Friday, November 30, 2012

LDStorymakers Conference

Conference registration opens tomorrow! I really enjoyed the LDStorymakers conference last year and hope to attend again in 2013. Here's a few things to look forward to:

May 9-11 at the Provo Marriott

  • The First Chapter Contest
  • Classes/Workshops
  • Bootcamp
  • Book signing
  • Agent and Editor pitch sessions
  • Master classes
  • Publication Primer
  • Whitney Awards Dinner

AND, this year's keynote speaker is Anne Perry--Anne Perry!--an author who has written several novels I have read and loved.

For more about the LDStorymakers conference, visit

Have you attended a writing conference? Several? Which have been your favorite and why?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blog Hop! Some fun things about Rewind to You.

Thank you, Kelly Nelson, for the tag! You can learn more about Kelly and her books The Keeper’s Calling and The Keeper’s Quest from her website, facebookpage  or through twitter (@kellynelsonauth). The Keeper’s Calling is available for purchase via Deseret Book, Amazon, and as well as on Kindle & NOOK.

Also, a big thanks to Cami Checketts for tagging me as well. Cami is the author of Dead Running. You can find out more about Cami on her blog, website and facebook page.

(A picture I took on River Street in Savannah, on)

This is so much fun. I could talk about my book all day, but I'll keep it brief. Here are my answers to the blog hop questions regarding my completed manuscript:

1: What is the working title of your book?

Rewind to You

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was sitting on a Georgia beach with my husband. Picture a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean and you'll understand why I wished I could pause time. You know, save the moment so I could "rewind" to it someday and never forget it.

Well that got me thinking. What if we could rewind to pivotal moments in life, moments we're powerless to change? At first thought, it seemed like an awesome idea. The longer I mulled it over, however, the more potential conflicts and pain I saw arising from such a scenario. If you could rewind to a point in your past, would you want to do something to change the future you've already lived? Do you have regrets? My character does.

3: What genre does your book fall under?

YA contemporary

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh man, this is super hard! Since my female protagonist, Sienna, is a teen and a dancer, let's go with:

                Alyson Stone

And for Austin, my male hunk protag with baby blue eyes? Perhaps someone like:


                   Zac Efron or Liam Hemsworth

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? (Okay, I can't help it. Here's three...)

One year after her father's tragic death, seventeen-year-old Sienna Owens begins having trauma-induced flashbacks to a pivotal moment she is powerless to change. Retreating to coastal Georgia with her mom and little brother, Sienna meets the irresistible college wide receiver Austin Dobbs and learns that while love can mend the heart, it can also slip through your fingers forever. And any moment in time can only truly be lived once.

6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm on the hunt for representation.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

My 40,000 word "detailed outline" took 2 months. It took another five months (and a baby born during this time) to complete what I consider my first draft. (The fact that my novel is set in Savannah, GA has nothing to do with the reason why my baby girl is named Savannah. ha ha).

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Anything Sarah Dessen, Deb Calletti, Nicholas Sparks or Jenny Han.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The two men who have have played the most influential roles in my life: my husband and my dad. My dad passed away when I was a teenager so this novel hit home for me. My husband is a hunk with baby blue eyes, and he's the one who encouraged me to pursue my passion for writing.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Austin and Sienna meet on River Street in Savannah, Georgia. Ever been there? If not, go! You'll love the almond praline ice cream at the River Street Sweets Candy Store (Austin and Sienna did!). I love incorporating food with fiction Read my The Power of Food in Fiction post here to see why.

Thank you for reading! And thank you, Kris Cherrington, for the fun comment idea. Her vote goes to Zac Efron as the actor she would pick to play Austin. What's your vote? Leave a comment below!

Here is a list of authors who will be joining the hop for week 24 on December 5th. I hope you’ll visit their blogs and learn more about their books. Maybe one of them will become your new favorite author!

  1. Donna Hatch. Donna is the author of several incredible romance titles including The Stranger She Married and Queen in Exile. Visit her blog here!
  2. Alison has a great writing blog--The Life and Writings of Sleepy Joe--with insightful thoughts and tips. Visit her blog here.
  3. Debra Erfert. Visit Debra's blog, Debra's Windows into Writing on the fifth to find out a little bit more about her writing!
  4. Betsy Love. Betsy is great author. Check out her novels Identity and Soulfire on Amazon, and be sure to check out her blog (click HERE) on the fifth for her blog hop answers.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Readership Award Nomination

Thanks, Alison at The Life and Writings of Sleepy Joe, for the nomination! Alison had some fun questions for me, so read on...

