Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

Let's just say I'm a little overwhelmed with everything right now. I have all these fantastic goals that aren't working out and I'm frustrated. So, I won't be posting updates until next year (unless something incredible happens, like I manage to get time to work on my books). Adieu

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Buzzin'--Variant

Take a look at what I'm hearing is a fantastic read! Variant by Robison Wells. Here's a blurb.

Benson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

Monday, November 28, 2011

And the gratitude winner is . . .

A big THANK YOU again to all my followers and those who entered to win. has spoken and the winner of PUMPKIN ROLL by Josi S Kilpack is . . . Mrs. Sherman of Moms Bookshelf & More. The winner has been notified. Come back in December for more giveaways!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Review--shiver, linger, forever

shiver, linger, and forever by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a threefer and I've had very mixed feelings on this one. I picked up this series because I met one of the agents that works with Maggie's agent and I loved her. So I've been reading what I can by those authors represented by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. The covers have made me curious for awhile and meeting this particular agent just gave me the extra push that I needed to read them.

I can't say I was overly impressed with shiver. I thought the storyline was intriguing, but I felt Sam was too unsure of everything. Grace I
felt more attached to but their relationship just didn't sit right with me. However, I liked it enough to continue in the series.

Now linger held me more captive. I loved the chapters from the secondary characters points of view. I loved getting to know them, their attitudes and to me, they kept the story moving. If I had to pick, I'd say I liked Cole and Isabel more than Sam and Grace. This time I didn't feel Grace was what she needed to be. She wasn't as strong as in the first one, but Sam stepped up his game and it ended in such a way that I couldn't not finish the series.

forever had me from the get-go, hook, line, and sinker. I loved it. It solidified my liking of Cole and Isabel even more. I wanted to just skip over Sam and Grace's chapters just to continue their story. Grace's POV as a wolf was definitely more interesting than most her other chapters, however I still prefer Isabel and Cole. I loved their personalities and how Maggie just made then unique. That being said, I hated the ending . . . hated, hated, hated it. I feel like it left things undone and questions unanswered. Unfortunately it almost ruined the series for me.

So overall, shiver gets a :):):), linger a :):):):), and forever :):):):)

Here are blurbs about each, there are also links to chapters and extra stuff:

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl.

This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one. Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. But now it is spring. With the heat, the remaining wolves will soon be falling out of their wolf pelts and back into their human bodies…

The conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy. In Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. InLinger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

Still working away. I have more critics coming in on Encoded Secrets and have had a blast getting back into The Black Orchid. I'm also working on some blog changes that should take place at the beginning of 2012. (Wow, that's weird to type). :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Buzzin'--The Alias

Sounds exciting! Take a look. The Alias by Mandi Tucker Slack. Here's a blurb and a book trailer.

After a long and difficult divorce, Jacey thinks the worst is over. Little does she know she'll soon be forced to go undercover to protect her family, and in the process, she'll risk losing her identity, her future, and her heart. With a lightning pace, a good dose of humor, and a plot that's full of suspense, this thrilling novel is an edge-of-your-seat read.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Let's Celebrate!

By: Bonnie Harris

I recently attend the Northwest Writer's Retreat in Washington. First off, it was absolutely gorgeous. For us desert rats, I had a turtle neck, jacket, heavy coat, hat, and scarf on. It was a great change from the unseasonable warm weather we were having. At least it made everyone from up there smile. :) The presenters were fabulous and I got some valuable writing time in as well as much needed critics. So here's my shameless plug for it . . . if you haven't gone, you're missing out! Put it on your calendars for next year. (The first weekend in November, I believe).

*Stepping off soap box now.*

One thing that has really stuck with me was given my Sarah Eden, the keynote speaker. She was talking about a class given by Jennifer Wolf, where Jennifer reminded Sarah that you have to celebrate along the way. How easily we forget that. We get so wrapped up in that, "When I get this book finished," or "When I get an agent," or "When I get published," or "When I get so many followers on my blog," and the list goes on. We are constantly looking forward and getting bogged down when we can't see the light at the end. That turns to discouragement and stress and in drastic circumstances, quitting or giving up. Don't let that happen!

