Wednesday, December 19, 2012

HELP THE ELF: I Found Santa’s Missing Nice List!

Hi everyone! As you may remember, a few weeks ago PETE the Elf had a touch too much Eggnog at the Holiday Christmas Party and as he stumbled home, he lost Santa's NICE LIST.

The North Wind scattered the papers to all four corners of the world, and The Bookshelf Muse put out a call to help find them in order to SAVE CHRISTMAS.

Ever since I read about it, I've been on the lookout. And then today, EUREKA!

Yes that's right...I found part of Santa's missing NICE LIST. At first I thought it was one of those advertisement people tuck under everyone's windshield wipers, but, as luck would have it, I actually glanced at the words before throwing it in the recycling bin. Imagine my surprise when I saw a familiar name on this scrap of paper.

Here it is below:

NAME: Ali Cross

LOCATION: ali cross



OBSERVATIONS: Though I've never met Ali in person, she has been a wonderful role model. Her awesome blog posts never fail to bring fresh determination to my heart and a smile to my face. She welcomes and supports new writers with her warm, often kooky, personality. She could do more book signings in Salt Lake City.

RECOMMENDATION:     a) Coal                   b) Card

~ ~ * ~ ~

Because poor Pete is dashing all over the place trying to hunt down the rest of Santa's missing Nice List, I decided to take care of this one myself. Merry Christmas!

Photo assorted gold baubles ( / CC BY 3.0

How about you, Readers? Is there someone you'd like to say Happy Holidays to, or tell them how much they mean to you? JOIN US! There's plenty of days left until Christmas, and sometimes a kind word can lift people up in a way that they really need. It's as easy as sending a free ecard or email note, posting on a Facebook wall or sending out a tweet. So go ahead and spread some kindness and cheer!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Computer Gremlins and The Hobbit

You know that time tested excuse, "Gremlins Ate My Homework" that your teacher always gave you funny looks for? Turns out it wasn't just your overactive imagination coming up with an awesome reason for not turning stuff in on time. I'm afraid those pesky computer gremlins got the midnight munchies and ate all of the things on my sidebar. (Note the dark blue nothingness that once contained all that identified me. Sad, really.) I have yet to find out where exactly all the about me, badges, and links went. Ah, well, I shall try to keep up with blogging despite the sudden emptiness in my cyber identity. 

On to bigger and better things. Last Thursday, my husband and I thought it would be fun to go to the midnight premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with a bunch of friends.

                                                                    (Love this!)

My impressions of the movie are very mixed. I thought the actors were all phenomenal. I love Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Richard Armitage (Thorin), and, of course, Ian McKellen (Gandalf). They all did a great job with their characters, especially Martin Freeman. I loved the return to the stunning setting of Middle Earth, and being able to reconnect with familiar characters from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

However, if you are expecting more of the same from Peter Jackson's film adaptations of the trilogy, you will be a bit disappointed. The tone of The Hobbit is much lighter and humorous. There are still awesome battle scenes, and some epic moments of beautiful cinematography, but overall you will find yourself moved more to laugh than any other deep emotional connection. That was my reaction. Even parts that I'm sure were meant to be serious struck me as amusing. Scenes that didn't need to be drawn out, were. Scenes that made little sense were forced in, and scenes that were obviously added just to create some sort of conflict in the plot were thrust awkwardly into the midst of everything. I feel Tolkien's story has enough plot and character growth to not need much tweaking, but apparently Jackson disagrees. The result is a somewhat long, dragged out storyline that has scenes that don't quite fit. 

Overall, I really did enjoy the movie. Just go into without expecting it to be The Hobbit you've read.

Book of the Week:
This week I'm featuring the first in a stunning trilogy by bestselling author, Brandon Sanderson. I could not put this book down. The magic system is complex, the world vivid, and the plot fresh and gripping.

Mistborn: The Final Empire
 Back Cover:
 Brandon Sanderson, fantasy's newest master tale spinner, author of the acclaimed debut Elantris, dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails? What kind of world results when the Dark Lord is in charge? The answer will be found in the Mistborn Trilogy, a saga of surprises and magical martial-arts action that begins in Mistborn.

