you insight on what's to come.  I think you're gonna like it!





Stay tuned for that sneak preview, I'm off to finish writing.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Think Good Thoughts


 I have this Colbie Caillat song stuck in my head, Think Good Thoughts.  It's a catchy, upbeat song about, well, thinking good thoughts.  Today it seems one good thought leads to another and in turn leads to a good reaction.

Case in point, Colbie happens to be in town tonight with Gavin Degraw and I've been wanting to go to the concert, but I was being too cheap to get the tickets just yet.  I know this sounds terrible, but I was going to be just fine parking on the side of the road and missing the show, happy enough hearing the music!  But that changed yesterday morning when I won tickets to the concert!  Not only did I win, but my call actually got dropped (damn dead zones) and I redialed as fast as possible and by some miracle I got right through.  Someone was looking out for me and bringing the good thoughts into fruition!

AND, after I finished freaking out over winning, I mentioned that I use Colbie's music as a soundtrack when I write.  Well, once the DJs spliced together the call and edited it, the female co-host said on air that she thought it was really cool I was a romance writer and wondered what my books were about.  I called back (off air) and promised to drop off signed copies of both books for her.  Even if only she reads them and never mentions them on air, that's ok.  But of course an on air shout out is FAR more awesome!!

Another reason from today where a good thought lead to a good reaction - way back in October when I was sending out all the press releases and review requests for my first book, I was putting it out there into the universe that I was looking for those resources to help me along my self-publishing journey.  Well today, one of those reviewers emailed me out of the blue.  

Perfect timing if I say so myself considering Playing with Fire is nearly ready for release!  To have a review of it on a well traveled blog could do great things (especially if the reviewer loves it!)!  Bonus caveat is that the reviewer is also recommending other bloggers to work with for a book tour.

I will admit that outside drama has been on my mind in the last few days, it's really brought me down.  But the realization that all I can control is myself and my outlook has done wonders.  And then BAM - I get a great day like today.

I'm looking to keep this momentum going tomorrow as I enjoy great music and a great show seeing Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw in concert with my favorite little dude, my son Jake.

Not sure how I will sleep considering the excitement I feel right now, hopefully it is peaceful and provides some good fodder for more writing!

Here's the song so you can sing along with me!

Here is what you missed!