Why do you blog?

I love to meet fellow authors and readers, and my blog has helped me meet so many!

If you were trapped on a desert island, what book, DVD, food, cartoon character, and childhood game would you bring?

Book? Let's start with anything by Bear Grylls because I'd need the survival help. Although I imagine a good escape book like one of the Harry Potters or even a good cry like one of Kristin Hannah's would be comforting on a desert island.

DVD: Cast Away (Tom Hanks could empathize!)

Food? Easy. Yogurt. I can't live without it.

Cartoon character is a bit of a challenge for me. Let's go with Elmer Fudd because I imagine his gun would come in handy.

And I'd bring the old-fashioned Guess Who game to keep me and Elmer busy.

What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I'm optimistic

What one word best describes you?


If you could have a lifetime supply of any candy/candy bar, what would it be?

Peanut M&Ms because they are my husband's absolute favorite, and I'd love to watch the look on his face when he sees that lifetime supply!

What fictional character do you relate to most?

Okay, I'll go with the first one that popped into my mind. Although I haven't read the Little House on the Prairie books for year--years!--I do remember as a little girl imagining myself as the courageous Laura Ingalls Wilder (perhaps it was the name), growing up in those wide-open spaces. (Oh wait, she isn't fictional!) Woops.

If you were to write the story of your life, what would you call it?

"She Tried" lol

Friday, November 2, 2012

Author Interview with ELANA JOHNSON

Welcome, Elana Johnson, author of the popular dystopian trilogy Possession, Surrender, and Abandon! I recently read Possession and fell in love with Elana's characters, voice and vivid imagination. And I'm delighted to have her on my blog today!

Click on the following to find Elana's website, blog, Goodreads page and Facebook page.

Okay, Elana. Embarrassing moment. Go.

OH MY HECK – this just happened last week. I’d gone to California with my sisters, and we were walking along the pier. One of them ran into the railing, and we all laughed, and I told her that I tell my students that walking is an active activity. Blah blah blah, I’m telling them about it, and guess what?

I TRIP over my own feet.

The whole rest of the trip—and I’m sure my life—they were like, “Walking is an active activity.”

lol! That's hilarious. Sounds like something I would do!

Describe Possession in just three words.
Mind-control vs. free-choice (those are hyphenated, and only count as one!)

Awesome. I love the hyphenation! How did you come up with the premise for Possession?
I had just read UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld (back in 2007!) and I wanted to write a dystopian novel. I just needed the basis for my society. And I figured brainwashing would be a pretty good “Big Brother” to fight against.

So Elana, I, like many, fell in love with Jag, a bad boy with surprising depth (oh, he's swoon-worthy). How did you come up with Jag's character? Is he modeled after someone you know?
Jag’s not really modeled after someone I know, but he’s bits and pieces of a lot of people. I sort of like guys with dark hair and eyes, so I have a hard time envisioning my heroes any other way.

What I really wanted to do was created a “bad boy” who’s actually good. One without that dark past that the girl has to look beyond to find the jewels beneath. One that has many layers, sure, but not necessarily sordid.

He’s super-cocky in some situations, but I think that just adds to who he is. I hope!

What hidden talent do you possess besides writing? Come now, don’t be shy!
Paper crafting! I am killer with cards, scrapbook pages, cute boxes, etc. Fold it, stamp it, love it.

Psh, okay, it’s settled. You are coming to my house and helping me make something out of all that craft paper upstairs! Send some of your paper-crafting skills my way for the holidays (I need it). Character, setting or plot: which one is most important to you and why?
Character, for sure. I don’t care where something takes place, or even what happens. I want to connect with and care about a character. If an author can do that, I’ll go anywhere and do anything with them.

Ooo, I want to add that last line to my “quote of the day” widget! Well said. What are you reading now?
TEN by Gretchen McNeil. LOVE IT.

What project are you currently working on?
I am dabbling in YA contemporary. I haven’t been writing for a while because my story is still percolating. But I’m hoping to have it bubbling enough to write for NaNo. It’ll be about a boy who has to hide the fact that he’s homeless from the new girl at school who he’s fallen for—the same girl who lives in his old house.

The new girl at school who lives in his old house…and now he’s homeless and falling for her. I love it!

Last of all, do you have any advice to give aspiring authors?
Write a lot. Write what you love. Take critique. Write some more. Write what you love. Never give up.

Thank you so much, Elana! I look forward to reading more of your work in the future, starting with Surrender (click here) and then Abandon (coming out in 2013)!