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison. Kelsier "snapped" and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld's elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel's plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she's a half-Skaa orphan, but she's lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

Readers of Elantris thought they'd discovered someone special in Brandon Sanderson. Mistborn proves they were right.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

IWSG-To Blog or Not to Blog

            To blog, Twitter, Facebook, or not, that is the dilemma of this month. It is a constant balancing act of how much is too much. Do people really want to read about my mundane thoughts and struggles as I write, and live? Especially as a yet to be published writer, I wonder if I have anything to add to the amazing writing community out there.
           Do I blog once a week, once a month, once in a blue moon? How do I get people excited about my posts? How do I bring in followers and readers in the first place? What should I tweet, and share on Facebook? Millions of questions like this face first time bloggers, such as myself, and new writers trying to get there name out there.
         It is easy to get distracted with all the fun blogs that exist already. Most days it is more enjoyable to read other writers' witticisms then come up with my own. Plus, there are lots of giveaways, blog tours, and such to support. After all, if I want them to help me when I get a book out shouldn't I return the favor?
         I found the best way of dealing with some of these distractions, though fun, and worthwhile, is to have a schedule. Set aside a certain time a couple days a week when you will blog, check your multiple emails, check the list of blogs you follow,  tweet, and share things to your Facebook page. If you let yourself keep those things up all day, you often won't get any writing, or business done. (Not that I've had any experience with that. *cough, cough*)
         As for building your own online presence that is worth people's time, I'm still trying to figure that one out. Any advice from you veteran bloggers of awesomeness? 

As always, happy writing!

Book of the Week:

The second epic installment of Brandon Mull's #1 New York Times bestselling fantasy series! After the cliffhanger ending of A World Without Heroes, Jason is back in the world he's always known—yet for all his efforts to get home, he finds himself itching to return to Lyrian. Jason knows that the shocking truth he learned from Maldor is precious information that all of his friends in Lyrian, including Rachel, need if they have any hope of surviving and defeating the evil emperor.
Meanwhile, Rachel and the others have discovered new enemies—as well as new abilities that could turn the tide of the entire quest. And as soon as Jason succeeds in crossing over to Lyrian, he's in more danger than ever. Once the group reunites, they strive to convince their most-needed ally to join the war and form a rebellion strong enough to triumph over Maldor. At the center of it all, Jason and Rachel realize what roles they're meant to play—and the answers are as surprising as they are gripping.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Finding the Baby Jesus Blog Tour

Tour Schedule

Finding the Baby Jesus by Kimball Fisher

After being forced to wear lederhosen for the annual holiday card picture, twelve-year-old Chris thinks that the least his parents can do is get him the Tony Hawk skateboard he wants for Christmas. But when he recovers the hand-carved Baby Jesus that everyone thought had been destroyed in a fire the year his Grandma died, Chris realizes that some gifts are even more important than skateboards.

When the author had to discontinue a cherished tradition of reading Christmas stories out loud with his family and holiday guests each week in December, he wrote Finding the Baby Jesus. He had been unable to locate enough meaningful stories that could be read in a single sitting with wiggly children.

Praise for Finding the Baby Jesus:

“Tender and true, this warm Christmas tale brought tears to my eyes.”
–Heather Vogel Frederick, author of the much-beloved Mother-Daughter Book Club series and Oregon Book Award winner for The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed

“A touching story that speaks to the importance of family, giving, and the true spirit of Christmas.”
–Matthew Kirby, author of Icefall, winner of the Edgar Allen Poe and the Pen Center USA Literary Awards for Children’s Literature

“Deeply moving. Poignant.”
–Deborah Halverson, former editor at Harcourt Children’s Books and author of Honk If You Hate Me, a Gayle McCandliss Literary Award Winner

"The perfect little book to tuck away with your Christmas things and bring out year after year to read with family. As mother to three boys, I can't imagine a better protagonist than Chris. His typical teenage attitude followed by the softening of his heart towards a friend teaches a poignant and very relatable lesson on the true meaning of Christmas."
–Amazon review

"After I read this short story I felt like I had read a novel--every sentence is packed with action and imagery. I was emotionally connected to the characters, and the story is touching. I didn't see the plot twist at the end coming! A great story to read every Christmas."
–Amazon review


Author Kimball Fisher

Kimball Fisher writes novels for young readers. He is also a best-selling business author, professional speaker, and management consultant. Some of his past jobs include: sailboat builder, ghost writer (not as scary as it sounds), illustrator, and factory manager (more scary than it sounds). For fun he builds furniture, stained-glass windows, and writing pens.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities (with minors in English, Asian Studies, and Japanese), and a Master of Organizational Behavior degree from Brigham Young University. He and his amazing wife Reenie live in Portland, Oregon, where they have seen pheasants, coyotes, and a bobcat in their own backyard.


Book Blast

Tour Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/26/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

NaNoWriMo Survivor

December has arrived. This means that those of us who participated in NaNoWriMo this year are doing some much needed celebrating and recuperating. Those that are full of awesomeness may already be working on edits and rewrites. (I, sadly, don't feel that dedicated.)
So I survived NaNoWriMo, but only just.

I am...drum roll, please...a WINNER! Yipee! Somehow I scraped enough words together to achieve my goals. Congratulations to all my fellow participants who reached the 50K words, and even to those who worked hard and met their individual goals. You are awesome!

