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The last couple of days, I’ve felt odd. I’m trying to think of how to explain it. I’m at the end of semester with my students. Yesterday, I wrote the final exam. Sometimes, as something ends, emotions pop up out of nowhere. Happiness. Relief. The what-now question that leaves an empty feeling inside.

I believe the uncertainty of our times contributes the weird or odd feeling.

But it’s not just because we’re all going through a bizarre worldwide shift now. Anytime we reach a crossroads in our life or notice that life is changing. Our kids are growing up way…

How to Build that Brand

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Long ago I read a book on branding written by Stedman Graham, Oprah Winfrey’s partner. I don’t even know how I came across the book, but I read anything and everything on any topic, so I read this book. This was the first time I paid attention to branding. I had just released my first book and I hadn’t yet realized that I needed to create a brand. To be fair, not many authors or publishers were talking about that in 2001. …

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Who is ready to attend a few or at least one writer’s conference this summer?

If I could point to one thing that moved me closer to publication faster than anything else, I’d say, without hesitation that it was attending workshops at writer’s conferences. This was where I met other writers and felt less odd or less alone. This was I met my first editor and publisher. This was where I connected with agents and met them in person.

I learned about craft from people who were writing and selling their writing. …

Yes, completely misunderstood. I remember when the song was released and everyone bought their flag bandanas and loved "The Boss".

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My question when I first became published, and probably every author’s question, was how do I connect with my readers? How will readers learn about my book? Even Medium bloggers might have the same question. In the massive ocean of people, how do we hook the right readers who will love what we write?

The good news is that readers want to connect with you and your stories. They actively look for new and interesting stories to consume. …

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Wow, it’s already May! This year is disappearing, slipping by so quickly. In fact, we’re headed toward the middle of the month. And I’m behind on creating the plan for the month.

Do you plan out your month?

I think I’m addicted to planners. I love buying planners and I love working in planners. They don’t have to be pretty with tons of stickers like I’ve seen some people do — though I do use stickers and I’ll share why in a moment. …

My husband Tim and I sit on the couch surrounded by a dozen adopted children from Korea, India, Guatemala and America — all brothers and sisters, adopted by a couple who live in California. The kids all have some type of visible disability. One Korean boy runs into the house, pops his prosthetic legs off at the knees and jumps onto a chair to stare at us.

Our Korean social worker, Margaret has asked to meet here to “introduce” us to our future son. …

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I sometimes teach online courses on publishing for Southern New Hampshire University when my normal teaching schedule allows. And one of the modules is on self-promotion where I encourage students to be on social media.

I get some push-back. Some students don’t like Facebook or Twitter because they don’t agree with what these companies represent. Others don’t want to waste time, because let’s be honest, it can be a huge time waster. Others see it as a chore to have to interact with strangers — or with their family members they tell me, which always makes me laugh.

I do…

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Last year was my 30th anniversary. Yes, I got married when I was a baby. My husband and I planned this amazing trip to Italy. I worked like crazy picking up extra classes at the university to pay for the tour.

Then, as we know, the world closed down. The trip was canceled. It was postponed until this year. As we approach the summer, it’s still unclear if Europe will open back up, what the conditions will be like and what the requirements will be for travel.

Want to read this story later? Save it in Journal.

So, my plans…

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The decisions we make in life are important because they determine our future.

I learned this early on, not because anyone told me or because I read it in a book, but because I noticed how each decision I made led me in a new direction, even minor decisions.

Understand Who Is in Control of Your Life

Back when I was 17 years old, my parents decided that I should travel to Argentina to get to know “my country” and my family. The only country I’d ever known was the United States. My parents were living in New York at the time of my conception and my mom…

Julia Amante

Women’s Fiction author of That Was Then, Say You’ll Be Mine, and Evenings at the Argentine Club. Speaker and and teacher.

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