Phoenix Rising Author Event- Wrap Up

OKAY.  So I know I said I was going to post these like IDK forever ago. But, well, life.  It happens.

So let’s talk Phoenix Rising Author event and how AMAZING it was.  Guys, I was literally in full panic attending this event.  Because there were ~authors~ there.



I know you’re probably either like “well, duh… you did say it was an “Author” event”  or you’re like “WTF— aren’t you an author?”

Yes.  To both.   But.. these are AUTHOR authors.  Like with stacks of books and drooling fans and Super Hero levels of greatness.  I had this whole narrative built up in my head like I’m not worthy to attend because little me (figurative me… I mean, I wish I was like a size two but that was a different blog at a different time of my life) anyway-  little me with my two books is joining the ranks of the big girls with like ten books.

I was overwhelmed.  And felt totally out of my league. But then I met Jessalyn Jameson. 

We bonded over the general awkwardness of meet and greets– and exchanged sassy comments (– okay, before I proofread this, there was a typo that said we exchanged “assy” comments… hilarious because it’s probably true– but Mr. Frued, the slip has been corrected) about throwing a bunch of writers (who tend to be relatively introverted), into a room full of people they don’t know, and ask them to be social.

It was awkward, but little old her with her two books (Three soon— that will have to be tomorrow’s post because I DO have an announcement about that) and me with mine —suddenly it was OKAY that we were little book writers next to the giants.  And the more we talked about our awkwardness, the more other people came and talked and we were all awkward together.

And, the more we talked with the BIG AUTHORS we realized, they’re just like us.  A bit introverted, but equally as sassy as we are.  Just, with a couple more books to hawk.

I realized that everyone that was in that room– the super successful to the moderately successful to those just starting out– we all have been in the same place.  In front of a computer screen, staring at words, wondering if what they wrote was even kind of good.

So, here’s to all the new friends I met.  We all belong to a club of semi awkward, introverted people who love words and use them to build the most magical thing of all— worlds.  Worlds where people can come and visit, and escape the every day for a few hours.

I can’t wait to see you all again soon. (More on that later too… that will be another, another post…. after tomorrow’s post about the fabulous Jessalyn Jameson)




Have you joined my mailing list?  You should because sometimes Im kind of entertaining, and send funny emails that you might like to receive.

I sent one today with pictures from Phoenix Rising Author Event

Vistaprint Update

So… update on the vistaprint debacle surrounding my lost materials for the Phoenix Rising Author Event  Customer service did re-reach out via Twitter, you know since I put them on blast and all…  while they couldn’t refund me my $127 they did give me a credit so…

No Title

No Description

I guess a credit is better than nothing.  I’m sure I’ll have marketing materials that will need printing at some other point in time.  So, overall it was pretty decent of them to do that, they could have just been like, Oh well and given me the finger.

Bottom line– if someone pays for priority rush– there should be stickers all over that box that state “This shit needs to arrive yesterday”


I’ll post more about the event tomorrow!  I actually remembered to take a few pictures!




If you ever need printing done in a hurry– dont count on @vistaprint

An Open Letter to Vista Print

I’m not a huge author. I don’t sell out individual book signings or have a massive following of rabid fans. But, I’m an author none the less. My writing is my business– as in, I write as a job. And, as part of that job, I market my writing to attain more readers.

This is done through a myriad of ways, but Author Events tend to be very important to authors. These events, held in large cities, bring a group of authors together in one large ballroom, and many readers attend to meet their favorite authors and learn about new ones (like me). The crux of this entire marketing adventure– is the pop up banner.

You need one. It tells people as they are circling the ballroom who you are. It lets them know, by your branding, what kind of books you write. And, it reinforces your name, branding, website, social media hangouts and other important information.

I am an attendee at Phoenix Rising Author Event, tomorrow– September 16th. It was a hard decision, going back and forth trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to put on this banner– so I needed to pay the extra money to have it rush shipped here.

I have spoken with THREE Customer service people in THREE days. They ALL ASSURED me that my pop-up banner would arrive TODAY, since my event is in exactly eight hours from now.