As a person, we/I need to feel validated in what I'm doing. I think we all do and when we don't we get frustrated. So, we need to remember to celebrate the small stuff. I've really been trying to take this to heart since I've been back and it has helped me in so many areas of life. Here are some of the small things I've celebrated (even if it's been as simple as patting myself on the back, I've acknowledged what I'd completed) . . .

  • Finishing a revision
  • Completing a chapter in one of my WIP
  • Writing a complete thought before the baby wakes up
  • Reading a chapter in a book
  • Doing the dishes
  • Being able to see the floor, even if you have to step over things (my sister and I celebrated this one as she is working on getting a room cleaned out)
  • Vacuuming
  • Making my bed
  • Not getting angry for the small, silly things
  • Getting to bed before 11
  • Getting this blog post done
And the list goes on. Looking at this it makes me feel like I've actually done something. I can smile at what I've accomplished, even if it's done the one big goal that I'm working toward. All of these stepping stones are allowing and teaching me how to get there. So when I do, boy am I going to have a party!

So take a moment to celebrate the little things along the way. I'm speaking from experience when I say, it sure makes life a lot more fun!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review--Bitter Blessings

Bitter Blessings by Christine Mehring. This book surprised me. It hooked me from the beginning and kept me turning the pages. The writing was well done, and kept me wondering if I had figured things out. I enjoyed the characters and really felt for Megan and everything that happened to her. I loved seeing the growth she made, but wished the ending had a little more to it. It did remind me that even the hard things are in fact blessings, whether we see them that way or not. I look forward to addition books from Christine. I would recommend this book to any and everyone, especially to those needing a reminder that things can always be worse. :)

Here's a blurb and purchase information.

Megan has the perfect life, but when her mother dies in an accident, everything spins out of control. With the rest of her family falling apart, Megan must confront her past to uncover the truths that will keep everyone together. Thought-provoking and heartfelt, this book shows that even in times of trial, you can often find blessings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Nov 17-27

Welcome to the Gratitude Giveaway hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and All-Consuming Books. Thank you so much for stopping by, following, and participating in this blog hop. On my blog you can win a copy of Josi S. Kilpack's culinary mystery, Pumpkin Roll. Here's what you need to do.

1. Follow my blog and leave me a way to contact you in the comments section if you win. (US only please.) That's it!

Good Luck! Be sure to stop by everyone else who is participating.

Sadie Hoffmiller is looking forward to spending her favorite baking season of the year making delicious New England recipes in Boston, Massachusetts, with her favorite leading man, Pete Cunningham, as they babysit his three young grandsons. But when the boys insist that Mrs. Wapple, the woman who lives across the street, is a witch, Sadie and Pete are anxious to distract the boys from such Halloween-induced ideas. However, it gets harder and harder to explain the strange things that keep happening, particularly after Sadie learns the eccentric Mrs. Wapple has been attacked in her home.
As the unexplained occurrences escalate, Sadie finds herself embroiled in yet another mystery with life-or-death consequences. Can Sadie discover whoever—or whatever—is behind the mystery before anyone else gets hurt? Or will this be Sadie’s last case?

Work In Progress Wednesday

Having a sick baby isn't conducive to getting much done. Needless to say, I haven't written anything more than in my journal. Sorry there's not more to report!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Buzzin'--The Star Prophecy

With Christmas coming up, this would be a great gift! The Star Prophecy by Joan Sowards. Click on the title to read a sample chapter. Here's a blurb and my review.

"You are crazy. No Nephite has ever returned."

Most people laugh when they hear of Enoch's dream of returning to Jerusalem to find the infant Messiah. Even Enoch's future father-in-law mocks him when he asks for a postponement of his long-awaited wedding to his beloved Rebekah. A few take Enoch seriously - the shipbuilder Omnihah, Enoch's teacher David, and the prophet Nephi.

