for the Bookworms

Book Review: In a Dark Dark Wood

Leave it to me to bring this book on my vacation in a cottage in the middle of nowhere… (is there any other way???)
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And leave it to me to pinpoint the psychopath right away. So I knew the murderer pretty quick, but I was still entranced by the story, wondering how it all went down and wanting to shake the other characters into seeing what’s happening right in front of their eyes.
If you want a book that keeps you guessing as to who kills and who gets killed, a book with a psychopath’s calculated plan, with clues piling up like a map for the reader, with a theater backdrop… this is that book. Oh, and also, my book is that too! This reminded me of I Know You Like a Murder in a number of ways. It’s like my book, but in grip lit or psychological suspense genre. It had characters like Cami’s BFF, Shy Boy (or in this case girl), Makeup Artist, and of course Cami herself. Read both stories and tell me if you see the resemblance.
If you need a gripping read while you wait for my book release, this can take a day or two of your time. But no longer than that, because you won’t be able to set it down for work, sleep, or social obligations. So grab a chai and settle in. It’s gonna be a long night.
for the Creatives

Tip for Creating: Don’t make it perfect

At first: 
Don’t make it perfect. 
  • Make it wild.
  • Make it experimental. 
  • Make it fun.  
  • Make it imaginative.
  • Make it risky.
  • Make it yours. 
Perfect can come later. For now, just make it. 

~~~
Hey yo, I post creative & dreamerly tips like this on my Patreon. If ya need a burst of inspiration, a kick in the pants, or practical tips for achieving your creative dreams, check it out 🙂 

 

for the Creatives

Creative coaching for just $2/month

My Patreon is for two types of people.

1. Do you believe in my dream?

If you’ve been following me awhile, maybe you’ve bought in wholeheartedly to what I’m doing. Maybe when you say you believe in me, you actually believe in me.

If that’s you: Do you believe in my dream, like that my work is worth more than a box of mac n cheese? You can invest in that dream. Buy me mac n cheese & I’ll mail you an autographed copy of the Cast of Characters for my book.

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Then once I’m a big deal, you sell it on ebay for even more $$$ & we laugh at the scoffers who’d rather have mac n cheese now than fortune later (although really, who can blame them…)

 

2. More importantly, do you believe in your own dream?

Do you need motivation & tips to get your dream moving forward? Good news! I now offer creative coaching for just $2/month (coincidentally, enough for me to buy a box of mac n cheese.) You can see what other clients have to say about my creative coaching, then hop over to my Patreon and invest a little bit in your dream.

Psst… I’ll tell you a secret since you’re my people: For now, you can sign up & trial run, then back out before the 1st if you don’t think it’s worth the mac n cheese you’re missing out on.

Showcasing other Creatives

Come Matter Here by Hannah Brencher

I had the privilege of being part of Hannah Brencher’s book launch for Come Matter Here.

It’s for those in a season of transition and those in a season of waiting. It’s for questioning. It speaks on community and mental health and faith and being present. It’s an anchor and it’s wings. It’s beautiful.

And maybe it’s for you.

I’ve followed Hannah’s blog and social media for awhile, and she does not take lightly the responsibility of the platform she’s been given. She’s a consistent reminder to show up for people. To use our lives and our careers and our passion to value people rather than treat them as a commodity. She’s a dreamer and a hustler, but she manages to values people through that work.

If you’ve read Hannah’s blog or Monday morning emails or social media, Come Matter Here is just an overflow of that same heart.

I wanted to share one of my favorite passages of hope in the journey:

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If this book speaks to you, order it. If nothing else, follow Hannah’s blog and sign up for her Monday morning emails to give your Monday a little pep. You won’t regret getting to know this rockstar of a human being.

My Creative Projects

What do you think of the back cover wording for “I Know You Like a Murder”?

You pick up a book called “I Know You Like a Murder”. You turn it over and read this: 

A narrator always gets to know the reader before spilling their deepest secret.

I am a murderer.

She was just a silly nothing of a girl until I made her rise to fame. A pennything.

So, reader: sit down, cozy up. I’d offer a cup of tea, but you may worry it’s poisoned, and you may be correct.

But I can’t just tell you how she died. That’s too easy. Too quick. Buckle up: you’re in for a villainous monologue.

Would you read it? Would you buy it? Or would you set it back on the shelf? I’ll be sending the final wording to a cover designer soon, so I’d love your thoughts.

If you’d like to continue reading, fyi: patrons will be getting an excerpt of the book posted this week! Plus, the first 20 patrons are receiving a printed Cast of Characters in the mail. Sign up as a patron for that and more goodies in the future!

My Creative Projects

Babes & bookworms, dreamers & professors, wizards & creatives unite

Readers are what make writers possible.

We’re all storybreathers, day in and day out. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of books, the power of words, but I moreso believe in the power of readers.

As I work toward publishing “I Know You Like a Murder”, I have so many ideas to share and ways to bring readers into the process. Want to be a part? 

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If you want more regular updates, follow me on Patreon. You can easily sign up with Facebook and follow me for free. Plus, you can get extra goodies if you sign up as a Beach Babe, Bookworm, Dreamer, Professor, or Wizard. You can sign up for any & all of the following:

  • Tips to keep your creative spirit going and achieve your dreams
  • Give input into early pieces of the story process
  • Behind the scenes sneakpeeks
  • First chance to beta read, bookblog, and receive advance copies
  • Alternate endings, deleted scenes, spoilery discussions and Q&A
  • Share fanart, fanfiction, headcanon
  • Practical gnitty gritty how-to’s for writing, publishing, and the creative process
  • A monthly wizardry roundtable to discuss our dreams and work toward making them happen together

You lead the charge. This is my baby Patreon and rewards are up for debate. Tell me what you want to see and let’s make it happen.

And go follow me there and tell me:

 

*Answer to the question you haven’t asked: Yes, occasional blogposts will still happen here. Patreon is my place for more regular updates and more creative community collaboration that a blog is less conducive to.*

for the Creatives

The Qapital app may have helped save $725

Did Qapital help me save more?

Sooo if you recall, for the new year I began this experiment to see if Qapital helps me save more money than I already do. I’m happy to announce that in the past few months I’ve saved $725 more than my average savings before. I excluded my tax return from this savings amount, because I’m not sure that counts in the span of a three-month average 🙂 Life circumstances change of course, so I can’t say for sure, but there’s a fair chance that Qapital helped with some of that.

(Interested? Sign up using my referral link and Qapital app will give us both $5.)

How will I change my usage of the Qapital app?

Problem: On the downside, most of that savings was to my “general savings” not my “book launch savings”,  because the only savings rules I gave for book launch were related to spending at Starbucks or Walmart – two places I try not to go to often.

Solution: I will likely be moving one rule from “general savings” to “book launch savings” to make a little more money there. I’m thinking the 1% of income rule. Tbd.

A warning for the go-getters:

Be forewarned! Qapital can only save as much as you actually have to save, except it doesn’t know that of course. My friend talks about her negative experience on her blogpost. Qapital can only help as far as you actually have money to save. So if you have a tight budget, it’s possible this app wouldn’t be the best tool for you. And if you’re a super competitive nature, don’t get too crazy with the rules on this app 🙂 Find balance.

This experiment is in flux:

I won’t be able to completely accurately continue this experiment because I’m about to buy a new car engine which will take a bunch of savings. Soooo that’ll screw up the average a lot. But I’ll keep ya updated 🙂

Have you used Qapital app? Tell me your experience. Has it helped you save? What rules do you find most useful?

Interested in trying it out? Sign up using my referral link and Qapital app will give us both $5. An easy way for you to contribute to your savings goals and my book launch at the same time 😉

I Know You Like a Murder
for the Bookworms

Want to be murdered & live to tell the tale? (a bookish giveaway & cover reveal)

Here’s your chance!

You can enter for the chance to have a character named after you in my book “I Know You Like a Murder”. Why, it might even be the murder victim!

Enter to be Murdered*

*But don’t worry, remember, you live to tell the tale 🙂 

Picture it: your name in lights, or in murder. Maybe both 😉

Speaking of picturing it: Here’s the cover! designed by AMBER&GRAPHICS. Isn’t it spectacular!

I Know You Like a Murder

The book is really coming together and it’s just missing one thing: YOU! So jump on board for a diabolical conniving ride of a book.

for the Creatives

Learning marketing from the best: Lady Gaga

I’ve been obsessed with Gaga – as a musician, but moreso as a businesswoman – for quite awhile. So as I plan to launch a book, why would I learn marketing from anyone else?

Unfortunately at this point, Gaga doesn’t know I exist. Maybe if I learn her marketing strategies, it’ll change that 😉 But I can’t just hop on the phone and ask her how she got so big yet.

So I googled. A lot. (Links to all the articles I read below, so you can check them out yourself!)

Here’s what I found:

  1. She’s more than just music. Or in my case, more than just the books. She has a whole identity that surrounds it. You don’t just think of a song when you think of Gaga, you think about the whole shebang, her brand. You think of her outfits. You think of her activism. You think of her Little Monsters. You think of her meat dress. Maybe you think of her social media interactions.
  2. She’s all about spectacle. She’s memorable. She intentionally sets herself apart from the crowd. She gets people to talk about her. Whether they like her or not, they’ll be talking. That’s marketing, when it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad press, it’s still spreading the word. Shock and awe. I’m alllllll about that 😉 Causing an emotionally charged response from the audience gets people chatting.
  3. She partners with other brands. Which despite being mentioned in multiple articles, I still wonder if the fame is more the cause of the partnerships than the partnerships being the cause of her fame. But still. Collaboration and partnerships are a great thing. I am working on collabs with other artists more, but I don’t have a partnership with a perfume company yet, so *sigh*.
  4. She created a community. The fans are a family, they really feel connected to Gaga. She interacts with them through social media. They have a name. They have a symbol, the “paws up” hand gesture. And they have a cause. When they become a fan, they really become a part of something.
  5. She has a message, a cause. She fights for the misfits and outcasts. Besides just having a cause, which in and of itself helps, she went for the super-cause. The underdog effect gives the world something to root for, and she goes right for that.

Bonus: this student studied 100 Gaga tweets to analyze a strategy, so make what you want of this. I’m noticing that a whole lot more tweets are about fans and causes than about awards and albums.

gaga

Caveat: Unfortunately people tend to study how people become famous after they became famous. Darn it! AmIright? At that point it’s hard to sift between what actually made them famous and what they now do since they are famous. I tried to study articles from throughout her career a bit, but that doesn’t mean any of it is necessarily what launched her fame of course. So I guess what I’m saying is *results may vary,  don’t sue me or her if you’re not famous next week*. Oh and on that note, this isn’t an all-encompassing list, because also she’s talented and smart and worked hard and a billion other things I didn’t take the time to write about as well.

Here’s where I found all of this stuff, so you can study more:

I wanted to approach moreso like a scholar than a fangirl, so of course I started with the textbook about her, from the Lady Gaga & the Sociology of Fame university class. And by I started there, I mean I read the free part on Amazon since purchasing the full item is out of my pricerange. There’s a whole bunch of it that I didn’t get to read and study, so maybe I’m missing the coolest part and you should check it out 🙂

Then I read articles by the author/professor of Gaga & the Sociology of Fame. If I can’t get the book, I’ll still get some of the good stuff 😉 Those articles are here, here, and here.

Then I expanded to what other people said about the Gaga effect:

And finally I stumbled across a student’s honor’s project on Lady Gaga. Finally, someone else who had this crazy idea that someone could learn something from her! Sooo if you’re looking for scholarly but accessible, this is it 🙂

 

What that means for me and you:

I’m all about the spectacle and the costuming. I want to run with that even more than I already do.

I have some ideas for making my book launch a little different, but gosh I could use extra ideas.

What’s a great spectacle way to launch a book? Tell me your ideas, and tell me how Gaga inspires your marketing.

 

Musings of a Creative

Still learning to juggle a platform

 

If there’s two types of people in the world:

  • Minimalist: Keeps as little as possible
  • Hoarder: Gets rid of as little as possible

then I am absolutely neither of them.

But of course that’s a very sparse definition of minimalists and hoarders. I could go the other way:

If there’s two types of people in the world:

  • Minimalist: gets rid of stuff
  • Hoarder: gets more stuff

then I am absolutely both of them.

I love finding new favorite things as much as I love clearing out my house of all the excess. Just shop my closet to find that out.

And in the world of building a brand and platform, there a plenty of new favorite things to discover I’m supposed to do. I have a whole pile of things on the backlog of possibilities.

But a brand and platform of an artist can’t be everywhere. I can’t hoard all the things for that. I have to be selective. We have to be selective. A combination of where our audience is and where our joy lies.

I probably have a good chunk of a potential audience on Instagram, but making pretty visuals is overwhelming to me. So I stick with Facebook – a safe bet – and Twitter, which I just love being on regardless of my reach. And here, WordPress, my blogging community, always my little homebase.

Do you ever feel stretched too thin? Like a ghost shadow of yourself covering the town because there’s too many places to be at once. Well for me, it’s come time to publish my book, which means my to-do list got way bigger and it’s about time I have a monthly email update to my biggest supporters (hey, if that’s you, go sign up!) to peek behind the scenes of my publishing journey.

As if that’s not enough, I’m providing writing classes. (If you’re in Central IL, check it out.) I know, what was I thinking!? I recommend adding only one new thing at a time, and I definitely threw caution to the wind here.

That’s a lot of places to be. Something’s gotta give and there’s not really many things to come off the plate anymore.

So instead of weekly blogposts, I am adjusting that to once or twice monthly. I’ve been told readers won’t notice, but of course I kinda hope you do 🙂 When you miss me, sign up for my email newsletter or get in touch and ask me how my writing is going and if the (fictional) murder gives enough goosebumps yet. Or ask to beta read my murderous draft because this is your last chance, I have a few slots left before I’m to booklaunch.

Oh, and you can also contact me to pitch a guest blogpost that matches my general topics and brand. You have lots of options!

  • Mermaids
  • Pirates
  • Book art
  • Dabbling in art you have no business dabbling in (my failed attempts at painting for instance)
  • Mental health
  • Chai lattes
  • Adventuring
  • Creative arts in the church
  • Artistic fashion
  • Bookish or literary discussions
  • About writing in a very practical sense or in a very entertaining sense
  • Inspiration, motivation, or instruction for creatives in general

If I have a niche, it’s not a very nichey niche 😉 So tell me what you want to guest post. And I’ll be back here in a few weeks with a riveting post about our favorite inspiration: Lady Gaga 🙂