Monthly Archives: April 2014

It’s here!

Stealing the Ruby Slippers Book Image

It’s here! It’s really here!

On Monday I received my first proof copy of Stealing the Ruby Slippers. I was pretty excited about it. You may have seen the Facebook Post about it (thanks for the love everyone!) As I started looking at it, though, there were a lot of little things I wanted to change. I went back and forth and back and forth and decided the delay was worth getting it just right. So, I stayed up until almost 1:00am on Monday night (Tuesday morning for all of you sticklers out there) adjusting my files, re-uploaded them, and ordered a new proof yesterday morning.

I got the new proof this morning and I. AM. IN. LOVE.

You probably can’t tell from comparing the picture above with the one I posted on Facebook, but I reduced the trim size just slightly and changed the interior font size and page color. The tweaks were little. But they made a huge difference. I am so happy.

I just ordered my copies. They’re supposed to be here on Monday, May 12, so everyone who preordered will have their very own, autographed copies mailed on Tuesday, May 13.

There is still time if you’d like to preorder an autographed copy at the discounted price of $10 (including shipping!). Click here.  Once the book is live on Amazon (I think that’ll be around the 13th also, but it could be as late as the 20th,) or my extra stock is sold out, if that happens sooner, the price will go up to $15 plus shipping. If you’re a digital reader, you can also preorder your copy for $7 and I’ll mail you an autographed book-cover card.

Thanks so much for all of the positive feedback I’m already getting. Your encouragement means a lot. I appreciate it! Now, I am going to celebrate with a “Roman Holiday” (lemon coffee—sounds weird, tastes AMAZING) and a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie. Wish you were here 🙂

Exciting news in book world

Stealing the Ruby Slippers CoverThis week has been crazy busy. I started the week by doing a ton of research, settling on PayPal, and creating a presale for Stealing the Ruby Slippers. Then, I taught myself how to use Adobe InDesign (yes I’m bragging…thank you Google, I couldn’t have done it without you…) in order to do the layout for and create downloadable samples. Today, I made a cover. This means two very exciting things:

  1. You can download a free sample of the book now
  2. You can preorder the book

I have also contacted a bunch of blogs and websites about working with me to promote the book and have gotten fantastic feedback so far. It’s been incredibly encouraging!

This weekend, I plan on working on the layout of epub and mobi files for Your Pilates Life because a)I have a ton of homework and procrastination is the best way to get anything done, b) I really like using InDesign, c) I didn’t think I was ever going to get that book into other formats, so it’s just really exciting that it might actually happen. Yay!

I’ll also be doing said homework, and driving up to my grandparents’ house to spend Easter with a bunch (like fifty or so…seriously) relatives. It’s crazy insane and we all love it. If I’m lucky, they will be boiling sap (I know they’ve been collecting, just not sure if there is enough to boil yet) and I’ll get to take Chris and the kids to witness the process of making syrup. It is the best smell in the world.

What are you doing this weekend?

Middle of the night musings

It’s nearly two in the morning. Today is Chris’s birthday and I should be getting up with him and the kids in about four and a half hours. Instead, I’m here, writing this blog and watching Parenthood. I went to bed just after midnight after spending the night working on the layout for Stealing the Ruby Slippers (it’s done, btw, and you can preorder physical copies now, I’ll write a much more excited post about it when its not the middle of the night.) I was almost asleep, and Picasso started barking, presumably at the crazy wind. I was in that place right between sleep and awake, seconds before being fully asleep. When I get woken up from that place, I can’t get back to sleep. I laid in bed for a while reading Facebook and blogs, then decided to just get up. I’m going to work on some marketing stuff. And hope that, as part of his birthday, Chris wants to let me sleep in (just kidding, of course I’ll get up for him.)

Do any of you have problems going to sleep, or back to sleep? What do you do?

Photo by Erich Ferdinand

Making friends with poetry

No ideas—but things. Focus on the things so the ideas can come.

Poetry is language we already know being reused or misused.

Abstract Poetry

Apparently, sometime between the ages of ten or twelve and now, I was taken out to the alley and beat up by poetry. I completely stopped reading it after a romantic poets class I took at North Central back in 2002. But it wasn’t that class that did it, I wasn’t happy about having to take the class, but it was one, or the only, English class that would fulfill my requirements and still let me leave with my associates degree at the end of that semester.

I have no idea where my fear of poetry came from. As a kid, I loved it. I published. Fairly often. And then…It must have been very traumatic. I guess I’ve blocked it out.

For my MFA Core class I am required to write in all three genres taught by our program: Poetry, Creative Non-Fiction, and Fiction. Fiction is going to be my focus, and therefore, I’m the least worried about that project. I did a CNF essay on thyroid cancer for my first project. So, for my current project, I need to turn in poetry.

To help with my fear, I went to Prairie Gate Literary Festival a few weeks ago and went to a workshop with Matt Hart (the above quotes are from him.)  The whole focus on the workshop was getting writing— we specifically talked about poetry, but his methods could be used for any type of writing — and we wrote five poems in the class. And each of us read at least one out loud.