Five years before, a Lamanite named Samuel had stood on the wall of Zarahemla and prophesied that "five years more cometh" and the Christ would be born in Jerusalem. Time is running out! Enoch knows he must set sail across the great waters in search of his dream - to see the face of the Messiah.

Star Prophacy is a surprising story of courage and love, faith and foritude. Sail with Enoch and his friends across the sea through hardship and adventure in search of the Christ child.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

And the winner is . . .

Thank you to all who participated! I wish I had one for everyone. The lucky winner is Nicole Sender. The winner has been notified. Stay tuned for the next giveaway, the Thanksgiving Giveaway.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review--Light Fixtures

Light Fixtures by Deborah Demoss Smith. Deborah contacted me and ask me to review her book. First of all, I think that's pretty cool that she asked me. Thanks Deborah!

This was a very interesting book. I enjoyed the characters, the setting, and the concept. For once, all of my predictions for how things would turn out were wrong. That made it more interesting for me to read. The concept of needing people to be Light Fixtures, to help us through different things and balance life, I really, really like. Deborah does a great job weaving a story the held me to the end. This book receives a :):):):). I could recommend this book for just about anyone.

It’s 1963 and everything is moving fast for 14-year-old Aurora. Her often-manic thoughts and actions can cause those around her to shake their heads in bafflement, especially when her spirits nosedive. But it’s no puzzle for the mystical Mr. Hematite and his tiny assistant, Mr. Dragonfly. Together, they guide her in understanding the onset of bipolar moods and show her that as Light Fixtures, everyone has the potential to shine with balance and brilliance.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

I was able to attend the Northwest Writer's Retreat this past weekend and finished another revision on Encoded Secrets. I'm really excited about it and am waiting to hear back from some fellow writer's on whether or not I made it work. So in the meantime I'm working on some critics and picking up where I left off with The Black Orchid and Anya's Trek. Stay tuned for more! I'm also going to be adding a tab with descriptions of my works soon.  Happy Writing! :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Buzzin'--Art and Intuition

Art and Intuition: Borderlines and Boundaries: Reflections and Refractions of the Gaze in Painting Today by Pat Paxson. I work with the amazing Pat and thought her book looked interesting. Here's a blurb and link to her blog. Let me know what you think!

What is intuition, where does it come from, how does it interact with  making and viewing art, how can it be encouraged? These are questions raised by Pat Paxson. She uses ideas of Sigmund Freud,  Jacques Lacan, Anton Ehrenzweig and others,  braiding them together so that  they dovetail in a surprising and informative manner. This results in  helpful ideas for encouraging the emergence of intuition, that intriguing  but invisible mental process.

November Hop Giveaway! Nov 8-11

Thanks for stopping by to participate in the November Blog Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Tristi Pinkston. With over 200 blogs giving away to US and Internationally, there's something for everyone. Click here for more blogs.

In honor of the release of Inheritance (released today!), I'm giving a way a nearly new copy of where it all began, Eragon by Christopher Paolini.

When young Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his adopted family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of inescapable destiny, magical forces, and powerful people. With only an ancient sword and the instruction of an old,mysterious, hermit storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a Emperor whose evil and power knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands…. (taken from Goodreads)

Here's what do to. . .

Mandatory entry:

  • Follow my blog and let me know you've done so (make sure I have a way to contact you if you win).

