Saturday, July 30, 2011

Again? Really?

By Bonnie Harris

My internet has decided to take on a life of its own. It decides when, where and how long it wants to work. There is no consideration taken into account. I can be checking email, writing a blog post, doing research and it will kick me off. I have to admit, I don't have very kind feelings when that happens.

However, it has brought to mind a thought. What would we do without the internet? Would we know how to communicate with each other if email didn't work? Do we remember how to write a letter? Would we know how to conduct research? Would we remember book stores? Not that I have anything against epublishing, but if the internet didn't work, how would we get our hands on ebook? (I think that's one reason why I really like to feel the pages of my books.) How dependent are we really?

Don't get me wrong. I love to have information at my fingertips and I would have as hard a time as anyone readjusting, but it does make one think. Now, I figure I better get this posted before my internet decides it's had enough again. So I guess you could say this is a venting post, but it has made me think. Happy Saturday! :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review Thursday

So last night my internet decided it had had enough and stopped working. That's why this post is late. I'm also going to implement a new rating system (I just haven't what pictures to use).

pastedGraphic.pdfpastedGraphic_1.pdfpastedGraphic_2.pdfpastedGraphic.pdfpastedGraphic_1.pdf-Loved it will or already own
pastedGraphic.pdfpastedGraphic_1.pdfpastedGraphic_2.pdfpastedGraphic.pdf-Loved it but won't buy it
pastedGraphic.pdfpastedGraphic_1.pdfpastedGraphic_2.pdf-Liked it
pastedGraphic.pdfpastedGraphic_1.pdf-It was OK
pastedGraphic.pdf-didn't like, didn't finish

Anyway, onto the book reviews. It's another twofer. :) Andrew Clements Benjamin Platt & The Keepers of the School We The Children and Elizabeth Chandler's Evercrossed.

Clements book is a wonderful read for anyone. I wanted more from it at the end, but it did a good job setting up the series. This book is a pastedGraphic.pdfpastedGraphic_1.pdfpastedGraphic_2.pdfpastedGraphic.pdfpastedGraphic_1.pdf. Take a look at the trailer and the book info on Clements website. Here's a blurb about it:

Benjamin Pratt’s school is about to become the site of a new amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true! But lately, Ben has been wonder if he’s going to like an amusement park in the middle of his town—with all the buses and traffic and eight dollar slices of pizza. It’s going to change everything. And, Ben is not so big on all the new changes in his life, like how his dad has moved out and started living in the marina on what used to be the "family” sailboat. Maybe it would be nice if the school just stayed as it is. He likes the school. Loves it, actually. It’s over 200 years old and sits right on the harbor. The playground has ocean breezes and the classrooms have million dollar views…MILLION DOLLAR views. And after a chance—and final—run-in with the school janitor, Ben starts to discover that these MILLION DOLLAR views have a lot to do with the deal to sell the school property. But, as much as the town wants to believe it, the school does not belong to the local government. It belongs to the CHILDREN and these children have the have the right to defend it!

Evercrossed is another book in the Kiss By An Angel series. I really enjoyed it and am curious to see where she takes it from here. I would recommend it to most everyone. It does receive a pastedGraphic.pdfpastedGraphic_1.pdfpastedGraphic_2.pdfpastedGraphic.pdfpastedGraphic_1.pdf though. Here's a blurb about it:

It's been a year since Ivy's boyfriend, Tristan, died. They've both moved on - Tristan to the other side of the afterlife, and Ivy to sweet, dependable Will. Now Ivy's heading to Cape Cod, hoping to leave the horror of last summer behind. She wants nothing more than to lie on the beach, sip lemonade, and hang out with her friends.

But then a car crash ends Ivy's life.

As she floats to the beyond, looking down on the life she's left behind, Tristan breathes life back into her with a passionate kiss. She wakes up in the hospital, surrounded by Will and her family, but all she can think about is the love that she lost.

