Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Year in Review


By Bonnie Harris

This post almost didn't happen. I attempted to do this a few days ago and found that my blog "didn't exist." News to me. After doing some research, I found that my blog had been hijacked. It took a lot longer than I would have liked to recover everything, and it got me thinking about time. It's such a precious commodity, and I know I'm not the only one who wishes for more. So, why would someone spend time hijacking other people's blogs or hacking into accounts or any of that other stuff? I'm not sure I see the benifit in any of that. Then again, I'm not the one spending the time on it.

Time led to thinking about the past year. Have I/Did I use my time in the wisest way possible? 
Answer: I definitely didn't spend my time taking over other people's accounts, but I think I did all right. Overall, I think I did well. I think everyone does well, but we can always do better. 

  • How did you do with your time this year?
  • Did you accomplish what you wanted to?
  • Did those priorities change?
  • Do you feel good about what was done this year?


These are all questions I'm sure most people think about around this time (or variations of the same questions). So, to give you a jump start—in other words, confession time.

I got close to accomplishing my goals this year. Did they change? Yes. Was I able to keep up with the changes? No. Do I wish I got more done? Yes, but I learned a lot.

  • I learned that it's OK to change directions.
  • I learned it's OK to decide that a particular goal just isn't going to happen and to let it go.
  • I learned how to prioritize better. Sort of. :)
  • I learned that life is short, and sometimes you have to put the keyboard away and say, "Oh well. It's not what's important today."
  • I learned that just because I started doing it well at the beginning of the year doesn't mean that I will be able to finish it as strong as I'd like
Who knows if any of this makes sense to anyone. Hopefully, you get the idea. But as I look forward to the next year and it's challenges, I'm able to do so with new understanding and strategies and purpose. I wish I could say I knew what was going to happen and that I would accomplish everything, but I can't. That's something I've had a very difficult time admitting. Now that I have, though, it sure makes things easier to take in bite size pieces.

So as you take a look at the year, remember that it's OK if things didn't get finished. Look at what was accomplished. Remember you are strong and can overcome anything placed in your way. Remember that you are not alone.

Happy New Year! Happy Year-in-review! Happy Writing!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Human Insticts by Ioana Visan--Book Review & Interview


HUMAN INSTINCTS by Ioana Visan. I found this novella interesting. The concept intrigued me, but I think I would have liked having a little bit more detail about things right off the bat. I learned and understood better as the story progressed. The characters were interesting as were the circumstances behind everything. I would recommend this book to almost anyone, especially those who like post apocalyptic works.

:) :) :)

Dr. Deanna Nichols is a geneticist searching for a cure to save the world. After the war nearly destroyed it by releasing an aggressive virus, it was the vaccine that killed the humanity’s chances for progress and survival. Deanna feels guilty because she has participated in creating the vaccine, and General Mackenzie never lets her forget that.

Their luck changes when they are contacted by the convicts held in a secret military prison hidden in the arctic desert. The C deviance criminals are willing to negotiate and provide unaffected DNA samples in exchange for supplies and a visit paid by the doctor herself. Suddenly there’s hope, so Deanna embarks on a dangerous journey to a grittier reality than she had expected.

Could a woman alone save the world? 

(Cover and back cover blurb taken from Smashwords.)


What made you decide to become a writer?

Over the years, simple daydreaming turned into writing, and then I discovered that people actually liked my stories. I still write first and foremost for my own enjoyment, but the satisfaction is bigger now that other people read it too.

Who inspires you?

I don’t know if it’s a ‘who’. If we’re talking about writing, to me inspiration comes either from images that spark an idea of a plot in my mind, or from ideas that I twist around until I get new, unusual ones. If we’re talking about life in general, I look up to people able to find solutions to difficult problems. Because there’s always a solution, you just have to look for it in the right place or be brave enough to try it.

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

I’d like my readers to have a pleasant experience. If the story makes them think too, then it’s even better.

Where did this idea come from?

The story was initially meant for an apocalyptic anthology, but I didn't want it to be something depressing. Therefore, I focused on an isolated case and not on the post-apocalyptic world itself. I also knew I wasn't interested in the technological part but more in the psychological concepts and issues, and I wanted a strong female protagonist. It worked so well that the story ended up longer than planned and, when the project fell apart, I decided to publish it as a novella.

Who was your favorite character to develop?

Each one of the characters was interesting in their own way because they are all very different and served a special purpose in the story. This being said, I must confess that as a writer I am more fascinated by the interaction between characters than by the characters alone.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Read a lot, write a lot, edit a lot. Then start all over again and, as long as you enjoy the process, never give up.

What can we expect next from you?

“Blue Moon CafĂ©: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks” (a werecreatures story collection) is supposed to be out in December 2012, and “The Impaler’s Revenge” (a vampire novella) is scheduled for the spring of 2013. After that, I’ll be working on a fantasy trilogy and a sci fi saga.