Optional entries:

  • Tweet about the giveaway
  • Facebook about the giveaway
Leave me a comment telling me what you've done (1 mandatory and 2 optional) and May the force of be with you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mary Kay Monday--TimeWise Night Restoration

This week is 20% TimeWise Night Restoration. (There's a cool video on the previous link about the product) I like to use with in combination with the Night Solution. It's regularly $40, but the discounts add up. Remember, become a follower (or already are following) and you get another 5% off. Get a friend to follow for another 5% off. Here's the eCatalog, Holiday Info, and my website.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How To Decipher Rejections

By Bonnie Harris

So I've done something to my blog and now I can't figure out how to put pictures on the left or right side. Gotta love that! :)

Anyway, I ran across this blog post by Rachelle Gardner, a literary agent for Word Serve Literary, about how to interpret rejection letters. I would try to summarize it, but it wouldn't do the post justice. So here's the link and enjoy! Decoding Query Rejections

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review--The Ember Gods

The Ember Gods by Andrea Pearson is part of The Kilenya series. (Check out my review for book one The Key of Kileyna here.) I liked this book a lot more than the first one. I was able to get into it more quickly and it flowed very well. There were more fantastic creatures and I learned a lot more about the characters. I really liked the involvement of Jacob's brother, Matt as well as the twist that happened. I'm excited to see what happens in the next one. This book receives a :):):):). Here's a blurb and an interview with Andrea!

Jacob Clark has just returned from the world of Eklaron, where he frustrated the evil plans of the Lorkon and returned the magical Key of Kilenya to its rightful owners. His quest is far from over, though—Aloren is trapped in Maivoryl City by the Ember Gods, and Jacob can't return to save her until he receives the potion that will protect his team from the corrosive influence of the Lorkon.

Balancing between this new world and his own proves tricky. Not only has he started his first year of high school, but his magical abilities are bringing him too much attention. He feels pulled by both sides, hoping he'll be able to figure out his special powers to save Aloren in time.

What made you decide to become a writer?

I was serving a mission for my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints), and had only two outlets for expressing emotions: my
journal, and writing home to my family. I discovered a love for words and
their meanings, especially while studying the Spanish language. :-)

Who inspires you?

Bonnie - is this authors who inspire me? Or anyone in general?


I know he's not in my writing "genre," but Michael Crichton is the very
first to come to my head. He's been one of my favorite authors for a long
time. He really knew how to grip his readers. And I love logical,
scientific type books—he excels at that. Next, J.K. Rowling, for starting
at the bottom of the totem pole and making it so incredibly high up,
maintaining humility through it all. I can't stand arrogant authors. :-)

Anyone in General:
My husband, parents, and readers inspire me a great deal to write new
things that challenge and strengthen my skills. Having a great support
structure really helps!

What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?

Enjoyment. I don't write to teach, I write to entertain. :-) Of course, I
hope they'll want to read more of my books, but I think that's every
writer's goal.

Where did this idea come from?

We used to live in an old house – when I was a kid. I found a skeleton
key, and used to pretend it was magical. I built on that idea over several
years, eventually adding Jacob and Dmitri to the story. For book two, The
Ember Gods, I just continued what I'd started. I knew my ideas would end
up becoming several books in a series – I would need time to explain where
Jacob's abilities came from.

Who was your favorite character to develop?

The Fat Lady. :-) She's based off of a favorite person in the movie
Matilda, and it was so much fun to create her. :-) Also, I've loved
working on Matt's character, and Gallus as well.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Edit, edit, edit! But don't over edit or you'll remove yourself from the
writing. I did that at one point, and it took a large chunk of time to put
my voice back into the manuscript. There's a fine line to learn, and it's
different for everyone. Also, learn as much as possible about the
publishing world – Indie publishing (going at it on your own, like I am),
or traditional. If you don't understand traditional publishing thoroughly,
don't go the Indie route. (A lot of writers self-publish because they're
afraid of rejection or because they don't want to put the work into
finding representation. I don't recommend doing this.) Make sure you know
where you want to be. Set goals and achieve them. :-)

What can we expect next from you?

Samara: A Kilenya Romance was released today as an eBook (it's a novella,
teen romance), and Book Three, August Fortress, will be out early 2012.

Where can we purchase your book?

