Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

By Bonnie Harris

I've debated on posting something about goals this time around, but how can I not with it been New Year's Eve Day? My own personal reflection of the past year has really made me reevaluated my goal setting process. For the longest time, I only set goals (or at least wrote them down) when I knew for sure it was something I could accomplish. And "come hell or high water," as the saying goes, I would accomplish that goal. 

This year has taught me that may not be the best approach to things. Goals should be set with the mindset that somethings can't be controlled, and if something comes along that's out of our control, it's okay to change a goal midstream. That doesn't make one any less of a person or mean that the goal wasn't accomplished, that just means that life happens and adjustments have to be made.

I recently reviewed a book by Connie Sokol called Faithful, Fit and Fabulous. Connie talked about setting one goal at a time so we don't feel to overwhelmed with things. After a couple of weeks, add another to the mix, but if we do to much at once we can burn ourselves out. I really enjoyed her perspective on things even though it was nothing new to me. She gave me "permission," so to speak, to allow myself to make changes mid-stream. Or maybe she helped me see what I was already doing with my goals from 2011.

Anyway, as we approach a new year, I've been thinking of the baby steps that I'd like to take in all aspects of my life—with the mindset that I can adjust as needed based on what life throws my way. Here are some of my possible goals (which will probably become goals sometime throughout the year).
  • be less judgemental
  • cook dinner at least twice a week
  • finish another edit through my WIP
  • finish a draft on another WIP
  • don't complain about housework
  • keep up with my book reviews
  • do two blog giveaways a month
  • attend writing conferences
  • critic someone else's novel 
  • clean one room a week
The list could go on forever, but I feel like I can be successful at these, and they can be adjusted—if needed—without too much effort. So as you look ahead to the New Year, don't be afraid to set goals because you don't think you'll make it through the year. As you get into it remember they can be adjusted. They are set in stone. Happy New Year 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and co-hosted by Babs Book Bistro. What a great way to ring in the New Year. Be sure to stop by everyone else's blog too. My prize is open to any and everyone. On my blog, you can win an eBook of Deborah DeMoss Smith's Light Fixtures. Take a look at my review and some video excerpts here.

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.

And to win Light Fixtures, all you need to do is . . .


  • Follow my blog via Networked Blogs and/or GFC. Leave me a message telling me which you've done and make sure I have a way to contact you.


  • Like Light Fixtures on FB (click on the title) and leave me a message telling me so.
  • Spread the word. Make sure to tell me where.
  • Follow me on twitter. (Left sidebar)

This giveaway ends midnight Jan 3rd. The winner will be contacted and will have 72 hours to respond before a new winner is selected by

Thanks for stopping by. Take a look at who else is participating and Happy New Year!

Book Review--unbroken connections and Cayman Summer

unbroken connection and Cayman Summer by Angela Morrison are both part of the Taken By Storm Saga. I really enjoyed Michael and Leesie's story. It felt real with all the challenges that they both faced. I liked how they each helped each other through tragedies and were a support. The growth was incredible on both parts. I also really enjoyed the locations, especially in Cayman Summer and Thailand from unbroken connections. I learned a lot about places I've never been. This was a very fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed, but can't say I can recommend it to everyone because of the content. Here are blurbs about both books as well as my review for Taken By Storm and a four part interview with Angela. 1, 2, 3, 4.

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? 

Cayman Summer

Michael takes Leesie to the Cayman Islands to heal. Time, sunshine, and Michael's devotion free her of physical pain, but grief and guilt haunt her. Michael will do anything to find the old Leesie who prayed, spoke of visions, and kept the rules. For Leesie, that girl is lost forever. Rules? What's the point now? She's ready to break every one.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And the Midwinter's Eve winner is . . .

Thanks to all who entered the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop. selected Maegan Morin as the winner of The Key of Kilenya. I'd love to see everyone for the New Year's Giveaway Hop beginning on Dec 30. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Buzzin'--Seeking Persephone

Seeking Persephone by Sarah M. Eden. Great book from a fantastic author that I love!

