Monday, February 25, 2013

My Awesome Life

So, I've been a bit MIA from the the blogging and writing sphere as of late. My word count for this month is absolutely abysmal thanks to my crazy life these days. Thanks to two writer's conferences, a friend's daughter being diagnosed with cancer, another friend's father dying, lots of family drama, and a big dose of financial stress I've developed a big case of writer's block. But this blog isn't about whining or complaining about things I can't change, I've done enough of that the past couple weeks to last a lifetime. (Hides head in shame.)
Time to move on with my life and what better way to do that then to look at all the things that make my life absolutely awesome! (Don't worry, I'll just list the top five to keep you all from dying from boredom.)

1. My faith in my God. Without Him, I would be completely lost.

2. My family. I am always so grateful for a mother who always has a saying like "Crap happens, wipe and move on," or "You might as well laugh at this because tears waste more energy," always at the ready. She has faced so much in her life, but keeps smiling and trucking along. An awesome woman!
Also, I would be nowhere without my amazing husband. He puts up with my craziness on so many levels. His support, kindness, and faith in me keeps me going when things get tough. He rocks!

3. The amazing support system I have both online and in my community. You all serve as a constant source of inspiration and laughter when life tries to get me down. Thank you!

4. Books. Yes, lots and lots of books that allow my imagination to sore to realms previously unimagined. And allow me to run away when I just need a break.

5. Writing and the time right now to do a lot of it. Everything seems so much better once you just put it into words. The monsters are more manageable. Emotions choke less and aid more when the pen has mastered them. The insurmountable odds of writing a novel diminish with each letter typed. And, of course, the hero (or heroine) always conquers no matter what is thrown his way. The same goes for me every time I write a word, sentence, paragraph, book.

Life is never as bad as it seems at first glance. For every less than happy moment, there are ten moments of joy to celebrate once we dispel the mist trying to hide them.

What makes your life awesome these days?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Baked Alaska Book Blast


Baked Alaska by Josi S. Kilpack

An Alaskan cruise is the setting for amateur detective Sadie Hoffmillers latest adventure. Sadie plans to spend time relaxing with her two grown children, Breanna and Shawn, and her boyfriend, Pete, while enjoying the luxury and cuisine of an elegant cruise ship and helping to plan her daughters upcoming wedding. But even as the crew prepares to leave port, Sadie has suspicions about the voyage ahead and the relationship between her normally easygoing son and a mysterious female passenger he obviously knows but refuses to discuss. When the woman is discovered unconscious during the second night at sea, Sadies apprehension escalates. Over the last few years, Sadie has developed an extreme dislike for secrets and it would seem her son is keeping one from her. *Includes eight new mouthwatering recipes, tested and approved by the official bakers of Sadies Virtual Test Kitchen.




Praise for Baked Alaska
Josi Kilpack has done it again. You would think that all these events that occur in Sadie's life wouldn't be natural, but Josi Kilpack has a way of making you believe that it just "happens" and it is normal. I have grown to love Sadie's character, even if she is a busybody, you can't help but cheer for her as she attempts to solve a mystery or crime. One of my favorite series. :)
~Goodreads Reviewer Lacey McNeill









Author Josi S. Kilpack

Josi S. Kilpack grew up hating to read until she was thirteen and her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began her first novel in 1998 and hasn’t stopped since. Her seventh novel, Sheep’s Clothing, won the 2007 Whitney Award for Mystery/Suspense, and Lemon Tart, her ninth novel, was a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist. Josi was the Best in State winner in literature for 2012 and currently has two books (Banana Split and Tres Leches Cupcakes) as finalists in the 2012 Whitney awards.

Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her family.




Tour Schedule




Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/17/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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 enter for you. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rapunzel Untangled Blog Tour

Photobucket




A Girl Trapped in a Mansion
A Mysterious Old Woman
The Boy Who Will Change Everything

Rapunzel is not your average teenager. For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction.

But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is

Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.




 My Review:

Engaging, funny, adventurous, awesome, great, adorable, wonderful, stupendous, heartwarming, suspenseful are just a few of the adjectives I have to describe this great new fantasy book for young adults. (I would need to consult my thesaurus for more.)

