Spinner of Secrets {first birthday + giveaway}

This upcoming week is pretty incredibly busy for me.

On May 14th, Spinner of Secrets turns one year old.

On May 17th, I’ve been asked to present to three groups of elementary school students about writing as a career.

On May 19th, I’ll be at the Homeschoolers of Maine Used Curriculum Sale with my books, in the vendor expo hall.

To celebrate my book baby’s birthday, I’m hosting a really big giveaway!

I’m giving away one whole collection of my paperbacks!

I’m ALSO giving away one paperback copy of Spinner of Secrets!

For my international loves — how about an e-book copy of Spinner of Secrets? I can’t pay international shipping this time around, but I don’t want you left out. So I’m adding, open worldwide (so yes, this includes US residents) THREE e-book copies of Spinner of Secrets OR a lovely little prize pack that might… possibly… include an art print file…

… that might look like this.

There are five potential winners for this giveaway!!

Here’s the Rafflecopter Dude:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

-Annie

2017 {my year in review}

It all started one fateful day in December 2016… 
It was the first holiday season since my great-grandmother Louise had passed away, so a number of us were reminiscing on Facebook, and a cousin shared a story that I, and a number of others, had never heard before. That story stuck in my heart and without necessarily thinking about it I found myself painting. Then I wrote the story out. I asked for a couple beta readers to help polish it up, then published it on my blog. On January 27th I hit publish on my first little Kindle e-book.
I wrote a poem for my local library’s poetry contest and won first place in the adult category with Something. Reading that one out loud at the presentation night was hard; I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it all the way through. It wasn’t nerves this time. It was how deeply the poem affected me personally.
I turned right around and started seriously working on my novella, Spinner of Secrets. Spinner of Secrets had been in progress for almost two years. I had an incredible team of beta readers who helped me get it in shape, then I started a process I would repeat three more times before the end of the year: formatting. I expected to hate formatting. I expected to take forever to get it, and to end up with a bit of a ‘ehh’ job. 
I didn’t. I loved it, and my first proof copy came in the end of April. I had a book. I’d made an actual, real, honest to goodness book. Not gonna lie, there was a lot of crying. And a lot of jumping around and yelling in excitement. And I don’t really remember a lot else.
I had two poems published in an anthology, “What The Sirens Say” and “Ache”. 
I was invited to enter a couple pieces in an anthology to raise mental health awareness, with all proceeds donated to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I wrote two poems for that, and then was able to help out a little with finalizing it. 

Back in January I’d assembled a poetry manuscript for a contest. I didn’t win, but I got bored one afternoon, rearranged it a bit, formatted it, and ordered a proof copy. This little book just might be my personal favorite of all my works this year. I finished it off with a handful of my own sketches, and published it on August 16th.
On September 28th I published The Ocean and I. A short collection of poetry, prose, and photos, it’s a snapshot of my vacation in Friendship, Maine this summer. It started as just a letter to me, from me, but I was encouraged to publish it, and people seem to have liked it.
With only two weeks left before the deadline, I learned about an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records record for largest anthology. I am one of over 100 authors who contributed. There are several goals we have to reach before the record is broken, but it’s kind of a big deal and I’m excited.

No Dragons, Please! was, like Spinner of Secrets, two years in process. I pulled it from my back files to be re-written and published. Originally written for my youngest brother’s 10th birthday, I had it published professionally in time for his 12th.
Other things of note:
In addition to my cat, rabbit, dog, and houseplants, I have a fish. His name is Thaddeus and he is a Halfmoon Double Tail Male Betta fish. He is fabulous. His tank is next to my computer desk and he likes to sit near me while I work.
I successfully pulled off the 2017 New Releases Showcase, a Facebook event featuring myself and eight other authors who’d released books in 2017.
In terms of mental health, this has been the best year in a long time. All of this work, all of this stretching and pushing and testing limits, and it’s still been the best year I’ve had. I’ve been scared. I’ve been angry. I’ve been stubborn and in the wrong and stupid and a brat. But I’ve been so joyful and excited and eager. I’ve been so happy I screamed and I’ve been so overwhelmed that I cried. It’s been good. 
And my total word count for 2017… as close as I can figure from my tracking…
246,769
At the end of the year, 2017 has been life-changing. Looking back at where I was one year ago today, I can safely say that I never saw this coming. And I can safely say I don’t regret it.

All my love – AnnieLou

Cyber Monday Special!

Cyber Monday is November 27th! Take advantage of my free shipping code and combine it with my holiday shopping code to get some pretty good discounts on my books. Don’t forget to leave a note if you want it personalized! 
They’re available as supplies last, so be sure to act quickly!

Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Jump: The Things I Remind Myself

Jump: The Things I Remind Myself is here! Order your copy on Amazon, in paperback or Kindle format (or both!)