Now the sad truth of the matter, I really struggled with my project. It was excruciating and painful and not at all satisfying. Before you all stop reading let me explain myself. I loved the idea of writing for a month with pure abandon. I loved the amazing network of fellow writers I met and shared my journey with. I loved the idea of my book and characters. The empty feeling at the end came from the realization that I had lost my voice.
All of you may, or may not, be aware of the vast amounts of information and advice there is for writers. In my attempts to improve myself, I dived in head first. (Word of caution: Always look before you leap. Turns out it is true in every aspect of life. Who knew?)

 I soon found myself drowning in the ocean of advice, tips, and information on how to write well, what to do to be successful, what not to do, what to write to sell books, blah, blah, blah.
As I wrote my project for this past month, I found myself constantly telling my characters and story no. No, you can't do that. No, you can't say that. No, you have to keep the word count down. No, no, no. As a result, my characters all went on strike. They carried around little signs blaring words such as "No to no," and "Let us have our voice."

(I'm so not kidding. Little signs and yelling voices in your head doesn't make for a creative environment. Unless you happen to be writing about a strike which I wasn't.)
My plot was stinted, my characters were upset, and as a writer I felt like a failure. As soon as I pounded out those last few excruciating words to reach my goal, I set the whole thing aside. I asked myself some tough questions. The conclusion, I had lost my "chocolate cheesecake." (Words from the amazing Jessica Day George.)

I had lost sight of my goals and dreams as a writer, and as a reader. I became so lost in my own inner thoughts of what made me a failure based on all the advice and tips, that I lost focus on what my original intent even was.
To rediscover my chocolate cheesecake, I went back to my childhood when I read fairy tales. Not the cute Disneyfied tales, but those that involved bloody slippers, haunted castles, eyes gouged out, snakes falling from people's lips, and a hero overcoming all odds to defeat evil. As a teen, I advanced to devouring the works of David Edding, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, and Shakespeare. In college I gravitated to the study of Arthurian Literature. (Are you seeing a pattern yet?) I loved the tales of knights defeating dragons, ogres, maidens with the bodies of snakes, spells woven by evil sorcerers, and even their own failings. Such tales as those of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight captured my imagination and set it soaring.

These are the tales that inspired me to dream, and first fueled my love of fantasy and science fiction. I may never write a best-seller, but I can weave my own epic tales of adventure, danger, and magic. They may not be perfect, but I can make them shine in my own way.
There will be many people willing to offer advice and tips along the path of becoming a writer. Some will make you better, but some may not be for you. Take what you need to improve yourself and leave the rest behind. Find your niche as a writer and an audience will follow. Don't try to write a book that will please everyone. It won't work. (Even J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien have their critics.) Embrace your chocolate cheesecake, and enjoy every last bite of it!

Happy Writing!

What is your chocolate cheesecake? What book, or author inspires you to be a writer, or even a reader?

Friday, November 16, 2012

the writer's dojo

the writer's dojo: Community: Ninjas Write Community

This is an excellent place to meet and mingle with others who share your writing passion. With a forum you can post on anytime, helpful tips from fellow writers and a weekly live chat, it has something for everyone. I've met some awesome writers through this network. Ali Cross, Kathleen, Amy and Stephanie are just a few of the whackies (Yes, that is a word. Meant in the best possible way should any of the aforementioned read this) who continue to inspire me and help me stay on task.
I know networking can often be frustrating and time consuming, but this is a great stop to add to your list. The many writers who talents contribute to the site keep you entertained and informed. They are a great source for other blogs, critiques, motivation and just some good stress relief and laughs for days when you feel like this:

In the weekly Ninja Chat, Thursdays at 2pm MST,  we've been known to discuss everything from our latest projects to amoebas.

(Lest you sneer at that lovely debate, I want you to know that it inspired a great scene in my latest writing project.) 

Whether you are just beginning your very first project, or have already published a thousand books, we all need a support system to keep us going. Those who inspire us, who dare us to do better, who root for us even from our crappy first drafts and those who don't let ourselves get in the way of our dreams. The task of creating one can be daunting at first, with all the writers, authors, blogs, and sites you could join. But once you find the right one, or two, or three, for you, you'll wonder how you ever thought you could do this writing journey alone.

