Saturday, December 31, 2011

Short trips with large families. What I am doing wrong.

My family and I traveled to Wyoming to visit the old prison. We'd heard about it a few years ago and really wanted to take a tour. It's supposed to be really hanuted. It definitely felt creepy. My baby was fine until we entered the "death row" building and then he wanted nothing to do with that building.

My older kids also wanted to go back to Martin's Cove. Knowing that Martins Cove would be blustery and cold I decided to stay at the hotel room and edit a MS that needed to be done. With the little kids that had snotty noses from a recent cold.

Every time I do short trips I sit in the car on the way home and make a mental list of things that could have been done easier faster etc. This time I actually wrote the list down.

So since you're my captive audience I thought I'd share.

First, I need to have a "travel box" IE hard sided rubbermaid box allready stocked with paper plates, cups, plastic silverware, paper towels, disposable tablecloths and other things like this. But it needs to be bigger than that or I need two one for the paper products and one for foodand snacks that we are taking on the road. We almost left the jar of peanut butter at Flaming Gorge because it fell out and rolled under the truck.

Garbage bags for the car and hotel room. For accidents, for dirty clothes, for garbage.

Hard sided cooler, the soft sided coolers leak after a few hours.

Seperate fish cooler so the cold food doesnt smell and taste like fish.

Take at least 2-3 more sets of clothes for the little kids than you think you'll need.

Blankets or towels in the car for spills and accidents. On floor or in carseats.

Laundry soap and quarters. Dish soap if you are using non disposable sippy cups.

Individual boxes that fit under my seats for individual kids stuff so it doesnt get lost in 12 pass van.

Laminated packing list in each kids bag and in the travel box(s)

Laminated list of food that we can grab or buy as we leave. (inc allergy list) IE maybe have some bread and tortillas frozen and hidden so we can just take off and let them thaw.

Make sure we have a master list so things like the babys porta bed doesnt get left at home. Inc, where the stuff is stored at home.

Now before you think that this trip was a disaster it wasn't. The 14 yo did leave the porta crib at home but the hotel had one we could borrow.

Things we did right.

I on a whim grabbed two extra pants and underwear for the preeschooler incase of accients.

I also brought a bag of toys for the one year old knowing we'd be in the hotel room all day. MAJOR RIGHT THING TO DO!!!

Most kids brought blankets sleeping bags and pillows for the pull out beds.

Being so cold I brought extra coats and jackets for the little ones. I also brought a little cooler so i could travel with milk and other things for the baby.

I took my little baggie of medicines fo the kids tylenol, motrin, benadryl, dramimine etc.

we have the food for traveling worked out and that went over mostly well except the ever changing picky one year old. But were still working on that.

Pack water bottles. Kids get tired of juice and pop and it can actually dehydrate them. Cups of water while cheaper get spilled.

Little styrofoam cups are great to fill with crackers and chips and pass out.

Bring both salty and sweet treats they will get tired of just one type.

Make kids bring some things to entertain themselves on the trip.

The best part of the trip besides seeing the haunted prison was getting my edit finished. (Mental note, hotel is nice place to work on writing. As long as kids arent watching Tom and Jerry.)

I'm back.

My blog and I have a love hate relationship and most of the emotion is on my side.

I will honestly from here on out try my darndness to have a regular schedule. Honest.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cold River by Liz Adair




I had the pleasure of reading a really great Romantic Suspense these last few weeks.

Here is the blurb:

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.

This was a great read. Full of suspense, rich in characters and descriptive in setting. Liz is a great writer and I will be reading more of her stuff now that we've been (sort of) introdouced. It was hard to put it down. Thanks Liz for a great read.

You can get the book HERE

Here is her WEBSITE

About the Author:

A native of New Mexico and mother of seven, Liz Adair lives in northwest Washington state with Derrill, her husband of 48 years.

A late bloomer, Liz published her first mystery (The Lodger) just as AARP started sending invitations to join. After writing three in the Spider Latham series, Liz moved into romantic suspense with The Mist of Quarry Harbor.

Liz took a break from suspense to write Counting the Cost, a novel based on family history. The book won the 2009 Whitney Award and was a finalist for the Willa Award and Arizona Publisher Association's Glyph Award.

Liz is back writing romantic suspense with Cold River and feels that's where she belongs. "I remember when I was a young mother with all those kids and a slender budget," she says. "I was so grateful for books that let me go places and meet people who carried on adult conversations That's what I want to write--cheap vacations."

Heeding advice given to writers not to quit their day job, Liz works as a forensic scheduler on schedule delay analyses. She also serves on LDStorymakers' Board of Directors, is a member of American Night Writers Association and the Skagit Valley Writers League, and chairs the annual Northwest Writers Retreat.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review Heir to Power by Michele Poague


Sometimes I recieve a free book in exchange for an honest review. The way I recieve the work has no influence on my opinion.