Here’s some of my posts from the Facebook launch party:


So the title of the book is Jump: The Things I Remind Myself

I picked this title because of one of the poems in the book, the only one of my own that I have actually memorized. It’s called Jump:
All she wanted

was a hand to holdas she jumped off the cliffuntil she learned that maybejumping off the cliff was really justthe metaphor for taking a stepall by herselfwithout a hand to hold.

As some of you may know, I have anxiety, and I go between being super excited about all this adult stuff and doing my writing and presenting it to the world, and completely losing my mind in endless worries and meltdowns over it. I wrote the poem Jump almost a year ago. Actually, it sort of wrote itself. I looked down at my paper and there it was. I have always remembered it since then, without really sitting down to memorize it.

As some of my brothers can tell you, we used to go jumping off this little cliff at my aunt’s house when we were little. (That was one of the things my dad wished I hadn’t told him, about twelve years after the fact.) It wasn’t a cliff, exactly, it was this steep bank in a gravel pit. We would jump out, and about three feet down we’d hit the bank and slide down the rest of the way. Those few seconds in midair were heaven. I felt like a butterfly, like I could just drift off on a passing breeze.
At some point I got scared of jumping. I got scared of testing things. I got scared of trying out new things and exploring and poking at things with a stick (or my bare hands) and just generally being curious. And while I’m working over that, and I’ll tell you about the adventure I had yesterday when I temporarily misplaced myself, I’m still can be nervous about people. I’m not nearly as bad as I was about Spinner of Secrets, but it is still a process.
This book has been a stretch. It’s been pushing myself. To do Spinner of Secrets, I had to learn to let other people help me. To do Jump, I had to do it myself. I had to just sit down and do it. It was hard. It’s been so incredibly worth it, and this is the first day the book is public.
Anyway. Here’s a pair of butterflies. (I did take this one myself.)




What’s up next?

The Ocean And I is a short scrapbook type collection of poetry, prose, and photos. Not 100% sure when that will be coming out, but it should be in the next few weeks.

No Dragons, Please! is a children’s short story I wrote for my youngest brother a couple years ago, that I’m revising for publication in November. Here’s my absolute favorite line from that one:


“I told you, I don’t know how to fight a dragon! The last thing I want to do is get killed!”

“If you’re avoiding death, maybe you should have considered an occupation other than a knight,” Ninnia muttered.

Amazon – Jump: The Things I Remind Myself

Jump: Release Party!

Jump: The Things I Remind Myself releases on August 20th (assuming the last bug with the cover format works out – cross your fingers!)

I’ll be posting videos, answers questions, and running a giveaway, over on my Facebook page. The event runs from 7pm to 8pm EDT, but I will probably leave the giveaway open for a couple days for those who can’t make it.

Jump: The Things I Remind Myself also includes ten pencil sketches! I’m so happy with the quality of the printing job, and excited to share them with you!
This event is all online, so if you mark that you’re attending the party, you’ll get notified when I make a post in the discussion for you to interact with. 

Stuff and Things

I’ve been loudly absent this month, which is interesting because it was July last year that I was pretty absent too. Maybe I should just take July off.

A large factor in my absence has been my emotions and mental state. I’ve been swirling from anxious to depressed to hyper-actively happy and right back around again. It’s been hard. While I’ve been safe the whole time, interacting with people has been a struggle, and most days it’s been as much as I can do to get out of bed and do my normal daily chores. Sitting down to write has been difficult, because by the time I’ve trudged through the day and have time, all I want to do is sleep. I’ve lost count of how many meltdowns I’ve had, one of them at 3am and a girl online talked me through it so I could go back to sleep. It’s been okay, the stuff I’ve been anxious about has been able to be resolved, and my family has been really great. But even though it’s been okay, it’s been hard. Tiring. I want to just sleep for three days straight (except I tried that once and I lasted three hours.)

It feels like years since I published Spinner, not two and a half months. It was six weeks ago that I talked to the classrooms – what? No, I’m 98% sure that was two years ago. I’m disoriented by how time is passing, probably because I’ve been doing so much more on a daily basis since April 1st than I have my entire life. Every day is twice or three times longer and busier than they ever have been, and I’ve been having a hard time finding my balance. In addition, I have another part job. That comes with its own stresses, especially trying to find my balance with my boss. The last time I worked under someone, it went downhill fast and I ended up badly burned. So I’m trying to figure out how to keep my boss happy while still doing the best job I can do while still staying sane. If I can’t stay sane, it’s not worth it, even though the money is good. It’s complicated.

Life’s complicated.

But, I’m feeling like I’m over the worst of this period, and will be able to start August on a better foot. Here’s hoping.

NEWS:

I have a poetry book coming out! I’m planning a Facebook party on August 20th.

Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell