Friday, February 28, 2014

Having Writer Friends

Today I thought that I'd talk about having writer friends. Over the years I have been lucky enough to make a few. And I have a few authors whose careers I have followed since before they had book deals. I have been able to chat with them as well and that is a wonderful experience. My writer friends, though, are the ones that I can go to with problems concerning my writing. I think that this is an important thing to have in your life and I wanted to discuss it some today. 

Having friends and family that support your writing is great but I believe that you also need "writer friends". Friends who are also writers that you can talk to about things that those who don't write often have a hard time understanding. And that's fine, they don't have to. If they support you that's enough. But having someone that you can talk to about those distinctly "writerly" things is also very important. 

If you want to vent to someone about how you just can't get this character's background right, then that is something that you probably want to discuss with a writer friend. What I mean by this is someone who also writes. And usually, someone who also writes to seek publication in one way or another. Because writing for oneself only is different than writing something and then polishing it for publication. It's a different journey. So if that is what your aim is with your writing then usually you would want to find someone whose aim is similar. 

I met one of my best writer friends (who has also become a good friend) through an author's street team on Facebook (Rachel Harris' Flirt Squad). Jennifer Wesier. (Facebook Page: I posted a question about beta readers and she said that she would be happy to read for me. I sent her a message, we messaged back and forth on Facebook a few times and then we exchanged e-mails. That was it. I've sent her the manuscript I was referring to in that first question on Facebook and she had suggested edits sent back to me in a little over a week. Now, I continue to bounce ideas off of her. I e-mailed her a character profile of one of the characters in the next book that I'm working on. Yes, she will be reading that one too. ;) I will also read for her. 

So, I suppose my point is that it's important to have people who "get it". Often, writing is a solitary experience and if we can then talk to people who understand the things that we as writers come up against, it makes it a little easier. My fiance also looks over and edits my work - he's an avid reader so I also trust his edits. (He'll be starting a food blog this year. Check out the Facebook Page for it:

If you're a writer I encourage you to find people that you can talk to about your writing. I met Jenn through Facebook and through her I met Ryan Ringbloom. (Facebook Page: Writing groups are a great way to find writer friends. You can even look for online writing groups. Or Maggie Stiefvater is holding another Critiques Partner Love Connection. You can check that out here:

Writing classes are a great way to meet writer friends as well. Or you may just stumble upon someone who also writes. I met someone who also wrote with the goal of publication in mind during my junior year of college, Taylor Vogt. The project that he's working on is Romantic Fiction with Fantasy and Science Elements.  (Facebook Page: )  If you're still in school, maybe your school has a literary magazine. I was on the literary and arts magazine in college and was therefore surrounded by people who also loved literature and the arts. 

How do your writer friends help you? Are you looking for writer friends? Any tips on how to find some? Let me know in the comments! :) 

<3 Amanda Leigh

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mini Interview with Michelle Madow ~ Author of The Secret Diamond Sisters!

Michelle Madow was generous enough to send an e-mail out to her Street Team offering to do mini interviews! Of course, I knew that I had to do one! Michelle's book, The Secret Diamond Sisters, just came out yesterday and I am so excited for her! Today, I am delighted to share this mini interview with you! And a big thank you to Michelle Madow for taking the time to do this! 

Amanda Leigh: How do you think The Transcend Time Saga helped you in your journey to publish The Secret Diamond Sisters?

Michelle Madow: The Transcend Time Saga was the first series I ever wrote, so it will always have a special place in my heart. By self-publishing it, I was able to grow a fan base, and I gained confidence in myself as a writer from the people who supported me. I was able to learn about the publishing process, and learned how to improve my public speaking skills at fan events. Now, with The Secret Diamond Sisters, I look forward to expanding upon everything I've already learned. There's so much to come and I can't wait for this incredible journey. 

Amanda Leigh: What was your favorite part of writing The Secret Diamond Sisters? (Regarding story, characters, places that you wrote, beverages you drank, anything haha :).

