I have some news to share!
I landed a book deal with a traditional publishing house!
To all of my friends and family, THANK YOU. You’ve all been so incredibly supportive and wonderful, reading passages from my manuscript, cheering me on…I just can’t thank you enough. You kept me going.
After 44 rejections from major, medium and small publishing houses over the past year and seven months, I got a publishing deal with Post Hill Press! They’re distributed by Simon and Schuster, and based in NYC and Nashville. My memoir with the working title, Little Voices: How Kids in Spirit Helped a Reluctant Medium Escape and Heal from Abuse, will officially launch this September 2022.
But, let’s back up because the story of the book deal is a story about trusting intuition in and of itself.
I started writing Little Voices in late 2017. Two years later, I partnered with a wonderful agent by the name of Tina Wainscott. It took about three months to find and pitch Tina, alongside 14 other literary agents. I knew it would be an uphill battle due to the subject matter, but the Universe had my back. My intuition told me that I’d sign with an agent and ink a publishing deal. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew it was written in the stars as long as I did the work and stayed the course. Tina later told me that intuition told her to take me on as a client even though she knew the odds of selling a spiritual memoir written by a first-time author who isn’t a celebrity and who doesn’t have millions of followers is slim to none.
Still, Tina took a chance. She started pitching my memoir to publishing houses mid-April of 2020. Around that same time, I reached out to two of my favorite people who happen to be intuitive healers/mediums (Cynthia Spiece and Katie Beecher) about my book and both told me, unbeknownst to each other and about two weeks apart, that the publishing house I’d land would have a tree in its logo. All of my intuitive “spidey senses” agreed with what they were channeling. I knew in my soul that the tree logo was spot on. Naturally, I researched every damn publishing house with a tree or leaves in their mark and I made sure that Tina knew what was being channeled about my upcoming book deal.
Over the next year and seven months, we received some “we were really close to offering a deal on this book, but…” feedback, some “I can’t figure out how to sell this” replies, a few “this is incredibly interesting but it’s not a fit for our publishing house” comments, and lots of “her platform isn’t big enough” rejections.
No one would ever love me as much as he did. At least, that’s what he told me. From day one, he made it very clear that my wellbeing and happiness was his first priority. On paper (and on Facebook), his love for me read like a romantic novel or a Twilight movie without the vampires. To the outside world, he appeared to be the most romantic, caring man on the planet.
Little did I know, he was slowly conditioning me to accept his controlling behavior.
As an independent, strong, emotionally intelligent person, I never thought I’d end up in an emotionally abusive relationship. But that’s exactly what happened. And here’s the kicker—while it was happening, I didn’t see any of it as controlling or abusive.
In my mind, we were simply a once-in-a-lifetime, passionate, devoted couple who couldn’t get enough of each other.
After I finally ended the three-year-relationship—and a judge granted a restraining order to help protect me—I dug deep to figure out how I didn’t see what my life and my relationship had become. And why I stayed with him long past first realizing something was not right.
Here’s what I discovered…
I didn’t expect the panic attack that came on yesterday.
It was supposed to be an easy doctor’s appointment, but I’m now realizing that when you’re a trauma/abuse survivor, it’s just not that simple.
The lesion on my eyelid isn’t all that bad even though it’s been there in some form for a bit. Three years to be exact. It doesn’t look like the horrendous photos you see when you google eyelid cancer. Still, I figured it was time to get it looked at by a dermatologist, again. And I even reckoned that she’d want to take it off.
As usual, Scott was right there by my side, thank goodness. We joked and laughed before the doc and her team came into the room to inspect my face. I thought I had everything under control and was feeling pretty calm.
When it came time for her suggest a biopsy would be the best course of action, I started sweating profusely. I couldn’t catch my breath and I couldn’t understand why. I’ve had punch biopsies before with no issue. I was prepared for this, even. I knew she would say what she did and want to do it right then and there. Sure, the needle carrying the numbing solution stings a bit but it’s nothing I can’t handle. I’ve had two c-sections, a ripped illiotibial band, and broken bones, after all.
This was supposed to be an easy peasy 5-minute procedure. And it wasn’t the gynecologist office, which is where I normally have PTSD issues. Being sexually abused as kid will do that to you.
As we listened to the doc talk about what she wanted to do and what I would need to do post-biopsy, I started to feel dizzy and nauseated. Doc’s assistants thought I didn’t notice when they were placing items on the tray near my now slip-n-slide of a sweat-covered treatment chair. First, a needle. Then a scalpel. Gauze. Ointment. Other things I didn't recognize. I kept my focus on the doctor but saw everything happening around me.
