Self-Evaluation Leads to Self-Publishing Triumph (Guest Post)

cat sees himself as a lion


Self-Evaluation Leads to Self-Publishing Triumph
Guest Post by Katya W. Mills

I turned 40 on February 1st. A real classic marker, 40. One cannot help but assess the life. I was okay with my life. I am a survivor. I have been through a lot. A LOT. The whole enchilada of my life was looking pretty good. A pretty-well-rounded and far-from-perfect specimen of humanity. That’s what I saw in the mirror. A real personality. The kind of character not even my pen could create. Stranger than fiction. So what if I was broke? Not in spirit! Wow. I realized that I liked myself. And that made me feel happy. So what if I might at times be on the other side of your ticket to the zoo?

So 40 came and I thought I was golden. But then the midlife crisis moment hit me and knocked me to my knees. Ouch! The half-lit marquee in the fog. The one with the big letters dangling off it and some turned around. Two words: UnPubliShed WrIteR. My mind searched my memory banks for writers I loved, who had not been published by forty. There were a couple, thank god. Honore de Balzac maybe. Still, no matter how I might shop around for comparison, I came face to face with my truth; being anything other than a published author was unacceptable to me.

I had put more effort, thought and time into writing than anything else. And people always thought I was pretty talented. In 2007, I became a published writer.  I started my website (as a blog), and was able to alleviate the personal pressure cooker I felt to get my words out to the world. I felt great. Meanwhile, I had just finished my MA in psychology, and was making a living as a social worker. I had a calling! I had a job I really cared about!  But the social work was very hard, and I tended to burn myself out. My larger works of literary fiction gathered dust. But what choice did I have? I had to support myself.

I knew this self-publishing possibility was out there. It seemed unreal. I had tried and failed in my twenties, to promote my work to quarterlies and top-tier magazines like the New Yorker. I set the bar too high. I lost confidence in the publishing world. I was pretty sensitive.

So I kept writing and experiencing things. I told myself, ‘attraction not promotion, attraction not promotion’. This is true. If you believe in yourself, this will show in all you do. If you dedicate yourself to a craft, you will develop a personal style all your own. People are attracted to courage, grace and effort. These qualities defy marketing blitz campaigns. I kept the faith, reminding myself, ‘I am a dedicated writer. I believe in myself. I have developed a style all my own.’

But I could not steady myself around this saying, ‘writing is its own reward.’ Because there was my dream, you see? I always wanted to be a published author. I had to try. And so, at age 40, midlife crisis time, I realized: ‘it’s time, Kat, you gotta go for it! That was February 1st. Eight months later…  I feel that same kinda blissed out relief I felt when I started blogging in 2007, perhaps more powerfully, when I reach down to my coffee table and pick up my copy of my self-published novel, and hold it under my eyes – wow! Some kinda wonderful.

For more information about Katya Mills, stop by her blog:, and website:




Lisa Bilbrey: Journey Collection Cover Reveal

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Cover Reveal of Journey Collection by Lisa Bilbrey/used with permission

With the final novella of Lisa Bilbrey’s Journey Collection released earlier this month, all four romance stories have been released in a collection.

Bilbrey, mother of three, has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1996. In late 2011 she joined Michele Richard and Laura Braley and opened Renaissance Romance Publishing.

Bilbrey said she started writing as a way to express herself, and from the first word she wrote she found her heart and soul.

The Journey Collection is the story of Travis McCoy’s life as a high school football star on a journey of love and self-discovery.

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Journey Collection summaries (by Lisa Bilbrey, reposted with permission)

The Journey Home

The Sharks’ star quarterback, Travis McCoy has it all, until an injury ends his season early. When he receives an invitation to attend the big homecoming game from his alma mater, Travis decides it’s time to face his past. The journey home sends Travis down a path that he never expects. Will he be able to come to grips when everything around him is spiraling out of control?

The Journey of Champions

Travis McCoy thought the journey home would be the hardest choice he ever had to make. It isn’t until he finds himself walking out the door and leaving his family behind that he realizes his journey is only just beginning. Now, with only a handful of weeks until Christmas, Travis tries to find his way back home. This time, he plans on staying forever.