Michelle Madow: I get to do a lot of FUN research for this series, because of the awesome Las Vegas setting! I go to Vegas every year for a family event. Once I realized I was going to write this book, I walked through Vegas seeing it through the eyes of my characters, and being inspired by the different hotels for scenes in the book. My best friend came out to Vegas with me, and we went “exploring” through Vegas to find places that would inspire scenes. We walked through the shops, ate at the restaurants, partied at the clubs, and everything. It was a blast! My favorite part was walking through the Wynn Hotel, which is the hotel that inspired the Diamond.

For fun, here's a picture of me and my best friend getting Eiffel Tower drinks at the Paris Hotel (these drinks will be familiar to those who have read the book!):

Amanda Leigh: Which character in The Secret Diamond Sisters do you think you are most like and why?

Michelle Madow: I’m by far the most like Courtney! (The most down to Earth and goal-driven sister.) Although I also have aspects of the other girls in me, like Savannah’s optimism, Peyton’s dislike of following arbitrary rules, and Madison’s confidence.

About the Book:

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.  

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

"Sexy and often electrifying ... Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps." 

"This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour ... get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride." 
--RT Book Reviews

“Highly addictive! Hold on tight, because The Secret Diamond Sisters throws you head first into the Vegas fast lane. Three every day teens navigate the slippery slope of wealth, popularity, and too much freedom, along with family drama, cat fights, and more gorgeous guys than should be legal. A fun ride not to be missed!” 
– Rachel Harris, author of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

About the Author: 

Michelle Madow has visited Las Vegas every year since she was fifteen years old, and was inspired to write The Secret Diamond Sisters while walking through the beautiful Wynn Hotel. She grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, then went to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She wrote her first novel, Remembrance, in her junior year of college, and later went on to self-publish it as book one in the Transcend Time Saga. She wrote The Secret Diamond Sisters in the year following graduation, and is so happy to finally share it with the world!

Michelle lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping, sunshine, Disney fairy tales, and Broadway musicals. She loves connecting with readers online, so be sure to follow her on Facebook (, Twitter (@MichelleMadow), and Instagram (@MichelleMadow).


Thank you so much to Michelle! I can't wait to read The Secret Diamond Sisters! :)

<3 Amanda Leigh

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happy Release Day to Victoria Scott and Michelle Madow!!

Today Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1) by Victoria Scott and The Secret Diamond Sisters (The Secret Diamond Sisters #1) by Michelle Madow are officially out! I received an ARC of Fire & Flood and have already read and loved it! I'm very excited to read The Secret Diamond Sisters! Happy Release Day Victoria Scott and Michelle Madow! 



Congratulations again!! :) 

<3 Amanda Leigh

Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review ~ Self-Publishing Books 101: Helping You Get Published and Noticed! by Shelley Hitz


Title: Self-Publishing Books 101: Helping You Get Published and Noticed!
Author: Shelley Hitz
Release Date: March 29th, 2012 (first published March 7th, 2012)
Published By: CreateSpace
Page Amount: 54 pages, Paperback

GoodReads Blurb:
Self-publishing print books has never been easier. With the print on demand technology that is now available to us through companies like CreateSpace, it has made the process of self-publishing available to anyone and everyone. And there aren't huge upfront costs either. However, there are certain steps to self-publishing that you need to know. I've been publishing print books with Createspace since 2008 and want to share what I've learned with you. In this eBook I cover everything from the different companies and costs, to copyright information and book design. So I invite you to come with me and take a walk through the step-by-step process to getting your print book self-published. After all, if you can dream it, you can do it!

I have been wanting to do more research on self-publishing for a while so I bought two books on the subject. I have yet to read the other one, but am planning on doing so pretty soon.

This book was a very good overview of the world of self-publishing today. You get information on the types of self-publishing companies out there as well as a list of the author's recommendations. There is an overview of the cover design process. It also gives an overview of the following: self-publishing costs, self-publishing book templates, self-publishing software options, a bit more of an in depth look at CreateSpace, ISBN look up and FAQs, and obtaining a copyright. The last chapter gives you an overview of the whole process; sort of like a checklist. 

