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My Dad

My Dad

My Dad is retiring this weekend. I can’t imagine how he must be feeling. For over 42 years, he worked varying shifts and many weekends at a job he hated at General Motors doing masonry work/building repair. He spent many weekends he had off from the shop doing masonry work on the side to provide extra money for his wife and three children (I’m the middle child and definitely his favorite 😉).

He didn’t grow up with a lot. There was no indoor bathroom in his house until he was a senior in high school. He knew the meaning of hard work his whole life. He worked on his father’s and uncle’s farms. He didn’t have a carefree childhood like most of us have. Immediately after graduating High School he set to work learning how to do the masonry work from his cousin and worked doing that until he was hired by General Motors. I doubt it was his dream to work there for 42+ years but he did. (Btw, he’s a talented artist. He always drew cool cartoons of raccoons and other animals on the papersack book covers we had on our books for school.)

When I think back to my childhood, most of my memories are of my dad working or being tired from working (or cranky– from working and being tired. And no, I never could hold the flashlight right! 😂)

I was born in Flint, Michigan and lived there through the end of fifth grade. The neighborhood I grew up in was becoming unsafe, so my dad moved us away, adding two hours of driving to his work day.

In yesterday’s post, I was lamenting my giving nature, but I realized this morning–as I was continuing my epic baking journey to provide lots of delicious cookies for my dad’s retirement party–that I got it from him. Whether through nurture or nature or some combination of the two, I got it from him. Looking at those qualities in me, the way I look at them in him, I realize I should be grateful.

He works extremely hard yet will give the shirt off his back to anyone who needs it. He’s quick to lend a helping hand to anyone, even though he may be dog tired from a hard days work. I learned how to work hard for the things I want from him. I’m stubborn–just like him. I get joy from helping others, like him. I know that if I need anything, my dad will help me.  And while I haven’t needed anything–financially–from him in a very long time, I’ve always had his encouragement and support. He always lets me know that he’s proud of me and that he believes in me. He taught me how to be persistent and work hard to provide for myself. When I joined the Air Force, I went to the Defense Language Institute to learn the Russian Language. It was tough, and there were many times I doubted myself and was reduced to tears, but I could call home and talk to my dad, and he would remind me that I can do anything if I work hard enough and keep trying. He was right. I passed with flying colors, surprising myself and some of my teachers (especially the one who called me stupid every day) with my final test scores.

When I decided I was going to try turning my passion for writing into novels and attempting to make a career out of it, he never doubted for a second that I could do it. When you have someone who believes in you like that, it’s easier not to let your self-doubt completely take over. I’m fortunate that I have many people in my life who believe in me.

He was never one of those fathers who expected any less from his daughters than he did from his son. I grew up believing that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. I absolutely thought that I could be president one day if I so decided. I never needed to have a female president in order to believe that, I was only excited that I would get to be the first one. I didn’t need to look outside of my household to dream big or be shown that I was capable of doing anything. My mom and my dad were all the role models I needed. (My mom is really kick-ass, too, btw. I’ll write about her another day.)

So, to my dad with your large, callused hands and your replacement knee brought on by countless years of relentlessly hard work pounding his body, time to kick back, crack open a beer, and enjoy yourself. You’ve earned it! I hope you get to travel now and see all those places you always talked about when we were growing up but never had the free time to go see.

You’re incredible! If the world were filled with more people like you, it would be a beautiful place.

Cheers! I love you.

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Pop goes my heart.

Pop goes my heart.

Hey friends,

Yesterday, I did a Twitter poll asking if I should be honest in this blog–showing my highs with my lows–or if I should keep things positive. Here are the results so far…

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I didn’t get a ton of replies, but it seems that I should share everything and that’s what I feel is best. I want to show my entire journey with you. The good and the bad. I know there are others out there trying to reach their goals and dreams and I don’t think it would be fair if I put on a show and presented myself winning and never failing. I fail a lot, and I’m going to keep on doing it. I’ll feel down and low, and I’m going to want to quit. But it’s helps to hear that I’m not alone and I’m sure it will help others to know they aren’t alone either.

