Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Buzzin'--Dangerous Favors

Dangerous Favors by Joyce DiPastena. Check out this one!

Her father has been accused of stealing from the king, an allegation that has reduced her family to poverty. She has one chance to find and marry a man who can help her prove her father's innocence. Lord Therri, heir to a rich barony, has the wealth and connections Mathilde needs to delve into the mysteries of her father's past. Furthermore, Therri embodies all her romantic dreams.

Etienne, the younger son of a disgraced family, has neither wealth nor connections, but is smitten with Mathilde at a glance. She finds the knight intriguing, but believes he is only out to seduce her. While she seeks for a way to win Therri's attention, Etienne tricks her into granting him her favor, an embroidered white ribbon, for a tournament, setting in motion a dangerous chain reaction of events. Can Etienne save Mathilde from a nightmare from her past and prove himself the true hero of her dreams?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing-According to Writer's Digest

By Bonnie Harris

It's been one of those weeks this week. You know when it feels like a month's gone by and it's only been a day. I'm lucky I remembered to get this post done. :) So in a way I'm going to cheat for today. Someone emailed me this awesome link from Writer's Digest. It contained the 18 most popular writing articles of 2011. You should check it out. Here's one that caught my attention pretty quickly. It's short, simple, and too the point.


Categories: Improve My WritingMystery and Thriller WritingWhat's NewWrite 1st Chapter/Get StartedWriting for BeginnersWriting Your First Draft Tags: .
7In a thought-provoking ThrillerFest panel, four popular authors shared what they believe to be the deadly sins of the writing craft. Here are seven of their offerings. Have you committed any of them?
1. Laziness
(David Hewson, author of the Nic Costa series)
Intellectual laziness is something all writers are prone to: as in writing the same type of book, and doing it annually. “I think you really have to fight against laziness and constantly keep challenging yourself.” Like great art, books aren’t ever finished—they’re abandoned. (In other words, don’t just finish writing your first draft and call it a day.)
2. Trying to be a good student
(Lisa Gardner, author of The Killing Hour)
Gardner said it’s a thrill to rope a lot of cool forensic facts in the research process. But the danger is in going home and regurgitating all of them in your novel—“When really thrillers are all about entertaining. …” Keep that story moving forward.
3. Marching down the outline
(John Sandford, author of Buried Prey)
This occurs when you sit down to write and follow your outline exactly. Sandford said some people use an outline like a frame, and merely embroider within it. Outlining is fine, but sticking too closely to it can stifle your story. “If you do outline, you have to be aware of the problems that that kind of thing can cause.”
4. Denying jealousy 
(M.J. Rose, author of The Hypnotist)
“I try to not allow myself to be jealous of other writers and the books they’ve written,” Rose said—but in fact, she believes it’s a good thing to let some of that jealousy seep through. So don’t bottle it up. “I think it’s really healthy to let yourself have the full range of emotions.”
5. Focusing too heavily on the business
One of Sandford’s friends obsesses over the business end of writing—his friend writes a book, and then gets lost in all of the trappings of business and promotion … “to the exclusion of actually writing novels.”
6. Not reading books 
Reading is essential for writers. Rose cited a study that said that 23 percent of people in the United States want to be writers. If all of them read 10 books a year, Rose said, “We’d all be doing a lot better.”
7. Imitation
There is a difference between imitating a book, and being influenced by a book. Hewson added that it’s valuable to figure out why you think certain things work in the books you read, and why others don’t.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Review--Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws

Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws by Janette Rallison. I love Janette's books. I have yet to read one that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed and this one is no exception. The characters were so lovable and I could relate to them. I laughed so hard I cried. This is a great read for any and everyone of all ages. It sure takes you back to those days. Here's a blurb and a link to her blog. Let me know what you think.


Going head-to-head with your best friend is never easy, on the court or off. Josie loves hottie Ethan Lancaster, the captain of the basketball team, but she never can do or say the right thing in front of him. So how can it be fair that Ethan is only interested in her best friend, Cami, when Cami isn’t even trying for his affection? Or is she? Cami dreams of winning her basketball team’s coveted MVP award, and earning the chance to take the court during a special halftime demonstration with WNBA star Rebecca Lobo, but her best friend, Josie, is a better player. So how can it be fair that Josie is a shoo-in for the honor if she is barely interested in basketball in the first place and isn’t even trying to be the best? Or is she? Told from two points of view, this novel of freshman life, love, and the pursuit of free throws displays the same delightful humor as Playing the Field and All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School. As sports become a more integral part of girls’ lives, it’s important to see this experience reflected in teen fiction. Following on the heels of the success of All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School, and accompanied by the paperback release of Playing the Field, Janette Rallison hits the mark again with a third wry, witty, romantic comedy. The climax of the story features a cameo appearance by real-life WNBA superstar Rebecca Lobo. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Buzzin'--On Little Wings

On Little Wings by Regina Sorois. Sounds like a good one! Check it out.

Jennifer must do the impossible – bring her mother home. When a family is torn apart by death, two sisters take violently divergent paths and the story of their family appears to end terribly and abruptly. Two decades later Jennifer never dreams that the photo she finds stuck between the pages of a neglected book will tear open a gaping wound to her mother’s secret past. Abandoning her comfortable life with her parents and best friend in the wheat fields of Nebraska, Jennifer’s quest for a hidden aunt leads her to the untamed coast of Maine where she struggles to understand why her mother lied to her for sixteen years.

Across the grey, rocky cove she meets Nathan Moore, the young, reluctant genius surrounded by women who need him to be brother, father, friend, provider, protector and now, first love. The stories, varied, hilarious, and heartbreaking, unfold to paint a striking mural of the shattered past. As Jennifer seeks to piece together her mother’s story, she inadvertently writes one for herself.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

And the winners are . . .

Thank you all for stopping by. I'm announcing two winners tonight, one for the Identity giveaway and the other for the Dreaming of Books Blog Hop. Drum roll * * * * The Identity giveaway winner is Leigh Covington! And the Dreaming of Books Blog Hop is Kayla Beck. I hope to see everyone again soon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review--How To Take the Ex out of Ex-boyfriend

How To Take The Ex Out Of Ex-boyfriend by Janette Rallison. This book is for anyone who has ever had a rough relationship or has broken up with someone over a small issue. The characters are wonderful and easy to relate to. It's a good, clean, fun read that just takes you away from life for a moment. Any and everyone will love it. Here's Janette's blog and a blurb about the book.


Giovanna's boyfriend Jesse may have the last two down, but he's seriously lacking in the loyalty department. When her twin brother, Dante, runs for student body president, Jesse campaigns for the opponent. In the heat of the moment, Giovanna dumps Jesse and becomes Dante's campaign manager. But she almost immediately regrets her decision. Beating the mayor's son at school politics and winning her boyfriend back are going to take a lot more risk than Giovanna ever dreamed she'd take.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Review--Wanted: Dead or Alive

Wanted: Dead or Alive by Samantha Jillian Bayarr. This book was not what I expected. With a title like Wanted: Dead or Alive, I expected something with more action, but it turned out to be a romance. That's probably my fault for not reading the back cover, but that's alright. The characters were easy to relate to and the story flowed nicely. I would have liked a little more conflict in the plot or at least to feel more tension throughout, but overall it was an enjoyable read. It was a clean romance that gave me the a sense of what life was like in Tombstone at the time. I can recommend it for anyone who enjoys a good, clean romance.


LOGAN FISHER arrives in Tombstone, Arizona in the spring of 1885, to bury his estranged father after he was gunned down during a robbery of the Wells Fargo stage. 
An experienced bounty hunter, Logan is determined to join the posse that will help bring the outlaws responsible to justice. But when the lovely school teacher becomes a distraction, Logan rethinks his commitment to the cause. 

DAISY MAE PINKERTON is the beautiful school teacher and the preacher's daughter, who turns Logan's head and reminds him of his faith-based upbringing, hoping it will melt the ice that's formed over his heart and convince him to give up his gun-slinging ways. But does she want more from him?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

And the winner is . . .

So sorry for the delay in getting to winner chosen. Life hasn't allowed me to get to the computer like usual. Thank you all for stopping by. I sure hope to see you again soon. :) And the winner of Anna del C Dye's The Curse of the Elfs is . . . Lisa from Lisa Loves Books Of Course! Congrats!

A New Year With New Insights

By Bonnie Harris

I've often used the phrases, "You have all the time in the world." or "If you really wanted to, you could." or "You can make time for anything." When I've used them, people have been polite, but I got the sense they were trying to stop an eye roll. In the past little while I've come to understand the hesitation in people and the temptation to eye roll when a phrase like that is used.

Time has a way of leaving me/us behind. I can never seem to get everything done and I wonder what I'm doing wrong. Recently, a friend said she feels like no she's having to make choices of what needs aren't going to be met. That just shows me how thin we spread ourselves and why some people don't like to hear that, "If you really wanted to, you could."

