Last weekend, I went to the Florida Writers Association annual conference. I was notified that I was a finalist during the summer, and I anxiously awaited hearing whether or not I placed last Saturday night with my young adult psychological thriller, The Caging at Deadwater Manor. It not only placed, but it received First Place in the Young Adult/New Adult genre! I couldn't be more thrilled. More photos to come soon!
In September, I received notice that my book, The Caging at Deadwater Manor, won an Honorable Mention Award in YA Horror with Readers' Favorite. It was around 11 p.m. when I opened the email that night, and as you can imagine, I couldn't sleep! I mean, I'm a debut novelist. How in the world did I win an award?
But I did! Readers' Favorite provided me with a certificate and medallion for marketing, a website with my five-star review, press releases and an opportunity to go to a banquet to receive recognition for my award. The event included a reception, presentations, inclusion of my book in the Miami Book Fair, an award ceremony, press releases, and opportunities for networking. So, I decided to go.
The event started last Friday night at The Regency Hotel in Miami. A reception was held in the evening where the books were displayed on a counter near check in with an adjacent bar and seating area. Numerous authors attended. It was great to hear about all of their books and the stories behind them. I met author Ju Ephraime and spent quite a while talking with her.
After, we were escorted to a conference room where we saw presentations from various speakers on marketing from doing podcasts to social media posts. They were excellent, and I plan on using many of the resources provided.
The next morning, my husband and I went to the Miami Book Fair to see my book displayed at the Readers' Favorite tent. Wow! This event was huge with crowds of people! There were so many vendors with new and used books, merchandise and services. We found the Readers' Favorite tent - it had great signage and was staffed. Inside all of the award winning books were displayed. Each author donated books to sell and all proceeds went to Shriner's (over $2,000 raised!). It was such a proud moment to see my book on a shelf for the first time! I picked up a few books, and of course, had to get one on geology!
That night, we dressed up and attended the award ceremony. It was impressive with a stage, two areas with professional photography (I'll receive the photos in a couple of weeks), the press, a live feed during the awards, buffet, and lots of time to talk with other authors.
Speaking of which, I have to say how honored I felt even being in the same room with these tremendously talented people from authors to illustrators. Some have been published for many years and were a wealth of knowledge. All were passionate about their books and mine, too. That's the one thing I've learned since I started this journey. Authors are supportive of each other and always willing to help. I love this positive community.
The award ceremony involved going on stage, shaking hands with the Readers' Favorite representative (Mark Wayne Adams), and having my picture taken - all on live stream. I have to admit, I was a bit concerned with tripping or doing something stupid at first, but then I decided not worry about it - this was my night and I was going to enjoy it. And I did (and luckily didn't land on my face! Haha!).
After the stage, we were escorted to another area for more photography and press interviews. It was certainly a night I will always remember. It felt surreal to be recognized for this book -- one that my dad inspired. He passed before seeing the book published, but I know he was up there on that stage with me, grinning and proud! Love you, Dad.
Thank you, Readers' Favorite. I'll never forget this wonderful experience!
As you can imagine, seeing the book cover for The Caging at Deadwater Manor can conjure up memories of experiences or stories of old psychiatric hospitals or hauntings. My employer recently announced my upcoming book release on their newsletter, and I've had several coworkers stop by my office to share their experiences with me -- several of which have given me chills.
One such experience came from Nick Makris who grew up near Cedar Grove, New Jersey, home of the infamous psychiatric hospital named the Essex County Hospital Center (aka The Overbrook, sanatorium, asylum, etc.). The hospital opened in 1896 and was used to treat tuberculous and patients with mental illness. Nick remembers riding his bicycle several miles and seeing his grandfather who worked as a barber in the hospital when he was young. He later visited the hospital after it was abandoned and took pictures as part of a photography class -- forgotten photos that have been sitting in a shoebox until today. He gave me permission to use the photos to help promote my book, so I thought I'd share them as a blog post since they are right in line with the theme of my book. The pictures have an eery feel since Nick tried out different photography techniques during this visit back in 1993. Thank you, Nick!
Coincidentally, another coworker viewed the photos and mentioned that she had heard all sorts of stories about the patients and treatments at the hospital from a previous professor. She could barely look at the photos.
In my last newsletter, I asked which photo was from an actual psychiatric hospital in my latest trailer. If you guessed the first picture in the slideshow below - you were right!