What do you think? Would there be benefits to a society that had total control over our thoughts and actions? Consequences (I think yes!)? Read Possession to find out!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Heart Remembers by Irene Hannon

Once upon a time, sensible Maggie Fitzgerald was a starry-eyed romantic. She'd loved Jake West from their first trembling teenage kiss, when he'd vowed to make her his wife. And she'd built her future on Jake's broad shoulders, never imagining another ending….

But Jake had left town, and Maggie had made a life for herself and two orphaned nieces without him. Until Jake miraculously happened upon her remote inn, ardent to make amends…and finally claim Maggie as his. Forgiveness came easy, for she'd never forgotten Jake. But did Maggie dare to believe, at long last, in happily-ever-after?

I found this book through Amazon after reading about Harlequin Heartwarming, a new imprint Harlequin is launching that focuses on wholesome contemporary romances, void of vulgar language and other explicit material (how cool is that!). The Heart Remembers is a sweet story of a second chance at love. To be honest, I wasn’t sure Jake West could ever redeem himself after leaving Maggie so selfishly. But he did. The setting was charming, the characters engaging. I enjoyed the message of forgiveness, and I appreciated a clean read.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

ANWA's Time Out For Writers Conference!

Time Out For Writers

ANWA’s 21st Annual Writers Conference
Mesa Hilton, February 21-23, 2013

I'm in. Signed up. Going! And I can't wait. This year the American Night Writers Association (ANWA) is hosting their annual Time Out For Writers writing conference on February 21, 22, and 23. I have met so many writing friends through my local ANWA chapter and love the feedback they give on my writing. It is a great group of writers. A Protagonists Ball, a pitch/query workshop, a contest, and other events are all included in the fun! So check out the ANWA conference website for more details. And hopefully I'll see you there!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Spooky Reads!


With Halloween a mere two days away, I thought it would be fun to post about some "spooky reads" or otherwise Halloween-type books. Alright, I'll admit I don't have a lot of expertise here since I don't usually read dark books. But I did go through a Mary Higgins Clark mystery phase in high school and I occasionally crack a book that makes me leave on the hallway light while I sleep!

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. 

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

The Name of the Star had me darting nervous glances around dark corners at night! I enjoyed the setting in Great Britain, the main character, and the creepy mystery behind it all (that obviously got to me!). This is a solid read for anyone who is looking for a YA contemporary mystery.

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.

Ali is a very talented writer. This novel's prologue sucked me in and held me captive! A vivid world of fable and reality jumps off the page from the first line without relying on heavy backstory to show the reader what's going on. Desi is a compelling character, and I appreciate that she has morals her father wishes she didn't, that she sticks up for herself and wants a better existence!

Evie's always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours.

But Evie's about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

Okay, so while this book isn't necessarily "spooky", Paranormalcy is a fresh twist on werewolves, fairies, vampires and other Halloween-type creatures. I LOVED this book. Kiersten White has a singular, hilarious voice. I instantly fell in love with the main character, Evie, and I appreciated how clean this novel was. Paranormalcy is a truly unique paranormal story that anyone can appreciate.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Monday, October 22, 2012

Giveaway of MY DOUBLE LIFE!

Giveaway time! Whoever wins this one is one lucky reader! I loved this book. My Double Life is such a fun, rewarding read with a sweet message (read my review post here).

There are several easy ways to add up entries for this giveaway; check rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends Friday night at 9 pm. Thanks for entering!

Pin It!
Click the above "pin it" button to pin My Double Life to a Pinterest board (thought I'd experiment with a new way to enter).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, Janette Rallison, for this signed copy of MY DOUBLE LIFE!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Write-a-thon Final Thoughts

I am sad to see Britney Gulbrandsen's October Madness Write-a-thon come to an end! I learned from the challenges I participated in, and I loved the extra push to wrap up so many writing projects in spite of a busy week. Here are my original goals and how I did:

My Goals:
- Finish final edit on YA contemporary with reviewer's feedback (FINISHED!...for now)
- Write new synopsis to said YA contemporary (FINISHED!)
- Finish lyrics to YA contemporary (I know, random) (FINISHED!)
- Write short story draft (FINISHED!)
- Character and plot sketch for new YA historical in preparation for NaNoWriMo (5,000-word minimum goal, but hey, maybe I'll get more!) (1,000+ words completed)

I was able to edit a friend's manuscript during the week as well, so that cut into my word count on my WIP. But I was excited--super excited!--about the quality of the well over 1,000 words that came out (we'll see if I feel the same next time I read through it..haha!). Thanks, Britney, for the great write-a-thon week!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Author Interview with Janette Rallison!