I really loved this story. The main character, Rapunzel, drew me in from the first moment she appeared on the page. The mystery set up in the prologue certainly didn't hurt either. As a lover of fairy tales, I was instantly hooked. Even knowing the traditional tale I was pleasantly surprised by Bennett's new twists and turns to this classic tale. I loved how she blended magic, suspense, and mystery in a breath-taking plot that left me on the edge of my seat until the last page. (I will confess my bedtime was greatly delayed when I picked this up.) Another thing that really added a sense of reality and gave presence to the story was Bennett's skillful inclusion of modern technology. It was refreshing for a fantasy novel set in the 21st century to actually have cellphones, Facebook accounts, and cars-and Rapunzel's inexperience with such things was brilliant and believable. So amazing!

There was a lot of the original tale, a dash of Disney's Tangled (The description of Fane made me think of a younger, modern Flynn Rider-not a bad thing at all), and a healthy dose of an original, brand new take on the tale of a young woman with impressively long locks, an overprotective mother figure, a dark villain, and, of course, the dashing young hero who shows her the freedom she is missing. I recommend this for all lovers of sweet romance, magic, adventure, and who sigh for those wonderful happily-ever-afters.




About the Author
Cindy C Bennett was born and raised in beautiful Salt Lake City, growing up in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains. She and her husband - who happens to be her high-school sweetheart - raised two sons and two daughters. She's now blessed with two daughters-in-law as well. She developed a love of writing in high school when a teacher introduced her to the joys of escaping reality for ten minutes each day in writing.
When she's not writing, reading, or answering emails (notice there's no mention of cleaning, cooking, or anything remotely domestic), she can often be found riding her Harley through the beautiful canyons near her home. (Yes, she rides a Harley.)
 

Cindy’s Blog http://cindybennett.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!


In celebration of Valentine's Day and the Indie-kissing blogfest, I've decide to share the kiss scene from my current YA fantasy project, Dark Heritage. I'm still writing the rough draft and haven't begun serious edits yet, so I apologize if it's a little rough. Hopefully, it will still be sweet.
Enjoy!

Scene where Lexie shows Aidan the self-portrait she has drawn of herself:
    
Aidan studies the picture in the heavy silence, as if contemplating something. I look away from the troubled expression on his usually cheerful face. Perhaps he is thinking about her. Missing her. Realizing, finally, that I will never be her.

I hang my head, unable to bear his closed expression any more. His next words startle me, but are no surprise.

“The eyes are too bright and open.” He pauses, thinking, and I sink lower into myself. “And the smile is too big.”

Tears of mortification and frustration sting my eyes, but I keep them back through sheer willpower. I won't cry because some boy, once again, never really saw me.

“Lexie?” Aidan sounds unsure, hesitant. “Is something wrong?”

I blink rapidly for a moment to clear the telltale moisture and then smile over at him. “Nope. I’ll fix the picture later.” I reach for my sketchpad and he relinquishes it.

“Good. Because the eyes need to be more thoughtful. Still bright, but with more depth to them.” Aidan’s voice lowers to almost a whisper as if he's speaking to himself.

My hands tighten on the edge of the sketchpad. Am I really hearing what I think I am? My mouth fills with chalk. Yes, go on, my heart beats. No, don’t continue, my brain screams. The discordant refrains nearly drown out Aidan’s warm, quiet words.

“And the smile needs to be smaller, not a toothy grin. Your smile is my favorite thing about you. Quiet and shy, but full of kindness and honesty.” His hand rests on the top of the drawing still clutched in my hands.

My eyes lock on the calloused, strong fingers. My heart races so hard I’m sure its going to leap out of my chest at any minute as my gaze travels up his arm and to his face. His green eyes, flecked with soft brown, hold mine with a seriousness I’ve rarely seen in them.

Pressure increases on my protective sketchpad. I lower it to my lap and release my death grip on it. His hands encase my smaller ones, his eyes never leaving mine. “Too bad the picture isn’t in color.” He leans closer to me, his thumb siding over the back of my hand. I swallow in a very unromantic way.

“W-why is that?” I try for a casual tone, but it comes out as a breathless stutter. I’m so blowing this moment.

Aidan smiles that smile I adore. One side of his mouth quirks a little higher and his eyes look ready to laugh. “It doesn’t capture the color of your cheeks or lips. Strawberries and cream, that’s what I think when I see you.”

“You think of food when you see me? Wow, you must be hungry all the—” He silences my inane chatter, closing the the gap between us.