But memories aren't all that's come back from the past. And this time, Ivy's not sure love will be enough to save her.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

Still working away and being happy with the few paragraphs that are getting done in The Black Orchid. I went to a signing with Lisa Mangum and she said she only gets a few paragraphs written a day during the week so I figure I'm in good company. I've also figured out that I can spend the rest of the day plotting for the rest of the chapter that I'm only getting a few paragraphs done in. I think it's a relief to let myself realize that it's OK to just get a few paragraphs done and not the chapters I want to. Happy Writing!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Buzzin'--Cayman Summer

Cayman Summer by Angela Morrison is the last book in the Leesie and Michael Saga. I'm very excited to see what the end result of their relationship is. In honor of the Cayman Summer release, Angela is hosting and M & L Forever contest. Take a look. She also has an entire blog devoted to Cayman Summer. It's pretty amazing if I do say so myself. Snoop around and enjoy the last of our interview questions. :)

What do you hope readers will take away from your work?
I hope they will feel a lot of love. As I wrote CAYMAN SUMMER, post by post on my blog (, I was surrounded by so much love from my readers every single day. I think that love made it into the fiber of CAYMAN SUMMER. I think Michael's love for Leesie, in this last novel, becomes a new and different thing--mature, selfless, and inspiring.

How do you feel now that Cayman Summer is complete?
I'm relieved, but kind of sad. Michael and Leesie don't talk in my head anymore. I've got new books to write, new voices to listen to, but I miss them.

What was your favorite scene?
Michael is standing alone on a stretch of Grand Cayman's coast that is famous for blow-holes that spout water from the pounding surf high up into the air. I can't tell you what happens or I'll spoil the plot. But you'll know why I love that scene when you get there.

What is in the works for us now?
My agent is marketing MY ONLY LOVE, the heartbreaking historical YA based on my family history. I hope you all get to fall in love with Will Glover soon. I'm putting the finishing touches on a novel that is very different from my contemporary YAs but has the same type of emotional love story. It's a YA time-travel adventure called SLIPPED. If you took Jane Eyre and Mad Max and stuck them in the middle of Medieval Europe, you'd get SLIPPED. My anti-hero, Jag, is a rogue post-nuclear winter time-traveling assassin who has decided to destroy the past to save the future. Meg tumbles into the mix and has to help him--even though he wants to destroy everything she knows and loves. Watch my website and blog for news on both these books. I'm also working on a musical stage adaptation of SING ME TO SLEEP with Harriet Bushman, who composed the music for "Beth's Song." It's going to be amazing!

Where can we get your books?
TAKEN BY STORM and SING ME TO SLEEP are national releases. They are available anywhere you buy books. They are also both out in ebook form on all the major platforms--Kindle, iBook, and Nook. UNBROKEN CONNECTION and CAYMAN SUMMER are available on Amazon and I released their ebooks via Kindle. You can find purchase links on my blog or website.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Review--Out of the Dust and 39 Clues Vespers Rising

It's a twofer today. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse and The 39 Clues Vespers Rising by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman, and Jude Watson.

Out of the Dust was the Newbery winner in 1998. I enjoyed this book, although it was not what I expected. It was really thought provoking and I learned a lot through the perspective of a girl living in the dust bowl. I would recommend this book to anyone. Here's a blurb about it:

In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.

Vespers Rising from The 39 Clues Series was written by four different authors. I loved how they each took a section and gave us a taste of their writing style. That's what I've really liked about the entire series, but this was more immediate. I loved the fact that we learned more about the Cahill family before Dan and Amy. I enjoyed how each author pulled me into the story in a different way. I just loved the story all the way around and would recommend it to any and everybody. Here's a blurb:
In Vespers Rising, a brand new 39 Clues novel, take a whirlwind trip through Cahill history and uncover secrets too explosive to reveal during the Clue hunt.
  • Travel back to the days of Gideon Cahill and Damien Vesper to read about the rivalry that shattered the Cahill family . . . and changed the fate of the world
  • Learn about Madeleine Cahill's first chilling encounter with Damien and how it inspired her to form the Madrigal branch.
  • Follow thirteen-year-old Grace Cahill as she embarks on her very first mission during one of the most dangerous moments of the 20th century.
  • Finally, flash forward to the present to join Amy and Dan as they prepare to fight their new enemy--the Cahills' historic rivals--the Vespers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

You know, I'm learning to be happy with the time I'm getting to write. I'm also figuring out how to make it the most efficient writing. The book Writing Tools has really helped me do that. This week I've been focusing on 'ing.' The more of the 'ing' words I get rid of, the smoother and stronger the sentences are. The book explained the reasoning behind it is because and 'ing' ending adds an extra syllable to the word. It makes sense and I've had fun applying it. It's been fun to see that progress.