Happy Writing!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Open Heart, Open Adoption Guest Post

My wife and I had a tendency to burn through those home pregnancy tests like crazy. If one came up negative we’d say, “Maybe we tried at the wrong time of day” or “Maybe that test strip was too old.” We’d go get a new one and try again later, always with the same result. We wanted so badly for my wife to be pregnant that we interpreted just about anything to mean we’d finally succeeded. If she wasn’t feeling well- that had to mean she was experiencing some “morning sickness,” right? If she expected her period to start at a certain time and it was 10 minutes late, “Hooray, we did it!” Of course, that was never the case for us.
Meeting with infertility specialists was both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. It was frustrating because they could never find anything wrong with either of us. Sperm count- check. Sonogram- check. No runny nose- check. Check check check. Ugh. I know it’s usually supposed to be good news when a doctor or nurse tells you you’re looking nice and healthy, but we were hoping to be told otherwise. Not that we didn’t want to be healthy, of course, but it was really frustrating to be trying for years and years to get pregnant and nobody could tell us why. We wanted some doctor to say, “Oh, there’s the problem. Take this pill and you’ll be pregnant by dinner time.” That wasn’t in the cards, though. All we got was test after test without finding a problem, and then procedure after procedure without finding any results.
That was good, though. Sure, it was frustrating at the time- really frustrating, demoralizing, and sad- but it lead us to where we are today. It was important for us at the time to feel like we WANTED adoption, and we felt like we should try it the “normal” way first. We could have kept going with the infertility stuff- yes. But we came to a point where we didn’t want to ride the infertility train anymore. Lots of people continue, taking the next step to try the next procedure that may or may not work (and often times it does work for them), but we were done. We just didn’t want to do it anymore. Of course, that didn’t stop our friends (and even people who we barely knew) from offering up their unsolicited advice about sure ways to get pregnant, but we were done. Sure, we would have been happy to end up pregnant, but we were done making it our main focus. We WANTED to adopt.
Adoption was something that had been in the back of our mind ever since we first started to realize we weren’t getting pregnant like all of our family and friends seemed to be able to. It was our choice to hop off the train during the infertility treatments. It was our choice and that gave us a tiny bit of satisfaction knowing we were finally in charge of something rather than hoping and waiting and hoping and waiting for the stork to come the “normal way.” We were in charge and guess what! We were excited.
I know a lot of couples that always knew they wanted to adopt, so the decision was easy for them. That wasn’t us, though. We are infertile and we don’t know why. Eight years of trying has pretty much left us assuming it’s not in our cards. Adoption is the best thing to happen to us, and we did it because we wanted to! We didn’t “resort” to adoption because we felt it was our only choice. We just realized one day that God was calling us to something else and we embrace that.  As a friend of mine always says- Adoption isn’t our plan B, it’s the plan that was meant to be.

Tour Schedule

Open Adoption, Open Heart

The world of adoption has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. No longer do biological parents have to say goodbye to their child forever. They now have more options when deciding the type of adoption to pursue, such as open adoption. Open adoption creates the opportunity for a special relationship between biological parents, the adoptive parents, and the child.

 Open Adoption, Open Heart is an inspiring and true story, which takes the reader deeper into the feelings and emotions experienced by adoptive parents. As you read this incredible story, you will experience the joys, difficulties, and amazing victories facing adoptive couples. Russell and his wife, Jammie, invite you to share in their inspiring and heartwarming journey.


Book Trailer:

From the Author: While my book's primary audience was thought to be those hoping to adopt, close to half of the books I've sold are simply people who want to read about our story and how adoption is different now than it used to be- and they have not adopted nor do they plan to adopt.

About the Author:

Russell Elkins was born on Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1977. Along with his five siblings, he and his military family moved around a lot, living in eight different houses by the time he left for college at age 17. Although his family movedaway from Fallon, Nevada, just a few months after he moved out, he still considers that little oasis in the desert to be his childhood hometown. He and his family now live in the Boise, Idaho area.

Russell has always been a family man at heart, looking forward to the day when he could be a husband and a father. It took him a little while, but eventually his eyes locked onto a beautiful blonde, and he has never looked away. Russell and Jammie were married in 2004. Years of struggling with infertility left Russell and Jammie with a decision to make and their lives changed dramatically when they decided to adopt.

Russell and Jammie have adopted two beautiful children, Ira and Hazel, and have embraced their role as parents through open adoption. Both are actively engaged in the adoption community by communicating through social media, taking part in discussion panels, and writing songs about adoption. Russell also writes a weekly post for and contributes regularly to Adoption Voices Magazine.