I’m pretty sure I stop breathing when his firm, but oh so soft, lips brush against mine. My eyelashes flutter against my cheeks. His hand moves to the back of my neck, holding me close as his lips explore mine in a slow, thorough way that sends waves of heat cascading to the tips of my toes.

When he pulls away I struggle to remember how to get oxygen into my lungs. He doesn’t sit back, but rests his forehead against mine in a sweet gesture. “I’ve wanted to do that for forever.” His words whisper against my cheek.

Thanks for reading! Now, be sure to check out these other romance-filled posts. And spread the love by kissing your sweetheart, or dog, or cat, or goldfish, or frog, or whatever works for you. ;)

Comments are always welcome.




Indie Life



Because being Indie doesn't have to mean going it alone.

So, this is my very first post for Indie Life. (First of many, I hope.) I'm a little nervous to participate since I'm still brand new to the Indie publishing world, i.e., I haven't released my first book. While that means I'm not as experienced it does put me in the great position to share my journey from start to first publication and beyond, with all of you. I hope we can learn a lot from each other along the way. Time to dive in.

I decided to go the indie route last May. I attended the fantastic Write Here in Ephraim writers' conference, and met the amazing Andrea Pearson. She gave a great presentation on the pros and cons of self-publishing. Up until that point I had been very skeptical of it. My doubts. You can't make money being indie. No one will even know you've published a book. People won't take me seriously as an author.

While indie seemed like a poor choice to me, I wasn't thrilled about traditional publishing either. (For me, not in general.) What to do? After Pearson's class, I did a lot of research on both traditional and indie publishing, wanting to make the best choice for me and my future. In the end, I realized that indie would give me both the freedom and control I wished to have with the books I write. It would take a lot of hours, effort, and frustration, but I knew I could do it. And so, my journey to be an indie author began.

Where I am currently. I'm reading a ton of blog posts, guides, and  websites that offer advice and support for indie writers. (Indelibles is a great source.) I'm crunching numbers to save for all the many costs I know will go into the production of my first book. And I am writing like crazy to have some sort of product to release, eventually. I'm also working hard at getting to know already established indie authors. For those, like me, who are just starting out, these awesome men and women who have already leaped over those initial hurdles of self-publishing are great sources of friendship, encouragement, and advice on what to do, and what not to do.

So that is my post for this month. Just a brief introduction to me, and my decision to be an indie writer. I look forward to the many curves, ups, and downs this path will take me on. And, I look forward to getting to know all of you better. Best of luck with all your writing endeavors!

The Indie ReCon is just about a week away. There will be tons of indie authors banding together to help us newbies along. If you definitely want to self-publish, are still on the fence about it, or are dead set on traditional publishing, this is a great conference for you. It is all online--stay in your pajamas all day if you want--and, best of all, its completely free! (Link to conference is on the left hand sidebar of this blog.)




Sunday, February 10, 2013

the Dragon Empire Blog Tour


Today we're celebrating the release of Heather McCorkle's fantasy novel, The Dragon Empire! For today's stop Heather is answering the following question:
What was the hardest part about writing this novel?

Heather: The main character has been bullied his entire life and lives in constant fear of beatings that are getting so bad, they may one day kill him. At twenty years old, that's a long time to put up with such abuse and it has severely damaged his self-esteem and confidence. Writing that was hard, and heartbreaking in many ways.

Here is a bit about it:
On Yacrana dragons are the advanced species. But advanced doesn't always mean civilized...
There's trouble in the Dragon Empire, the kind that could start a war between dragons and the races of people. Hidden factions of dragons believe they should rule the lesser races, not simply stand aside and allow them to develop as they will. Having lived so long in peace, the Emperors turn a blind eye, many oblivious that such attitudes even exist.
Despite being only an architect class, emerald dragon, Grendar is willing to risk banishment and death to stop that which his rulers refuse to see. The hope of peace lies not within the scaled breast of a dragon however, but within the hands of a group of people. But if the hidden factions have their way, these people won’t live to fulfill such a destiny. With a reluctant seer at his side, Grendar must leave his precious Empire for the outside world to save those that will one day save his kind.

While The Dragon Empire is for ages young adult and up, it does contain mild violence and some difficult subject matter. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kindle Fire HD Giveaway




Kindle Fire HD Giveaway!