I do have to say that there were some errors in this book. I believe that it could have been edited more thoroughly. Also, the reader could clearly see that this was intended to be an e-book. (It even still says "eBook" in the description for the print book). There are links to websites in this. I think that it's good to have the extra information there for readers to find. However, I do also think that the hyperlink look of it could have been changed for the print copy. Just list the address. 

That being said, this is a good overview of self-publishing. I definitely recommend this to someone who is looking for a short overview of the subjects that can present themselves in the process of self-publishing. If you are looking for a more in depth book about self-publishing then I would pick up something else or buy this in addition to the other book. This is a good quick reference guide. For example, the section on self-publishing book templates is something that I would flip to often for quick reference. Shelley Hitz's website,, has much more information. I would certainly recommend checking out that website. I do also plan to purchase her other book, Book Marketing on a Shoe String Budget. I believe that it will give me some good ideas on how to do market my book. 

Again, good to pick up if you're looking for a quick overview or reference guide. Or to pick up with another more in depth book on self-publishing - to use as companions, almost. It was also inspirational in that it - to me - made one seem like they can do this. My rating would be 3.5 stars!

<3 Amanda Leigh

Friday, February 21, 2014

Flirtilicious February Blog Hop ~ Excerpt from My First Book + Excerpt from Rachel Harris + HUGE GIVEAWAY!!

Rachel Harris' Flirt Squad is doing a blog hop! The Flirtilicious February Blog Hop! We can post about anything fun and flirty and romantic! Perfect for February! And of course for the Flirt Squad! So, today I thought that I would share a couple of poems - and photographs-  from my book Thousands of Mornings: Original Photography and Poetry.  In addition, I'll be sharing an excerpt from one of Rachel Harris' books. PLUS, there is a HUGE giveaway! Now, to the poems and photographs that go with them in my book. 

I Love the way we are when we're together.
The way you hold my hand. 
The way you sing me to sleep. 
The way you wipe away the tears that I cry. 
The way you kiss me before we say goodbye. 
I know we'll be together forever.
Our love will never die. 

Just Go Under
Emotions like tidal waves
crashing over me.
/too many to place
too many at once.
One right after the other.
I'm going under and
I just resist.


These emotions are
familiar, unfamiliar
all at once. 
But wonderful.
How did I get into this?

Stop fighting. 

Crash down on me
tidal waves.
I'm ready to go under.
Engulf me in bliss
and happiness. 

I can't resist. 

Fun Fact: The poem above was inspired by the song Never Let Me Go by Florence + The Machine. 

And now, here is an exclusive unedited excerpt from Rachel Harris' forthcoming My Not So Super Sweet Life

Exclusive Unedited Excerpt:
Cat sticks her head back through the door and calls out, “Love you!” then closes it firmly behind her. “Do I at least get a tiny hint about tonight?”

I take her jacket from her and hold it out, helping her slip her arms through the holes. Grasping her shoulders, I spin her around and let her see my bike waiting in the drive. “Clue number one.”

Cat squeals and does a bounce-like dance. “Are you serious?” She shoots me a quick questioning look, and when I nod, her face becomes a mask of confusion and eagerness. “Did you clear it with Dad first?”

“You think I’m stupid, woman?” I wrap my arms around her slender waist, imagining how it’ll feel having her arms wrapped around mine. And thighs straddling my hips. I glance at the photographers snapping away near the fence, and immediately begin thinking about puppies. “Of course I cleared it with him. As if I could get away with not clearing it between your bodyguards and Star Magazine staked outside your door.”

“Touché,” she says before doing another bounce step. “I’m gonna ride a motorcycle. That’s so badass!”

I chuckle and link our fingers, tugging her forward. “Come on, little badass. Let’s give the paparazzi something worth capturing.”

Her answering smile is so dazzling it nearly steals my breath. Knowing I put it there makes me feel like a freaking king. “Are you trying to get me in trouble, Mr. Cappelli?”

“Always, Miss Crawford,” I reply. “Always.”  