Of course, the one I was picked to read was the one I hated the most of what I wrote.

But it didn’t matter. The whole point was to write. In an hour and fifteen minutes, I, I who hate writing poetry, I who can’t write poetry, wrote five poems. Writing that much that fast, it’s not all going to be good. But it got me writing again. I came home and started working on my poetry project the next day.

Thursday it is!



In honor of #ThrowbackThurdsay, I designed today’s graphic using WordArt. Doesn’t it make you think of middle school newsletters?

One of the many items on my to-do list this week was to come up with an “official” blog schedule, so you would know when to find me. I’ve gone back and forth and up and down and upside down. I want to say I’ll post at least three times a week. I want to say I’ll post every day.

But I can’t. I’m getting my MFA, I’m in the middle of publishing my first book, I’ve got two kids (one or the other is always at home since neither is in full-time school yet), two dogs, and a husband. And I need sleep. I’m trying to be better about not over committing myself. So, for now, the blog will be updated on Thursdays.

Why Thursdays? Well, Thursday is my favorite day of the week right now. I have classes on Monday and Wednesday nights, so Thursday is the day that I feel like I have a chance to breathe before diving into the next week’s homework. Neither kid has anything going on (generally) on Thursdays. Thursdays I clean the house and do the laundry and all of the other things I wish I had time to do during the week. It’s the day I start new projects and dive back in on whatever I’ve had to put aside for the week. Thursday is my favorite day.

So…Thursday it is. See you next Thursday.

My name is Amanda and I’m Wheat-Free

I don’t like fad diets. At all. I know they don’t work, at least not in the long-term, and they can wreak havoc on your system.

So, of course I have ignored both the low car and gluten-free trends.

Many of you know that I had thyroid cancer. In the fall of 2010 I had my thyroid removed and radiated so that there was no trace of any of that terrible cancer (or super-useful organ) left if my body. During the treatment, I gained about twenty pounds. I’ve been able to lose some here and there by using extreme measures (juice fast, working out 2+ hours per day) but never able to sustain it. Because, you know, I like to chew food and have a life.

At a doctor’s appointment last month, she suggested maybe I should try cutting out wheat. I wrote it off as a doctor that doesn’t know enough about thyroid cancer asking me to do something extreme to try to lose weight.

Then, three days later, I met with a trainer who suggested the same thing. But first, he explained to me two things:

1) The Rat Study: (First, let me just admit that I did a quick google search, couldn’t find this exact study, and I’m just taking the trainer’s word for it.) There were three groups of rats: a control group and two groups had their ovaries removed. Of those two groups, one was allowed to eat and do whatever they wanted, the other was made to eat the same diet and do the same amount of exercise as the control group. The control group ate and exercised normally and maintained a normal weight. The group with no ovaries that ate whatever it wanted got obese and lethargic and unhealthy. Those results were expected. The third group, though, the one that ate restricted calories and was forced to exercise: what do you think they did? I thought they stayed healthy, because that’s what we’re taught. Eat right, exercise, you’ll lose weight.


That group of rats gained weight, became obese and lethargic.

It’s all about the hormones.

With extremes, those rats can lose weight. But trying to be “normal” will make them fat and unhealthy.

2) (Again, I didn’t research all the science behind this. Because I don’t have time, and other people are paid to do it.) Wheat reacts with insulin. Insulin response is controlled by your pituitary gland, which is controlled by your thyroid. (This is where is gets a little fuzzy for me, but hang with me, because I totally get that logically other things react similarly). The trainer suggested I cut out wheat for a week. He said it would take four days to notice a difference.

A week ago Monday at lunch was  supposed to be my last meal with wheat. Tuesday night I woke up in the middle of the night and I realized I had eaten ice cream–in a cone, so my day and a half of no wheat was busted. On Wednesday, though, I had lost a pound. Not a big deal, except that I have been trying to lose weight, any weight, at all, since a medication change in October. I was starting to think maybe there was something to the wheat thing.

Then, Thursday, I went to make an amazing quinoa dish for lunch. But then I realized I was out of quinoa. So, instead, I made couscous. I don’t know what I thought couscous was made of, but I didn’t think it was wheat.

It is.

Within an hour of eating I felt exactly like I’ve felt for the last four years: exhausted, uncomfortable, and like I needed a nap.

Everything I’ve been blaming on thyroid cancer.

After lunch today will be an official week without wheat. I’ve lost about three pounds.

I exercise every day. I haven’t been significantly more active in the last week at all. Actually, I spent all day Saturday in the car, so I’ve been slightly less active than normal. And, other than not having wheat, I haven’t changed my diet at all.

Now, I’m not saying that all my problems are solved. But, I’m going to keep on this train. I feel better. A lot better. I’ll keep you posted.


What do you do for exercise/diet? Do you do anything specific that works for you? Let me know in the comments!