Kickstarter for WDYDWM

I am so excited to share that my Kickstarter for What Did You Do With Maile? is live!

This is where I humbly ask you to donate whatever you can to this campaign. But you do not come out empty handed! There are book rewards and rewards for those of you that might not be interested in a picture book. If you would please check it out: this is the link. There is a 15% off signed paperback or hardcover special that ends tonight, also!

Why run a Kickstarter?

I went back and forth. I funded the illustrations and the publishing fees myself already, but as I dove into the details I found that it would be financially prudent to keep a bulk amount of printed copies on hand to sell myself. I am so excited to be on Ingram so my book can be found on B&N, Target, and other places. The profit margins are not high with these, however, and therefore keeping books on hand raises my profits.

Here are a few more breakdowns:

5% of the raised funds will be going towards “retail fees,” which ultimately stands for sellers fees on Amazon and upkeep of the SparkPub.org site where I plan to sell hardcover copies of the book.

15% of the raised funds will be going toward “Kickstarter Supplies,” which means the supplies needed for the ornaments, bookmarks, stickers, and bracelets that anyone chooses as a reward.

80% of the raised funds will be going toward “Printing & Distribution.” This is the BIG ONE and ULTIMATE GOAL. The reason for the Kickstarter! 80% of the funds goes towards printing & distributing copies of “What Did You Do With Maile?” This means paying for all the beautiful copies and shipping those copies to myself and to all the other wonderful people who want to support this book!

The 15% off a signed paperback and/or hardcover early bird special is still good through the end of today! Don’t miss it! Any contribution is so helpful. Even if you don’t want the book but want to help, there are rewards for that! I would repeat myself and humbly ask for any contributions. They mean so, so much.

Cover Reveal

I recently shared about my upcoming project, What Did You Do With Maile?

Today, I’m going to share with you the wonderful cover! This book is so near and dear to my heart, and I’m so thrilled with how it has completely come together.

Just to review, here’s the description:

Maile is a little girl with a big imagination. While moving from playtime to bedtime, Maile feels a lot of things: thirsty, bored, tired, but in the end she’s perfectly Maile. With a twist of words, this imaginative book brings to life the wild world of a little girl who loves to play pretend.

Isn’t it just beautiful? I am seriously over-the-moon.

I always envisioned a “simple” cover for this book. How the story revolves around Maile, her imagination, and a play on words that my parents always used with my sisters and me when we were younger… it deserved for the cover to be “simple” but grab attention. And I think this does just that.

Want more information? Check out my Books page and don’t forget to sign up for my Newsletter to be the first to know!

In Memoriam

What started me truly pursuing my writing had nothing to do with picture books or poems I tried to self publish when I was thirteen (that’s a story for another day). It was a friend, and a part of her story that ended up defining her.

When I was fifteen, my best friend went missing. It is this part of her story that defines so much of my high school days. I try to steer away from that, as I even did then, and think of the good memories instead of the bad. But, really, when I look back- this was it. This is what changed me so much.

When she went missing, writing was therapeutic. I wrote her daily letters that were more like journal entries. And though I told everyone I was convinced she wasn’t coming back (ray of positivity that I was), I wrote those letters in hopes that I would be able to give them to her.

Flash forward two and a half years later, I was barely a freshman in college when a friend called to let me know that her remains had been found. He had seen it on the news. This moment would then define the rest of my life, because I made decisions based on this news that would change everything.

We’ll focus on writing.

Just with writing, once this news came forth and more events unfolded to truly remember and mourn this friend- I started chasing the story. I interviewed people who knew her, I wrote accounts of what I remembered… I continued the story. First for therapy, and then I realized I wanted to share it.

But I couldn’t just share her story and my story in black and white, I had to change it.

Over the next eight years, I wrote and edited and molded my first novel MISSING. It’s one I still hope to share with the world some day.

Today would have been my friend’s 33rd birthday. And although I don’t know if our friendship would have survived all the twists and turns of life had she lived, I do know my life is very much defined and owed to her.

Please take a moment of silence to honor and remember Pamela Mikels Waldher. She was an incredible soul, and she deserved more.

Introducing Maile

Hello ladies and gents! Thanks for checking in.

This week I shared some exciting news in my Newsletter. If you know, you know. If not, you should totally sign up! It’s nice and easy.

Today I would like to introduce you to Maile, the main character in my forthcoming picture book.

Maile is actually my niece in real life and runs her business Oh My, Maile (which you should check out).

But today, it’s all about Maile in her book form.

Maile is the star of my upcoming book, What Did You Do With Maile? and I am just so excited for you to see her for the first time. The illustrator I worked with captured the essence of my book and characters so perfectly off of very little direction. I can’t gosh enough.

This book was inspired by life as a mom/aunt and something my parents used to say that I now say to my own kids. I can’t wait to share more as we get closer and closer to publication/release day!

Cover Reveal!

I am so excited to be part of the team to introduce you to When Your Dragon Is Too Big for a Bath: An Adventure in Prayer by C E White!