Welcome, Janette Rallison, author of awesome young adult novels including Just One Wish, My Double Life, My Unfair Godmother, Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards, her newest release Erasing Time, and many more! I recently read three of these titles and loved them all, so I'm super excited to have Janette on my blog today. (Be sure to check back on Monday for a signed-book giveaway from Janette!)

Janette, what hidden talent do you possess besides writing?

Reading, writing, and mothering take most of my free time.  I wish I could say I was a great cook, an awesome singer, and a talented seamstress, but no. If I didn’t have to eat, I would never cook. I can’t read music and I’ve forgotten how to thread my sewing machine. I’m good at talking to strangers—and I think that should be considered a talent. Also, I like just about everybody, and that’s a talent too. I’m a stray cat magnet, but that’s more of a curse than a talent. 

So basically what I’m saying is that most of my talents are “hidden”. Maybe at some point I’ll have the time to learn how to draw or decorate, but right now I’m okay with concentrating on writing and mothering.

Well, you are plenty talented at writing! And cats just want to pounce with clawed paws whenever they see me, so I'd say you have serious talent there, too! What are five of your favorite novels? 

I like a lot of books so it's hard to choose,but a few of my favorites are: Pride and Prejudice, The Princess Bride, Phantom Tollbooth, Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (but you've got to read the whole series to get to that one), and The Book Thief.

Great list! What has been the best part about serving as the 2012 President-elect for the American Night Writers Association (ANWA)?

This will sound cheesy, but the best part of being president-elect is getting to work with all of our awesome members. ANWA members are the best. They're hardworking, dedicated, interesting, charitable, talented ladies! It's fun to hang out with them.

Tell us about your all-time favorite character (of your own creation).

I probably shouldn't like Chrysanthemum Everstar as much as I do. She's a self-absorbed, not all that competent, fairy godmother. She's a lot of fun to write about, though. I'm glad she shows up in more than one book so I get to use her again and again.

Erasing Time recently came out, and it is definitely on my to-read! Can you tell us how you came up with the premise for this futuristic YA novel?

A lot of different things coalesced to make this novel--and I don't even remember them all, because the story idea simmered for so long. Some were:  1) the wild clothes celebrities wear.  We idolize celebrities. How long is it going to be until we're all dressing like Lady Gaga?  2) MC Hammer's song Can't Touch This. When I heard it, I had no idea what any of it meant even though he was clearly speaking English. It made me think about how many idioms/slang there are in the English language. If you don't understand them, it's like a foreign language. 3) Society's attitude toward religion. In a lot of books and media, religious people are always portrayed as either fools or hypocrites. Religions have had to go underground before, it wouldn't surprise if it had to do it again.

Erasing Time on Goodreads

Sounds intriguing! I can't wait! Which of your novels was the most challenging to write? Also, do you have a favorite?

It depends on what you mean by challenging. In Just One Wish the main character's little brother has cancer. I cried when I researched the book. I cried when I wrote the book, and I cried during every revision pass. After that book, I decided I really shouldn't write about sad subjects. It's too hard on me. 
Just One Wish on Goodreads

Erasing Time's sequel (Echo in Time, due out next fall) and Slayer's sequel (also due out next fall) were hard to write because I kept putting in backstory, taking it out, putting it in somewhere else, taking it out, and then repeating that procedure over again.  I think I rewrote the beginning of both those books five different times. Both books also have a lot of action which is a far cry from where I started out in romantic comedies. About the time I was researching assault rifles and night vision goggles, I wondered what had gone wrong in my writing career. Writing action is so much harder than writing witty banter. But the nice thing about writing is that it is different every time. That makes it more fun.

Ah, Just One Wish. SUCH A GREAT BOOK! To finish off, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Read. Read. Read. It's one of the best things you can do to improve your writing, plus it' entertaining. (If exercise was half as fun, I'd have the body I always wanted.)  Keep learning the craft and don’t give up. Everybody starts out writing poorly. I certainly did. But it’s like everything else in life. If you keep working on it, you get better.

I love hearing that advice: read. Can do! And the next time I download one of your novels I will read it as I walk on the treadmill to kill two birds with one stone (...optimistic thinking).

Thank you, Janette, for taking the time to share a little bit about yourself and your books!

Read my thoughts on Just One Wish hereMy Double Life here, and Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards here.

I love comments! Have you read Janette's books? Which are on your to-read list?