So Encoded Secrets is with readers now and I'm working on The Black Orchid one sentence at a time. Happy Writing!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Buzzin' Tuesday--unbroken Connection

unbroken Connection by Angela Morrison is the second book in Leesie's and Michael's story. I have to say I'm really excited to get my hands on this one to see how their relationship grows and what else I will get to learn about. Take a look at the trailer and you can purchase it here. Here's a blurb about the book.

Against all odds, the couple that swept you away in TAKEN BY STORM is back. Michael is in Thailand diving his dream. Leesie is at BYU living hers.

And they just can't leave each other alone.

Their romance rekindles, deeper than before. They grow desperate to see one another again. To hold one another again. Michael decides there is only one direction their relationship can go and asks Leesie the ultimate question. Her answer challenges everything Michael is and wants to be.

Can she change for him?
Can he change for her?

P.S. Angela will be at the Barnes & Noble off of Shea and the 101 tomorrow from 6:30-8:30. It's the perfect time to drop in and say hi as well as pick up her books. :)

What makes you passionate about writing?
I am so happy when I write. I'm grumpy when I don't. So miserable. Most people would look at what I do, and say, bleck. That's such hard work, and you have no guarantee that you'll make a penny from any of it. And if you do end up making a few cents an hour, you'll spend it all on blog contests, other promotions, research or even self-publishing a book. I shrug my shoulders and say, "But I love it." Writing is a vocation--not an occupation. It is a part of who I am, and I'm hugely blessed that I get to spend so much of my life devoted to bending my art into stories.

When and how did you know this would be a saga?
When I finished TAKEN BY STORM, I was so excited. It was my first novel, and I didn't know if I could do it. I had other projects--namely MY ONLY LOVE--to work on, but Michael and Leesie wouldn't leave me alone. They kept talking in my head. I kept dreaming scenes for them--pivotal scenes in a story that would somehow make it to CAYMAN SUMMER.

Who is your favorite character in this story and why?
Michael. He's everybody's favorite.

How do you make your characters come to life?
I get them talking, listen, and scribble. For me, it's all about their voices and following where those voices lead.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Fond Farewell

By Bonnie Harris

So who's already seen it? I have and I'll probably go again with my dad next week (since Mom doesn't like those kind of movies). It really has been a fantastic journey though the books and the movies. I think back on the journey that I'm calling the Harry Potter era and smile. I admit I didn't jump on the bandwagon until book 4 came out in paperback and ate it up. I discovered them when I was "kicked out" of my house and went away to college. I sucked up the books, probably because they made me think of home. How many people have found comfort and solace within the pages of a book?

Now I look back on who I was at that time and who I am now. It's amazing to see the growth I've made and who I've become. It's amazing to see the growth of the Harry Potter characters in the books as well as in the movies.

Since I've learned more about the art of writing, I looked at this last movie from a different perspective and I have to say I'm blown away. Outlining and planning out a book before it's written is very difficult for me to do, but then to witness what happens when someone does that motivates me to keep going. It's in credible the subtle little details that I've noticed now that to have been planned and set up all the way back into book one. Incredible. Now I knowJ.K. Rowling is not the first and only author who has done that, but she's the first one I've really noticed. Maybe that's because I'm taking notice now, but I just found it interesting.

A nice little side note, but this really is a fond farewell to a magical era. I believe the books will still be popular for years to come, but they won't hold the same excitement. The anticipation and speculation of what will happen in a book that hasn't been released yet. The midnight shows and book store openings just for that release. None of that will be happening anymore.

For those who are interested, J.K. Rowling is doing something new with Harry Potter calledPottermore. It sounds pretty interesting. Here's her interview about that. And just for kicks and giggles, here's the speeches given at the London premiere sometime last week.

So, I'd just like to say farewell and thank you to all those who have participated in the Harry Potter era, J.K. Rowling for writing the wonderful stories, the publishers, the actors in the movie, the director, agents, and everyone else involved. It's been a magical time. Thank you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review Thursday--Taken By Storm

Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison. This really sucked me in. I fell in love with the characters and couldn't get enough of it. As one who has always loved the ocean, I was thrilled to be able to learn more about free diving. I have to admit that the ending made me a little frustrated because I wanted more. I wanted to know what else happened. I'm excited to see what happens with Michael and Leesie's relationship.
This book has been recommended for ages 12 and up. I would love to recommend it to everyone as well, but it does some very mild sex conversations.
Take a look at the Cayman Summer blog. It has some beautiful pictures of an underwater excursion as well as some other things. There is also a contest going on that you can participate in.