Monique told me on Wednesday that “Absolutely my banner was shipped”
Nicole told yesterday that the delay email I received “was an error and they showed my banner on the UPS route and planned to be in Phoenix by today at 7”
When I spoke today with someone on the phone– she put me on hold to CALL UPS and ASSURED me that my banner was ON THE DELIVERY TRUCK and would arrive WITHOUT QUESTION tonight. That because it was on the truck they HAD To make a delivery attempt.

This did not happen. I told EVERY ONE of these customer service people that I paid for expedited shipping and rush processing because I had an event Tomorrow (Saturday) that the banner NEEDED to be here for.

Why would they all lie to me? Why not be upfront and tell me that it’s not going to be here, so I could try to find some kind of alternate solution instead of stringing me along with soft assurances.

I am LIVID. What kind of company stands by this kind of dishonesty to their customers. Honestly, I would be a whole lot less mad if someone had just been upfront and said, its not being delivered to you in time, let us refund your money to you — then I could have scrambled to try to find something else for my event tomorrow.

Now, at almost midnight the night before the event, I literally have NOTHING in terms of vertical marketing for my table.

You have good coupons, I use you for my 9-5 quite often, but honestly, after this experience, I question the quality of your company. Seriously question it.

What terrible customer service you have.

Oh, Hi! Haven’t been able to reach me? See my change of address!

So I updated my website.  YAY.  Its only taken two years for me to do it.

I got tired of porting over all my old blog posts.. I’ll get to it eventually… maybe.  TBH I have bigger fish  to fry than bringing over old content from my crappy little WIX site.  Sooo anyway.  Heres the new me.  I’ve changed my address (actually literally in so many ways, but I’ll get to that!)

You can now get the latest 411 on all things Willow Sanders at  you should bookmark that shit 😉

Or, sign up for my new fancy E-Newsletter.  It will be sporadic at best.  Mainly I’ll use it to let you know when you can sign up to win things, or when I’m going to be at an event, or when a new book comes out.

So– here’s the latest in bulleted form because… we all have ADD these days, don’t we.


  • New Website Address
  • New Physical Address
  • New Book (hopefully) releasing mid september…hopefully (it really depends on how much time my editor needs to edit it) well.. and it depends on when I finish the thing
  • Author events!

-Deep breath-

oookay. So I don’t live in Chicago anymore.  That’s pretty much the reason for the radio silence. Its been insanity over the last like nine ish months.  The hubs was living in one state I was living in Chicago trying to get everything ready for the move.. packing cleaning organizing getting rid of crap I didn’t even remember owning, painting, more painting, more painting still.

We finally moved, lived in corporate housing for a while–and let me tell you, I am beyond appreciative for the housing don’t get me wrong, but living in a tiny condo with two very large dogs= no bueno.  Especially when they aren’t used to living in a condo and miss their gigundo back yard. (there may or may not have been an incident with our 10-month-old dog and a leather couch…. the couch did not win… : (  )

So here I am.  Moved finally.  Trying to get into a routine because I need to finish the book I’m writing.  Legit.  Its been way too long.

I have a title.  I have a concept for a book cover.  I am like seven chapters from “the end”  — hopefully.

I am planning on buckling down and trying to get it wrapped up here in the next few weeks.  Then off to the editor and I’m hoping to have ARCs available in September sometime.

So.. dead horse=beaten… sign up for the mailing list!  You might get a chance to be a Beta!

Also!  I’m waiting for the grand announcement from the actual event page but legit can’t wait anymore.

I’m going to be doing an appearance at Phoenix Rising Author Event !

Its in mid september (hence the push to get the book done by then!)  at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel  

So, if you’re in the area and are bored on a Saturday and looking for something to do, come and say hi!


Okay. I think that’s it.  Well, honestly even if its not I’m putting a fork in it and calling it done.