When Persephone Lancaster receives a marriage proposal from the ill-tempered Duke of Kielder, she refuses—and then reconsiders. The obscene sum of money he’s offering  Persephone would save her family from ruin. With her characteristic optimism, she travels to the far reaches of Northumberland to wed a greatly feared stranger. Lodged deep in a thick forest infested with wild dogs,the Duke’s castle is as cold and forbidding as the Duke himself, a man with terrible scars on his body and his soul. But the Duke’s steely determination to protect his heart at all costs is challenged by his growing attachment to his lovely and gentle bride. With caring persistence, Persephone attempts to pierce the Duke’s armor and reach the man beneath. Yet he cannot tolerate such exposure, and his repeated rejections take their toll. But when grave danger arises, the Duke realizes he must face the risk of revealing his true feelings or lose the woman he cannot live without.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Review--Bumpy Landings

Bumpy Landings by Donald J Carey. I enjoyed this book. It turned out to be the dating ups and downs of a particular young man that made me laugh and remember the days I spent dating. It was fun to get it from the guys perspective also. And the exotic location of Hawaii really helped the story. As one who has never been, I felt like I was there. This book receives a :):):). Here's a blurb, a link for purchase, and an interview with Don.

All his life, Jordan MacDonald has dreamed of taking flight and soaring above the majestic mountains of his Hawaiian home, but he doesn’t dare disobey his mother, who has absolutely forbidden him to fly. Suddenly everything changes when, spurred by the pain of a failed relationship, Jordan begins working toward the coveted pilot’s license. Just as he finds love again, Jordan’s lies start to close in around him, and he soon learns that a life full of dishonesty attracts more turbulence than he’s ever faced in the air.
Set against the exotic backdrop of the Hawaiian islands, this thrilling tale of romance and self-discovery is a perfect vacation from the average love story. Join Jordan as he tests the limits of friendship and finds out just how far his dreams can carry him. Entertaining and engaging, Bumpy Landings will take you to new heights with each turn of the page.

What made you decide to become a writer?
I've always loved reading books, but for most of my life music was my 
creative outlet. As I got older and my life situation changed, trying to 
perform with a musical group was more and more difficult. So I tried my 
hand at several other things, and writing was what fit my needs and 
abilities the best.

Who inspires you?
My wife has been so strong over the last decade, battling a serious 
illness that nearly took her from us three years ago. Yet due to her 
persistence and tenacity, she is undergoing a miraculous recovery, 
wrestling her life and health back when most everyone else had given up 
on her. That resilience is infinitely inspiring to me.

What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?
Looking at my writing, I realize that I tend to share things that are 
important to me, like philosophies, cultures, and locations. I love 
hearing that those elements have resonated with a reader. But most of 
all, I want to share an entertaining story, so knowing that I've kept a 
reader up past their bedtime is the perfect payoff for me.

Where did this idea come from?
There are a lot of little ideas that came together to make up Bumpy 
Landings. I've long been interested in flying, so I thought it would be 
fun to write a story about a student pilot. It was a cold February day 
when I decided to set the story in my warm Hawaiian hometown of Laie. 
The main character's journey of self-discovery was based on a similar 
one of my own. And when it comes to unrequited love, I have wealth of 
(long ago) experience to draw from.

Who was your favorite character to develop?
I have to say Malia. She was a fun secondary character who kind of acted 
like the glue to keep the story together, and her attitude allows her to 
say out loud the things that most of us only dare think.

Any advice for aspiring authors?
Writing is a lot of fun, but to do it right it is a lot of work, too. 
Don't be afraid to put in the time and the effort. Make friends in the 
writing community, and bravely put yourself and your words out there for 
others to see. Writing is a solitary activity, but GOOD writing requires 
the help of many people working together.

What can we expect next from you?
I'm currently trying to squeeze out enough writing time to finish Into 
the Wind, which picks up about an hour after Bumpy Landings ends. I had 
no intention of writing a sequel, but I realized that there were enough 
loose ends and unresolved situations to make for a great story. I'm 
having a wonderful time getting to know some of the original characters 
better, and introducing some fun new characters.

Where can we purchase your book?
Bumpy Landings is available at fine LDS bookstores everywhere, as well 
as Barnes&  Noble and And I keep an extra copy in my car, too.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop Dec 21-27

Welcome to the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Oasis for YA. There are over 250 blogs participating. That means tons of fun stuff up for grabs. :) One my blog, you can win a eBook copy of Andrea Pearson's The Key of Kilenya. This giveaway is open internationally. Check out my review here and take a look at an interview with Andrea here.

Jacob Clark's life is thrown into chaos when he discovers a path to a different world near his small-town home. The creatures of this new world are strange and have odd customs, and he is surprised to learn that everyone knows everything about him. Even the evil, immortal Lorkon, who stole the Key of Kilenya. They are jealous of Jacob and wish to control powers he doesn't know he possesses.