With a knowing nod at the bodyguards as we approach my bike, I remove my second helmet from the seat and help her put it on, smoothing back her hair and strapping it. I step back and look at her. Standing beside my bike in curve-hugging denim and leather, the black helmet in place, she does look like a badass. My badass. And she’s never looked hotter. 

“Damn I wish I could kiss you right now.” Both the helmet and the prying eyes of the paparazzi keep that from happening, but when I catch her licking her lips in response, I groan and shove on my own helmet. “The quicker we get where we’re going, the better.”

Her eyes light up from behind the visor as I flip it down. I hop on my bike and take her hand, tugging her close. “Swing your leg around and scoot up close.” 

Cat does as I say, intuitively grabbing onto my hips, and pulling herself closer. She’s not close enough. She’ll never be close enough, but I take her hands and lace them around my stomach, then grasp her knees and tug them firmly beside mine. She slides an extra inch. The scent of leather and rose mingle in my nose as the heat of her body seeps past the denim. I could get used to this.

I look back to see her face. Her flirty grin says she’s enjoying this as much as I am. “During a turn, you’re gonna lean slightly. When we turn right, look over my right shoulder, and keep your body in line with mine. When we turn left, look left. Got it?”

She lowers her gaze to where my lips are behind the visor and shifts closer. “Look and lean. Got it.” Her voice is a mixture of excitement, fear, and desire. This was an excellent idea.

“One more thing?” I say, waiting for her eyes to flutter back to mine. “Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.” 

Cat laughs, and pressed up against me like she is, I feel the vibrations throughout my body. I yank the clutch, press the starter, and feel her jerk behind me as the engine rumbles to life. 

“Best Valentine’s Day ever!” she screams in my ear. 

And it’s only just begun.     

About the Author:

Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, watching soap operas with her grandmother and staying up 
late sneak reading her mom's favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston, 
she still stays up too late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly 
believes life's problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of 
king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain 
She homeschools her two beautiful girls and loves watching reality television with her amazing 
husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult Fun, Flirty Escapes, and LOVES talking with 

Connect with the Author 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow Giveaway Hop + Fun Fact!


I'm really excited to be a part of the Giveaway Hop for Michelle Madow's upcoming release The Secret Diamond Sisters! I read and really enjoyed The Transcend Time Saga by Michelle Madow! Here is a bit about her and her upcoming release!

About the Book:

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

About the Author:

Michelle lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping, sunshine, Disney fairy tales, and Broadway musicals. She loves connecting with fans online, so be sure to follow her on Facebook (Michelle Madow), Twitter (@MichelleMadow), and Instagram (@MichelleMadow). For more information, visit her website,

Fun Fact from Michelle About The Secret Diamond Sisters:
Savannah’s birthday is on December 13, which is the same day Michelle got the call from Harlequin TEEN that they wanted to publish The Secret Diamond Sisters.


Link to the Giveaway Hop and Blog Hop:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Review ~ The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Release Date: January 3rd, 2011 (first published 2009)
Published By: Berkley Publishing Group
Page Amount: 522 pages, Paperback

GoodReads Blurb: 
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

Where to begin? Well, it took me a long time to finish this book. And that wasn't at all because I thought that it was a 'bad book'; I think that it was because there was just so much to take in. I wanted to read it slowly. 

I thought that the characters in this story were excellent. Especially the three main characters: Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter. To me, they were well rounded and well thought out. They seemed real to me. I cared about what happened to them. The characters that I had, let's say, less sympathy for really grated my nerves - to put it lightly. Even these characters seemed real to me, though. Which made it easier to get involved in the plot of the story. 

The main plot was phenomenal and well executed. Kathryn Stockett pulled in historical events to make the impact of all of this seem more real. It helped to ground me in the story. There were sub-plots as well, of course. A few of the instances did seem irrelevant to the main plot of the story. However, I do believe that many of the scenes from these sub-plots helped to enhance the main plot line. It made the reader, or me at least, realize how all encompassing the issue of race really was at this time. And what may or may not happen to someone who tried to go about writing a book about "The Help"; and of course the people who helped them. 

