Amy on writing

Is It Worth It?

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Capture the Tide cover art by Amy Westphal

Lets research it…

Paid book reviews and the independent or emerging author.

Is it worth the cost or the effort? Good question. Here’s my take.

I entered the Readers Choice Awards Contest the last day of the deadline. My book wasn’t finished by my editor yet but I really wanted to find some literary street cred and based on my research, this contest is the real deal. Not only do they judge completed works, they also judge unpublished works. Exactly what I needed. For more info go to http://www.readersfavorite.com

Needless to say. I did not win the contest. If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you’ll know I’ve had my fair share of rewrites since I started my journey and my book is a different book today. However… I did submit an updated manuscript to be reviewed and got a really nice 5 star review for my novel CAPTURE THE TIDE. I will post the review below. I’m pretty pleased with it.

Now, some people might think that a paid review is meaningless. You’ve probably seen them on Amazon or something, but it doesn’t mean that all paid reviews are equal and that they don’t have value. As an emerging writer, I see no reason not to take opportunities that give you legitimacy. Everyone knows that a strong platform pays. Agents love a platform, and even better? A platform with a healthy following. And I’m working on that here. I don’t have staggering numbers like some literary bloggers, but I am pleased with the growth of my website and blog. But up until now I have mostly talked about my writing process and managing mom life with entrepreneuring, I haven’t actually discussed my book itself with much detail. And I think its time to change that.  So for the first time on http://www.amy-westphal.com I’d like to use my professional review to share a taste of what CAPTURE THE TIDE is all about.

Readers Favorite Book review for CAPTURE THE TIDE by Amy Westphal

Reviewed By Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite

“Life is ugly, gritty, complicated, glorious, and beautiful. But not pretty. Stories are pretty, saccharin tales of black and white and no gray.” It takes Lauren a remarkable journey of discovery to learn those simple truths about life and about humanity as a whole. There will always be the good and the bad, the glorious and the evil, the happy and the sad. Even with a fresh start, a cleansing if you will, humanity will always recover with the same mix and make the same mistakes. When an asteroid hits Lauren’s world, it takes away her home, her family, her life. She has to start again. But she is not alone. And once she discovers that simple fact, she is able to fit together again the pieces of the puzzle that disrupted her life and will create her new life. 

Amy Westphal’s novel, Capture the Tide, is more than an Armageddon story of total destruction and the survival of the few in the aftermath of disaster. It’s a powerful story about the human tenacity to recover and to try again, to survive in the best possible way under unknown, uncertain circumstances. The plot develops from Lauren’s entrapment in a bomb shelter, securely locked away for two years with no connection to the outside world. She has no idea what will await her when the clock finally ticks down and the lock on the door disengages. She finds a world totally different from the one she remembered, but also a world not so different. There are the good, the bad and the ugly, as well as the glorious and beautiful everywhere she wanders. Until she finds her family again and a way to create a new life for herself. A powerful plot that outlines the many faces of humanity. The description invites the reader right into the story and the characters are so real that the reader feels they know them intimately.

So honestly my darlings, what do you think? Does this sound like a book you would like to read? Inquiring minds (mine) want to know..

Post up in the comments.

Cheers, Amy

And for more information about paid reviews I recommend checking out http://www.janefriedman.com  she is an incredible resource for writers.

Image- My cover design for CAPTURE THE TIDE

Amy on writing, on writing and kids

Amy’s Bad Advice 6

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New advice, new season, new hair, new uncanny bitmoji. It’s still worth what you paid for it.

When you say Yes! I say No! Yes!…

No. Hells no.

Why I’m saying no to the “Yes” day and why I would advise you to do the same.

The “Yes” day, ever heard of it?  This post might seem more geared for parents with younger kids, but maybe you’re a grandparent or have other family or friends to bestow this bit of controversial advise on.

So, the “Yes” day. What is it? It’s a an idea based on a book aptly named, you guessed it:

YES DAY

And frankly, I’m not sure the “Yes” day de jour that has hit celebrity parents and their Insta accounts by storm has anything to do with this jolly little book but essentially, the purpose is to have one scheduled day a year when you say yes to every request your child makes.

“Can I have ice cream for dinner? ”

“Yes.”

“Can I stay up late and eat more ice cream?”

“Yes.”

