Category Archives: Blogiversary

Congrats Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway Winners!

Winner

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Thank you to everyone who entered the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway and followed all my posts throughout the month of March.  I also want to thank all the authors who participated and donated to my anniversary celebration.  My giveaway was amazing because of their generosity. Keep an eye out for next year’s Blogiversary celebration.  I can’t wait!

Now to announce the winners!  

(1) Grand Prize Winner – Mary Happymommy

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-book copy of each book in the Meredith Series by Amanda Gale
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner – Ben Ditmars 

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner – Kris Otto

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner – Karrie Millheim 

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
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Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway – Last Day to Enter

Blogiversary

Today is the last day to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway!  Don’t miss out on a chance to win the great prize packages below.

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-book copy of each book in the Meredith Series by Amanda Gale
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stories Unfolded Blogiversary & Giveaway

Blogiversary

Today marks the actual anniversary of my blog! It’s been an incredible 3 years and I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve received over the years.  My blog wouldn’t be where it is today without my amazing followers who read my posts and the amazing authors who allow me to read their books.

I’m looking forward to another year of reading and reviewing new books and writing about anything and everything related to books.

I want to thank all the authors that participated in my month long Blogiversary celebration! I can’t wait to see what next year’s celebration will bring.

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.  Tomorrow is the last day so please share with your friends and family.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-book copy of each book in the Meredith Series by Amanda Gale
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blogiversary | Meredith Out of Darkness by Amanda Gale – Book Review

BOOK REVIEW | MEREDITH OUT OF DARKNESS

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ABOUT THE BOOK

“Meredith Beck is living the perfect life. She has a thriving career she loves and an apartment in New York City with the man of her dreams. But when she is devastated by tragedy, Meredith must rebuild her life in what she discovers is a shockingly less-than-perfect world.

In Book One, Meredith Out of the Darkness, Meredith stumbles through her day-to-day responsibilities without passion or hope. Her mundane routine is pleasantly interrupted when her brother introduces her to Nick Kelly, a quiet painter from a small town in Maine. Meredith is drawn to Nick’s love of nature and is comforted by his purity of heart. They begin a whirlwind romance, and as they plan their future together, she is delighted to have found peace once again, this time in a simple life far removed from the fast-paced life she’s known. But they are haunted by the past, competing with ghosts and desperate to meet unreachable expectations.

Full of colorful characters and leading the reader on an emotional journey from Philadelphia to Maine, Meredith Out of the Darkness is about two people’s awakening to a world of possibilities. But when their different visions of perfection come between them, the question remains: what is true perfection?”

MY THOUGHTS

Meredith Out of Darkness is the first in a four book series following the love life of Meredith Beck, a high school English teacher.  I instantly fell in love with this series right from the start.  It was easy to relate to Meredith and her longing to find that perfect relationship once again.  That relationship that makes everyday worth while and makes getting out of bed easy.

Doesn’t everyone want to find that special someone that puts a smile on their face and makes their heart beat faster with every touch and every kiss? I found that for myself and Meredith felt she did too.

When Meredith met Nick Kelly she had embraced their passionate relationship and felt like she had finally found someone again.  He made her laugh and she felt safe being with him.  They talked and opened up to each other.

Nick and Meredith had fun together and connected on more than just a physical level. They had grown to trust each other and would eventually fall in love.  Meredith felt she could spend her life with Nick, but Nick didn’t feel like he was good enough.  This put a big strain on their relationship and became the focal point at the end of the book.

This book isn’t just about finding that perfect relationship, it’s also about finding yourself and figuring out what you want.  Meredith had to look into herself once again and figure out what her future would hold.

This book is about finding out what you want and fighting for it. It’s about realizing that there’s still hope even when you feel it’s all been lost.  It’s about pulling yourself out of the darkness to see that there’s still light at the end of the tunnel. 