As some of you know, I spent a few months preparing for the book launch of Aster The Spirit Talker. It was a tough time for me. I find my joy in writing stories but not so much in round after round of editing, hiring an editor, hiring a cover artist, formatting, advertising, marketing, and trying to build my book launch team.

Sometimes I feel like I should go back to doing what I’d done for years and write only for the people in my close circle. I frequently question why I decided it mattered to share my stories with a larger audience. Was the right choice? I’m doubting it because I feel like my heart is getting battered and will soon be nothing but a pile of unrepairable dust.

I care about writing and telling stories. I absolutely love it. When I write a story, and I see someone reading (or they tell me about it later) and they laugh or cry, the feeling I get from them connecting with my words is…indescribable, but I’ll try. I’m not an adrenaline junkie. Rollercoasters scare the crap out of me, and the thought of sky diving makes me sick to my stomach and wanting to hide under my bed. But seeing someone connect with my work gives me a rush, the kind I imagine those jumping out of planes seek. I’ve been feeling, however, that I just thudded face first into the ground, and all the way down I was fully expecting my parachute to open. Boom. Thud. But I lived through it. Crushed. Face smashed in the dirt, broken, and wondering why I just did that.

I had 60 people sign up for my book launch team, and only 12 posted reviews on launch day. I know a few people had issues with Amazon not letting them post reviews, but they did try, and they posted reviews or ratings on Goodreads instead, and I greatly appreciated that.

So 14 out of 60 followed through.

I’d been warned not to expect much, and I learned from previous experience not to count on people, but it still hurt. I did so much more preparation than just asking people to leave a review if they read it after purchasing it. (Which previously yielded 17 reviews) I gave out free review copies, set up a drawing to win prizes, made the ebook available for free download on Amazon for 3 days, and sent out reminders. Did it do any good? Did it help me find new readers? Was it worth it? I’m not sure it was worth the effort at all. I appreciate the people who did help me so much, but I suspect that those wonderful people would have done it anyway. I probably won’t bother building a book launch team for my next book, A Night Game, which releases in October.

It feels like such a kick to the gut. Why do people say they will do things if they won’t. I can accept a simple no but why take the free book and say you’ll do it when you have no intention of following through? Why don’t I value myself and my work and if I don’t, why should I expect others to?

One time when I was living in Okinawa, this old man was begging for money. I felt bad and gave him some. He didn’t thank me, he just rudely insisted I give him more. It made me feel stupid and like dirt. Why should I care if someone is in need? I wish I could be predator for once and not prey.

And why do I have problems accepting money for my work or expecting people pay for it? Don’t I value myself or what I do? I feel horrible accepting money. I always feel like I need to give and not receive.

I’ve always wished I could change who I am. When I was little, I’d cry at movies and my sister would laugh at me. I still cry, and I still try to hide my tears before anyone notices. I’m still embarrassed of showing anyone too much of me. I hide who I am. I’ve only let a handful of people inside because they have to much access to cause real harm the closer they are.

See, Nora gets it…

“You gotta be careful who you let inside. They have easy access to your heart in there.1

I keep reading that to be in this business, you need to develop a thick skin, but I just don’t think that’s something I can do. I think that to be in this business, you need to be a business person who can formulaically write a book, regardless if there’s any art or heart involved. I don’t want to write something I’m not proud of. I don’t want to write whatever is being pushed on readers at the moment. And I feel everything so intensely that I can’t imagine enough time, rejection, or pretending that I don’t care will ever make me not care.

I care.