Here's a blurb about the book:

Michael's parents died in a terrible storm and now he's drowning in tragedy. All Leesie wants to do is save him. But if she gives into temptations, who will save her?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Here's a sweet giveaway at Books Complete Me. Check it out!

Work In Progress Wednesday

I have to say, I'm really seeing the value in outlines. I'm also seeing the value of letting go of things I've become attached to in a story. If I had listened to some good advice awhile ago I would have been done with Encoded Secrets now, but I didn't. I couldn't see how it would work, but now I'm thinking I didn't want to see how it would work because I was too attached to what I had already written. It's been a good learning curve and hopefully I will continue to apply what I've learned. I'm still looking for a couple more volunteers for my alpha reading group for Encoded Secrets. Anyone interested?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Buzzin' Tuesday--Taken By Storm

Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison. This is the first of three books in this saga. I'm excited to get to read it and will have my review up on Thursday this week. Take a look at Angela's page for Taken By Storm and the contest she is doing to celebrate the release of Cayman Summer, the third book in the saga. Here's a blurb about the book:

Michael's parents died in a terrible storm and now he's drowning in tragedy. All Leesie wants to do is save him. But if she gives into temptations, who will save her?

Here are some questions Angela answered for us.

Who has inspired you as a writer?
My mom took elocution lessons when she was a girl because she hated piano lessons. She presented dramatic readings all over Rexburg, where she grew up, and the surrounding smaller towns. She did some acting in college. She was the BEST storyteller at bedtime. She could do all kinds of cool voices. We had this old brown book of fairy tales, but they were mostly too scary for us because mom's witch voice was so convincing. My favorite story was one she told about Sarah, my great, great grandmother walking the Mormon trail with her grandmother, Granny Glover. Granny Glover was Scottish--so mom deliver all her lines with a decided brogue. The first story I ever published, "All is Well, Sarah" (FRIEND, July, 1998) was based on that tale. I spent decades researching the Glover line--traveled to Kilmarnock, Scotland, where they started out, and Pictou, Nova Scotia and Pottsville, Pennsylvania where they ended up until they went West to join the saints. I'd love to write a series of novels based on their stories. The first, MY ONLY LOVE, is finished, and we're looking for an editor who will fall in love with Sarah's uncle, Will. I turned him into the most romantic collier lad ever to leave Scotland.

Where did this idea stem from?
TAKEN BY STORM was born in a rocking dive boat off the coast of Cozumel. Rain pouring. Teeth chattering. We had to wait up top in rough water and a storm until we could go under again. A guy sitting across from us was full of news. The clouds raining on us were the remnants of a hurricane that had hit Belize the night before. He had a wild tail about a dive boat that got caught up in it and capsized. "All the divers drowned," he said. We found that hard to believe. Divers don't drown. I looked it up when I got home. It was true. I followed the story, couldn't let it go, and kept asking myself, "What if?" What if a guy was on the boat with his parents and dive club. What if they all drowned, but he survived? Where would he go? What would he do? And most important, who would love him?

What's the saga about?
The saga answers those questions. I sent my hero, Michael, to live with his Gram (in my grandmother's old house) in the tiny farm town in Eastern Washington where I grew up. He has to finish his senior year in the tiny high school (that I graduated from). He meets Leesie, the only Mormon girl in town, who lives on the farm where I grew up. She falls hard for him, and she is the only thing he has left to hold on to. But she's a good Mormon girl--and he's a guy of the world. Their relationship fireworks gave me enough conflict for three whole books about them.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write every day. Get THE ARTIST'S WAY (Julia Cameron) and use those techniques as much as you can. Do your homework. Read lots--especially in the field you want to publish in. But everything else, too. If you write because it's a passion you can't do without, keep at it. If you write because you think you'll make lots of money, find another pot of gold. Learn from professional mentors--whether it's by studying what they've written or actually working one on one through a class online, a college class, or a graduate program. These days you can learn tons through author, agent, and editor blogs. If you want to write YA or for children, join SCBWI. Oops, that's more than one. I have a special blog for writers on my website called liv2writ. Check that out. I've got more advice there.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Review Thursday/Sing Me To Sleep

Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison. This was such a wonderful, poignant read. I was sucked in from the beginning and had tears running down my cheeks at the end. I loved the character development and felt like I was a part of the story. I could hardly put it down. This is a great story for most people. There is a tiny amount of language and mild conversations about sex. Here's the back cover blurb:

Beth has always been "The Beast"--that's what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth's only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she's selected to be her choir's soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.