The Journey to Forever

Finally back in the warm embrace of his family, Travis McCoy relishes every moment he gets to spend with his wife and son. After almost losing them due to his own selfishness, he makes the decision to never let go of his family again. With his plan set in motion, Travis, Penelope, and Max start a new journey, one that leads them to forever.

The Journey to a New Life

Travis McCoy’s journey has led him down a road of changes where he found the love of his life and their child. Travis, Penelope, and Max have struggled during their time apart, found their way back home, and finally tied their lives together as a family. Now, Penelope and Travis find themselves on a new journey, one that leads them to the greatest gift of all.

For more info about Lisa Bilbrey, please visit her on the web:

Purchase Lisa Bilbrey’s Journey Collection here:

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Authors! Want your Cover Reveal and/or other new release(s) promoted here at One Story Slinger? Email me! I feature all genres and there is no cost to promote. Cover Reveals must include at least an image of the cover itself, a short summary of the book(s) and the author’s bio. Author retains all copyrights, and credit will be given to any photos used.




Debut novel “My Mr. Manny” wins Sept 2013 prize

first place award for Mrs Condit & Friends

copyright Mrs. Condit & Friends/used with permission

When Jennifer Garcia’s “My Mr. Manny” released back on August 27th, she had no idea that within one month her debut novel would win a first place writing award from popular review site, Mrs. Condit and Friends Reads Books.

But that’s just what happened. Garcia, whose only other published work is “In My Mother’s Footsteps,” a novella which released in July under a pseudonym, won the blog’s General Romance Author of the Month award.

“It was unexpected and very surprising,” Garcia said in an email. “I found out that I was even in the running for it at the end of the day and voting was almost over.” She rallied support from friends, family and loyal readers and in the end, emerged the victor.

“My Mr. Manny is one of those books you can’t put down once you’ve started it,” said Becky Condit, of Mrs. Condit & Friends Reads Books, the site awarding the prize. “It is a carefully written book with well developed characters and a smoothly flowing plot. It is obvious that Jennifer has many devoted fans and they were kind enough to turn out to vote.”

Condit explained how the prize was awarded. “Our motto is, ‘We review the books, you select the winner,'” Condit said. All books that receive five sweet peas (the blog’s version of stars) each month are contenders for the prize, she explained. The site is comprised of 11 reviewers, including Condit herself. Typically the blog favors romance novels, but Condit said she and her friends will read and review almost anything – including a vegan cookbook up for review this fall.

Books earning their five sweet peas are nominated for the blog’s monthly award. Condit explained that the site hosts the poll the first week of the month that immediately follows the reviews – so books reviewed now in October will be up for the award in November. Blog visitors, readers, friends, family and fans can vote for their favorite reads during that first week.

Condit said she and her reviewers read over 1,000 books a year. She started Mrs. Condit & Friends Reads Books just two years ago, “when I noticed that many reviews on the Internet tended to be unkind in tone, what some would call ‘snarky,'” Condit said.

“All reviews are honest, but never cruel or disparaging,” Condit said, adding that her site has grown steadily in support – both in reviewers and readers.

“If we feel a book has flaws we’ll point them out and rate the book accordingly but in a polite way with as positive a tone as possible to benefit those who may be considering the purchase of a book,” Condit said.

But Condit didn’t have any issue with “My Mr. Manny,” Garcia’s winning title. She wrote in her review:

“What a delightful story! My Mr. Manny is full of people to love and identify with from beginning to end. When insta-love occurs I was actually happy for the couple rather than objecting to an often over-used trope. Jennifer Garcia knows just how to give it that little kick to update it and make me want it for myself.”

Garcia said she was grateful for the award. “I’m just grateful and appreciative to all who voted for me,” she said.

For the rest of Mrs. Condit’s review of Jennifer Garcia’s “My Mr. Manny,” please visit her review.

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One Story Slinger loves to get to know the authors behind the words, the faces behind the stories. Here are some fave facts about Jennifer Garcia, author of “My Mr. Manny.”

Fun & Fast Faves

Fave Food: Pasta

Fave Color: Red

Fave Movie: The Notebook

Fave Book (not written by you): The Shoemaker’s Wife

Fave Quote: Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.”

If you could live as a character for a week, who would you pick? Elizabeth Bennett-Darcy, after she was married of course.

For more information about Jennifer Garcia and her book, please visit her website: