Tuesday, July 26, 2022

A long road to publication

Amanda Blackwood at her recent book signing at Barnes & Noble, Westminster, CO

When I first started this journey I had no idea where it would take me. I knew I had to tell my story of surviving human trafficking but I had no idea how it would turn out.

I started telling pieces of my story many years ago on a blog of my own. Eventually some of the more involved, lengthy stories were taken down from the blog and turned into small books. That was the start of everything for me. I’d always wanted to write a book but never saw it as being a possibility. The very idea of writing an entire book seemed so daunting and overwhelming. When I took down a couple of continuation blogs and put them into a single document, I discovered that not only had I already accomplished one of my bucket list items, but that I had something I was proud of.

At first I did try to seek out traditional publishing. I had an acquaintance with connections in the publishing industry and I almost got a foot in the door, until one day things went sideways. My acquaintance informed me that unless I quit my job and moved to Texas to be his wife he would no longer help me with chasing my dreams. I was crushed! More determined than ever, I started looking into and researching the self-publishing route. Without asking for help from anyone, and without knowing where to turn for resources, I dove in head first and figured it out as I went along. The idea of “Mandolin Publishing” was born as I sipped my raspberry tea overlooking the Pacific ocean, less than 2 hours after that fateful blow. That was ten books ago.

I knew my first book would likely flop. People wouldn’t care. They’d never want to read it. But I put it out there anyway in hopes that someone would. Now, no matter how good or bad that book did, I can’t ever regret it. The book is what helped introduce me to my now best friend and launched my entire side gig as a published author. As I learned the ins and outs of it all, I started helping others to follow their passions, too. Several of my dear friends have decided to write books now, based on the encouragement and truth that I’ve shared with them. To see the excitement in their faces when they talk about their works in progress has been tremendously rewarding for me. My best friend has even fashioned a character in her novel based on me (though the character in the book sounds much more elegant and beautiful than I could ever aspire to be) and I couldn’t be more humbled. That character is the main supporting character and she’s awesome. I've promised to help her navigate the world of self publishing if she goes that route once she's completed her manuscript. Knowing she has options available to her has given her more of a drive to complete this adventurous story she thought up over a decade ago.

It’s been quite a journey, learning how to do it all on my own. Eventually I wrote my full autobiography as a survivor of human trafficking and published Custom Justice last year. 

 I have been able to accomplish incredible things since then as a result. After spending two decades wondering if I’d ever find love, I finally found what I wanted most. In January of this year I married an amazing guy and we merged our families into one big, happy home. I’ve walked my own path for a long time but this was a healing journey nobody could predict. The ability to express and discuss what happened to me in the world of abuse and trauma has not only healed me, but helped others.

I’ve finally branched out away from writing just about my own experiences. On June 30th of this year I released my latest book The Road We Left Behind as a tribute to my grandmother. It takes place in the 1930s and 1940s, spanning Prohibition, the Great Depression, and World War II. My grandmother and her first boyfriend, Arthur, had some pretty fantastic adventures together. The book was inspired by her true story. 

This September I have the third book in a Science Fiction post-apocalyptic trilogy being released. The series tells of a group of unlikely survivors trying to flee Los Angeles after an apocalyptic event occurs and society turns on itself. Having lived in Los Angeles myself for fourteen years in my past, and having lived through what I’ve lived through, I often tell people that I feel quite qualified to tell the story. Who better to predict the end of the world than someone who's already lived through it?

For the first time in my life, I have the freedom to chase my dreams. I’m doing what I love. I wake up in the morning, EXCITED to work for twelve hours a day. Thanks to the loving support of my amazing husband, I am now a full-time author and I’m watching my dreams all come true.

In preparation for my book signing tour here in Colorado, my husband and I got a six-foot banner made to display at the table, and it has this massive image of my face on it. At first I saw it and thought “people will think I’m narcissistic.” Now I look at it and think “people will think I’m a professional author.” Because I am. 

This is a proud moment for me. I’ve come a long way from the damaged, abused, sheltered little girl hiding from her own shadow.

I am not a former victim.

I am not just a survivor of trafficking.

I am not what my past said I was.

I am not unworthy of love.

I can follow my dreams.

I am a professional, PUBLISHED author.

(Ten times and counting!)

Photo by Rustic Knot Photography

Amanda Blackwood is a survivor of human trafficking. A portion of every book sale goes to help fight human trafficking and to help those still being trafficked. Amanda lives in Denver, Colorado with her rescue cats and supportive husband who keep her sane.

Visit Amanda's website at www.DetailedPieces.com

Follow Amanda on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.


  1. I have all of her books, most of them signed, and I have very much enjoyed all of them except "custom Justice". That one hurt.

    1. You are the best, Bruce!! Thank you! 💕

  2. It takes great bravery to share your story and inspire others with your journey. Thank you for that. Wishing you continued success.

    1. Thank you so much!! I don’t know if it’s bravery or stupidity but I’ll never stop now that I’ve started.

  3. Brava for overcoming the worst of life and making the best of it. Congratulations on your books. Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment.

    1. Thank you so much. It has certainly been a remarkable and crazy journey to say the least.

  4. As Amanda's best friend who is mentioned here about her inspiring my beginning another career as a writer, I can honestly say I am humbled, inspired and encouraged by her courage and ability to eloquently share her harrowing stories as of survival! I own all of her books of course and appreciate her daily!

    1. My life would not be the same without you in it. Love you.

  5. You are an amazing human being, Amanda. Congratulations on all of your books, and all the best for the launch of your latest.

    Thank you for speaking out about trafficking and refusing to have your voice silenced. It's unfathomable that people still treat each other so cruelly and without conscience, like objects to be stolen, abused, and destroyed. The world needs more people whose nature it is to hold out a hand to help, with no thought of compensation or consequence.

    I'm so glad your life is now filled with light and happiness. Wishing you every success.


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