If you enjoy a great love story Meredith Out of Darkness is a book for you, but you’ll need to read the whole series to get the full Meredith Beck story.  Trust me.  You will want to continue reading to find out who Meredith Beck ends up with.  I highly recommend this book and the rest of the Meredith series.

FAVORITE QUOTES

“She smiled as she relished the quiet of the room and the quiet of her mind.  For the first time in a year, she saw peace and promise in the days ahead; for the first time in a year, she felt alive.”

“Nick had renewed her passion for life.  He had reminded her that there was beauty to be found in every day, that one need not look so far to find it.”

OVERALL RATING

5-gold-star-rating

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N

PUBLISHING COMPANY: Brenda & Cobena Books

RELEASE DATE: July 3, 2014

GENRE: Women’s Fiction, Romance

ABOUT AMANDA

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WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

A graduate of Vassar College and Boston University, Amanda Gale taught high school English before she began writing women’s fiction. She loves history, classic literature, and quiet nights at home. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family. (Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography)

AMANDA GALE GIVEAWAY

Amanda has generously provided an e-book copy of the entire series. Her giveaway is running from March 22nd-29th.  Today is your last chance to enter.  I will be announcing the Amanda Gale giveaway winner tomorrow.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Amanda Gale for participating in the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary.

Blogiversary | Guest Post by Amanda Gale – The Publishing Experience

THE PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE

GUEST POST BY AMANDA GALE

Self-publishing is more than its name suggests. It’s also about self-teaching, self-branding, self-motivating, and self-growth. Being responsible for every decision is simultaneously the greatest reward and heaviest burden. It’s been one of the hardest, most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had, and I wouldn’t change one moment of it.

I began writing to satisfy a need within myself; I had no intention of publishing, and in fact I didn’t even believe I’d finish. I was surprised when the writing happened in a flurry. I wrote all four books in five months, staying up all night, sleeping for only a couple of hours when I put the baby back to bed. A little idea had turned into something real, and I considered publication.

When the first drafts were complete, the editing process began. I cleaned up the manuscripts and researched agents and small publishers. I sent out query letters and excerpts, but I think deep down I always knew it wasn’t meant to be and that I was only going through the motions. My series has never fit into a convenient niche because it is not easily classified into any one genre. In addition, I learned that it was unlikely that, as a new author, I would sell a series; rather, I would need to make the first book stand on its own, sell it by itself, and then hope the others in the series were picked up.

I reached a turning point when I received lengthy constructive criticism from an editor at a small publisher. After reading the first three chapters, she wrote me a detailed explanation of what didn’t work and how I could improve my writing. It was difficult to read! However, I took her advice seriously and solicited feedback from friends. When I continued to hear the same concerns over and over, I almost completely rewrote the first book and mercilessly revised the others. Those weeks were painful; I struggled to discard so much of what I had written, and I was working harder than I had when I was writing the first draft. But the result was miraculous. I had something I truly believed in. I will never forget the kindness of this editor who took the time to help me. She was under no obligation to do so.

With my scrappy new draft, I was invigorated, and I sent it out for feedback to whoever would read it. So many generous people took the time to share their responses, and their responses were fascinating! Each individual offered a different perspective and different advice. I sifted through this feedback and entered a new stage of editing—this time, revising was more about filling in gaps and tweaking dialogue than fixing structural issues. It was like chiseling away at a rock to slowly turn it into a sculpture, and I watched it grow closer and closer to completion.

By now I knew I would self-publish the books. I had worked harder than I had ever thought I could, and I wanted to take them all the way on my own. After much soul-searching, I decided I didn’t want to change the fact that they were cliffhangers or force them into one genre; while I was eager to execute revisions that would improve the books, I made the personal decision to stick to my original vision rather than pursue a book deal. In the meantime, I was hearing that the books were resonating with readers. These were real readers, real people, the people I was writing for, and that was most important to me.

I began researching self-publishing and realized quickly that my hard work was only beginning. Like anything, self-publishing can be accomplished in many different ways, and no one path is the “right” path. There are endless details and variables, and every author has to create his or her own individual plan. The fact that I did not find two consenting opinions on anything only made the process more difficult. I educated myself as best I could and made decisions I felt were right for me. This stage was difficult and tedious for me, as I am not business-minded. However, I feel good about having accomplished it on my own. It offered me the opportunity for growth, and I am grateful for that.

Though a writer can self-publish without making any monetary investments at all, I decided to invest in ISBNs, copyrights, and original cover art. I always had imagined that I’d have original cover art; I had put so much of myself into the books, and I felt they needed something all their own to represent them. I found the illustrator who created my covers through social media. Her work is raw, elegant, sexy, and beautiful, and she succeeded in capturing the mood of each book.

I decided, for the time being, to publish only through Amazon (as a paperback and an eBook for Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (as an eBook for Nook), and I set up my accounts while I worked on the final editing. I also began building a social media presence and networking. Once the editing was complete, I prepared the files of all four books for my three vendors—no small feat considering every vendor required a different format and cover size. Receiving the proof copies of the paperbacks was a moment I will remember forever. Seeing them in print for the first time, knowing I had accomplished this dream and that I had learned so much in doing so, made me realize that no matter what else happened, I already had succeeded.

I read through the proof copies and made the final changes to the manuscripts, then uploaded the final files and hit the “publish” button. It’s such an odd and wonderful feeling, knowing the characters are blowing around in the wind when they existed only in my mind for so many years. Now I’m working on marketing, which has proven more difficult for me—but I’m becoming more comfortable with it. I know it will only continue to grow easier: having managed to put the books out into the world, I know now that I can do this, too.

THE MEREDITH SERIES BUY LINKS:

AMAZON | B&N

ABOUT AMANDA

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WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

A graduate of Vassar College and Boston University, Amanda Gale taught high school English before she began writing women’s fiction. She loves history, classic literature, and quiet nights at home. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family. (Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography)

AMANDA GALE GIVEAWAY

Amanda has generously provided an e-book copy of the entire series. Her giveaway is running from March 22nd-29th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amanda Gale week continues tomorrow with my review of Meredith Out of Darkness.

Blogiversary | Interview with Author Amanda Gale

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | AMANDA GALE

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography

Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography

Q: Would you like to start by introducing yourself?

I’m a former English teacher, now a mother of three and a writer of women’s fiction. I also take on the occasional copy editing job. Like most writers, I’ve nurtured a lifelong love of literature. I enjoy history, art, politics, and food! I’m also an incurable night owl.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your series and the inspiration behind it?

The Meredith books are about an idealistic 30-something woman who reinvents herself after she is forced to accept that life doesn’t always work out as planned. Each of the first three books focuses on a romantic relationship. The fourth book reveals which of the three men she settles down with and what happens to them as they go forth in their life together. It’s the culmination of her journey toward peace and self-awareness. More deeply, the series is about her personal growth, her quest for the “perfect” life and her realization that she must create her own perfection.

As for the inspiration, it sounds funny to say, but I really don’t know! I’ve created characters for as long as I can remember. They seem to come out of nowhere. These particular characters stood out to me as the most interesting and the most complex, which is why I chose to write about them. They first came to me when my oldest son was a baby. I was home with him, adjusting to my new life as a mother, spending a lot of time by myself. I began developing scenes of dialogue around them, and I would think about these scenes as I was pacing back and forth with him or folding laundry. The stories became a release for me, something all my own to keep my mind active, and I cared deeply about them.

Actually, my original idea focused on the three men. I thought I had three separate stories, but as I added details to their personalities and backgrounds, I realized that they had something in common—the woman in their lives—and that they were in fact merely part of a much larger story. Once I began connecting the three stories into one, it became clear that the woman would move from one to the next, always searching, and that the men would have their own baggage, as well. I think this concept, of people’s flaws and insecurities colliding and working either with or against each other, is something everyone can relate to. I loved focusing on the woman, chronicling her growth and creating a character who was flawed but lovable. It seemed very real to me.