How about you? Would you visit an old, abandoned psychiatric hospital?
Hi everyone - this is a continuation of my blog series titled, "First Book Cover Reveal." I chose to do this so that you can see the posts from this Facebook event in case you weren't able to go and to help other authors. This was a special post to me, because I talk about my dad - the inspiration for the story.
POST #3 - COVER REVEAL FOR THE CAGING AT DEADWATER MANOR
When I was brainstorming for the book, I thought I was going to write a ghost story because I wanted to see if I could write a dark novel. Since my dad used to work at a psych hospital, I asked him if he saw anything strange there. His discovery in the hospital is the basis for the book, hence “Inspired by true events” is on the cover.
He recently died of Alzheimer’s but while he had a lucid moment, I was able to tell him I dedicated the book to him. He became emotional, so he I knew he understood. He’ll never get to see the book in print, but at least I know he knew the book was dedicated to him.
He always wanted me to make sure I tell everyone that the father I wrote about in the book was NOT him! My dad was a wonderful, caring, funny man who would do anything for us. Here’s a couple pictures of my dad:
I miss him very much - such a good man.
Take care, everyone. Sandie
This weekend, I announced that my employer was doing a feature on me in the employee newsletter. I met with one of the communications specialists last week and she interviewed me on everything from why I write to how I got started to information regarding my new novel, The Caging at Deadwater Manor. Here's the newsletter!
Staff Member to Release First Novel by End of Year - Employee Newsletter - August 1, 2016
Sandie Will, geohydrologic data manager, will publish her first novel this year, The Caging at Deadwater Manor.
At 16 years old, Sandie Will, geohydrologic data manager, set out to pen her first work of fiction – a haunted house story based on her love of horror flicks. Years later, her passion for the paranormal will be printed on the pages of her first published novel, The Caging at Deadwater Manor – a young adult, psychological thriller from Caliburn Press scheduled for release by the end of 2016.
The story, inspired by true events, follows Jeannie Kynde, a 14-year-old girl who’s left in the care of her distraught father after her mother drowns. Four years later, Jeannie’s father eventually turns on her and imprisons her at Deadwater Manor, a psychiatric hospital with a dark past.
The idea for the story came from a conversation that Will had with her father. “This book was inspired by daily routines and a discovery my dad came across while working at a nearby psychiatric hospital here in the Tampa Bay Area,” Will said.
Will’s novel first caught the eye of Caliburn Press two years ago. “I was on vacation when I got the email that they wanted to publish my book,” she said. It was a welcome surprise for Will who had started writing as a creative outlet.
“There’s just this side of me that likes to create something,” she said. “I need to write. I don’t have a choice. I have to get it out.”
Since The Caging at Deadwater Manor was picked up by Caliburn, Will has been busy promoting it on her website, social media, as a guest at book events for various authors, and with her new book trailer. “I’ve become a webmaster and social media expert through marketing the book,” she said. These are skills that Will says aspiring writers need to have along with a dedication to the craft. “Write because you love to write. You have to enjoy it,” she said.
For the latest news on The Caging at Deadwater Manor, visit SandieWill.com.
Published by SWFWMD, Employee Newsletter, Currents Update, August 1, 2016.
Hi there - this is the second blog for the "My First Book Cover Reveal" series. A few days ago, I began this series with some lessons learned during my first cover reveal, and my first cover reveal post. My thought was to share all the posts so that new authors would have an idea of what to use as material during a cover reveal, and for my readers to gain insight on me and my book - THE CAGING AT DEADWATER MANOR. This would have helped me tremendously, because I had no clue about what to post before starting. Luckily, the authors before me were experienced and I could get the hang of it before I was up.
Today, I'm posting my second post during the cover reveal. This post includes the blurb that will be on the back of the book, as well as the question, "What would you do if you were trapped (in a psychiatric hospital)?" The responses were primarily that most people would stay quiet and out of the way.
What would you do?
POST #2 - COVER REVEAL FOR THE CAGING AT DEADWATER MANOR
THE CAGING AT DEADWATER MANOR is a YA psychological thriller set along the Gulf Coast here in Florida. It’s my debut due to be released in late 2016 from Caliburn Press. I started writing novels about 8 years ago. During the day, I work as a geologist/manager and at nights and on weekends I spend a lot of time writing and doing social media.