Tour Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash from Author Russell Elkins
Ends 12/23/12
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule: open-adoption-blog-tour.html

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hi everyone! Sorry about the super late post. It was a crazy night and morning of writing and critiquing for me. :)

My insecurity matches one that is common among beginning writers and probably many established writers. What is it you may ask? *dramatic pause* It is the struggle to believe in your own voice.
You write a manuscript, it is beautiful, it is aggravating, it is a piece of you. Then you submit it to others.
You wait, nails bit so low drops of blood stain your keyboard. The day arrives when your baby comes back to you and it is marred. Scenes are crap, too many adverbs, scars mark your pristine pages. You are forced to admit that, perhaps, more revisions are required. At first you rant, you cry, you may feel hopeless. You spent weeks, maybe months, on this thing that doesn't ever seem good enough. Do you give up and accept that no matter how many edits and revisions it will never be ready?
 NO! Get up, wipe off your keyboard and keep writing. One day you will see that glossy cover, that gripping title and realize that inside is the story no one else could tell. Better yet, people are actually reading it and they, shocking I know, like it. But you are not done, because new voices fill your head and a new tale spills onto your page. The whole process begins again.

What do you tell yourself when that gloom of failure raises its ugly head? What inspires you to keep writing?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Kindle Giveaway

The awesome Andrea Pearson has partnered with other bloggers and authors to give away a Kindle to one lucky US winner!

The winner will also receive five of Andrea's eBooks:
The Key of Kilenya
The Ember Gods
August Fortress
(I've read these first three. They are a great read for teen and adult fans of clean, fun fantasy. Her characters are real and engaging, and the plot leaves you on the edge of your seat the whole time. I'm anxiously awaiting book four in the series!)
The Music of Anna Morse
Britnell Manor

 Andrea, a Brigham Young University graduate, is an avid reader and outdoor
enthusiast (hiking, boating, biking, spending time in the Rocky Mountains,
and taking walks). She spent a year and a half serving the Spanish
speaking community in Toronto, Canada, and fluently speaks 2 ½ languages.
She plays several instruments, not including the banjo, and loves putting
together musical arrangements.

Andrea is always in the mood for a good movie with close friends and
family (especially her husband and mom), with a large glass of milk and a
bowl of overly buttered popcorn nearby. She also enjoys oil painting,
making earrings, and she hopes to someday travel to Italy and Alaska. She
loves writing clean fiction for youth and adults and is the author of nine
books, including the Kilenya Series (fantasy for readers ten and older), a
Kilenya Romance (teen readers), and the Katon University Series (soft teen


To enter the giveaway, check out this blog here!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Want to dance like Elizabeth Bennet?

Are you a Jane Austen nut? Do you sigh when you see something like this:

Yes, yes, I know we all are half in love with Mr. Darcy and that can cause plenty of sighs. But if you, like me, sigh over the elegance of movement and the beautiful costumes, and long for that to be you, cease your despair.
Last night I had the great pleasure of attending a class given by the Old Glory Vintage Dancers. My friend invited me, since she knows I am a writer always looking for new experiences and research avenues for my books. (Hint, hint)
It was so much fun, hopping and spinning around the floor in the lively, yet elegant, dances of the Jane Austen era. Even tripping and falling on my backside in the middle of a dance couldn't ruin the magical evening. Now that I have revealed my amazing dance skills, I know you all feel intimidated. ;)
If you are writing about Regency, or are just in love with the time period, this is worth at least a glance.

Happy Wednesday Writing!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Changing Blog Name? and A New Project!

I know my blog name keeps changing lately. You are probably thinking I am an indecisive person who just can't make up her mind. Well, you are part right. The other part is that I come up with brilliant names only to discover they are already taken by someone who is much smarter and quicker than myself. ;) I'm actually quite taken with this new one, so, perhaps I have finally hit on the winning title.
Other news: I am getting so exited for NaNoWriMo next week. Between outlining that project and getting to know my new characters, while still appeasing my current WIP characters and getting feedback on The Mark, and learning the ins and outs of numerous databases that will supposedly make this whole author thing a little more easy to handle (Ha! Like I believe that), it has been a crazy couple of weeks. Anyhow, here is a brief glimpse at my latest project, Dark Heritage.

"Slaine." I struggle to breathe as I, for the first time since that fateful night, face my sister's murderer.
Disappointment shrouds my heart. This man, in his expensive black, Italian suit and leather shoes, polished until they shine, does not at all resemble the demon of my nightmares. Where are the red eyes and fangs I often imagined?
"Delusional," the therapists called me and I believed them.
"An accident," my parents murmured, and I agreed even as the truth, or so I thought, haunted my nights. I face the reality before me. Chocolate eyes hold mine, their cold amusement an odd contrast to their warm color. My nails dig into my palms so hard I feel beads of sticky wetness beneath them.
"Slaine." The name drops from my lips like a curse.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Little Theater, A Little Writing

I recently had the great pleasure of attending Centerpoint Legacy Theater's production of The Scarlet Pimpernel. The costumes were colorful and beautiful, the cast talented and the songs stirring. As I enjoyed this night of romance and high adventure, I found myself thinking, as I often do, of writing. I know, I know, the curse of all writers is that we are never quite free from our characters, plot-lines, and ideas for improving our WIP. So here are three things The Scarlet Pimpernel taught me about the craft of writing and editing.

1) As I took my seat and settled in to enjoy the production, I noticed colored tape all over the stage. This proved very distracting. The blaring tape could be seen even when the lights were dim and constantly shouted 'amateur theater' to me. My expectations about the quality of the play were drastically lowered from the beginning.
You are probably asking, what does this have to do with writing? Easy. What message are you sending with your book? Is it polished and professional? Or does it scream 'novice' with all the grammar, spelling and formatting errors? Don't leave any 'marking tape' for your readers to find and that my cause them to lower their expectation about your work. Whether you are planning on traditional or indie publishing, take the time to carefully edit. I would take advantage of all the amazing skills of those already in the professional editing business. *wink wink*

2) There were a couple dropped lines in the play. The actors hurriedly corrected themselves by saying the right line, but the damage was done. I was confused and the flow of the story was disrupted for a moment.
With your writing be sure your characters are saying what you mean them to say. If the dialogue is confusing, or the characters aren't staying true to themselves, the suspension of disbelief you have created will be shattered. Your reader will return to reality with a jarring bump and may have to work hard to return to the fantastical world you have tried to craft, or they may never return. Be true to your characters and your story, and avoid missed lines!

3) I am always impressed with any theater production I attend and their ability to create an illusion of another place, and often another time, with minimum props. In fact, the best play are those that are driven by dialogue and the emotions you can see portrayed by the actor's body language, rather than flashy sets and bedazzling costumes.
Writing is exactly the same way. Your story can thrive and flourish with well written dialogue, and choosing the perfect words. One right word can carry your meaning better than ten wrong words. Make your manuscript less bulky by taking the extra time to find words that invoke the right feelings, or images you wish to portray.

Now go write and maybe take time to enjoy The Scarlet Pimpernel, or another local production in your area. :-)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Name the Book Extravaganza!

The amazing Ali Cross is looking for readers help choosing the title for Book #3 in her Desolation Trilogy. Those who vote on the winning name will receive all three books in e-book format.
A fun scavenger hunt is also taking place. Participants get a chance to win awesome e-books, SWAG and other great prizes! You can find the details and rafflecopters at Tiffany's blog. The contest runs this week only, so stop by soon.
 Enjoy! And a big congratulations to Ali!

Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.
 When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.

Where darkness lives, all becomes desolate . . .
It’s been two months since sixteen-year-old Desolation Black chose Earth over Hell and her friend Miri over her eternal love, Michael.
Desi goes through the motions of life: school, training, remaining vigilant against the forces of darkness, but her dreams are full of the choices she wishes she could change. When she’s injured by a strange demon, old temptations arise, and the lines between good and evil blur. Desi discovers those choices aren’t so final after all.
And this time, the power of love—for a friend, for a lover—may not be enough to save her from the darkness that lurks within.
Ali's Bio
Ali Cross is the sensei of the Writer's Dojo where she holds a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin' husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, two sumo dogs and four zen turtles.
Find Ali:
twitter username: @ali_cross

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gallagher's Hope Book Blast

Gallagher’s Hope Synopsis

She sought a new beginning.
He sought what he didn’t know was missing.
Together they would discover hope in unlikely places.

Isabelle Rousseu must escape New Orleans and the memory of her family’s tragic loss. With her younger brother in tow, she accepts a position as the new schoolteacher in Briarwood, Montana. Desperate to keep what’s left of her family together, Isabelle joins her life with a stranger only to discover that trust and hope go hand in hand.

Gabriel Gallagher lived each day as it came believing he had everything he could possibly want...until a determined woman and her brother arrive with a little luggage and a lot of secrets.

It will take a drastic choice to protect her and give them both, hope for the future.


Excerpt One: 
Nothing existed of the life she had known.
      Her slender arm wrapped around the little boy’s shoulder and pulled him closer to his side. She could feel his slight trembling and wished more than anything that she could take away his sadness. They were alone in the world. They had each other, and she prayed that would be enough for them both.
      They stood and listened as the priest gave the final blessing, and two men lowered the caskets into the ground. The few other mourners who had been kind enough to attend the funeral asked her to leave with them, but she needed the closure. She needed her eyes to see what her heart refused to accept. ”An unfortunate affair,” everyone called the incident for it wasn’t every day that a man murdered his wife and then shot himself. Isabelle wished not to think on the possible reasons why, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. She never imagined her family to be anything but happy. Their father’s death, however, revealed the truth. No one spoke of it with them of course, but the lawyer had made the situation quite clear.
      They were penniless.