10 Books Every YA Contemporary Author Should Read

October Write-a-thon challenge #5! Here they are, ten books I have read within the past couple of years that I think every author of young adult contemporary fiction should read!
  1. Janette Rallison’s My Double Life - watch for a signed copy giveaway on my blog this Monday!
  2. Jennifer Jabaley’s Crush Control
  3. Simone Elkeles’ Leaving Paradise
  4. Sarah Dessen’s Along for the Ride
  5. Jenny Han's We’ll Always Have Summer 
  6. Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song
  7. Kay Lynn Mangum’s The Secret Journal of Brett Colton
  8. Mandy Hubbard’s Prada and Prejudice
  9. Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel (for writers of all genres)
  10. Donald Maass’ The Fire in Fiction (for writers of all genres)
What do you think; are there any I should add to the list?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October Madness Challenge #4

Hooray for day four of Britney Gulbrandsen's October Madness. Here's today's challenge (from her blog):

Take the current book you are reading, or if you aren’t reading one now (shame on you!) the last book you read. Try to write a one sentence “pitch” of the book. This challenge may sound simple (only one sentence!), but don't let it fool you!

I actually love log lines, and since I also posted a review of Janette Rallison's Just One With today (check back on Friday for an interview with Janette!), I decided to write one for that.

Distraught over her six-year-old brother’s cancer diagnosis, Annika Truman will do whatever it takes to make his wishes come true and deliver hope before his surgery, even if it means delivering a handsome piece of Hollywood, too.

How about you? Do you love or hate summing up your work in one line?

Review of JUST ONE WISH by Janette Rallison

There is nothing Annika wouldn't do for her six-year-old brother Jeremy. She adores him to no end and she wants to give him anything he wants. More than anything, she wants to give him hope. Jeremy has cancer and he's about to have surgery. He's been very nervous about it so Annika is sure that all he needs is positive thinking to get him through it. Annika knows she has to be creative and make him believe that things will go well, so she tells him she has a magic genie that can grant wishes. What can go wrong? She knows what he wants, or at least she thinks she does. When her good intentions backfire and Jeremy wishes for Steve Raleigh, his favorite actor, to visit him, Annika decides to do whatever it takes to make his wish come true. She figures it shouldn't be too hard. She'll just show him Jeremy's picure and he will have to agree. Easy.

Not. So not easy. Stalking an actor is way harder than she thought. First of all, she has to find him, then she has to get close enough to talk to him without getting arrested or making a fool of herself. But Annika is no quitter. Even if it means wrangling snakes, becoming a nun and doing her own stunts, she will bring Steve to her brother. But once she captures him, will she be able to resist his charms? After all, he is rich, gorgeous and famous. They don't live in the same world but they may have more in common than they think.

Just One Wish is a quick read with a touching ending. Annika Truman is on a mission to grant her cancer-stricken six-year-old brother, Jeremy, his greatest wish in hopes that the positive experience will boost his outlook before brain surgery. Reminiscent of Janette Rallison's My Double Life, this book tells the story of a teenage girl inadvertently falling in love with an unreachable famous heartthrob in the process of achieving her goal (mmm, and he was quite a heartthrob!). I appreciate that each character had an internal journey, something deeper for the reader to discover. Just One Wish is a humorous, romantic and touching story of young adult trail and triumph. You'll laugh and you'll cry!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My October Madness Challenge #3

Day three of October Madness, everyone! And I've already completed Britney's challenge for the day. Woohoo!

From Britney's blog:
Today's challenge involves poetry. Wait! Don't run away! (I almost did). It'll be fun. I promise. Poetry is a great way to stretch your writing skills. Just give it a try.

1. Grab a dictionary.
2. Randomly open up to a page and point at a word.
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 two more times.
4. Take your 3 words and use them to create a haiku.

...For the purpose of this challenge, we're just using the most basic rules of a haiku: 3 lines. Line one has 5 syllables. Line two has seven. Line three has 5.

Pulling words at random from a dictionary and writing poetry? Scary. But it did turn out to be fun. The three words I randomly pointed my finger at were:

Mosaic – a picture made of small, usually colored pieces of inlaid stone, glass
Node – the part of a stem from which a leaf begins to grow, a connection or intersection
Intractable – hard to manage, unruly, stubborn

Here's what I came up with (hopefully I did this right):

Intractable clouds.
God’s mosaic, predawn sky,
A node to heaven

I liked the idea of unruly clouds at dawn serving as God's mosaic in the sky and the connection between earth and heaven. This challenge was a good stretch for me! What are your thoughts? Have you ever written haiku? No? Join October Madness and write one today :)

Image, "Local Boat in Bali"  courtesy of worradmu /


Cassidy knows everything about Chad--everything, that is, except how to get him to notice her. Someday, somehow, she vows, those deep blue eyes are going to look her way. In the meantime, she's got plenty of other things to worry about. 