Where can we purchase your book?

Human Instincts is available as an e-book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Sony and Smashwords.

THANKS IOANA!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tis the Season



I had several things run through my head and I was figuring out what to post today. In light of the tradegy that happened yesterday, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of those victims, as well as those who have been effected by the shooting.

Tis the season for decorations, stress, shopping, lights, wrapping, cooking, cards, more stress, deals, family, and more. The Christmas season is being commericalized earlier and earlier each year. I was shocked, but shouldn't have been, when stores began putting out Christmas stuff before Halloween. But that's only part of it. I feel like, in a way, we get so caught up in the hustle and the bustle that we forget the true meaning of Christmas.

It's not meant to be so crazy. President Thomas S Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, recently talked about Christmas being love. Remembering those around us. Slowing down and taking the time to remember the Savior. It's a wonderful talk you can view here.

Personally, as a family we've decided to focus more on teh Savior. My son has loved all the Christmas lights that appear this time of year. It wasn't until I really began looking and listening to what he sees that I realized all that he's talking about are the snowmen, Christmas trees, and Santa Clause's. There are hardly any nativities around. So, I tried to only put our nativities out in the house, and any chance I get, I talk to him about baby Jesus.

I just think during this time of craziness, that we can take a step back and remember others. Remember the Savior and his sacrifice. Remember to love each other.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jelly Bean Crisis by Jolene Stockman--Book Blast



The Jelly Bean Crisis by Jolene Stockman

This sounds fun. Be sure to take a look! :)

A total meltdown. The whole school watching. Now Poppy’s an ex-straight-A with no Plan B.

When Poppy Johnson throws away a full scholarship to Columbia, she can only blame the jelly beans. The yucky green ones? Midnight cram sessions and Saturday’s spent studying. The delicious red? The family legacy: Columbia, and a future in finance. Except now it’s starting to look like Poppy’s jelly bean theory is wrong. School has been her life until, but maybe it’s time to start living now.

Poppy has thirty days to try a new life. No school, no studying. Just jumping into every possible world. Thirty days to find her passion, her path, and maybe even love.

The Jelly Bean Crisis is officially on.





*** Praise for The Jelly Bean Crisis***

"The Jelly Bean Crisis is a heart warming and thought provoking story, especially if you're in the process of figuring out your life!"  - Ajoop On Books!

"This book had me riveted. Completely riveted the entire time. The Jelly Bean Crisis was instant love for me."  - Book Briefs.

"It's a beautifully told story that you'll be thinking about long after you finish reading."  - A Pocket Full of Books.

If you're looking for a smart contemporary YA read, then The Jelly Bean Crisis is for you!



Purchase



***Book Blast Special***
Get your Kindle copy of The Jelly Bean Crisis for 99 cents!
http://www.amazon.com/The-Jelly-Bean-Crisis-ebook/dp/B008PODAAK





Author Jolene Stockman

Jolene Stockman is an award winning writer, speaker, and an expert for Girlfriend Magazine Australia. She is a Master of Neuro Linguistic Programming, and one of the youngest in the world to achieve the Distinguished Toastmaster Award. Jolene lives in New Zealand, and is the author of Total Blueprint for World Domination. The Jelly Bean Crisis is her debut fiction.









$100 Book Blast Giveaway
Ends 12/21/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it when you follow Jolene and leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First Time by Samuel Ben White--Interview & Blog Tour


FIRST TIME by Samuel Ben White
Welcome to this stop on the FIRST TIME blog tour, hosted by I Am A Reader Not a Writer. This one sounds fantastic! Thanks to Samuel for the interview below!


What if history didn’t happen that way the first time?

Garison Fitch was a scientist and something of a celebrity in the Soviet Americas in the early 21st century until dropping off the map to pursue his theories in the remote La Plata Canyon. Living in a log home he built himself (which was too close for some to the Empire of Japan (30 miles to the west) and the Republic of Texas (15 miles to the south), Garison began to experiment with interdimensional travel.
An experiment with such travel surprised him when he landed him in 1744. There he discovered a primitive world of somewhat suspicious people, but a freedom he had never experienced before–which may have been most frightening of all. As he was trying to discover how to return to the future, he met and fell in love with Sarah, a beautiful young woman who is an outcast due to the fact that it was never known who her father was. They married and had three children and he decided to stay in the past and raise his children with the woman he loved.

When he tried to rid himself of his time machine by sending it into the future, however, it took him with it. Now, he finds himself back in the twenty-first century where a woman (Heather) he has never met claims to be his wife and the country he grew up in is gone, replaced by something called “The United States of America”. He quickly realizes that something he did in the past has changed the future but he doesn’t know what until he stumbles across a strange item in Heather’s purse.
Should he live in this new world, or try to travel once more through time and return the world to “normal”?  As he becomes convinced he can’t return to Sarah, he’s not really sure if he can live in this new world he created, either. (Taken from author's website.)