These phrases have been running through my head as I'm trying to figure out how and why my writing seems to have come to a halt at the moment. I ask myself where the time goes and wonder why I can't get everything done. Do I really have all the time in the world? Can I really make time for anything? I've doubted what my usual answer would be, but now I can answer confidently with a yes. I do have all the time in the world and yes, I can make time for anything.

It's lifted a burden from my shoulders as I've realized the answer to those questions. And as I analyze how I'm using my time, I'm chosing to be doing other things at the moment. Other things that are currently more important than my writing for now. I could chose to use my time differently and get that final edit done. I could chose to get those two new stories, that are driving me nuts in my head, down on paper. I could chose to do a lot of things, but at what sacrifice?

Right now, as much as I want to be writing, it's not worth the sacrifice. There are other things that are taking presidence. Sarah M Eden said essentially the same thing. She planned on doing a ton of writing one summer and ended up not getting anything done, because her kids needed her. She didn't kick herself or regret not getting it done, she just did the more important thing at the moment and made up the difference later. The other profound statement she made was to remember that even writing in a journal (or a blog post) is considered writing.

So even though my WIP is not where I'd like it to be, I'm comforted in the fact that it really is my choice. I'm still writing on a daily basis even though it may not be exactly what I had in mind. With the new year well under way, don't forget that we can truly choose how we use our precious time. It may not be exactly how we'd like to spend that time, but it is probably what is needed at the moment. Take comfort in the fact that I/you/we are doing exactly what we should be doing. At least it's making me feel better about things. :)

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop Jan 13-18

Welcome to the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Martha's Bookshelf. I figured what better book to giveaway during a "dreaming of books" theme, than a book about dreams in the state of Foo. :) On my blog, you can win a hard copy of Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye. (US only please) This wonderful series I've thoroughly enjoyed and anyone would love it. It might even get the attention of a child who hasn't shown interest in books yet! :)


Fourteen-year-old Leven Thumps (a.k.a. "Lev") lives a wretched life in Burnt Culvert, Oklahoma. But his life is about to change and his destiny be fulfilled as he learns about a secret gateway that bridges two worlds -- the real world and Foo, a place created at the at the beginning of time in the folds of the mind that makes it possible for mankind to dream and hope, aspire and imagine. But Foo is in chaos, and three transplants from that dreamworld have been sent to retrieve Lev, who alone has the power to save Foo.
Enter Clover, a wisecracking, foot-high sidekick; Winter, a girl with a special power of her own; and Geth, the rightful heir to Foo. Their mission: to convince Lev that he has the power to save Foo. Can this unique band of travelers help Lev overcome his doubt? Will Lev find the gateway in time? Or will Sabine and his dark shadows find the gateway first and destroy mankind?

Now, here's what you do to enter . . .

  • Follow me on Networked Blogs and/or GFC. Leave me a comment telling me which way you follow and a way to contact you if you win. Please enter by midnight on the 18th.

That's it. Nice and easy. Feel free to spread the word. Hop on over to the other blogs that are participating and happy "dreaming!"

Book Review and Giveaway--Identity

Identity by Betsy Love. The cover is really what pulled me in on this book. The title really gives you a good idea of what at least some of the plot will be. I thoroughly enjoyed each character, even though I kind of guessed what was going to happen. I loved the flow and ease of reading it. There were twists and turns that keep the action moving and kept me turning the pages. This is a book that anyone would enjoy. Make sure to take a look at the interview with Betsy below!


While vacationing in Mexico, two similar-looking young women find themselves caught in a chain reaction of mistaken identities. Amelia is a wealthy heiress and business owner, and Savannah is a sweet Mormon girl deciding whether or not to serve a mission. When they end up on the same flight to Phoenix, Savannah and Amelia unravel the sequence of events that wreaked havoc on their trips, and they make plans to resolve the subsequent misunderstandings. But their flight is cut short when the plane crashes, killing one of the young women and plunging the other into a world of intrigue and deceit where identity means everything.


Betsy has generously offered to giveaway "Identity" red lipstick and matching nail polish. (US only please.)

Here's how to win . . .


  • Make sure you're a follower of my blog. Leave me a comment telling me how you follow. Be sure to let me know how to contact you.


  • Hop on over and follow Betsy's blog. Let me know you've done so in the comments
  • Spread the word. Tell me how in the comments.

Enter by midnight January 19th with a total of 3 enteries. The winner will be notified and will have 72 hours to reply before a new winner will be chosen by random.org.

What made you decide to become a writer?

I've always loved telling stories..and writing them down. To me everything is either a great scene from a book, a fascinating character, or an intriguing book title. I write because if I didn't, I think my brain would explode with all the stuff in my head.

Who inspires you?

My husband inspires and torments me. When he comes home from work he likes for me to read to him what I've written. When I'm through he says, "Is that all?" Like I'm supposed to complete the entire story in one day. 

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

I always include themes of love of God, family and gospel principles. I hope that not only will readers enjoy a good story I hope they will come away edified by what I've written.

Where did this idea come from?

When I was about ten years old my mother started reading a story to me with a similar plot. She never finished the story. Years later I was telling my ten year old daughter, Sarah, about it and commiserating about never knowing how the story ended. She said, "Why don't you write your own ending." Brilliant! So I did, giving it an LDS twist.

Who was your favorite character to develop?

It would probably have to be my "bad guy". Who would have known he/she would have been so dastardly in the end? In fact I am so intrigued by this character that I had to leave it open to write a sequel.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Don't give up! Get lots of feedback from beta readers (and I'm not talking Mom and your best friend--they won't give you the critique that will truly help you.) Join a critique group, develop thick skin when you get harsh critiques. Take a good look at what they say, and find ways to improve. 

What can we expect next from you?

In the Spring I have a Book of Mormon novel coming out. It's call SOULFIRE. You can learn more about it by going to soulfirenovel.blogspot.com. I also have several other novels in various stages of completion. A YA fantasy trilogy, a regular YA, and two more mystery suspense.

Where can we purchase your book?

Deseret Book-http://deseretbook.com/Identity-Betsy-Love/i/5070780
Or your local LDS bookstore. 
You can also purchase Identity on Kindle and Nook

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Book Review--Smokescreen

Smokescreen by Traci Hunter Abramson. I've enjoyed Traci's books, but I had a hard time with Taylor. I didn't feel like she was worried enough when there were people after her. I liked Quinn and I learned a lot about Navy SEALs. Once I got past Taylor's chapters, things moved better for me. It was clean, fun read despite my frustrations. I would recommend it to anyone. Take a look at an interview posted here.


Taylor Palmetta has spent the past year in Europe building her art career and hiding from Navy SEAL Quinn Lambert, the man who broke her heart. But Taylor can't seem to hide from trouble. When Taylor seeks safety with her family in Virginia Beach, a series of threats puts her on high alert--and puts Quinn into protective mode.

Despite the private loss that continues to haunt him, Quinn can't deny his renewed attraction to Taylor. But just as the romance heats up, a plot against the very foundation of the American way of life surfaces, and Taylor's paitings may hold the key. The Saint Squad is back in action as the team frantically tries to protect thier nation's security--and Taylor and Quinn search for courage to unlock the troubled past.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Buzzin'--In God Is Our Trust

This is a series that's been on my too read list for too long. I should take care of that this year. :) Tell me what you think. Here's a little something from the author.