Here’s the book blurb:
On a cold, January evening, fourteen-year-old Jeannie Kynde is told that her beloved mother drowned in the murky waters along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Her distraught father turns on Jeannie, no longer the caring father she once knew.
Four years later, Jeannie is finally old enough to escape her father’s clutches, but he has different plans. He imprisons her at Deadwater Manor, a psychiatric hospital with an unscrupulous past. Will she be locked away forever?
What would you do if you were trapped?
On that note, hope every has a fantastic weekend! --Sandie
Yesterday was my book cover reveal for THE CAGING AT DEADWATER MANOR. It was a Facebook event (you can set these up in the "Events" area) and author takeover. This consisted of authors posting links, pictures and videos throughout a predetermined timeslot. You can do a live feed if you wish also.
There were about 10 authors who hosted one-hour slots to promote their books and other work. All authors were invited by me or another author. The authors had fantastic giveaways include free books and gifts. The event started at 10 a.m. and I had the last slot from 8- 9 p.m, for the cover reveal. I also ended up doing a trailer reveal which worked out great.
Here's the link to the event (you'll need to click on "going" to view all the posts):
Here are some lessons learned:
Since I'm not sure how long the posts will be available, I thought I'd start transferring some of mine to this blog page in case you missed the event. This way, if you've never done a cover reveal before, you can see some examples to follow. For those readers who are not authors, this will give you more information about me and my writing!
First post of the evening. My thought on this was to do an introduction, thanking everyone from the day and showing my professional pictures, so people know what I look like. Also, I think professional pictures are important to do for promotions and the back and inside covers, if you can.
POST #1: COVER REVEAL FOR THE CAGING AT DEADWATER MANOR
Hi everybody! Thanks so much for joining in on my one-hour live event for the cover reveal of THE CAGING AT DEADWATER MANOR! I’m so excited to be here and I want to thank all the authors who helped make this day so special by participating in their live events all day too! Stay tuned until the end because I’m going to show my very first book trailer!
Here are a couple of my author photos taken by Jaimi Weatherspoon with Essential~Special Moments Photography. I just love them and use them in a lot of my social media outlets. I can't say enough about getting professional pictures done!
How’s everyone doing tonight and where are you from?
I'll be back again with some of my other posts for the cover reveal in future blogs. In the meantime, good luck with any upcoming book releases to all you authors out there and thank you for stopping by to all of my readers!
Take care -- Sandie
Well, I survived the editing stage with the publisher! It was definitely a grueling process, especially having to work full-time at my day job and editing at night and on the weekend. There were two rounds of edits for me and three rounds for the editor.
Here's how the process progressed. I received an email in July from the editor, introducing herself. She also stated that I would be receiving her edits in August. They came in right on time, but I had only ten days to return my edits - yikes! She did say, however, that I could extend the time if there was a reason such as travel. I figured I'd go for it though, so I spent 20 hours primarily over the weekend and finished the edits up during the week. There were numerous edits within the text which I painstakingly accepted or denied (there were only a couple denied and I provided the reason). There were also several general comments on certain sections the editor thought I should take a second look at for consistency, believability or strengthening. The comments were excellent and I made the changes to reflect these in the text. One of her comments in the text stated that she loved a scene because it reminded her of The Walking Dead! I hope others feel that way! It wasn't my intention when I wrote it, but once she mentioned it, I could see the similarities. So, I added another scene later on to accentuate it more.
I made the ten day deadline and sent her back my edits. About five days later, I received the second round of edits. There were several, but much less than the initial round. I was still noticing errors in the text, however, so I spent another 24 hours re-reading the text twice and sent back these edits ten days later. About three days later, I received the final version with a note that no further changes could be met at this time. The text was sent over for typesetting and I would have another opportunity to make minor changes. In the meantime, I prepared the publisher's author information form which includes general information, book blurb, excerpt, and various information for the cover artist. I also had a photo shoot with a professional photographer for my author picture. It was hard to choose, but here it is:
I'll use this photo and several others for marketing purposes in the future. From what I understand, spending money on professional photos is worth the cost. This photo was taken by Jaimi Weatherspoon at Essentia~Special Moments Photography.