Cassidy has always been happy to be the studious, reliable type--until Elise and her good-looking brother move into the neighborhood. Elise is determined to introduce Cassidy to the partying life. But will Elise's Carpe Diem ways land Cassidy in more trouble than she's prepared for? Can a girl be smart and have fun too? Cassidy is about to find out. (from Amazon)

I downloaded this on my kindle after the title caught my eye (blue eyes were my weakness!). I loved it! With a perfect blend of teenage drama, humor, and just a touch of romance, Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards is an engaging story for any fan of YA. One part had me laughing so hard, I had to share with my husband. I appreciate a good, clean young adult novel, and I will be reading more of Janette Rallison's books in the future! (And yes, my husband has blue eyes.) :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October Madness!

My good friend Britney Gulbrandsen is putting on an October Madness Write-a-thon this week. I personally have several writing projects on my writing to-do list these next few months, so I'm glad for the kick-start and the extra push!

My Goals:
- Finish final edit on YA contemporary with reviewer's feedback
- Write new synopsis to said YA contemporary
- Finish lyrics to YA contemporary (I know, random)
- Write short story draft
- Character and plot sketch for new YA historical in preparation for NaNoWriMo (5,000-word goal, but hey, maybe I'll get more!)

Today is day two of October Madness, so head on over to Britney's blog for daily challenges and other fun opportunities to meet fellow writers and stretch your writing abilities. And if you need extra incentive, there's a rockin' giveaway associated! Happy writing, y'all!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Review of MY DOUBLE LIFE by Janette Rallison

Her whole life, Alexia Garcia has been told that she looks just like pop star Kari Kingsley, and one day when Alexia's photo filters through the Internet, she's offered a job to be Kari's double. This would seem like the opportunity of a lifetime, but Alexia's mother has always warned her against celebrities.
Rebelliously, Alexia flies off to L.A. and gets immersed in a celebrity life. Not only does she have to get used to getting anything she wants, she romances the hottest lead singer on the charts, and finds out that her own father is a singing legend. Through it all, Alexia must stay true to herself, which is hard to do when you are pretending to be somebody else! (from Amazon)

I caught myself smiling during so many parts of this book. I loved it! Once I got into the story I couldn't stop! Alexia Garcia is on a journey to discovering more about her past than she ever dreamed of, and it places her in some pretty funny circumstances. Not only will Lexi learn surprising tidbits about herself and her family, but she will also meet and fall in love with rock star Grant Delray. My Double Life promises a rewarding ending with a sweet message.

AND...(drum roll)...check back next week this time for a GIVEAWAY of My Double Life!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Old Book Pages Wreath

Okay, so sometimes I try to be crafty, and I love using old book pages as a subtle theme tying everything together because, hey, if you're obsessed with writing and books in general like me, why not? So I hope you enjoy my latest "old book pages craft."

1) Wrap your ribbon of choice around a vine wreath, hot gluing occasionally to keep in place.

2) Tear pages from an old book (a crime, I know!). I found some really old used books at a library sale. Tear the page into fourths (for average sized book pages). Using a pencil or your finger, wrap the square of book page up to form this:

3) Hot glue crinkled book page squares into place around the wreath in between the ribbon. Add a flower (cut the stem) for some color and detail.
 4) Done!



Thanks to everyone who entered the DEAD RUNNING giveaway!!! And congratulations to Katrina Hoth Palmer--YOU WON!

One last thank you to Cami Checketts for interviewing on my blog and offering this signed copy! I'm lucky enough to be reviewing Cami's novella, a sequel to Dead Running. It's awesome, so everyone be sure to look for it in a month of so when it comes out. You rock, Cami!!!

Check back later for future author interviews and book giveaways.

Monday, October 8, 2012

GIVEAWAY of Dead Running

Thank you, Cami Checketts, for the signed copy of Dead Running! There are several ways to enter the giveaway. See Rafflecopter below. Make sure you enter by 9 pm Friday night! And thanks for entering!