The winner will have the option of receiving a Kindle Fire HD (US Only)


Or $199 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)


Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)




This giveaway is sponsored by these Authors:


The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson
Giveaway Details
1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (Internaitonal).
Ends 2/28/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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 enter for you. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

IWSG-February


My post is super short today. I just wanted to share some exciting news. Someone, besides family, has read my current WIP. The best part about this is that person then asked, "What else have you written?" They can't wait to read more of my work. I can tell you the warm tingles haven't stopped yet.

Finding your audience is tough, but if you write something worth reading, someone will read it. I know I've struggled, and probably will struggle in times to come, with the feeling of inadequacy and that I'm putting all this time and effort into something that will never be appreciated. Today I wish to say: There is hope! As my little moment of fame demonstrates.

You'll be awesome and others--the only people who matter to you--will think so too.

Happy Writing!

Side note: Shallee McArthur had a great post yesterday about When to Let Go of a Manuscript that I loved. It came right on the heels of my own post about the difficult decision I've recently made to let go of a story that is no longer working for me. Enjoy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Letting go to grow

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a total control-freak. I'm also stubborn to boot. While these two tools can be great for reaching my writing dreams--I definitely won't be quitting--they can be detrimental to my sanity. Sometimes these qualities even jeopardize the very dreams I'm too stubborn to give up. By clinging so tight to making one project completely perfect, I risk losing some other great ideas screaming to be heard.

I know this makes no sense, so let me elaborate. Lately my writing has felt like this.


 I've revised, and revised, and revised until I couldn't see straight, yet the story just wouldn't come together. I found I'd run into a very solid wall. (For those of you wondering, no, it didn't feel good.)
My days progressed in patterns of outlining, again, endless rounds of revisions, and wanting to cry every time I even thought of writing. (As one who wishes to make this a profession, not a good place to be.)

Then, after another near tear inducing critique round of my project, I had a great realization. What if I put that WIP in the drawer, and worked on something else for awhile? Huh, now there's a brilliant idea.My perfectionist nature immediately tried to convince me that would be admitting defeat--a big no-no. But the desperate, stifled creator screamed for me to give it a try. 

So, with much internal debate, I've set aside a project I've dedicate years of effort towards in order to work on something fresh and new. And, lo and behold, a miraculous thing happened. Ideas started flooding my brain. I was up for nearly two days straight just jotting down notes and scenes for a variety of new characters, scenes, and stories that were pent up far too long. I think of writing more like this:
(Big difference from the earlier me.)

I know it isn't easy to let go of a project, especially when you've dedicated a ton of hours and tears to the stupid thing. But, sometimes, that is just what you and your future dreams of being an author, might require. You are not admitting defeat, you are not giving up, and you are definitely going to make that particular WIP shine one day. That days just isn't today. I'm so excited to start work on the plethora of new stories swimming in my brain, and grow as a writer and a person.

What do you think? Have you reached a mental wall on your WIP? What do you do to get over those roadblocks to writing?

Happy Writing!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Talisman of El Book Blast

Tour Schedule


Talisman of El by Alecia Stone

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE?

One Planet.

Two Worlds.

Population: Human ... 7 billion.

Others ... unknown.

When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He's afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him ... because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago - the day before his dad died.

Char­lie doesn't know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn't belong in the world he knows as home.

He belongs with the others.



Book Trailer







Purchase


Author Alecia Stone



Alecia Stone is the author of Talisman Of El (Centrinian, 2012), the first book in the Talisman Of El trilogy. She graduated with a BA in Film & TV and has worked in television for a short period of time before branching out into storytelling. Alecia loves anything and everything paranormal. Her fascination with all things supernatural sparked her obsession with books, particularly young adult fantasy fiction, which she has never grown out of. She was inspired to become an author after reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen at the age of fourteen.

In 2008, Alecia started working on Talisman Of El, a contemporary young adult fantasy fiction inspired by people who disappeared mysteriously, including, but not limited to, Amelia Earhart and Percy Harrison Fawcett, who went on an expedition in search of an ancient lost city. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys going to the movies, listening to music, and travelling.

Talisman Of El is her first novel. At present, Alecia lives in England, United Kingdom with her family.








BookBlast $50 Giveaway


$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/17/13



Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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 enter for you. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.





a Rafflecopter giveaway