Next, I should hear from the publisher in about a month or so about the typesetting and book cover. I found out that my publisher, Damnation Books, was bought out by Spero Publishing, though. So, I'm not sure if this will affect any timelines yet. From what I've read so far, Damnation Books, Eternal Press and Spero Publishing will be consolidated into Caliburn Press, but I'll have to wait to hear from the new publisher to confirm. It came without warning, so I was a bit surprised to say the least. Hopefully, the transition will be smooth and I'll know the release date by the end of the year. We'll see.
While I wait, I'll continue to look for any nagging, leftover spelling errors in the text so I'm ready for typesetting and finalization. I'll also start taking videos and photos along the Gulf Coast here in Florida and areas where my story is based, so I can use them in the next step -- the book trailer. I'll leave that to another blog!
Thanks for stopping by. I'll keep you updated on the progress.
The Writing Desk Saga
(Sequel to previous blog posts: "Desk with a View" and "Cat with a View")
Shhhhh....be quiet you stupid cats. I can't hear over your incessant scratching of the door. Move out of my way, so I can take a whiff and see if my girl is awake yet. It's very annoying that I have to maneuver around you cats, so I can get to her first every morning. Her arrival is everything to me. You guys couldn't care less. I've seen how many times you've turned your back on her when she's offered belly rubs. Get the hell out of the way, so I can dive into her legs for my morning greeting filled with back rubs and full-body hugs. She thinks you both love her too, but I know the truth. You're just here to make sure she'll be around to give you your evening meal.
My sniffer is telling me that she's seconds away from opening the door. I can hear the sliding of slippers along the floor from an exhausted lady who I can't wait to see! But, wait...it sounds like the slippers are now moving away from the door. Where is she going? Come back! I hear some rattling from her side table. This probably means she's grabbing her glasses, so I'll get ready and listen all the more intently. I sniff, then wait. Then sniff and wait. Then sniff again and ready myself for the full-on catapult I'm about to give her. The doorknob jiggles and twists. The door opens slightly with a creak. I back up in anticipation and soon...she's here! I throw myself onto her in jubilation over this glorious morning event.
"Well, good morning, Jewel - my sweet, precious girl," she says with a smile. Oh, how much I love my girl. How much I wish we could stay in this hallway forever. But after a few hugs, she pats me on the side to let me know it's time for her morning brew. And that dastardly writing desk.
Yes. I have to share her.
It's bad enough that she has to talk to the other people in the house, but it's worse when she sits in front of the computer and acts like it's alive. Yeah, I'm not kidding. She'll get her coffee and sit at the kitchen counter for a few minutes, but after that she's onto pretending to be something or someone else. And that cocky desk just stands there as if my girl owes it something, not to mention the battle with the cats. They are constantly badgering her for a spot on the desk, and she has to remove them several times a day. Between Sonny and Mocha, I'm not sure how she gets any work done. I try to help her by nudging my nose on her leg, but sometimes I misjudge and end up against the wooden leg of the desk instead which is absolutely embarrassing. I stare at her for hours on end, but she gets so engrossed in her stories, she doesn't even know I exist. But I wait anyway. Wait for her to get up, so I can follow her to any room she wishes. I must be her escort at all times. The cats are jealous of this, of course, and try to run through her legs for attention, but that just ends up pissing her off when she stumbles. They are idiots.
But when she returns to her writing, she goes away again....somewhere. I'm not quite sure where, though she talks of it often. Sometimes she's saving a young man from an insane landlord, and sometimes she's planning the escape of an imprisoned lady. But no matter where she is, I want be the first to welcome her back. She goes on many journeys, after all, so I want to make sure she knows where her home is; so she'll always find me. Not the cats or the desk, both of which are useless. Just me.
The Writing Desk Saga
(Sequel to previous blog post: "Desk with a View" from 5/2014)
UPDATE: Unfortunately, Sonny passed away on 1/2/2015. RIP, Sonny - we will miss you. At least you will live on in the blogosphere.)
I might as well just say it. This house is lucky to have me. I don't think the walking animals agree though, especially given my stature. But, just because they stand upright and I cannot, it doesn't mean I am any less, right? After all, I am domesticated and friendly when I want to be. I let them carry me on occasion. I snuggle under my terms. I am the household cat. And I hold this position in high regard, literally.