When Beth's choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek's untethered passion--for music, and for Beth--leaves her breathless. Because in Derek's eyes? She's Beauty.

When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek?

The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek's been hiding a dark secret from her. . . one that could shatter everything.

Take a look at Angela's website. There is a book trailer as well as a link to purchase "Beth's Song" and "Take Me Home" on iTunes as well as lots of other cool things.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

So I think I'm finally back into the swing of things, hopefully. :) I'm figuring out how to get writing time in and making good progress on the revision for Encoded Secrets. In fact I'm to the point that I really should find an alpha reading group. Anyone interested?

I've also gotten some good plotting ideas going for The Black Orchid. Writing life is good.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Buzzin' Tuesday

Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison. For the next four Tuesday's I'm going to be buzzin' about Angela's books. Included will be interview questions and book reviews for those books I've been able to get my hands on. I've been intrigued by her books for awhile now and I'm finally far down enough on my stack of "books to read" pile that I've been able to take a look at them. :)

The cover alone on Sing Me to Sleep just makes me smile and want to read it. Here's what it's about: Beth has always been "The Beast"--that's what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth's only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she's selected to be her choir's soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.

When Beth's choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek's untethered passion--for music, and for Beth--leaves her breathless. Because in Derek's eyes? She's Beauty.

When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek?

The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek's been hiding a dark secret from her. . . one that could shatter everything.

Very intriguing, isn't it. Here are a few questions Angela answered for me about this particular book and her writing.

What lead to your decision to be a writer?
I started writing in first grade like everybody else. Okay, I know some of you smarty-pants out there learned in kindergarten or pre-school. I learned in first grade. And that was it. I never found anything else I wanted to do more than that--except be a mom. I did the mom thing first--devoted two decades full-time to it. When my youngest started school full-days, my mind was turning to jello. I went back to school then, too. I got accepted into Vermont College's low-residency MFA program. I got to learn from professionals how to turn my passion for writing into novels. And I've been writing full-time since I graduated in 2004. It took almost four years to get my first contract.

Where did the idea for Sing Me To Sleep come from?
I used my high school experience for the springboard of Michael and Leesie's romance in TAKEN BY STORM. When I needed to come up with something new for the second book in my contract with Penguin, I stole from my daughter's life. She sang in an AMAZING all-girls, competitive choir when we lived in London, Ontario, Canada. I always wanted to set a novel in that unique world that as a parent volunteer I got to see a lot of. I was as much in love with the Amabile Choirs as she was. But I didn't have a story. A few months before I was at the above-mentioned crisis searching for an idea for my second Penguin novel, a tragedy happened to my daughter's best friend in Amabile's Young Men's Ensemble, Matt. I pitched the idea to my editor. She came back with some plot improvements. And I got a thumbs up from her publisher. That story took a hold of me and didn't let go. It was an honor to write it. Matt's mom and the entire Amabile organization embraced the project and continue to support it. Amabile recorded two of the songs--yeah, songs, I wrote original lyrics and wove them all through the text--and released them on iTunes, "Beth's Song," and "Take me Home."

Who is your favorite character in this story and why?
Derek--mostly because even though I fictionalized him, and my editor insisted I give him a bad boy side, so much of Matt's buoyancy made it into his character. That makes him endearing and much more real.

What part was the most fun to write?
This book was an emotional roller-coaster to write. I cried most days while I worked on it. But, Beth's makeover was fun to write--especially the laser scene. And the scenes where the choir's diva, Meadow, is convinced Derek likes her were fun. Actually, the most fun was getting to go back to my favorite mountain top in Switzerland and introducing Beth and Derek.

Take a look at Angela's website. There is a book trailer as well as a link to purchase "Beth's Song" and "Take Me Home" on iTunes as well as lots of other cool things. Stay tuned for my book review of Sing Me To Sleep that I'll post Thursday and let me know what you think!