#DirtyLittleSecret now in #PaperBack! #AmWriting #AmReading

So, guess what?  Dirty Little Secret is entering the world of paperback books!  I’m SUPER excited to be able to see my “baby” in print.  I practically tackle the UPS guy every day looking for the package that contains the first batch hot off the presses!
If you are a fan of physical books –  you can get yours in time for Christmas! Its prime shipping eligible! 🙂
Buy it, you know you want to.


#NaNoWrimo2014 Made it to 50k! #AmWriting

So, while I’m still not finished with Ivy’s story- there is still a LOT of her story to tell (I’m assuming her story will finish around 100k just like Hillary’s did)… I have “won” NaNoWriMo- since the goal is to hit the 50K mark.    For the moment I will enjoy my tiny celebration, knowing that I have at least completed a portion of the goal.  🙂


Ivy’s Story

It is so strange how characters seem to take the rug out from under you sometimes.  I had so many plans for Ivy… I had an OUTLINE.  An OUTLINE people!  I’m a panster, Im not a planner.  But because this was a “sequel,” and I wanted to make sure that I had a plan for getting this story out in a certain amount of time so that I could have it edited and ready to publish by my set self imposed deadline I thought it woudl be a smart thing to follow an outline.  I had plt points, and character motivations, and complete map of how I wanted this story to go.  Then I sat down, and Ivy threw her head back and laughed at me.  She laughed and laughed, and took this story ina direction that I had never in a million years intended it to go.
Now, as it sits at just over 40,000 words, I’m concerned that this story might be bigger than the box I’m trying to put her story in.  As it unfolds, I find myself both thrilled by where Ivy is taking me, and concerned as to how this is going to turn out.
Its the part of writing that I both love and loathe.  This magic that happens, when you turn off your brain and allow the story to just evolve, but it is also hard to give up that control when you had a PLAN, and a path you had intended this story to follow.  I guess if I truly want to fly, I juyst need to close my eyes and give myself over to the process.

Reaching the end and reaching THE END

My NaNo novel – also known as Ivy’s story, sits at about 35,000 words.  That means in 15,000 words I will “Win” nano.  However, I know how verbose I am, heck if you read Dirty Little Secret, than you know how verbose I am too (it was about 100K words).  There’s no doubt I’ll reach “the end” come the end of Nano, in so much as I know I’ll make the NaNo goal… but I wonder if I will make “THE END” of the story by that time.  Ivy keeps fighting me and I can’t figure out what the heck is going n with her story.  I wish I could sit her down in a flower circle and we could sing Kumbaya, but at the moment she’s all “whatever, I don’t have time for you”   I long for that point in writing where your thoughts move faster than your fingers can type, and you just let go and fly.  And I can’t seem to reach that point with her yet.  I hope it comes soon… its starting to concern me.  🙁

The Eye of the Tiger

So… it’s almost the middle of November.  I have 33,202 words of Ivy’s story actually written out.  About twenty five million more to write.  No, its actually not that many, probably about seventy thousand or so if I can judge the level of my verbosity (is that a word? meh, whatever) based on Hillary’s story.
I’m kind of surprised at where Ivy’s story has taken me.  I always knew that she had some depth to her, I mean everyone has good and bad to them, even characters, even supplementary characters,  so when she knocked on my brain and wanted her story written I figured what the heck.  Now though, as I write, and as this book takes turns that have honestly surprised me, I can only hope that the handful of readers who aren’t related to me, friends of mine, or know me in any way, will appreciate Ivy’s journey, even if its an unexpected one.

Thanks to Writer in Progress for the review!

It always tickles me when someone takes the time to read my book & review.  As an indie author, word of mouth is your strongest tool to get your book out there, so when someone says “hey, I’m going to tell you what I thought of your book.” For me, there is nothing I am more grateful for.
If you want to read the full review, visit  Writer In Progress  
Here is an excerpt:
Dirty Little Secret had me hooked from the first few pages. Hillary is such a believable character that you immediately start thinking “I know someone just like her!”. This is a great read for lounging by the pool or now that winter is here, lounging by the fireplace and pretending you are by the pool. I loved Willow Sanders’ writing style and I look forward to seeing more from her.
Thank you again to Ella at Writer in Progress, I’m glad you enjoyed my story!