Excerpt Two: 
“You promised Gabriel, you promised!”
Gabriel wasn’t a light sleeper. In fact it often took a great deal to wake him from a pleasant slumber and last night had been one heck of a night’s sleep. He enjoyed waking with Isabelle in the room. What he didn’t enjoy was being yelled at and falsely accused before he’d even had his first cup of coffee. Her words though, did enough to bring him about.
“Criminy, Isabelle it’s too early for yelling and I didn’t break my promise.” Gabriel moved around the side of the bed until he located his boots and slipped them on. His happy memories of holding her in his arms the night before were quickly replaced by anger and irritation.
“What do you call waking up next to me then Gabriel?”
“If you’ll take a good look at yourself, and me for that matter, you’ll see we’re both fully dressed. More’s the pity.”


The Author

McClintock is an entrepreneur, baker, photographer, tour host, reviewer and multi-genre author.

Over the years McClintock has traveled the country and abroad, experiencing the beauty of other lands and cultures. She dreams of a time when life was simpler, the land rougher, and the journey more rewarding. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, McClintock will always call Montana home.

McClintock is a member of Romance Writers of America, Montana Romance Writers, and Women Writing the West.

Connect with the author!

Gallagher's Hop Book Blast Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Autographed copy of Gallagher’s Hope (US only)
2 Gallagher’s Hope-Kindle Edition
2 Gallagher’s Pride (Book One)-Kindle Edition

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Timeless Romance Anthology Review

Christmas comes early this year! Six unique love stories by six best-selling authors that are sure to make you feel warm-inside and out. Grab a mug of your favorite steaming drink, curl up with a blanket and let the novellas transport you back in time with tales of disappointment and triumph in life and love.

I have read every one of Sarah Eden's Regency Romances and her newest novella does not disappoint.
The Road to Cavan Town opens on Ireland, 1864. Though the setting is different from her other novels, you find yourself just as captured and engrossed in the time and characters. The main protagonist, Alice Wheatley, is in love with Isaac Dancy, but he is courting the rich and gorgeous Miss Sophia Kilchrest. Alice knows Miss Kilchrest is not right for Isaac. Will he come to realize the truth before its too late? A touching story that hooks readers from the very beginning. Great start to an amazing anthology!
Heidi Ashworth's It Happened Twelfth Night introduces us to the gatekeepers daughter, Luisa, and her childhood friend turned beau, Percy. When Percy returns from Ireland after six-months away, Luisa is confused by his sudden indifference to her. Brokenhearted, she watches all her dreams crumble. That is until a handsome, mysterious man shows her kindness. Luisa suddenly realizes that new dreams can be even better than the old.
Warning: Dreams of dashing strangers sweeping you off your feet may occur.

Next comes An Unexpected Proposal by Annette Lyon. Set in Cache Valley, Utah in 1880 during a bitter winter, we meet the irrepressible Caroline. She has big hopes and dreams, which don't include being courted by her childhood chum, James. But when faced with possibly losing James forever, she realizes her heart may not agree with her head. Can a friendship become something deeper? Is it too late to find out? A cute story of friendship and love.

Next in line is Caroles on the Green by Joyce DiPastena. This amazing writer of medieval romance once again transports back to an age we can only imagine. This story revolves around the unlikely relationship of Isabel and Lucian. Agreeing to choose a husband by Epiphany, Isabel must sort through many suitors. The handsome knight, Lucian, is not on her list of potential candidates until an incident at the oak tree forces her to reevaluate this dashing suitor. The characters are so well developed it is a little disappointing their story is so short. Hopefully, Joyce has more planned for them in the near future. ;)

A Winter's Knight by Donna Hatch is the first story I've read from this author. However, after reading this touching romance I am determined to read all her others. Clarissa and her Aunt Tilly are forced to take refuge in Wyckburg Castle during a storm. Clarissa is terrified-she has heard all the rumors of curses and murdered wives of the previous earls. But when she discovered her own family's involvement in this cursed castle, she knows she must help set things to right. Will the current earl feel the same? One of my favorite stories. I am a sucker for haunted castles and ancient curses.

Last, but certainly not least, is A Fortunate Exile by Heather Moore. Young Lila is sent away to her aunts after scandalously falling in love with the wrong man. Unsure how she will endure her strict aunt and her family's scorn, Lila is more than happy to accept Peter Weathers's help. As they aid each other in their struggles, they find themselves growing closer. But can Lila trust this growing attraction, or her own heart? Will her former poor judgement taint the gift they both hesitate to accept? A sweet tale of learning to trust yourself and others.