Hi! Thanks for inviting me to guest blog about my FREE MEN and DREAMERS books.
I’m from Maryland, but about 14 years ago, I fell in love with historic Williamsburg. There is a sacred spirit there, one felt also in other places that welcomed the great patriots—Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Franklin, Key, and others—cities like Philadelphia, Washington, and Georgetown; and places like Fort McHenry, Hampton, Craney Island, Fort Monroe, and dozens more.
I believe it’s because God’s hand was over the events that happened in these places, moving people where they needed to be in order to accomplish His purposes for this land. 
The past eight years of my research and writing have focused on an incredibly fascinating, and rather forgotten, generation of Americans. Most of us know a bit about the Revolution, and we have some basic understanding of the issues that drove us into the Civil War, but far fewer know anything concrete about the War of 1812, and yet historians will tell you that it was this period and these events that finally forged us into The United States of America.
The idea for a historic novel began back in 1998 after my first visit to Williamsburg, but I set it aside and moved on to another project. After 9/11, my heart, like most Americans', turned more tenderly to America and her history. By 2004 I submitted the first draft. 
The original manuscript was set in the late 1840’s, but after much soul searching, many hours buried in American history, and a small mention in Lucy Mack Smith’s “Biography of Joseph Smith,” I knew I needed to back the books up a generation.
It was Lucy’s reference to her brother Stephen Mack’s service during the War of 1812 that was the deal-breaker. I had never before made the connection between the Smiths and the War of 1812, but there it was! Joseph Smith grew up during that war. He and his generation were affected and shaped by the critical historic events of the tragic burning of Washington, the critical Battle of Baltimore, Key’s rallying of a broken nation with his writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The generation that would take on Britain’s war machine in the War of 1812 was already unique in that they were the children of the Founding Fathers’ generation. They were the heirs of the great patriots’ vision, those charged to build a nation founded on the lofty principles of liberty and freedom, and now they would experience the great religious reformation and the Restoration led by Joseph Smith.
After eight years of research and rewrites, it is this generation’s story that I tell in my FREE MEN and DREAMERS books where we wind six fictional families—three American, two British, one slave—through carefully researched American history to illustrate the courage, sacrifice, and vision of this extraordinary group. 
Here’s the promo copy for this series:
The Founding Fathers' vision of "One Nation Under God" was not left to chance. 
But what if yours was the generation tasked with forging that nation?    
And forced to defend her once again. .  
    Just before the heavens were about to open. . .
   And a new dispensation was about to begin?    
These were the challenges facing a choice generation. 
They were. . . FREE MEN & DREAMERS
There are five books in the series: DARK SKY AT DAWN, (2007); and TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING, (2008) were each finalists in the 2008 USA Best Books Competition; DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT, (2009); OH, SAY CAN YOU SEE? (2010) was a Whitney Award finalist; IN GOD IS OUR TRUST, (2011) is currently a nominee for a Whitney Award.. 
Preview chapters from each book are available on my website at http://www.laurielclewis.com/books.htm, but I’d like to share an excerpt from my recently released volume 5, IN GOD IS OUR TRUST. Our protagonist in the series is Jed Pearson, a moral but logical man who has aligned his course upon the strength and stability of government. But new, illogical, religious concepts threaten his tidy world, and despite his efforts to dismiss them, he cannot, setting the stage for a spiritual awakening that will test his faith in both God and the Constitution. 
From chapter 29:
The Pearsons arrived in Washington City in July, well before Jed
was scheduled to be seated in the Senate, but not too early to receive
his first assignment from his friend, Senator Timothy Shepard, who
had been asked to assist Washington’s Mayor Weightman’s Jubilee
of Independence Committee, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the
signing of the Declaration of Independence. Timothy quickly secured
Jed’s help.
“First things first,” Timothy began. “Congress commissioned four 
paintings by John Trumball which will be hung in the Rotunda for the 
celebration. The capstone of the celebration is his grand mural titled 
The Declaration of Independence, depicting the five writers of the 
declaration presenting the draft to their colleagues. Here’s a sketch.”
Jed studied the five images in the center of the sketch. The first
three were easily recognizable—Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John
Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania—but
the last two required greater thought. “I’m embarrassed to say I can’t
remember these two members of the drafting committee, nor some
of the other signers.”
“Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert Livingston of New
York, but I can’t name some of the signers anymore. I wonder if
future generations will learn their names and know the risk they
took when they mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their
sacred honor.”
Jed grew wistful at the thought. “So few of them are yet alive.”
“Charles Carroll is well, but Presidents Jefferson and Adams are
in failing health.”
“It’s remarkable to consider what that generation achieved in
fifty years, and yet the cost has been high. Two hundred and fifty
years ago the Indians roamed free in virgin forests and welcomed the
settlers. Now we are at war with them in many corners.”
“We fear them and they don’t trust us, often with good cause,”
Timothy said.
“If only we could share the land and live in peace, but we each
have very different visions for America. It’s rumored Andrew Jackson
will relocate the Indians west if elected president. As much as I love
what we’re building here, I can’t feel good about that.”
“It was a primitive new world when the first settlers arrived, as
if God hid it in His hand for millennia for a special purpose. I think
His hand has ever been and still is over this land.”
“And what do you think His purpose is? Even the Founders
couldn’t agree on religion.”
“They differed on the details, but they all believed in Christ.
Religion was and is still evolving here since the break with Europe.
Perhaps they purposely kept the language vague in order to
accommodate what might yet be.”
“Like a visit from God?”
Timothy scowled at Jed. “What?”
Flushing red, Jed wished he could retract the comment. “Don’t
mind me.”
“No, tell me. Who claims to have been visited by God?”
“A young man named Joseph Smith. Hannah is quite taken with
“But you doubt him?”
Jed leaned back slightly. “Do you believe God would condescend
to come to earth and visit a young man today in response to a
Timothy pondered the question a moment. Jed watched his face
soften as he thought. “I don’t know, but if God wanted to do such
a thing, I think this is where He would choose to do it. Religion
needs freedom to flourish, Jed, and I believe God helped us establish
and preserve ours. Now He’s blessed us with a decade of relative
prosperity and peace. If He wanted to open the heavens and speak, I
think He would do it here, and this might be the time.”
* * *
If they have any questions you can reach me at lclewis2007@gmail.com.
Laurie LC Lewis