Here's what you need to do:


  • Follow me via Networked Blogs (preferred way since GFC is going bye-bye early next year) and/or GFC. Leave a comment telling me which you did with a way to contact you.


  • Follow Andrea's Blog. Make sure to leave me a comment telling you did so.
  • Spread the word. Tell me what you did in a comment.
  • Follow The Key of Kilenya page.

Please remember to do the mandatory entry first. I will be checking to make sure the winner has done that entry and will contact that person after the giveaway ends. They will have 72 hours to reply.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Now take a look at all the other great giveaways!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Buzzin'--A Christmas To Remember

A Christmas To Remember is my various authors that I've buzzed through out the year. It should be wonderful for this time of year.

A Collection of Heartwarming True Christmas Stories
Enjoy rich Christmas memories from Anita Stansfield, Jerry Borrowman, Toni Sorenson, Traci Hunter Abramson, Gale Sears, Sarah M. Eden, Kathi Oram Peterson, Donald S. Smurthwaite, and more. Both laughter and tears will fill your soul with this heart warming collection of true Christmas stories from favorite LDS authors, ordinary people whose lives have been touched in extra ordinary ways. Discover light hearted surprises, faith-affirming treasures,and thought-provoking insights about the greatest gift of all in this wonderful keepsake book. You’ll want to share these timeless holiday tales of peace, hope, and love year after year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Tips from the Slush Pile"

By Bonnie Harris

Awhile ago, I subscribed to the Nelson Literary Agency's Newsletter. (I would highly recommend hoping over to their website and signing up for their newsletter.) They've consisted of advice from Kristin Nelson about writing trends and such, along with thought from agents on her staff. I've found it very helpful information and it helps me to stay "in the know" as I navigate the publishing world.

In December's newsletter, Anita Mumm (who is coming to our ANWA Conference in February in Phoenix, AZ) wrote a fantastic note on "Smart Persistence." It gave me good insight on whether or not it is proper to re-query an agent and if so, when it's appropriate. Here's what she had to say . . . Enjoy!

TIPS FROM THE SLUSHPILE by Anita Mumm Anita Mumm
Writer's Toolbox: Smart Persistence 
One of the most common pieces of advice aspiring writers receive is “don’t take no for an answer.”
We all know that rejection is part of life as a writer, and that tenacity is perhaps the most important quality you can possess. But when doors close in your face, is it okay to knock again? And what steps should you take before doing so?
Unless agents specify that they do not take resubmissions, it is perfectly okay try again. In fact, NLA has signed several clients that at first were not the right fit.
One was Gail Carriger, author of the sexy steampunk PARASOL PROTECTORATEseries, which now includes three NYT bestsellers. Gail first queried Kristin with a young adult novel that she turned. Four years later, remembering the great editorial notes Kristin gave, Gail requeried, Kristin fell in love with the project, and the rest is history.
Then there’s Marie Lu, whose phenomenal YA dystopian novel LEGEND hit shelves November 29. Marie approached Kristin at Pikes Peak Writers Conference several years ago, but didn't quite win her over. When Marie came back with a whole new project, Kristin offered representation, but ultimately couldn't sell it. So what did Marie do? She dusted herself off, wrote another book. . . and watched the series sell in a major auction. A film deal with CBS films and the producers of Twilight was not far behind. That's the power of persistence!
Things to consider before resubmitting:
1.  Have you done a SERIOUS rewrite? This is tough to hear, but if your query is getting no attention, or if agents are requesting, then rejecting, your sample or full, there’s probably more to fix than commas and typos. Take it back to your critique group or editor and ask them to take no prisoners! If you see patterns in their advice and you can live with the changes, make them. Regardless, spend months—not days or weeks—working as hard on this new draft as you did on the first. Agents are skeptical when they see rewrite queries almost immediately—how different could this new draft be?
2.  Did agents give positive feedback? If an agent says she’d love to see future work from you, she means it—there’s way too much coming through the slushpile for agents to say that lightly. Any advice about things to work on should also be seen as encouragement. Just be sure that if you resubmit to that agency, that particular advice figures into your revision. You don’t need to agree with every agent, but you do want to have the same vision as the one who signs you.
3.  Don't be a spammer! There’s a big difference between asking an agent to take another look—and becoming “that writer.” The one who sends the same infernal query letter every day/week/month, wondering how agents just keep missing it. See number 1—time to go back to the drawing board! Then resubmit your query (once) and wait for a response. If you get another rejection, third time is probably not a charm—cut your losses and look for agents who might be a better fit.
Resources for obtaining feedback before resubmitting your work: Allows writers to submit (for a nominal fee) samples for readers to rate. Lists quality freelance editors and editing companies; also notes those that are NOT recommended.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Review--Twisted

Twisted by Gena Showalter. So I've really enjoyed the Intertwined Series. I love Aden, Mary Ann, Victoria, and Ryley. I love all souls. I love the incidental characters. I love the idea of having souls trapped in your head that have powers that leak to you. Everything about this series has fascinated me. The complex relationships, the voices (in more ways than one), the setting, everything is wonderful. Twisted had me turning pages and as the book slowly got heavy on the left end, the more frustrated I became because I knew I wouldn't like the ending because it would be a cliff hanger . . . and it was. It's so frustrating, but I have to admit that I'll be waiting for the next one. I have to know what happens. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves a good paranormal romance. There is some content (nothing explicit) and one F-bomb. It receives a :):):):). Here's a blurb and the trailer.


Tortured by angry witches.
Hypnotized by a vengeful faery.
Spied on by the most powerful vampire in existence.
And, oh, yeah. Killed – twice.

His vampire girlfriend might have brought him back to life, but he’s never felt more out of control. There’s a darkness within him, something taking over . . . changing him. Worse, because he was meant to die, death now stalks him at every turn. Any day could be his last.

Once upon a time, the three souls trapped inside his head could have helped him. He could have protected himself. But as the darkness grows stronger, the souls grow weaker – just like his girlfriend. The more vampire Aden becomes, the more human Victoria becomes, until everything they know and love is threatened.

Life couldn’t get any worse. Could it?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book Buzzin'--Samara

Samara by Andrea Pearson. Take a look at this love story from The Key of Kilenya author.

When Samara Oldroyd meets the most amazing guy ever, she's frustrated their conversation is cut short. Her wishes that they'll run into each other again come true when she meets her sister's new boyfriend. It's him! Eeek! 
Inspired by the film Dan in Real Life, this novella will tickle you pink as Samara tries—in vain—to undo her crush.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Review--Faithful, Fit & Fabulous

Faithful, Fit & Fabulous by Connie Sokol. Since my first child was born a year ago, I've been struggling to find my balance. I'm not one who usually reads what I would call "self-help" books. I went through that phase and found them all saying the same thing, but it's been awhile. So when the opportunity came to join this blog tour I jumped on it thinking it might give me some pointers or at least a new angle.

I have to say I really enjoyed this book. Connie keeps the principles simple, straightforward and easy. She doesn't say anything I haven't heard before, but she really emphasized keeping it easy-one thing at a time. After reading it, I felt like most of her techniques I could manage. It left me excited to try and I have implemented a couple of things. So far so good! I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Honestly just about any age would benefit from this book, although it may take the help of a parent for those younger. Here's a blurb and Connie's Back to Basics website with lots of free downloads to aid in the use of this book, her blog, and you can buy it here.


Filled with humor and "I can relate" life experiences, Faithful, Fit & Fabulous is the ideal 8-week life boost that will refresh any woman's life. Create a personal and effective life plan, and learn how to readily apply it in your busy daily life. Establish holy habits, feel fit and fabulous, and get organized. Just one goal a week for eight weeks--simple and fun.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And the book lovers giveaway is . . .

Thank you to all those who entered the Book Lover's Giveaway! has spoken and the winner is Leigh Ann of The (Mis) Adventures of a College Book Addict. The winner has been notified. Stay tuned for the MidWinter's Eve Giveaway beginning on Dec 21st.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Book Buzzin'--Ribbon of Darkness

Ribbon of Darkness by Julie Coulter Bellon. Sounds interesting! Take a look.

A split-second decision could change the world’s darkest hour to one of triumph--but who is willing to pay the price?

Kennedy Campbell has been running away for a long time--using her position as an international journalist to escape the ghosts of her family's past. She finds some solace working in an Afghan refugee camp, until the Taliban attacks them and Kennedy is forced to flee. She is pulled into a terrorist's realm of darkness as she fights to save those around her, but will it come at the expense of her own life? 