Now most parents do put some restrictions on requests prior to the day. These restrictions are usually a price cap on activities and/or a cap on how far one can travel.  Otherwise, everything else is on the table.

You get it right? So what’s so bad about a special day where you cater to every whim of your young child? A Lot in my opinion. Kids don’t know what they want, or what’s best for them, that’s why we make decisions for them and these “Yes” days really seem like an excuse to eat absolute garbage all day long. And if these kids are anything like my kids, they probably end up with a tummy ache from too much sugar. But aside from being an excuse to eat candy and sweets all day, there is something more fundamentally terrible about granting your childs every request one day a year…it’s another way for attention needing parents to grandstand on their social sites and to spoil children that more than likely are too privileged as it is. And the bragging they do after? Man. It would probably be brutal to friends whose families do not have the means to support frivolity.

So if appeasing the next generation of self-indulgent jerks isn’t a strong enough reason to say no to the “Yes”, consider this: Why do you feel that this day is necessary at all?

Being a parent is all about striking balance and raising humans with grace and humility. We want to create good people, I hope. Instead of granting one day to appease your childs every whim why not start now with something simple. Spend time with them. Kids are so simple in their needs. They just want you.  Play board games with them, read, play video games or ride bikes, and make sure that you do say yes sometimes, even when no would be so much easier.

The biggest thing for me as a parent is making sure that I never say no to something simply because it is inconvenient to me. “I don’t want to” is not a good reason to say no to your child. If something interferes with existing rules, boundaries, plans or ability then a no is totally acceptable.  Kids need to know that the world does not rise and set out of their ass. They need to know that their feelings are important but what they want must be earned. And its a lesson you can teach every day. Reward and acknowledge your childs good behavior, little things that perhaps stand out, just to you. My youngest daughter always shares her treats with everyone, without asking, without question. It’s the sweetest thing in the world to me, and I always let her know that I noticed and tell her she’s awesome.

So whats the point of all this? Yes day, No day, the point is that you don’t need to have a “Yes” day to create wonderful memories for your child, you just have to be there for them, don’t let any one elses shenanigans tell you what kind of parent you are. I know what kind I am.

This concludes Amy’s Bad Advice for the first week of October. Boo! See above quote for its value. But lets talk about it, I do love our repartee.

SO is it a yes or a no for you?

Cheers, Amy

Amy on writing

Write on, Writer…

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One for my homies…

I’d like to take a moment to commemorate the fallen warriors on my quest to publish my first novel Capture the Tide.

 Photos are captioned. 

And the ones that keep on keepin on through kids, life, fire and ineptitude, and kids.. Did I mention that one?

Cheers! Amy

Amy on writing

50 Shades of Adult

Is your novel clearly defined?

Separating Young Adult and New Adult, is it just the absence of sex that defines them? Or something more? And where does Adult fit in?

I’d like to make a case for New Adult fiction. Not just to sex up YA or “young” down Adult. Perhaps there is a full fledged market of post education 20-30 somethings being somewhat dismissed.

There are stories that transcend time and space like Harry Potter of course 😏, and anyone can find resonance in any genre, but to have an actual section in a bookstore that speaks directly to this age group would be alright. Perhaps just as alright as any other subgenre? Fucking octogenarian paranormal crime fiction anyone?

I know, I know, the horror of more categorization, learning new things, stifling, finely wrapped boxes… I get it….

When I started my novel, I never considered the market I had in mind. I simply wanted to write a book that I would like to read.

But now that marketing is on my brain, I can’t help but wonder…

I remember reading books like Exit to Eden, The Silence of the Lambs and The Doors when I was maybe 13 years old, but would I want my tween to read them? Not yet. But did I also devour The chronicles of Narnia and Anne of Green Gables? Absolutely.

But something in between. Something if I’m not in the mood to recapture my youth or ponder the deep minutia (impending fucking realness) of seasoned adulthood. Hmm. Books for that nebulous in between. I say New Adult…Why not?

Image found on digitalsynopsis.com

on writing and kids

Daytrippin’

Summer reading list

Where will your vacation take you?

If you ask my 8 year old, it’s Hogwarts…

As for my summer reading list? It’s short but sweet, I got a website to manage and agents to query now after all….

In no particular order:

-A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

-Little Fires Everywhere

By Celeste Ng

And for family reading time-

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

(my 9th time reading🤩)

What is your number 1, gotta read this summer?