I also thought that the writing style was good. It was simple and direct yet poetic at the same time. It drew me in even more. 

Also, the edition that I have has an essay by Kathryn Stockett at the end f it called "Too Little, Too Late". I thought that this essay was excellent. Not all of it was pretty or what you would want to read but it was very eye-opening. It explains why Kathryn Stockett wrote The Help. It really gives more insight into what made this book come about. I suggest trying to find this and read it. 

Overall, I thought that this book was excellent. I had to give it 5 stars. 

<3 Amanda Leigh

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Look Back/A Little More About Me

Here's where you can get a look at more about me. Just the follow the link that says "post". I think that it should work. If not, I'll try to find a way that you can see it. :) 

Post by Amanda Leigh Morey.

<3 Amanda Leigh

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blog Tour ~ Straight Laced by Jessica Gunhammer



Summer Jones seems to be perfect in every way. She’s always gotten good grades, graduated with honors and has never missed a curfew. So when Nate Thompson walks into Summer’s life, her whole world is turned upside down.

She envies everything he stands for; he’s wild, free and doesn’t have a care in the world. Not to mention he’s hot, has tattoos and drives a motorcycle. When Nate brings to her attention she’s too straight laced for him, she decides it’s time for a change.
She’s ready to start living the life she’s always wanted, but she’s scared to leave everything she knows behind and travel the journey alone. Will Nate be there to encourage her along the way? Or will the rebellion wear off and have her crawling back to her parents?

Nate’s always lived his life in the fast lane. He’s never wanted to be tied down and he doesn’t let anything get in the way of doing what he loves. That is until he meets Summer.

She’s everything he’s ever wanted but yet she’s everything he could never have. She’s smart, beautiful and on her way to the top. She’s way out of he’s league and he lets her know it, but yet he can’t seem to keep his mind off of her.

When Nate finds himself lying on the side of the road in the middle of the night, preparing himself for his last breath there is only one person that comes to mind, Summer Jones. He promises himself that if he makes it through this, he will do everything he can to win her over, but is it too late?


Jessica Gunhammer recently married her high school sweetheart and they’re lucky to call Hawaii home. She graduated college in May 2012 with a degree in fashion design and quickly realized it was not the right fit for her. So, after spending several years in a fast paced fashion industry, she started looking for something new to keep her busy.

Reading has always been a passion of hers. However, she put this passion on the back burner, since she had no time to read during college. Soon after, Jessica and her mom started a publishing company. It was while working in the publishing industry that she rediscovered her love for writing. She’d always known she wanted to write, but never considered making a career out of it. After some feedback and support from her amazing family she decided to pursue her dreams of becoming an author.

When Jessica has time between reading, writing and running a business, you can find her enjoying all Hawaii has to offer. She likes to spend her time with her husband, family and dog Asia. On the weekends you can find them teeing off at the nearest golf course, playing volleyball on the beach or visiting the local farmer’s market.

Facebook “Like” Page:


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

V-Day Bites ~ Changing Love (Shifters) + GIVEAWAY!


Today's post for the V-Day Bites Blog Hop is all about shifters. The ones that I chose are werewolves. The series that I will be highlighting today is by one of my favorite Young Adult authors: Maggie Stiefvater. Have you guessed it yet? The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy! 

The Covers of All Three Books:




The Companion Book to The Series:


GoodReads Synopsis for Shiver (Book One):
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
I read Shiver during the begining of my freshman year of college. Honestly, I don't even remember buying it. Which is strange becuase when I love book I usually remember buying it. It's rare that I like all or most of the characters in a book but with Shiver I liked almost all of them. Particularly Sam. I loved his poetic soul. And I liked how he and Grace were together. The writing style was also wonderful on my opinion. I still have passges marked. Also, it was a different way of looking at werewolves thqat I had not seen before. And I enjoyed seeing the love between Sam and Grace grow. 

February 10 – Undying Love (Vampires)
February 11 – Changing Love (Shifters)
February 12 – Rotten Love (Zombies)
February 14 – Love Gone Wrong/Dark Love/Erotica