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

When I was little, I loved to write poetry, and I dreamed of being an author. This was before I was disillusioned by adulthood. When I grew up and had real responsibilities, being a writer seemed like a fantasy, something that I could never practically do. It was only when I began writing the series, during my second son’s first year, that I saw that it could become a reality. That’s when I became dedicated to educating myself and working as hard as I could to make it happen.

Q: What inspired you to start writing and what continues to inspire you to write now?

I started writing because I had these characters in my head that just wouldn’t go away. They were so vivid, and I felt compelled to bring them to life in some kind of tangible form. Discovering that I loved writing and that it would make me feel good about myself was actually a happy accident. It enabled me to grow as an individual with my own identity while I was home with my kids, something I wasn’t even aware I needed. And once I started, I liked the idea that my characters could be as much of an escape for other women as they were for me. That thought spurred me on, and I tried to write stories that were thoughtful and relatable but also sexy and romantic, to sweep readers away. Now that the characters are out there, on paper, in other people’s minds, they are even more real to me, and as valuable as they were to me then, they are so much more so. I continue to write about them because they continue to let me know what they’re up to. They’ve become part of who I am.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

My big project is a novella, a spinoff of the series. It takes place in the 1960s and focuses on a character in his youth, one who in the series is approaching the end of his life. This story has been so much fun to work on. I researched 1960s culture and history and have learned so much by exploring how the Vietnam War and the feminist movement might have affected some people’s motives and decisions. Also, writing about an older character’s younger days is very satisfying to me. The novella can stand alone without the series, but readers of the series will recognize a lot of details. I think new readers, who start with the novella, will enjoy learning in the series what happens to the main character as he grows older.

Aside from the novella, I’m working on a couple of posts for a blog I hope to start this year. Also, I have a short story in the works, another Meredith spinoff. I like taking minor details from the books and placing a magnifying glass to them, to round them out and make them important in their own right. I think part of the attraction is the acknowledgment that every person we meet, no matter how small a role he or she plays in our lives, has his or her own story.

Q: Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?

I don’t have any superstitions, but I do have a ritual. I like to go for long drives on the highway late at night and think about the characters and plot lines. These drives help me refocus after the rush of daily life. I’ve thought of a lot of my best ideas during these drives. If I’m having trouble figuring out a way to tie up a loose end or close a gap in the story, a long drive usually helps me come up with a solution. Non-writing days become thinking days, which to me are just as important.

Q: Where is your favorite place to read?

I’d have to say my living room. It’s dimly lit with red walls, and it feels cozy for reading.

Q: What are some of your favorite books to read?

I gravitate toward the classics, literary fiction, and sometimes toward poetry and non-fiction, but I love mysteries and women’s fiction, as well. In recent years, some of my favorite novels have been Pillars of the Earth, Atonement, and The Red Tent. I’ve also enjoyed “modern classics” like I Capture the Castle and Auntie Mame. Agatha Christie remains one of my favorite authors.

Q: How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

Many writers will tell you that you should write every day, whether you are inspired or not. I have not found this to be true. This is one of those rules that work for others but not for me, and I don’t try to force it. I am motivated when I feel inspired by the characters, and when I’m not, I use that time to think. After publishing the Meredith series, I spent months trying to write, but it was tedious, and I felt lukewarm about the results. Since I was struck by the inspiration for this novella, the words have been more forthcoming. I’m in love with my characters again, and it’s such a wonderful feeling. The presence of the characters, the pressure I feel to bring them to life, is what keeps me going.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors out there?

