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Street Team and ARC Sign-Ups

We are barreling towards the release of my debut novel, Batter Days. I am looking for a team of people to review my book on release day and help me spread the word via social media leading up to the launch on September 28th.

For those of you that don’t know, ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy. ARC readers receive a free copy of the book prior to release so that they can read it and leave a review to help the book get off the ground. 

A book has to have a certain number of reviews before Amazon will start suggesting it to readers. This makes reviews super important, especially for indie authors like myself.

I will send the ebook at least two weeks before the launch (I will let everyone know if for some reason that changes.) A free book for honest reviews. Sounds fair right?

My Street Team is going to help me spread the word before the book comes out. They will share promotional graphics and messages across social media to let everyone know the book is on the way. I’ll give them access to a Google Drive folder with all the graphics and messaging they will need to post to social media, complete with dates and posting guidelines.

Don’t worry. They get a free gift too. Street Team members will receive a copy of Allys Favorite Recipes. It’s a fake cookbook compiled of all the #AllysRecipies posts you may have seen popping up on my social media every Friday. Just a little something from me to you as a way to say thank you.

You can be a part one or both teams. Sign-up by clicking the link below.

I have one more special giveaway. One lucky team member will receive a signed paperback copy of my book. Each promotional graphic and review posted will receive one entry. The more you share, the better chance you have to win. I’ll draw and announce the winner on October 6th. That gives everyone an extra week to post their book reviews.

Thanks for taking the time to help me spread the word!

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The Magic Hour

In photography, there is something called “the magic hour.” It’s right before sunset or just as the sun rises. Photographers call it that because of the natural lighting this time brings. It is soft, diffused across the landscape. It gives everything this ethereal glow and makes photographs come alive. Don’t you wish there was something like that for writers? Here’s a little surprise. The perfect time to write exists. It’s just not the same for everybody.

Every writer has their own natural rhythm. The trick is finding the time that works best for you. Here are a few quick tips to help you find your magic writing hour.

  1. Vary the time

Try writing at different times throughout the day. If you normally write after work, try getting up a bit earlier to write before you leave in the morning. Maybe your lunch break proves to be the optimal time. Try shifting your writing time every other week and see how you feel. If you notice a time that feels more productive and natural, consider making that your designated writing time.

2. Vary the length

The amount of time you spend writing is just as important as the time of day. Try a combination of writing sprints and marathon sessions. You may find that your brain works better in short intervals as apposed to longer sit downs Whatever you are doing right now, try the opposite for a week or two. See if that doesn’t leave your brain feeling less fatigued and your work more shining. Maybe you need to alternate from day to day. Play with the amount of time you spend writing and keep track of how you feel and the work you are doing. This will show you the perfect amount of time you need to spend wordsmithing.

3. Trial and Error

I wish I could say you will find that magic moment right away. Unfortunately, it may take some time. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t nail it the first time. Just keep going. Listen to your body, keep trying different combinations, and soon you’ll find your own personal magic writing hour.

I’ve done my own experimentation to find my magic writing hour. My time is 30-45 minutes first thing in the morning before work and on my lunch break. I find I can get more done in these shorter periods than I can on a Saturday afternoon when I settle in to write for hours. (I usually end up just piddling around on the internet.) What time did you find works best for you?

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New Year. New Focus.

I know. I know. I’m a little behind on getting this one out. Most people posted their New Year’s goals the first week of the month. Not me. You see, the problem I kept running into is that all of the goals I could think of were directly tied into my goals for 2020. They weren’t really new. They just have a different focus.

I have one major goal for this year. It’s one I have been working towards it for a few years now, but I’ve finally reached a point where I can declare it. That goal is to see my first novel, Batter Days, published.

I took an enormous step towards that recently when I sent my manuscript, an unpublished novel, to my editor. I know there will be a few rounds of back and forth with them. Polishing the manuscript into a shiny happy little book is far from done. I also need to purchase ISBN numbers, take care of cover art, handle formatting (the thought alone makes me want to cry) and a dozen other goal posts along the way. It’s a lot of work, but you know what? I’m going to do it.

This year is going to be amazing. It won’t be easy by any means, but at the end of the day, I’ll be able to look back with a smile knowing I’ve done something most never do. I will be a published author. End of story.

What are your goals for the year? Do you have a central focus? A word? What do you want to see happen in your life in 2021? Drop your answers in the comments below. I’d love to hear it and help cheer you on to the finish line.

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625 Square Feet – An Advent 2020 Devotional

Every year, my church puts together an advent devotional booklet filled with devotionals written by church members. The pastor asked me to write one this year with the overarching theme of “Fear Not.” I wasn’t just afraid. I was terrified.

It was laughable for me to think that I, with my mental health struggles, could write something about not having fear when I fight against it every day. Then I thought about the overall themes of advent. Hope. Joy. Peace. Love. Christ. Hope jumped out at me, and I was reminded of a rather dark moment during the pandemic lockdown.

625 sqft. That is what my world consisted of during quarantine. 625 sqft, a dining table workstation, and two cats. No family. No friends. Just me, myself, and I.

It was an introvert’s paradise! It was everything I thought I had always wanted. Then my  dream  turned into a living nightmare.

Having no human contact outside of a Zoom call was a blessing in the beginning. I could pick and choose whether I wanted to engage with anyone. If a video call was too peoplely, I could just opt out for the day. No explanation needed.  No risk of hurting anyone. Slowly, that little bit of interaction became all that I had. That is when my thoughts started taking a turn for the worst.

625 sqft started to feel more like 6.25. Everything became cold and dark. That blessed reprieve from human interaction started to drive me deeper and deeper into myself until I started questioning my own validity. My own purpose. I was alone and isolated in a way that I had never imagined I could be.

Every day got a little bit harder. Just mustering the energy to pull myself out of bed felt like one of the trials of Hercules. The resounding thought that “this was it” played over and over again in my mind. I was going to live and die alone. My 625 sqft of paradise had become like a tomb. There was nobody there but me. Nobody to make sure I was alright. I was completely and utterly alone.

Then a voice in the back of my mind reached through the fog and reminded me of something I had almost forgotten.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.   Deuteronomy 31:8

As I lay on my couch, tears rolling down my face, a tiny spark of hope welled up inside my chest. I imagined the Father’s loving arms around me as he whispered reassurances in my ear. I was never truly alone. Nor would I be. He had never left my side, and no power on this earth would ever take him from me.