News Round-up

The end of the week, month, and first Release marketing blitz (of many) are all here at once, and I have so much news to share! Warning – longer post ahead, but WORTH THE READ.

1) THANK YOU to everyone who have bought books so far, both those with eBooks already and those who placed their pre-print orders and are patiently awaiting their copies.

Have you bought yours yet? If not, click HERE. Remember that, for every copy purchased during the month of October, I will donate $1.00 to the March of Dimes in honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

The book is real, and it is coming. Proof:


Signed, shipped copies ordered before November 1 will get to you on or before November 15th. For those who didn’t request shipping, I’ll be sure to have several on hand at all times, or we can arrange a covert drop-off point at a location to be determined.

2) SPREADING THE WORD: Trio Animal Foundation and New York Bully Crew are two of the most effective, well-respected Pit Bull rescue organizations in the country. At the recommendation from Brooke Van Gory, Pit Bull advocate extraordinaire, I reached out to let them know that Release has a pibble-positive message, in among all the other plots and themes at play. I had no expectation, except, possibly, a “Thanks for letting us know” response. Both organizations are going to include information about Release in their newsletters and social media accounts. When she isn’t giving her time and voice to spread vegetarian awareness, support hand-crafted goods, promote human rights, and advance decent common sense issues, she’s at work at Brooke Van Gory Designs.

3) GIVEAWAYS, CONTESTS, AND FUNDRAISERS! Currently, there are THREE chances for you to win copies of Release out there, and a few more coming online within the coming days.

  • Enter my GoodReads Gratitude Giveaway (G3™ – thanks, Brian) for a chance to win one of ten copies. Winners will be selected randomly by GoodReads at midnight on Thanksgiving day. (get it? GET IT?)
  • Like to mix a little fashion and philanthropy with your wagering? Attend the
    10th Annual Stylin’ for Scholars Fashion Show and Luncheon THIS Sunday, November 2, at Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling. One lucky Silent Auction winner will receive a Book Club Set of Release paperbacks. I will also visit a book club meeting, anywhere within 30 miles of O’Hare, to discuss the book on a mutually-selected date in 2015. I’ll appear via Skype at meetings outside of the Chicago area.
  • Just announced, a Book Club set of paperbacks and 2015 appearance at a club meeting are in the Silent Auction for The Mahrathon (similar appearance restrictions apply). On December 6th-7th, Maht Wells will DJ for 26.2 hours to raise money for Heifer International. This organization eradicates poverty and hunger through sustainable, values-based holistic community development. I’d donate the books to help any cause Maht supports, but the fact that Mandelyn’s experiences in Jaipur and Muang Khoun correlate with the work of Heifer—couldn’t go wrong. Check out Maht’s event page for more information.


  • Composition of the fragrance, God’s Gift, is complete, and God’s Gift: Seduction is nearly finalized. I’m wearing one of four possible formulations right now, and all I can say is WOW. Anyone familiar with the passage knows the effect that the frankincense, myrrh, chocolate, hazelnut, and bourbon melange has on Mandelyn. It’s got me all flustered, too. I have it on good authority from Esscentual Alchemy that God’s Gift: Redemption is only days away from my doorstep. Words can’t describe my anticipation.
  • The official Release Tea Set is coming together! It will include packets of loose-leaf Chamomile, Caramel Rooibos, Mulberry Leaf, Chai, and Darjeeling Hojicha. Tiesta Tea has really outdone themselves.
  • I’m getting nothing but glowing reviews of Be Still, the original song written and performed by Sarah McSweeney. The song is embedded with the PDF, but I am including it as a separate file, as well, with the purchase of any digital copy. She and I may need to talk about uploading the song for purchase on other mainstream retail sites. It’s truly beautiful.

Eager to get your hands on any the goods? Read on!

5) BOOK SIGNINGS, YO! I have two dates I’m just dying to announce, and a few others in the hopper, in the Chicago area and nationwide. As the details are locked in, you’ll know them as soon as I do. UPDATE: DATES FOR THE FIRST TWO EVENTS ARE SET!

On the evening of November 24th, I’ll have books, teas, and perfumes available to purchase at an open house event to be hosted at the newly relocated RoccoVino’s in Elk Grove Village. They will be celebrating their official grand opening just a few weeks, but they’re open now, so stop by!

The event on the afternoon of December 7th will be a reading and discussion format, where you will be able to purchase copies of the book, as well as sets of the tea and samples of the perfume This will be held at Trickster Gallery190 S. Roselle Road in SchaumburgTimes and more details coming soon!

6) THE CRITICS ALL AGREE! Well, maybe I’ve spoken too soon. I hope they all agree, though! It’s honor enough that the following critics have agreed to review my book, then share their opinions and insights about it with their respective audiences. SUPPORT THEM. DO IT. *please?*

  • Ashley Devick was the first lady to sign on. Her review will be posted on November 7th at Escape Into Life, an online community that features art and literature by emerging and established artists from all over the world.  In October 2013 Devick, a Passport to the Future member, traveled to Bosnia and Serbia to report on the work of American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) in the Balkans. She currently writes for Chicago Sun-Times Splash and is the owner of Yakkety Yak, a comprehensive marketing communications firm.
  • I reached out to the Chicago Writers Association to request a review, daring to ask that the illustrious Julie S. Halpern be the one to read my novel. My heart rate hasn’t slowed to a normal pace since I got word she’d agreed. Halpern has written feature articles and reviews for Classical Singer Magazine, the off-off Broadway Review, and The Soul of the American Actor. Julie is also a performer, director, and playwright, and for ten years was Artistic Director of Love Street Theatre.
  • Melissa A. Bartell is also a prolific reader and reviewer. In addition to her long-running Bibliotica review site, she is also Associate Editor-in-Chief for All Things Girl and is a writer for Medium. Melissa represents my first successful 100% cold-call (email) review request acceptance.
  • I connected immediately with Erin Conrad, at least on my computer screen. When I got up the gumption to post about Release in the Outlandish Chicago Facebook group, Erin liked my post. I have to admit to having a moderate-level fangirl freak-out when she did so. I’ve been devouring her reviews of the new Starz series, Outlander. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. Traffic to Three if by Space has multiplied since her witty, insightful commentary and reports about the show has gone viral. We Sassenachs have to stick together; Diana Gabaldon’s posts about her process have guided me through more than a few writing conundra over the last few years.
  • Carrie Dunham-LaGree is ‎the Librarian for Digital Literacy and General Education and a Professor of Librarianship at Drake University. She is also the force behind the Nomadreader blog. I really wanted to connect with an Iowan, not only because of the locales described in the book, but also because of what the state means to me. Go figure, then, that Carrie responds to say that she’s happy to connect with a fellow Simpson College graduate. If I’d done more homework, I would have known we had our alma mater in common. As it is, the happy discover just adds to my joy at having found her.
  • Editors at BookLife are considering Release it for review. This is kind of a big deal. BookLife is the branch of Publishers Weekly that considers self-published books. While this is no guarantee that it will receive a this prestigious consideration, this is an important hurdle cleared

Can you believe that there’s even MORE to report than that, just waiting around the corner? The wheels are in motion, my friends. I’m glad you’re on board.

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