Wherever eBooks are sold - Kindle, Nook, etc. The Paperbacks, for now, are
only available through Amazon.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

 So, I've been messing with my blog settings and now I think my settings are crazy. Oh well. Work on Encoded Secrets is going really well. I'm almost through and have cut close to 13,000 of the 15,000 words I need to get rid of. Kind of an interesting process. Hopefully we'll be up and querying with it soon!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Buzin'--Cold River

Cold River by Liz Adair. I've been a fan of Liz's books for a couple of years now and am excited to read this one. Here's a blurb and an interview with Liz. Let me know what you think!

Mandy Steenburg thinks her doctorate in education has prepared her to run any school district—until she tangles with the moonshine-making, coon-dog-owning denizens of a tiny district in Pacific Northwest timber country. She’s determined to make a difference, but the local populace still looks to the former superintendent for leadership. When Mandy lands in the middle of an old feud and someone keeps trying to kill her, instinct tells her to run. And though she has to literally swim through perilous waters, she finds a reason to stay and chance the odds.

What made you decide to become a writer?

LIZ: I didn’t decide. It just happened. It may be something you just are, like having blue eyes or seeing color in shadows or being able to roll a double R (I can’t).

Who inspires you?

LIZ: My critique group inspires me. They are four incredible women, and I recharge my battery each Thursday evening as we go over the pages each has sent in for a critique. They not only inspire me, they teach me.

What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?

LIZ: A cheap vacation. Seriously, I remember when I was a young mother on a tight budget. I didn’t hate my life. I loved being a mom, but every now and then it was so delicious to read a book that took me to an exotic place where people had conversations on a higher level than Goodnight Moon. That’s what I want to do. My settings might not be exotic, but they’re different, and I hope my dialogue is witty and sharp.

Where did this idea come from?

LIZ: Cold River came out of my experience teaching at Concrete, Washington thirty years ago or so. Concrete is a tiny town in timber country, and the local populace are descendants of people who moved west from North Carolina during the early twentieth century to work in the wood products industry. When I arrived, there hadn’t been much happen there to dilute the cultural or speech patterns the people had brought with them. It’s changed since then, as TV has come to the area, but when I was teaching there, the people called themselves Tarheels and were proud of their North Carolinian heritage.

Who was your favorite character to develop?

LIZ: It’s much more a process of getting to know the characters than developing them. Of course I liked the main character, Mandy Steenburg, who comes to Limestone as a mid-year replacement as superintendent of schools. She has her doctorate, has been on the fast track in Albuquerque’s school administration, and she thinks she knows how to run a school district.

I also liked Vince Lafitte. He grew up in Limestone, but he’s always been an outsider. Illegitimate and poor as a child, he made lots of money blowing up buildings, and he’s invested that money in Limestone, so he’s a force to be reckoned with. He’s handsome in an angular way, a careful dresser, and he’s very interested in Mandy.

I also liked…well, I think I liked them all. Edith Berman who keeps the first aid kit stocked with herbs she’s collected; Nettie Maypole who is angry that the school cook stole her mama’s recipe for Yum Yum Potatoes and now calls them Tarheel Spuds; Mo Smith, the district accountant who looks so nondescript with his thinning hair, rounding shoulders and anemic mustache but who becomes Mandy’s staunch ally. And then there’s Granny Timberlain. Well, you’ll have to read the book.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

LIZ: Yes. First, write, write, write. Next, join a writers group, but pick one that is supportive. Third, get comfortable putting your work out for a critical review. You will never grow as a writer if you don’t ask for feedback.

Where can we purchase Cold River?

LIZ: You can find it at Deseret Book or Amazon. If your independent book store doesn’t carry it, ask for it.

What can we expect next from you?

LIZ: I’m working on another romantic suspense with a working title Rats in the Attic. I definitely know I’ll change that, but for now I like it. It’s set in southern Nevada, in Spider Latham country. That will mean something to people who have read my first three books, all part of the Spider Latham Mystery series.

Anything else you’d like to add?

LIZ: Just that my blog can be found at Followers and people who comment are always welcome.