Ethan Barak leads a double life, helping MI-6 bring down arms dealers all over the world until his father is murdered by an old associate. Ethan makes his next mission a personal vendetta by tracking down the killer to Indonesia. While there, he finds himself in a position to either avenge his father or stop a terrorist attack on the Malacca Strait that will jeopardize innocent lives across the world. Can he look past his father's murder to save others?

The line between justice and mercy is blurred with each passing second, and international intrigue becomes intensely personal as the age-old struggle for redemption is brought close to home.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

To Read Out Loud or Not To . . .

By Bonnie Harris

You know what I've rediscovered this past little while, is the value of reading books out loud. Lately, I've been reading stories to my little one (particularly the scriptures) as he's playing on the floor or I'm trying to get him to sleep. I'm amazed at how my tongue slips up and I insert words that aren't really there. Phrases just come out the way I think they should and not the way they were actually written. It has really thrown me and I've really begun to appreciate the easy flow of well-written stories. Not only are they easier to read out loud, but I don't find myself tripping over my tongue as often.

So, I've taken that into account as I work on my writing. I've even found myself whispering my sentences and smile when I realize what I'm doing. It's also a great way to get out of a writing slump. Things have become a bit overwhelming (what? overwhelming this time of year? Never!) and my brain doesn't want to function when I sit down to write. More and more in the past few days, I'm turning to reading a chapter or two in order to escape, calm myself, get inspiration, and any other word you'd like to plug in right there.

Remember, part of writing is reading. So don't feel bad when a book calls you rather than your characters. Or you choose to ignore your characters and dive into a good novel. Whatever you do this holiday season, enjoy and Happy Writing or Reading, whichever it may be!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Lover's Giveaway Hop (Int) Dec 2-6

Welcome to the Book Lover's Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Kid Lit Frenzy. There are tons of stuff just waiting to be given away with over 200 blogs participating! Thank you to all who entered my last giveaway and I'm excited to be able offer this giveaway internationally.

The giveaway runs 2nd of Dec through midnight on the 6th.

Here's what you can win on my blog . . . an eBook of The Sapphire Flute: Book 1 of the Wolfchild Saga by Karen Hoover. Check out my review here. You won't want to miss this saga! Take a look at some sample chapters here.

Now, what do you have to do to enter? It's easy.


  • Follow my blog and leave me a comment with an email


  • Follow Karen Hoover's blog and leave me a comment telling me so
  • Tweet about this giveaway and let me know you've done so
  • Facebook about this giveaway and let me know
  • (it would be helpful to have each comment separate, but not necessary)
Have fun and my be with you. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Review--River Whispers

River Whispers by Kathi Oram Peterson. I listened to this one over the past few days and have to say it wasn't my favorite, although there were several things I really liked about it. The secondary characters were wonderful. Kathi did a wonderful job painting many different people as a possible suspect and I enjoyed trying to figure it out. I found myself switching suspicion as often as the main character.

For me, the main character was a little bit too much of a busy body and wishy-washy in her own feelings. I understand some people are very head strong and busy bodyish, but I don't think I'd be as forward as Regie in her situation. Overall, the story is well written and enjoyable. I can definitely recommend this one to anyone who likes a good romantic suspense. I enjoyed the story but can't say that I loved it, so it receives a :):):) Here's a blurb and a link to purchase it. Let me know what you think!

Regi Bernard's small hometown on the Snake River is good for some things (like fishing) but bad for others (like avoiding old flames). On one unlucky day, Regi runs into the two men she least wants to see: Samuel Tanner, her first love, whose sudden rejection still stings decades later; and Ranger Curtis Romney, the man who trampled her daughter's heart and reputation. But the next day, Regi's luck is even worse. While trespassing on Samuel's land to fish, she discovers a dead body in the willows. And when Regi reports the murder, she becomes the prime suspect. Of course Regi knows she's innocent. What she doesn't know is why the murder leads keep pointing to her, and she's not going to sit around waiting while others find out. Unraveling a murder case in a small town where everyone and everything is interconnected is a tangled task at best. As Regi takes matters into her own hands, she finds the evidence points to multiple townspeople as the possible killer, including Regi's own sister. With so many possibilities, Regi can't get the job done without getting close to one particular suspect-Samuel, the man she'd hoped to avoid forever. The two of them will need more than luck if they're going to clear their names and their past. And as Regi races to discover the truth about the murder, she may very well face her own.