The house is run by a short walking animal and two taller ones. The short one has a gentle touch, but she stinks. Not all the time. Just mostly in the morning before she leaves. I'm not sure why she thinks she should smell like a flower, but I avoid her by running downstairs before she sees me, and cry at the taller animal's door to let me in. I always forget that she can hear me though, and before I know it, I'm cornered by that ungodly stench during the goodbye cuddle. Luckily, when she comes home later, she smells more like sweaty shoes, and at least I can tolerate her in the same room as me.
Then there are the tall animals. They are much more rougher with me. These walking animals get a kick out of slinging my rather healthy torso around in circles and making hideous laughing sounds, as I struggle to my feet and stagger to find my footing. I return the favor when they chase after me by running them dizzy around the table a few times to see if they tire. Then, just to make sure I get my point across, I sit in the corner and instantaneously shed a tumble weed as their punishment for this atrocity.
But worst of all, the walking animals don't understand my quest for being at the top and routinely try to thwart my advances. So, when they're not looking, I jump up to my carpeted perch and wait for that perfect moment to land onto the highest point in the room - the writing desk. This coveted position is all I care about, and I cannot be swayed. The walking animals usually start screeching at me as I move towards the desk, but I’ll give it a go to see what happens. I can only hope that one of their nice, warm electronic devices are already waiting for me.
I scrunch my legs back and catapult myself toward the desk, all the while fiercely spotting my landing. I gracefully touch down on all fours and wait for a second for her response, but luckily the short walking animal is too entranced with her computer (that will soon be mine) rather than worrying about my whereabouts. So, I meander slowly to a clearing on the smooth surface and slide my belly out from under me with a plop. So what if a few papers swirl away in the heat of the moment or pencils go flying. She can pick them up, or I can chase them around the room later.
As I become more comfortable, I take in the view outside which is quite entertaining. Birds swirl by. Butterflies swoon onto petals. Lizards bulge their orange necks. And I am in pure ecstasy. Well, okay, maybe not totally. It could only be better if I could stretch my neck over and ever so gently lay my head on that heavenly keyboard that knows how to treat a kitty right.
First I start with reaching one of my paws out and show the keyboard how my claws are brilliantly aligned. Of this, I am very proud. Then, when the walking animal seems mesmerized by her so-called story, I quietly stretch over to my prize and claim a corner as my own. Most of the time, she seems to think I'm cute. So, I make sure to scrunch my face up all the more for a better affect. Then, I crock my head back, to make sure I'm in that irresistible position known as upside down and start purring. How could she resist this? I am, by all accounts, absolutely adorable. And sure enough, I receive my bonus prize and sprawl out as much as I can for the full massage. I just love it when I finally take over the face of this old oak desk. It's a good thing it can't breathe, because I'd block off any hopes of respiration.
All is heavenly, until the walking animal drags me onto her lap. How demoralizing. Not only am I not on the highest table in the room, but I am stuck in a coddling position with the only sight being her ugly face as her nose touches mine. I want to puke from her disgusting breath. I beg for mercy and round up my legs for another good catapult, but that sneaky witch holds my legs, preventing me from leaping back to the desk or clawing her eyes out. And why she has to kiss me on my head is beyond me. Her nasty lips always have a little spittle on them which she leaves behind on my fur that I will have to vigorously clean off later. Look, all I want is my desk. It's mine, not hers. I'm not sure why she has to hog it. It's a perfectly good desk with good bones.
Because she has completely pissed me off, I have no other choice but to hiss. Yes, I said hiss. And with full teeth blaring. I just can't take it anymore. I hate being held. I hate being cradled. I wish I could tell her to go find herself a damn hamster. Instead we engage in a staring contest which she knows I will win, so she forces me down, looking deflated.
And here I sit on the wretched floor once again, resigned to being Sonny, the low-life cat. That is until the next time she concentrates on her novel.
Both books are available in US & Internationally.
Sandie Will is an author who has released a new psychological thriller titled, The Takings. Sandie is the author of the award-winning Amazon #1 Bestseller The Caging at Deadwater Manor.
She can be found on Twitter as @SandieWillBooks and @RockHeadScience, Instagram @sandie_will, as well as her Facebook page at Sandie Will, Author.
"Enthusiasm with a scientist's rigor and a dollop of fun." --Rachel Stirling @Stirlingwriter
"Okay Twitter, stop distracting me. And YouTube, don't get any ideas..."--@brandi_evans