Wilfred is a very fun dragon, but he doesn’t like baths. As he gets bigger and bigger and BIGGER, this becomes a problem. Nobody can make him take one! Mom and Dad tell Wilfred’s little boy that when things get too big for them, they pray! This book is a fun adventure in prayer that shows how God doesn’t always answer prayers the way we think he will.

The pre-order Kickstarter campaign will be running from Oct 6-Oct 27! Click here for more info!

This book looks positively adorable, with illustrations that will grab any child’s attention! Preorder yours today. I know the saying is “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”… but if we were going to, this one looks like a winner!

Choosing the “Write” Publishing Path

When I started writing, I had dreams of walking into bookstores and seeing my books on shelves.

Let’s be real, what author doesn’t?

I imagined being picked up by a big publisher and making loads of money. Or, at least some money.

Again, let’s be real- what author doesn’t?

In 2015 I signed with my first agent. In 2017, I left my first agent.

The agent didn’t do anything wrong, per say. I think we were both at busy times in life and we weren’t in sync as a team.

It happens.

I don’t regret that chapter of my writing journey. I have learned from it.

Four years later, I am re-entering the writing world with a new perspective. It’s not that I still don’t dream of seeing my books on shelves or don’t dream of making money doing what I love.

It’s that I’m not so cynical about potentially doing it a different way.

I think I’ve shared before my original thoughts on self-publishing. There are those who do it very successfully, and those who I think rush it without editing or investing more into it. But if I’m honest, I’ve seen it mostly as the latter. I’ve seen it as authors who don’t have the dedication to go the traditional route.

Let me say this right now: I was wrong.

I never thought I would self publish. Maybe if there was a project my agent couldn’t sell or didn’t adore and I felt it needed to get out into the world. But I never thought I would “cut corners” and self publish because I was tired of chasing agents and publishers.

I thought self-publishing was the easy route, and I was determined to take the solid, though perceivably very difficult, traditional path.

But with age comes perspective, and the only thing constant is change, and here I am to say:

I’m self publishing one of my books.

Also, when I now think that I thought self-publishing was easy, let me say: I was wrong.

It might not be the right path for everyone, and even just a year ago I probably would have laughed if you suggested I was going to do this… but it is the RIGHT path for me at the moment.

And, who knows- this could be the start of something big!

Want to be the first to know all the things? Sign up for my Newsletter! It is where the first details of my new book will be shared, plus things (launch team opportunities, giveaways, behind-the-scenes stuff) you’ll never find on the blog or my other social media platforms.

Writing for Joy

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a published author. Three clear memories come to my mind of defining moments.

As a courtesy, I will just share one for now.

When I was in fifth grade, we were studying explorers. We had the option for a project to either do a straight report on one of the explorers, or to create a sea monster (with some criteria) and write a short story that involved one of the explorers.

I chose the latter, and wrote and illustrated my very first picture book about Sir Francis Drake discovering a sea monster.

While I do not still have this book in my possession (here is hoping my parents do), I remember my fifth grade history teacher coming into my Language Arts class, interrupting, to inform everyone that: “Emily, I knew you would write a good story, but you wrote an actual book! You have to read it aloud.”

I felt so much joy and pride as I got to read it to the class.

This was a big moment for me. Another affirmation that I could do this. Another affirmation that I would do this.

I was going to be a published author.

Writing has always been therapeutic. I can’t say it has always been joyful. There have been times where writing has been solely to help me process and move forward. But it was there for me as needed.

Somewhere along the lines as I got older, writing was work.

(I know this is a gray area, as writing to supply my full time income would be the dream, and that’s what full time authors do.)

I don’t mean that I couldn’t handle deadlines, or I didn’t enjoy writing anymore because of having an agent, or that editing was my enemy and I didn’t want to do it. I mean, somewhere along the way, the words started feeling forced and the love and passion that I always associated with writing… wasn’t there.

This can happen as writers. I’ve written about it before.

In my busy season of life, and the pressure that seemed to come with establishing myself as a writer, and the way my brain was turning from motherhood and all the things… writing became a chore. And when it came down to it and I had to find things to cut from my time so I might reinvest in others, for the first time my writing and all that came with it (blogging, social media, querying, free lancing) met the chopping block.

But not anymore.

After taking a solid break (it had been two years since I truly revisited an idea and four years since I left my agent), I can now say I am more motivated than I have felt in so long.

Doing things for writing doesn’t feel like a chore, but a joy.

I want to make spreadsheets for research and read about different types of publishing and explore ideas that have been taking up notes on my phone storage. I want to connect with other writers and those in the writing community and do the things.

Joy in the details for the writing life.

This is what I mean for chore verses joy.

And of course I’m not always going to want to do all the things. No one does. I mean, there are those of us who love the research. Those of us who hate editing. Those of us who want to write the book and lock it up, never to share it. Those of us who want to write for the masses.

It’s all different for each of us. And that’s beautiful.