I had a close friend who seemed to support my journey, but he was never willing to read anything I wrote. There was always some excuse like, “I’m a slow reader,” but I know that I just didn’t matter enough. If I didn’t matter to one of the people who I let inside, why should I ever expect to matter to strangers? People want to read what’s on the NYT bestseller list, not read some unheard of writer that doesn’t have celebrity appeal. Kim Kardashian could put out a diary of her butt implants, and I bet she wouldn’t have to beg for reviews and give her book away for free.

I should give up. I’m at the point where I’m giving myself a “you should give up” pep talk every day, trying to get the courage to do it. But I can’t bring myself to quit. I guess one good thing about me is that although I get my heart broken regularly, I’m also stubborn as hell and I’m not sure I can live without storytelling–even if it’s only to myself.

Should it really matter how small the circle that gathers round to hear my story it is? Maybe that’s the real lesson I need to learn and what I need to focus on.

This was long and rambling and if you stuck with me through to the end, thank you. If you’re working towards your dreams and feeling like you’re destined to join me in Losertown…Welcome. We’ll make the best of things.

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Book Launch Prize Winners

Book Launch Prize Winners

Thanks to everyone who helped to make my book launch a success. I really appreciate your support!

Yesterday I entered everyone who left a verified review on Amazon (and those from Goodreads due to issues with Amazon) into a drawing to win prizes and the winners are:

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Kindle fire winner: Dale

$10 Amazon gift card winner: Janette G.

Signed paperback copy of Aster the Spirit Talker: Kristopher Lee

And the Goodreads winner of a signed paperback copy: John

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Here are the reviews left by those who were drawn:

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I will be contacting the winners this week. If you won but haven’t heard from me, feel free to email me at kalicecompeau@outlook.com

If you haven’t yet read my book, it is available on kindle and paperback from Amazon.com. Click here to buy your copy today!

 

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It’s Book Launch Day!

It’s Book Launch Day!

Book launch day is here!

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You could say I’m excited. 😜 I’ve always loved to tell stories, since even before I could write them down, so knowing that people will be reading one of them is thrilling (and terrifying–ugh, self-doubt. But I’m trying to push away that part).

To celebrate the launch, August 7, 8, and 9th the ebook is free for download. You can find it here.

If you read/have read it, I’d appreciate it if you’d leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Here is a link to the book.

Word of mouth is the best way for Indie Authors like me to find new readers. Tweets, Facebook posts, pins, Instagram shots, Google+ posts all help me get my book out there, and I’d appreciate any and everything you’re willing to do to help me make this launch successful.

So many of you have offered your support and encouragement, it means the world to me. It really has helped me push my self-doubt down and stopped it from overtaking me during this launch.

You’re awesome! Thank you!

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Book Launch Day is almost here

Book Launch Day is almost here

As those of you on my book launch team know, the launch day for Aster The Spirit Talker is very near–August 7th. I’ve worked hard and I’m ready for it. It’ll be nice to have my book in the hands of more readers 🤞🏻 Here’s hoping they find me!

I love to tell stories. I always have and I’m so excited to finally be sharing mine. (And a bit terrified 😱but it’s worth it)

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reads my blog, has joined my launch team, and has connected with me in a friendly, supportive way on social media.

There have been a lot of ups and downs but you all make the ups worth the downs. Woooo! Rollercoaster!

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You all rock!

Don’t forget to sign up in the popup window to be the first to know about Free ebook promotion days!

Cheers!

Allie

 

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Aster The Spirit Talker – Five Star Review

Aster The Spirit Talker – Five Star Review

Hey Friends, 

I had the most beautiful surprise waiting for me this morning–a five star review of Aster The Spirit Talker from Readers’ Favorite.

Here’s the review!

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Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Aster The Spirit Talker: A Middle Grade Fantasy is a fantasy novel for children and preteens written by Allie Compeau. Aster was all sorts of excited and just a little bit scared about her family’s move to their forever home. Her dad was in the military, so she had grown up never being in one place for very long. This would be different. Her father had retired from the military and would be a commercial pilot, and the house they would be living in was theirs. When they arrived, Aster marvelled at the architecture of the new house — it was so much like the fairytale cottages she envisioned while reading her books! Then she saw the backyard — it was huge and filled with lush greenery and flowers. And, looking up, she saw geese honking overhead, and she was thrilled when her dad said that he had seen deer in the yard when he first saw the house. Going inside, Aster’s bedroom was perfect; the lavender tones of the walls and furnishings made her smile, and the view from the large picture window facing out on the backyard and the woodlands beyond it was mesmerizing. But Aster’s sparkling new world was soon to get even better and brighter.

Allie Compeau’s fantasy novel for children and preteens, Aster The Spirit Talker: A Middle Grade Fantasy, is a marvelous tale about a sheltered ten-year-old girl whose move to a new house is world-changing. I loved watching as the timid and insecure Aster grows into a strong and daring young heroine, one who learns that fear is normal, but acting in spite of your fear is bravery. Aster’s animal companions are a treat to get to know, and the work they do helping her prepare for her role in saving the planet makes for a grand story. Compeau’s plot is exciting and fast-paced with plenty of pitfalls and villains to make readers wonder if Aster will even survive, and her characters are credible and well developed. Allie Compeau’s animal-oriented epic fantasy for kids is well worth a read, no matter what your chronological age. Aster The Spirit Talker: A Middle Grade Fantasy is most highly recommended.

 

 

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Do writers have to write every day?

Do writers have to write every day?

I haven’t written a single word on any of my projects in a while. I’ve thought about them. I’ve taken some notes. Some may suggest that I have writer’s block.

But I don’t.

I read some quote that suggests that to be a writer you have to write every day.

Bullshit. That’s probably true for whoever said that, but guess what, not every writer is the same.

We don’t all write about the same things. Fiction or non. Novels, or poetry, articles, blog posts. Fantasy, sci-fi, romance, war. Some of us plot while others fly by the seat of our pants while telling a story. It drives me nuts when someone likes to hand out pearls about what makes someone a writer and tries saying others are not because they don’t do things the way you do.

We are all different. People can be creative in different ways. Writers don’t come marching out from a pod of sameness! We’re weird! So why would we have limits placed on the things that make us what we are?

If you want to list things that help to turn a good writer into a great writer by improving their craft, I’ll probably agree with a lot of those things. But that writers have to write every day? Plllltttt! Get outta here with that.

When I try to write every day, I just add a bunch of worthless crap to my pages. So instead, I go for walks. I think. Showering is a top choice of mine to think about my projects. Reading–I read and study to learn how to make my writing better. There are so many other things that I can do and guess what, they don’t undo the fact that I’m a writer.

Just because I’m not adding to my word count doesn’t make me less of a writer than someone who scribbled out a few words so they can fit into someone else’s idea of what “should” be done.

Do painters have to paint every day to be a painter? Do sculptors have to sculpt every day?

I believe we artists benefit from taking some time to step away, look up from our art, and observe the people and the world around us.

And I don’t have writer’s block. I actually don’t believe in writer’s block. At least not for this writer. When I’m ready to write, I always do.

Like cookies in an oven, my ideas and my thoughts need to bake before I’m ready to take them out and share them. When I write, I write A LOT. All at once. I don’t write every day.  When I’m in the midst of a project, I’ll write every day, multiple times a day!

I get so sick of others telling me how my process should work because it’s how they work or saying my passion isn’t as strong as theirs because I don’t do what they do.

Bullsh*t. I’m off for a walk with my buddy, and I’ll be working on those ideas in my head until they’re ready to be poured onto the page.

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Accepting Constructive Criticism

Accepting Constructive Criticism

Hello Friends,

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I’ve started sharing my work with others, it’s that if many people are telling you something needs to change, no matter how much it may hurt, you should listen and make changes.

I got a dose of constructive criticism that hurt yesterday.