I loved each and everyone of these all-too brief tales. They were all unique, but equally compelling. The stories showcase the six authors' incredible talents, and leave you wanting more. A great read for a frigid winter night, or morning, or even afternoon. Any romance lovers on your Christmas lists? Check, mission accomplished. ;) Seriously though, I highly recommend reading this book either alone, or with a group of friends to set the holiday mood and spread some early Christmas cheer.

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed brand new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection. A collection unlike any other, readers will love this compilation of six sweet historical romance novellas, set in varying eras, yet all with one thing in common: Romance.

The Road to Cavan Town by Sarah M. Eden, set in 1864 Ireland, combines Eden’s sense of humor with her signature sweet romance. Alice Wheatley walks each weekend into town, accompanied by Isaac Dancy. And while Alice finds herself falling in love with the gentleman, unfortunately he has his eyes set on the belle of the town, Miss Sophia Kilchrest. Alice must find a way to turn Isaac’s eyes toward her.

Regency author Heidi Ashworth’s delightful story, It Happened Twelfth Night, set in England 1812, follows Luisa Darlington who discovers the man of her dreams, Percy Brooksby, isn’t in love with her as much as she thought he was. When Percy’s friend, the mysterious foreigner, Mr. Flynn, visits for the twelfth night holiday, he promptly sweeps Luisa off her feet, quite literally. Luisa is left catching her breath in more ways than one.

An Unexpected Proposal by Annette Lyon is a captivating romantic novella, set in remote Wood Camp, the snowy canyon of Logan, Utah, 1880. When Caroline Simpson is forced to thwart the aggressive advances of Mr. Butch Larson, she discovers that her long-time friend, James, has genuine affection for her. But as stubborn as Caroline is, she minimizes the feelings he’s awakened in her, and it takes almost losing James to admit her true feelings for him.

In Joyce DiPastena’s charming medieval story, Caroles on the Green, we enter England of 1151, in which Lady Isabel has a dilemma. She promises herself that she’ll marry the man who sent a ring hidden in her pastry since the man she truly loves, Sir Lucian de Warrene, has proved to be impossible and exasperating. To forget him, Isabel sets her eyes on other eligible men, only to face another confrontation with Lucian—who isn’t about to back off and leave her to her newest plot.

Donna Hatch’s enchanting novella, A Winter’s Knight, begins when Clarissa Fairchild’s coach just happens to break down in front of the most forbidding estate in the county, that of Wyckburg Castle, a place where young brides have been murdered for generations by their husbands. Clarissa is horrified yet curious all in the same breath. When she meets widower Christopher de Champs, Earl of Wyckburg, she must decide if she should flee or uncover the greatest secret in the county about her handsome rescuer.

In Heather B. Moore’s exciting turn-of-the-century story, A Fortunate Exile, Lila Townsend finds herself the victim of a broken heart—broken by the most notorious bachelor in 1901 New York City. If that isn’t bad enough, her father sends her to Aunt Eugenia’s remote farm where Lila must wait for her father’s anger to subside and the gossip columns to find new fodder. When Lila meets her aunt’s boarder, Peter Weathers, she discovers a man who isn’t afraid to stand up to her formidable family and take a chance on a woman with a sullied reputation.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

ATHENA's Book Launch

ATHENA's release date is November, but readers will get a change to buy an early copy at the October 6th Book Launch!

The book launch is at the same store where we held the others: Fort Union Deseret Book. 6:00-8:00 during their Ladies Night celebration, so there will be other authors/artists there, refreshments, and lots of fun.
Details at Newport Ladies Book Club blog.

Reluctant Bachelorette Blog Tour

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson
Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Taycee Emerson wants out. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers--not her--to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Coerced into participating, Taycee does what any self-preserving girl would do. She launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. Unfortunately, Luke's an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she's up to, it means revenge.

But when their pranks go south, will they screw up any chance they have at a future together, or will they be able to forgive and forget and prove that love really does conquer all?

Lately, dating had become an almost frenzied quest to find a guy who could free her from the shackles of Luke’s memory—someone who could make her feel something stronger than respect and like. Someone who could make her want to say “yes.”
     But it was no use. Taycee only ended up hurting unsuspecting guys. Guys who didn’t deserve to be hurt. Like Pat.
     Well, no more. It had gone too far this time, and Taycee was through. Through with flirting. Through with dating. Through with trying. Maybe if she moved on with the rest of her life, Luke’s memory would move on too.

About the Author:
Rachael Anderson is the author of four contemporary romances: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She's the mother of four, can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.


FB fan page:
Amazon author page:

Tour Giveaway - October 1st to 31st:

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  If the grand prize winner is not in the US they will receive only the  Amazon Gift card & a Kindle copy of The Reluctant Bachelorette.  The Sneakers DVD would then be awarded to the winner of the print copy  who must live in the US.

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