And I think one thing about allowing yourself to take space from something is if it’s meant to be, you’re going to go back to it. And if it’s not, odds are you’ll find the next amazing thing you’re meant to do.

Everything Has A Season

Hello, friends. It’s been a while. Over two years a while, actually.

Just a smile to say “hi!”

I hope you all will understand. Not only have there been so many changes for the world, but everyone has been navigating the rocky storms of life on their own ships.

Same storm, own ships. Did I get that metaphor right? I think so. Let’s just leave it there.

The past two years were a whirlwind. My family moved again, my husband lost his job thanks to Covid, we had a new baby (girl!), my husband got a new job, our plans for schooling changed… the list goes on.

With all that change and adjustment, my writing fell to the wayside. Having four kids and homeschooling 2-3 of the four while husband travels for work is no joke. My mind wasn’t up for finding new words to sew together. My mind appreciated shutting down to mindless tasks of watching shows or reading books when I couldq.

Writing wasn’t happening. I started a few things, queried agents maybe once, but really- it was a season to put those dreams on the back burner. I took the time. I stepped away. I stopped pressuring myself and saying I HAD to keep going or my dreams of being published would never happen.

I needed the space.

Space is a good thing.

Maybe space feels scary or like the end of something, but I have found as I’ve gotten older that space is necessary. After all, if you can’t do things scared, then are you really challenging your paths of life?

Space might seem like you’re letting go of someone or something, but usually it is a wonderful way to find your footing. And you can get back on that path, or start a new one entirely.

I’m finding my way back to writing.

Or rather, I am finding my way to put my writing out into the world once more.

I’m visiting projects that I still love and can picture so clearly on a shelf.

I am facing a new season, a different footing, a different path.

I can’t wait to share what that looks like with you.

finding your voice

I am currently working on a project that has been a long time coming. For almost two years it’s been festering, just waiting for me to let it out. Slowly, the plot has  grown and the words are now finding their way on to the page.

The thing about new projects, though, is that you have to step back and take the time to find your voice in it all. The characters take on their own lives, with their own dialogue and hobbies and back story and everything. As the author, we mold it… but really it can take on a mind of its own.

Already the first five chapters of this project have changed three times. Three. And while I’m on the third round of trying to bring this thing to life, I’m already contemplating an entirely different route. It would change the story, changes pieces of the puzzle I’ve been literally holding in my hands for almost two years, and yet it’s calling me.

How do you find your voice when writing a story? How do you know which way is right, and which way is the road less traveled by that could be the way?

If you came here for answers, you really should move on. I don’t have them.

The answer to the question is you. Only you as the author can decide which way is the best way, and sometimes you have to explore so many different routes and options until you happen upon the best one.

Heck, the best way can sometimes be the way you didn’t want to go. You could be kicking and screaming the entire writing time and stumble upon so many blocks that you think you’ve lost your gift. This happened to me with my first finished novel. I didn’t want to stray from the truth, until I realized that the truth just wasn’t enough. It needed to be more. Slowly the fiction truly took over, and it continues to grow whenever I finish it.

Don’t be afraid to find your voice. Don’t be afraid to rewrite the book a completely different way because you have a new idea, or someone gave you a direction that you want to explore. This is art, after all. There is no “right” way.

There are only paths yet to be traveled on, and only you can decide which one will be the path that leads you to

The End.

making time in the new year

Happy 2019 all! How is yours starting out? I must admit mine has been a bit rocky, but I still have hope.

I have realized in the past few weeks of reflecting that my life has taken many twists and turns I didn’t expect it to when I began my writing journey. To be fair, I’ve been writing my whole life, but when I really considered myself an author– that’s when I count the beginning of my journey. And since then, so many things have changed. Within those changes- slowly but surely my writing has moved farther and farther back on the burners of life.

Now, I’m a writer. An author. Anyone who knows that feeling of an attachment to the written word like it’s your left arm knows that it doesn’t just go away.

But sometimes other things become more important. Raising babies. Relationships. Moves. Other careers. Getting well.

We enter seasons of life that don’t always allow our left arm to be as important as our right. It’s a scary feeling, and many times I have denied it. The truth is, though: it’s okay.

It’s okay because I’m still writing. I’m still working on things and jotting down ideas and making time in my schedule to sit down and write. Those times might not be hours upon hours like the days where I only had one child, or no children for that matter. It might not be a drive to be traditionally published quite as strong as it was three-and-a-half years ago before I signed with my first agent. But that’s okay.

I have written earnestly before about making time to be a writer, but what about the seasons of life where we truly cannot find that time? I know, I know. I’m eating my own words. Before I said something along the lines of: if you’re a writer, you make/find the time. And I still believe that. But I also know there are those of us that want to make that time, and maybe even have that time– and then we make the choice to say “not right now” and watch a movie with a friend instead, or sit and read another author’s book.

My goal is to take as many little moments this year and put them toward my writing. However, I also want to give myself grace and know that even if I chose other things first-

I’m still a writer.