I had a group web call with other authors and my book coach. They all agreed that the title of my book needed a change. It was like a stab in the gut. I liked the title but they all agreed that the title itself wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t a good fit for a middle-grade fantasy novel. More than the rejection, I’d have to change all my cover files, interior files, website, and review copy.

Fortunately, my cover artist, Ashely Byland of Redbird Designs (Click here indie authors if you’re looking for an incredibly talented and easy to work with cover artist) made these changes for me quickly and painlessly. Did I mention that she’s incredible? She’s incredible!

So my book will no longer be titled…

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But will now be known as…

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Now I could have closed my ears and insisted that I was keeping my title because it’s my book. But these other authors have more experience than I do. They gave me solid reasons why my first title just didn’t cut the mustard. And my book coach is a best-selling author who is a wiz with titles and marketing.

I want to succeed. I can write books. I’m not doubting myself on that anymore (now don’t call me cocky–I just said I know I can write them, not that I think I’m talented. The imposter syndrome is still strong in me) I’m still learning when it comes to marketing and book promotion. But I know the best way to learn (in any situation) is to keep an open mind and accept constructive criticism in a way that allows me to learn and become more successful with each step I take.

 

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Writer not writing

Writer not writing

Hello friends,

I cannot remember the last time I opened up my laptop and worked on my novel. Was it in June sometime? Has it really been since May?

So what’s keeping me from writing… writer’s block?

Not at all. The slow down started when I began querying my romance novel, Hearts Mingling. The querying process is extremely time-consuming, but more than that, it takes all the joy out of trying. As a matter of fact, querying kind of makes me feel like I hate writing. It’s a misplaced emotion. It’s not actually the writing I hate, but it does make it all seem pointless–like I’ll never find readers for my work if I can’t get by the gatekeepers.

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I’ve also been taking a few courses. One–a marketing course for a small business I’ll be part-owner of and do the marketing for. The second–another marketing course, but this one is specifically for authors. As you know, in addition to my other small business, I’ve started my own publishing company, WhistlePig Publishing, to independently publish my children’s novels. Who knows, someday I may also be publishing my adult works as well.

All my time and effort has been going into these ventures, but at least I feel like I’m moving forward with my writing and my quest to find readers. I’m no longer stalled out in the querying trenches, spinning my wheels, and feeling like a loser.

I’ve begun building my book launch team and have been fortunate enough to have received excellent feedback from my readers. (And btw, all of you who have joined and been kind enough to let me know how you’re enjoying the book–THANK YOU! You have no idea how much it means that you’re willing to help. I suffer from imposter syndrome and doubt myself daily, so your words pull me out of some serious self-despising darkness).

If you haven’t joined my book launch team but would like to, click here to sign up to get your free review copy. Those who join, download the free ebook on launch day, and post their reviews will automatically be entered to win prizes.

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It’s tough to be a writer who’s not writing, but at least I’m getting closer to writing again. I am now a writer who is planning on writing and feeling the excitement bubble build inside. The bubble that will grow until it bursts and forces me to sit down and write because I won’t be able to think about anything else.

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I’ve decided to finally write the final two books for The Great Connection and turn it into a trilogy. I originally planned to do that, but then the query process smashed that thought into a million little pieces.

But now that I’m an indie author I can officially say, “Whatever, I’ll do what I want.”

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So take that, gatekeepers. You can’t tell me what to write and you can’t keep my readers from making their own choices!

 

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I’ve got some exciting news

I’ve got some exciting news

Hello friends,

I’m excited to share some news with you. I’ve decided to independently publish my middle-grade fantasy adventure novels under WhistlePig Publishing.

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To kick things off I will be releasing my first middle-grade fantasy adventure novel.

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After living the nomadic lifestyle of a military child, Aster Finlay’s father is retiring, and her family is settling down into a more “normal” life. But when Aster discovers that she can communicate with animals, she realizes her life is going to be anything but normal.

*UPDATE – Since this original blog post, the title of my book has changed to Aster The Spirit Talker*