A few weeks back, my friend Chris (who is an unstoppable force for LGBTQ equality) asked if I’d be a part of something called "The Human Library" in Sedona. It’s an event held in September that helps dissolve prejudices and stereotypes. Essentially, I’ll be a “human book” telling my story in about 15 minutes time, and then attendees can ask me questions for another 15. I’m honored to be part of this event surrounded by incredible human beings who, in most cases, have endured prejudice and unfair treatment far worse than anything I’ve ever endured.
For me, well, my topic is about gender inequality. Here’s my book cover description…
"As a self-taught carpenter and furniture designer, and the founder and CEO of an internationally-known furniture company, she faced gender discrimination on a weekly basis for fourteen years. Despite being told she was crazy to think a woman could do what she did, she built a furniture company out of her LA garage in 2007, won a deal on the TV show SHARK TANK in 2011, and grew her brand internationally through licensing partnerships. Now, at the age of 47, she’s fighting for her transgender daughter to ensure equal rights for all genders."
When I was crafting my book cover description, I thought back to my carpentry days and all of the sexist comments, the looks, the naysayers, the grossly inappropriate comments, and a few moments where I had to leave the room in order to not strangle someone. And then I realized that even now, during a time that I’m not as entrenched in the male-dominated furniture industry (aside from designing pieces for the Frank Lloyd Wright collection), I still continue be a target for men whose egos are larger than Texas.
Ironically, when I finally ousted a few king and queen narcissists from my personal life, the same damn type of person showed up in my work life. I thought I’d left behind the old boys’ network that is still at the helm of the furniture world. Turns out, they are in or around nonprofit work, too.
My husband, who is the antithesis of the men I’m describing, is one of the good ones who does all he can to fight for gender equality. He’s even gone to bat for a woman who was being sexually harassed by a top dog in the TV industry only to find himself kicked to the curb because he stood up for her. There are a few other good ones, too. But on the whole, over the last three years that I’ve been involved in nonprofit work, I’ve seen many wolves in sheep’s clothing. And let’s be honest—most of them are older white men. That’s been my experience, at least.
Friends, you have to read The Ghost Photographer. If you're a fan of wicked smart badass women, true tales of intuition and the afterlife, and touching memoirs about the human condition that bring tears to your eyes one minute and make you laugh the next, BUY THIS BOOK. Or, download the Audible file like I did.
I happened upon The Ghost Photographer while researching the publishing house called Atria. As you likely know by now, I don't believe in coincidences. Clearly, I was supposed to find Julie Rieger's incredible book about how she became a ghost photographer.
In a nutshell, Julie Rieger-- the award-winning former President, Chief Data Strategist, and Head of Media at 20th Century Fox in Hollywood—wrote a book about how and why she went from analytical skeptic to full-on believer in the afterlife (and much more). Her awakening began after her mom passed away from Alzheimer's disease. As Julie said in an interview with CBS News,"Grief creates chaos which allows us to shed our rigidity...our rigid belief systems. I happened to shed the skepticism, and that's what opened the door to The Other Side."
Now, I'm not going to give anything away, but I do want to say that I felt, at times, like I was reading my own journey. Chills raced up and down my body more times than I could count as I made my way through her memoir. I, too, was a skeptic with an analytical mind who, later in life, awakened to the world of spirit. Also, neither of us had a near death experience, like many do who suddenly start channeling spirit out of nowhere. And neither of us offer spiritual services (like mediumship) for a living—we both kept our day jobs. We simply do what we do for the people we love, and for those who are guided to us for one reason or another. And we talk about our journey because it is life changing in the best (and sometimes scariest) ways.
Not only does Julie share her incredible journey, but she also shares tips on how to capture photos of ghosts (and more), how to protect your space, how to clear your home of negative energy, how to utilize crystals for healing and protection, and how to talk to your guides/angels who are helping you live your best life. Or, in Julie's case, saving her from crashing her car on the freeway. (Okay, I did just give that away, but you'll have to read the book to find out what happened.)
If you're still deciding whether you believe in life after death, READ THIS BOOK. It's my new favorite memoir/how-to primer about discovering and trusting intuitive gifts. We all have those gifts, ya know. Even those of us who are wired to trust empirical data over gut feelings.
In Julie's case, and in my case, learning to trust our intuition changed our lives for the better.
Reading this phenomenal book just might change yours, too.
FIND JULIE AND/OR HER BOOK HERE: