Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review Thursday

Well, take a look at the left sidebar. Deirdra Eden Coppel gave me an award. I'm pretty excited about that. She has a great blog and does lots of interviews with authors. You can click on the award image to learn more about that and then take a look at her blog.

As for the book review, it's going to be late. Hopefully the baby will let me get to it tomorrow. I'd do it now, but I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open. So . . . I'll be reviewing John Grisham's Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer next. Have a good one!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

I had a concert last night and forgot to post. Sorry! The packet I sent off to the agent . . . I got a reply. She's not offering representation *pause* gotta save the baby from rolling into the bird dropping paper *unpause* but gave me some feedback as to why. So the question of the day is What makes it so you connect with the voice of a character? Discuss. Have a good one!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Specifics

by Bonnie Harris

So my mom retaught me something these last few weeks. I think I've shared before my struggle to balance life with a new baby. My biggest complaint has been that my writing time has become basically nonexistent. This past week or so I've been vocalizing my frustration with this fact and my wonderful, sweet mother said this to me. "As a Mom, I depending too much on myself. Don't forget to get on your knees and ask for help. Be specific with what you are asking and let the Lord help you."

Being the wonderful daughter that I am *wink* I immediately tried it. Ha, ha. It took me a little bit longer to digest and remember what she said, but the important part is, I did try it. I asked more specifically for help in finding/making time to get my writing done. It worked. The next day in fact. I shouldn't be surprised. I have a testimony in prayer and getting answers to prayer, but I found myself very surprised and grateful and humbled for not thinking of doing that sooner.

Since that experience I've tried to remember to be very specific in my prayers. Specific in my gratitude as well as my requests. When I actually do it, I am seeing the tender mercies in my life. Thanks to the extra help, I am about 20,000 words into a new novel, The Black Orchid, I've been trying to get under way on for awhile now. (No this is not a shameless plug, but I am really excited about it!)

Now I find myself looking for those tender mercies along the way as a direct result of my specific prayers. It's amazing what has been happening. How grateful I am for a mother who was inspired to reteach me, for my Heavenly Father who is willing to forgive and help me despite my stubbornness in thinking I can do it on my own, for His willingness to entrust me with one of His precious spirits, and for the lessons I'm continually learning.

With Easter being tomorrow I'd also like to add my testimony of the Savior. He lives. He loves us. We need Him and He is always willing to help no matter what we have done or how long it's been since we've talked to Him. I know that I can always turn to Him and He will be there, I just have to remember to ask. How wonderful it is that we have a friend and brother in Jesus Christ. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review Thursday

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison is a fantastic book for anyone. I loved the lessons learned. The conflict was real and I'm sure many people have been through what Annika had to deal with. I firmly believe in the power of positive thinking. One never knows what will and can happen with it. Here's a blurb about it. Let me know what you think! Take a look at Janette's website and blog too.

Annika wants to help her cancer-stricken little brother believe he can survive surgery. But her plan to convince Jeremy that a genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his TV idol would visit him.Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman will do anything to fulfill her little brother’s only wish before his frightening cancer surgery. The trouble is, he wants a certain superstar actor to pay him a visit. Annika has only a few days to drive to California and convince the celebrity to come home with her. On a seemingly impossible adventure that includes paparazzi, bows and arrows, and one enormous snake, Annika learns a few lessons about family, love, and having her own wishes granted.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

So I just realized it's Wednesday and this post is late. Oh well. Life goes on. I got of my submission packet for Encoded Secrets this week. Now we wait and hope for good news. I've taken a different approach to The Black Orchid and reworked the beginning. I like it. How do you feel about a story told from two different people's views with the chapter indicating who's speaking?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Book Review Thursday

My Double Life by Janette Rallison is such a fun read. I love Janette's whit and humor. She really portrays the characters well, sucking the reader into each scene. I enjoyed everything about this book and would recommend it to anyone. Here's the book trailer and for the life of me I can't find the back cover blurb! It's driving me crazy, but I loved the book. You should really read it. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

This is going to be short again, but I do have some exciting news. Along with some more rejections, I had one agent ask for the full manuscript for Encoded Secrets. So I'm busy putting that submission packet together and still sending out a few queries here and there. Needless to say, work on Black Orchid is not happening as fast as I'd like it to, but we'll get there!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Book Giveaway

Here's an awesome book giveaway I just found out about. Win the entire Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. Head over here to check it out!

A Musical Journey

by Bonnie Harris

As a music major I had to take countless music theory classes, most of which happened to be 20 & 21st century music. Not my favorite era, but I did what I had to and hated most of it. It wasn't until I did my graduate work that I really began to appreciate and look forward to my theory classes. Today I can say that I enjoy theory (as long as you don't ask me to spell German, French or Italian augment second chords right now. I've forgotten some of that. (: )

The first semester of my freshman year was basic theory. We moved through the fundamentals at lightening speed and got into some pretty complex things by the end of the semester. The second half of the class (2nd semester), moved just as fast. I found my head spinning and I couldn't keep up. Major minor second of the fifth inversion in the root key while modulating to what? Needless to say, I was in over my head.

I humbled myself enough to ask my dad for help (a veteran of music). He took one look at what I was trying to do and threw it all out saying, "Let's start at the begin." He then walked me through the fundamentals, making sure I completely understood the process before moving on. After awhile, lots of tears and frustration I finally began to see how it all applied to what I was expected to do. It finally made sense. (And then 20th century music broke every rule possible, but that's another story.)

This week in church we talked about President Uchtdorf's talk "Of Things That Matter Most."It's a fabulous talk if you don't remember it or haven't read it. As I read through it again, my music theory experience came to me along with a musical journey. So I thought I'd take you on the same journey before I tie it all together.

Gregorian Chants are the first known notated music. It is basically vocal and in a theoretical sense, very simplistic. Of course even the most simple thing can be made complicated if need be, but as a listener you can hear how uncomplicated it is. Click here to listen.

Jumping a little bit in history, I moved to Johann Sebastian Bach. This particular piece should sound familiar to most people. Right away you can hear that it's instrumental and not vocal, but listen to how many different voices have been added. Again theoretically, it is considered fairly simple, but definitely more complex than Gregorian Chants. Click here to listen. ( You'll have to click again on the right hand side of the linked page. It's a little more complicated but hey, it's free!)

Our next stop is Ludwig von Beethoven. Beethoven is a pivotal point in music history. He pushed the boundaries and expanded the form of symphony into what we know it as today. Again this should be familiar.

Download this mp3 from

Our last stop is Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, one of my favorite composers. His work may not sound like it is more complex than Beethoven, but theoretically speaking the chord structure is much thicker. Click here listen to the last movement of his 5th symphony.

Now I could get into 20 & 21st century music, but most of it has destroyed all structure (theorists would shoot me for saying that) and is really not pleasant to listen to. Anyway, I have found that when my life becomes really overwhelming and I am stressed out of my mind I don't want to listen to the complexity of the later music. It's too much for my brain to take in and analyze. I crave the simplicity and fundamental approach of the earlier music. It simplifies my life.

President Uchtdorf, in his talk, spoke about not running faster than you are able and simplifying life. Do those things that matter most. Run only as fast as your particular situation allows you to. Go back to the basics and build up from there as you are able to. So, in music, during those complicated times, I found myself going back to the basics and life became more manageable.

Someone asked how you make the decision on what is the best choice to make. I found myself thinking about that question while listening to President Uchtdorf's talk as well. My suggestion, go back to the basics. I make sure I'm doing all the fundamental things first (those become the best choice) and then build from there. Usually when those things are done, the best choices show themselves along the way.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Review Thursday

I am lucky enough to be part of a month long tour for Betty Briggs book Depth of Deceit. At the end of this review, I'll have a list of all the other participants. You can check out what they have to say as well. :)

Betty has a way of weaving a story together. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery of this story. I loved the characters and the growth that Stephanie Saunders has throughout the story. I found myself thinking about different scenes several weeks later. I thought, "Wow, that was a good scene, where did I read that again?" Not very often do individual scenes and characters occupy my thoughts past a few days. Betty's characters have stuck with me and I have found myself using her writing style as an example for me to follow. Anyone who loves a good mystery with romance and intrigue woven through it will love Depth of Deceit. Here's the back cover blurb. Let me know what you think!

Blonde and beautiful, fledging attorney Stephanie Saunders vows to protect the innocent even though as indigent defense attorney her clients rarely are. Does that include Josh Durrant who seems to be following her? Stephanie is dismayed when her peers begin calling her “Prom Queen” as her boyfriend, Todd Saxton, often does. Desperately trying to prove her worth, she falls prey to those who steal her innocence. Although she plans to forgive Todd for his ultimate betrayal, she is never given the chance. Her boss, Attorney Charles Connelly, offers solace, but is Stephanie’s welfare, or his own, top priority? The only thing that keeps Stephanie sane in her insane world are the horses she loves but does not own, especially the abused mare, Riskie Business, whose example helps Stephanie make the most difficult decision of her life. Relying on wit and courage, Stephanie must save herself and another during the final showdown where she proves a loyalty of which she never knew herself capable.

2010 Winner of the Silver Quill for second place in the Fiction category for the League of Utah Writers Publication Awards.

Betty's Blog Tour:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Buzzin' Tuesday

The Curse of the Elfs by Anna del C. Dye sounds great! Here's an interview with the author, the back cover blurb and a book trailer. Take a look. :)

Back cover blurb:

When an Immortal race ceases to be immortal woe to the land.

Ancient legend tells of elfs crossing paths with a dying wizard named Zoltan. The Old Sorcerer’s unrepentant deeds had caused the wizarding school to chastise him severely. On his deathbed Zoltan asked the elfs for help. Losing patience in his delirium, he cursed them. Now, the immortal elfin race is slowly, but surely dying.

Their only hope lies in a servant of kings who must learn to love the elfs before he will attempt to save them. But no one, elf or mankind, has ever heard of this man. Can the healer be found before their race is gone forever?

Book Trailer

Author Interview:

Anna long have you been writing and why did you started?

About seven years ago I started because my husband wanted to live to the ripe age of fifty. He thought my imagination would be the end of his days. He actually ordered me to. He is awesome.

What are your books titled?

In the order they were published, they are:

The Silent Warrior Trilogy

Book 1 - The Elf and the Princess

Book 2 - Trouble in the Elf City

Book 3 - Elfs in a conquered Realm

and now:

Curse of the Elfs

Do you write your book from beginning to end, or start with the end or in the middle? Why?

The Trilogy I started in the front. Curse of the Elfs came to me in the middle, then it took form toward the front and the back. I am not sure why… it just happened.

Was there a particular person or event that inspired you to write this story?

The last movie of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I wanted to know more about the character’s lives and couldn’t find enough. My husband said, “Why don’t you write your own.” I answered, “Yah right!” But his answer haunted me and in three days I had the draft of The Elf and the Princess in my mind. When I told him the story he came back with a laptop and told me to write it. The rest is history.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Never give up!!! Join a writer's chapter close to you right now, and learn the craft from them.

Anna, do you write with music playing? If so, is the music likely to be songs with lyrics or only instrumentals?

I do have music on, though I love quietness. I have my favorite tunes in the computer where I write. Lots of them have lyric a few don’t.

What is the coolest thing about being an author?

Meeting great people and other authors.

What would you say is the most challenging part about being an author?

Spending hours promoting my books while I would like to be writing another.

Do you have a particular goal you aim to achieve with your writing?

To take people to a wonderful world where they can forget reality’s cold hand and safely enjoy fantasy. Life is tough and we need something to help us make it more fun and worth living. Fantasy is the way I choose to do it.

You once told me that English was your second language. What sort of challenges did you meet in trying to write your books, if any?

Not many really. I write and my editor has to figure out what I am trying to say. (If I can't figure how a word goes in English, I put it in Spanish...he speaks Spanish very well.) We have a lot of fun when we edit the books; because of my English mess ups.

If you could give your book to only one person, who would it be and why?

A teenager in trouble...

In the hope that he/she could discover the power they have deep inside to change and become better. I want them to see that nothing is impossible if we put our minds to it.

Can you share with your fans how can you describe so well your battle scenes and the sword's playing action?

We found a medieval sword fighting class at the local high school and my husband and I took it. My husband liked it so much he has taken it for a few years now and has even earned two different belts with the clan.

Where can we purchase a copy of your books?

Thank you for this opportunity to visit with you and your friends.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

Still working away. I got another rejection and will be sending out more queries this week for Encoded Secrets. I'm up to chapter 5 in The Black Orchid. Nobody said anything about the name so I'm assuming people like it! :)