Cassidy Christensen is running.
Running from the mercenaries who killed her parents.
Running from a scheming redhead intent on making her life miserable.
Running from painful memories that sabotage her dreams of happiness.
With two very tempting men competing for her attention, she hopes she’ll finally have someone to run to, but can she trust either of them? When secrets from her past threaten her family, Cassidy decides to stop running and fight for her future.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is for anyone in the U.S. Do you live elsewhere? Cami is also giving away an ebook, so simply leave a comment below specifying that you want to be entered in the giveaway for an ebook copy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Author Interview with Cami Checketts

I love getting to know the authors behind the books I read. Today I'm excited to have Cami Checketts, a great author and friend of mine. Cami is the author of several novels including The Sister Pact and Dead Running.
So, welcome Cami!

First off, embarrassing moment. Go.
Okay, I can't believe I'm sharing this, but in my book Dead Running the heroine loses control of her bladder because she pushes so hard in a race. I found the inspiration for that little scene through a personal experience. Luckily I was in the mountains and there was a creek nearby!

lol! It is so fun to hear about the inspiration behind certain scenes (especially funny ones like this)! Cami, what are you most passionate about, other than writing?
Strength training for women. I truly believe strength training will keep you fit for life and many women are afraid of it.

Oh no, don't make me feel guilty. I have a feeling this post is going to add some motivation to my run (and weight lifting, ahem) tomorrow morning. :) 

Why did you begin writing?
I struggled with postpartum depression after my second baby was born. My mom found me napping (once again), yanked me out of bed, and said, "Camille, you go downstairs and write a novel." I shrugged and trudged down to my office. I haven't had time for a nap since!

Wow, that's incredible. Is anything else in your books based on real life experience (like your embarrassing moment above) or purely all imagination?
All my books originate from nightmares. Not sure if that's considered real life but it feels like it to me! I also use a lot of real life experience for inspiration but I spend most of my life living in la-la land (my boys' term) dreaming up scenes for my latest novel.

Mmm, I love la-la land. That's a great term for it! Do you write with an outline or just see where the story goes?
I am horrible at plotting. I get my opening scene through a nightmare and then the story just spills out when I'm on a run or cleaning toilets. I end up revising dozens of times because of how rambling I am when I write. Maybe someday I'll figure it out but it's so fun for me to just experience the story along with the characters.

Well then, whenever you get writers block just let me know and I'll start wishing the nightmares your way! :) Last of all, tell us about your all-time favorite character (of your own creation).
Jesse (Dr. Tattoo). He is so interesting to me, I loved discovering his past and love his interactions with Cassidy. It's been really fun writing the sequel to Dead Running and hanging out with those two again.

A sequel! Hooray! That's exciting, Cami! And ditto on Dr. Tattoo. Thank you, Cami, for taking the time to answer these questions!

For more about Cami, visit her:

And please leave a comment below; I love hearing from readers! The jacket blurb of Dead Running as well as the first chapter are pasted below to whet your appetite. :) Thanks for stopping by!

Dead Running: 
Cassidy Christensen is running.
Running from the mercenaries who killed her parents.
Running from a scheming redhead intent on making her life miserable.
Running from painful memories that sabotage her dreams of happiness.
With two very tempting men competing for her attention, she hopes she'll finally have someone to run to, but can she trust either of them? When secrets from her past threaten her family, Cassidy decides to stop running and fight for her future.

Buy Dead Running

First chapter of Dead Running:

I inched down another stair, hoping the soft creaks wouldn’t give me away to whoever was arguing in my living room. My dad was visiting me this week, gathering medical supplies for another one of his projects. I’d been gracious and allowed him to host his meetings in my living room. The support from the medical community in our little corner of Northern Utah was actually impressive, but did one of the doctors have to show up in the middle of the night?
I was in that luscious almost-asleep phase when I heard the banging on my front door and crawled out of bed. Irritation turned to fear as I listened to the conversation. The man threatening Dad wasn’t one of his supporters.
“You interfered with the wrong shipment this time.”
Shipment?” Dad asked. “These are human beings, not some profit margin.”
I reached the bottom step and peeked around the wall. My dad stood near the fireplace with a mixture of shock and revulsion on his sunburned face.
Just inside the front door, a man peeked out from the shadow of a hooded sweatshirt. He yanked out a wicked-looking blade. I covered my mouth to stifle the scream. My stomach knotted. My legs felt like ice. I didn’t know if I could move, let alone help.
The knife sailed through the air. My father darted to the side. The blade jabbed into his upper arm. Dad yelped. The pain in his face lodged in my own gut. He grabbed at his arm and yanked the knife out, spraying the wall with blood. My dad’s blood. Help. I had to do something. 
The hooded figure closed the distance and wrenched the weapon from dad’s fingers, lifting it above his head.
“No!” I leapt from my hiding spot, grabbed a heavy picture frame off the end table, and smacked the man with it.  
“Cassidy!” Dad inhaled quickly, hazel eyes widening.
The attacker knocked the picture frame out of my hands and pointed the bloody knife my direction. Dark eyes swept over the skin not covered by my t-shirt and cut-off sweats. I squirmed, his look scaring me as much as his knife. I backed up a step, eyes focused on the blade.
My dad planted himself between me and the man.
The man’s white teeth flashed against leathery skin. “She’s beautiful, Doc.” His tongue darted across his lower lip. “The dark hair and pretty brown eyes. Looks just like her mom.”
Dad held up his uninjured arm and shoved me behind him, his breath coming in ragged gulps. “Leave her out of this, Panetti.”
 Panetti cocked his head to the side. “I’m supposed to kill you, but I could bring her in alive for some extra compensation. How old are you, sweetheart?”
I glared at him over my dad’s shoulder. “Twenty-one and going nowhere with you. Get out of my house before I call the police.” It was a lame threat since I was visibly shaking and had no clue where my phone was.
The man threw back his head and laughed. “I like her, a bit of attitude. Ramirez and I will both enjoy her.”
I swallowed the sickening taste of his threat. Sweat trickled down my spine. I clung to my injured dad, who was currently no match for this psycho. How could I protect either of us?
“You’ll never touch her.” Dad pushed me toward the kitchen doorway. “I can’t believe you would betray the children for Ramirez.”
“Not for Ramirez. I betrayed the children for lots and lots of money.” Panetti revealed his perfect teeth again.
Dad looked back at me. “Run,” he whispered.
I swallowed, trying to catch my breath. No matter how scared I was I couldn’t leave him.
“Run, Cassie!” He shoved me and faced the madman.
Panetti let out a warrior cry and lunged with the knife. Dad ducked. The blade sliced air instead of flesh, throwing Panetti off balance. Dad plowed into the man’s abdomen, knocking him into the front door. I screamed, running towards them to try to help.
“Get out of here,” Dad yelled.
Stumbling away from the fight, I slammed into the wall. A yell of pain from my dad forced me to keep moving. I ran into the kitchen and nearly collapsed with relief when I saw my phone. Placing all my hopes and prayers on three numbers, I stilled my trembling hands enough to dial: 9-1-1.
The call connected. “A guy is trying to kill my dad!” Grunts and the sound of bodies slamming into furniture reassured me Dad was still alive. I told the dispatcher my address, but then she started asking more questions.
“I’ve got to help my dad.”
“Officers are en route.”
“Good!” I clung to the phone but stopped listening as I sprinted back into the living room. Dad was on top of Panetti. The knife was on the floor, Panetti reaching for it. I covered the last couple of feet, kicked the knife farther away, and stomped on his hand with my bare foot. Pain radiated up through my leg but I heard a crunch that hopefully meant I did some damage. How awful that I really wanted to hurt him.
I held up my phone. “The police will be here any second.”  
Dad strained to keep Panetti pinned. “Go back to the kitchen.”
“I am not going to the kitchen while you fight for your life.”
“Cassidy,” Dad groaned. “For once in your life listen to me.”
Panetti shoved Dad off of him. Dad banged his injured arm against the sofa, blood mingling with the leather finish as he yelped in pain. Panetti leaped to his feet, pushed me out of the way, and ran for the front door. Dad struggled to stand up. I regained my footing and hurried after Panetti, but Dad grabbed my arm before I got outside, allowing Panetti to disappear into the darkness.
“We should go after him,” I said.
“Not tonight.” Dad shut the front door and slid to the floor, clutching his bleeding arm. “I’ll find him.” The sheer determination in his eyes made me glad I wasn’t Panetti.
“That guy wasn’t one of your Mexican orphanage supporters.”
Dad laughed, patting the floor next to him.
I clenched my hands together to stop the shaking. A few more deep breaths and I might feel like I wasn’t going to pass out. “You need something for the blood.”
He reached up a hand to me. “I’ll be okay. It’s you I’m worried about.” I sank next to him and threw my arms around his neck. My entire body was trembling now. Dad patted my back and whispered that I was safe. It was exactly what I needed to hear, but still had a hard time believing. Several minutes later I could hear sirens approaching the house. I wiped at my nose and bit my lip to hold back more tears. “Someday you’re going to tell me what that was all about.”
Dad shook his head. “Hopefully you’ll never know.”