I would advise aspiring authors to worry less and do more. Don’t worry that it won’t be good, because you’ll edit it. Don’t worry that no one will like it, because you are writing for yourself. Don’t worry that there will be obstacles and setbacks, because there absolutely will be. With hard work, you can overcome them—just don’t stop until it’s done, and learn as you go. Also important is to be able to navigate all the advice. Don’t feel pressured to follow any one writer’s process, because your process will be your own, depending on your goal and your project. Make your work the best it can be—develop a thick skin, solicit and accept feedback, and take constructive criticism seriously—but also recognize that you will never be able to satisfy everyone. Most importantly, trust your gut, and don’t be intimidated by the magnitude of the work. It’s a lot of work! But having done it, you’ll look back on where you started, and you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything.

AMANDA GALE GIVEAWAY

Amanda has generously provided an e-book copy of the entire series. Her giveaway is running from March 22nd-29th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amanda Gale week continues tomorrow with her guest post.

Blogiversary | Guest Post by Amanda Gale – Writing Book Four

WRITING BOOK FOUR IN THE MEREDITH SERIES

GUEST POST BY AMANDA GALE

10342958_460430354103797_3986938330711442233_nTITLE: Meredith With the Waves (The Meredith Series Book Four)

PUBLISHER: Brenda & Cobena Books

PUBLICATION DATE: July 3, 2014

GENRE: Women’s Fiction, Romance

“She did not expect perfection of others—she needed to stop expecting it of herself.”

I have a special fondness for Book Four. It’s the book in which Meredith finally finds her purpose, in which the lessons she learned in the first three books become meaningful. While I don’t have a “favorite” book—each book is unique, and I love them all for different reasons—Book Four is the most personal to me, both in its content and in the process by which it came to be.

Book Four does not follow a traditional story arch; it does not introduce one conflict, build up to a single, definitive climax, and resolve cleanly. Instead, it presents intermingling conflicts that Meredith works through during her daily life. I think this less defined path is illustrative of reality. I enjoyed writing Book Four because I felt free to loosen the structure and follow the flow of my thoughts, and Meredith’s. It weaves in and out, and all the threads tie together in the end.

This book also solidifies that the series is about Meredith’s personal growth, not her search for a partner. The first three books follow her through three relationships, but Book Four continues for over 300 pages after the man with whom she settles down is revealed. In some ways, Book Four is merely the beginning of her story, because it is only when her life slows down that she can contemplate what she’s been through and assess what it all means. Her relationships are not the purpose of the series but rather the vehicles through which she learns about herself.

On a more personal note, I wrote Book Four in part to satisfy my own desire for closure. As a reader, I am often frustrated by the sensation of wanting more at the end of a book. I want to know what happens next, where the characters go after the conflict has been resolved. Book Four shows readers what happens next in Meredith’s life. As we follow her into Book Four, we know her even more intimately.

Meredith is not the only character whose heart is further explored in Book Four. The series is also about the men in her life, her friends, and her family. I wanted to dig more deeply into what haunts them, to show them overcoming their personal demons, or in some cases, their inability to do so. A special new character is introduced, one who offers Meredith the opportunity to test strength she never knew she had.

This book is about the joy and heartache of everyday life, about rising and falling with the waves. It deals with birth, death, love, friendship, and the sometimes tenuous ties of family. It’s a celebration of our persistence as we push forward in a world that is sometimes too much with us. It’s where Meredith truly comes to life, where we see her happy and at peace. In that way, to me, though it deviates from the path of the first three books, it is actually the most important of them all.

THE MEREDITH SERIES BUY LINKS:

AMAZON | B&N

ABOUT AMANDA

10599584_523754897771342_4909773565129544750_n

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

A graduate of Vassar College and Boston University, Amanda Gale taught high school English before she began writing women’s fiction. She loves history, classic literature, and quiet nights at home. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family. (Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography)

AMANDA GALE GIVEAWAY

Amanda has generously provided an e-book copy of the entire series. Her giveaway is running from March 22nd-29th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amanda Gale week continues tomorrow with an author interview.

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