For a reading sample, click here.

What made you decide to become a writer?
Many of my earliest memories are of my parents reading to me, so I grew up being fascinated with the idea that a person could tell a story that other people would want to hear or read.  So, in first grade, as soon as I started learning how to write words and make sentences, I would try to string them together into stories.  Before that, even, I would drawn cartoon stories and get my sisters to write in the wording.

Who inspires you?
So many people, but some who deserve special billing would be: Louis L’Amour, CS Lewis, Andy Griffith, Jesus and Agatha Christie.  All of them—including the two on that list who weren’t, technically, writers—could create such great characters and tell stories I not only wanted to read all the way through and were uplifted and challenged by, but made me want to know more.

Of people who I actually know, I am especially inspired by my parents (for their love of each other, their volunteerism, their compassion); the hospice nurses who do full-time what I only do on a volunteer basis; and just about anyone who goes beyond their fears and does something to make their world a better place.

What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?
Many of my novels involve time travel, and I’m convinced that all good writing is time travel writing (even the local sports reporting) because it takes us to some place and time where we’re not.  Back to the ancient past, back to last Friday’s football game, or into some utopian or dystopian future.

So I would like my readers to be inspired, perhaps, to find out about my Christian faith and pursue their own, but mainly I want my readers to just be able to travel in time for a little while, like a vacation in their mind.

Where did this idea come from?
The idea for “First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch” was first planted in my mind by a conversation in my teen years with my father.  We were discussing time travel—probably after watching reruns of “Star Trek”—and began to discuss what it would be like to be a modern person who somehow switched places with a famous person from history, like Patrick Henry.

The idea germinated for many years before I finally locked on to the idea of someone from a present that’s wildly different from our own traveling back in time and accidentally creating our world by doing something in the past.  Once I figured out what they would do, and when, the rest of the story basics were easy to come by.  Then, it was just a matter of writing (and re-writing, and re-writing, etc.) for about a decade to get the story where I wanted it to be.

Who was your favorite character to develop?
Sarah.  She originally just had a pretty small “part”, but then it was as if the character took over and told me, “You realize I’m really the motivation for everything that Garison does, right?”  From there, and through several iterations, her part didn’t get a whole lot larger, but it did get stronger.  So strong that she practically grabbed the sequel and dragged it around herself—again, not so much in “time on page” but in influence.

Any advice for aspiring authors?
Keep writing.
Also, make sure you like what you write.  It’s good to learn your audience, but you can’t write just for the audience.  If you don’t like the story, you’re probably not going to be able to convince anyone else to like it, either.

What can we expect next from you?
I have other novels already available which focus on time travel, some detective novels, three fantasies, a western, and some romances.  My most recent novel, “TimeKeeperS” features Garison Fitch as a much older man and is a detective story that involves time travel.

I’m working on another detective novel—“just” a straight murder mystery this time—as well as a sequel to one of my Christian romances.  I have another time travel/detective story and a couple more fantasy novels in the works, but they may still be years from completion.

Where can we purchase your book?
Plus, they can read more about it, find convenient ordering links, and learn more about my other novels (including the rest of the Garison Fitch trilogy) at http://www.garisonfitch.com

THANK YOU SAMUEL!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm behind

I have to admit that life has caught up with me. I have several books ready to be reviewed, but haven't gotten/taken the time to sit down and get the posts together. My goal is to have my own book revised by the end of December and I'm so close I can taste it. Forgive me for neglecting my blog, but I will be up and running on schedule soon.

Thanks for your understanding!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Courage


I recently attended the Northwest Writers Retreat in Washington. Heather Moore was the guest speaker there and I loved what I learned from her. Her closing remarks had to do with the courage to follow our dreams. You know how notes can be, not always as complete as we'd like them, but here are mine. Basically what I took from it is that we have to try. We have to have the courage to try, even if we're told we can't. It was wonderful to hear her personal story. So keep dreaming, keep trying, and Happy Writing!

Courage to follow dreams--Heather Moore

Resistance
Related to procrastination, is universal, it never sleeps, plays for keeps, fueled by fear, fed by fear, most powerful @ finish line, recruits alies

Rejection
Can come from people you know and love
Don't compare your worst self to someone's best self
Begin with a prayer- use writing time wisely, do I need to be doing sketching else
I'd you wan it you'll make time for it

Be supportive of other writers and their successes

Embracing your calling
Love 
We are told as a child our dreams are impossible
Fear of the defeats on the paths
Fear of realizing the dreams we've worked so hard for

What I took from it is that we have to try. We have to have the courage to try, even if we're told we can't. It was wonderful to hear her personal story. So . . .

Keep dreaming

Keep trying 

and 

Happy Writing!