The colony of Survin has been hidden for centuries, protecting an ancient religious artifact called the Healing Crystal from men who would steal or destroy it. Kairma, heir to the Crystal, is destined to mate with the handsome Naturi and become the leader of the reclusive colony, but she is too young to realize the peril soon to arrive. At sixteen, Kairma is too young to realize many things ....

Kairma would rather go spelunking with her brother and his best friend than study ancient medicine and religious laws, but the discovery of a tomb containing ancient artifacts leads Kairma to question her religion and the true nature of the Crystal. To further complicate Kairma's ascent, a childhood illness has left her resembling a nearby race of men both hated and feared by the people of Survin. Because of this, Kairma's younger sister Kinter, who is in love with Naturi, believes she is the rightful heir.

Disease and infertility have decimated Survin, but bigotry and religious laws forbid the introduction of new members so things heat up when a traveling archeologist stumbles upon the reclusive colony and introduces a powerful new weapon. Forced into a larger world, the Survinees discover they hold an object of unimaginable power, a power other men covet, a power that might save or forever damn the human race.


This was a big book at over 550 pages it was the longest I've read in a while. The author deals with an interesting subject, that of isolation of a peoples and what happens because of it. Regardless of the reasons. The copy was mostly clean making it an easy read. It is a typical epic fantasy and I am sure will delight many readers.

There were only a few problems, there were lots of characters and some had unpronouncable names and that slowed me down because I was second guessing myself trying to pronounce them in different ways. Also the author bounced from one head to another among those characters makeing me think "Who is this?" some of the time.

If you like fantasy this is the perfect book to pickup for those long cold winter. nights. Thank you Michele for the adventure.

You can get the book HERE

Michele's WEBSITE

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yeah, what she said

I couldnt have written it better myself. So with permission of the author I send you to Howard Taylor's well spoken wife Sandra.

Here

Friday, November 4, 2011

Story Structure is not just for the MC

I recently attended a chatroom "brainstorm session" on Iwrite network. I was trying to get my MC's storyline figured out for a YA fantasy I had an idea about. As we chatted, one thing one of the other ladies asked me is if I had a character arc for the female secondary character. Well to my embarasment I had to admit I didn't. As we discussed her arc everyhting about the story seemed to fall into place including the questions I was having about the MC.

Well to hammer that idea home, I just started to exchange chapters with my new crit partner (they're awesome) and I needed to revise some of my chapters for my 2nd MC in that story. At that point in time I realized that her character arc was also absent. (see a trend here?) Not the female aspect, although I do write males better than females. LOL The problem i was having was in the fact that I wasnt addressing the character arc or structure of the secondary characters.

Now let me clarify, if the character is truly secondary and only has a minor role in the story just addressing that characters arc and or what the character wants to happen or needs to do is probably sufficent. If for example the character wants to ABC and it doesnt interfere with the main structure then let it play out. But don't introdouce a character (even a minor one) and their motive if you don't plan on resolving it.

If the character is either the antagonist or another MC you should have some structure planned out. I have even found that with Brook's style that any or all of the MC's: Antagonist, protagonist, second MC, (or love interest) can have diferent plot points mid points and pinch ploints although PP2 is most likely the same and where all of the structures come together. Although you can have one structure for all of them too, but I feel that seperate structures leads to a deeper plot and less flat characters.

The main structure of the book however will follow the MC's structure and is the "recipie" you follow in respect to the theme and concept.

For example, If the MC's character arc involves him becoming used to living a new style of life then his arc should reflect that. The main structure will highlight the story points that acomplish that structure. If the other MC's arc takes them through a process of them going from confident to being a victim and then becoming confident again that arc should address that AND that characters structure (pp1, mp and pinch's) should highlight parts of the structure that pertain to their arc. If the antagonist's arc involves them deciding that they want something regardless of the consequences, their arc and structure will reflect that line.

You will treat all three arcs and structures as seperate but cohesive lines with all three arc and structures coming together to colide in some awesome PP2 3/4 of the way throught the book.

Wow I hope that was clear and concise and not resembling the mud my kids were playing in this afternoon. Please feel free to comment and ask questions if you want/need.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Scarefest Blog Hop . . .


I was supposed to post some information on this but my day was so busy I just posted the excerpt and kept telling myself to go back and fix it. So here is the revised post.

Jordan McColum is hosting a scarefest with the theme of fear. I have some pretty scary scenes so I thought I'd go for it.

This is a scene from my story Intercession. I'll warn you this was a NANO project and is really rough. I apologize.

The scene opens where Dacias a vampire is chasing a human on Halloween night.

The man looked back and with a grin he turned down Garret Street, a small side alley lined with bars and whore houses. It would be easy for him to slip away in any of the darkened doorways.
Not if I can help it.
Dacias pushed himself forward increasing his speed, grabbed the man by the shoulders and spun him around.
“Whaddaya want with me?” the man asked. His once smooth ponytail now hung in greasy strands around his shoulders. He panted and looked at Dacias, one of his yellow contacts had shifted to the right and he blinked to settle it again. A fake vampire fang now hung by a string of adhesive from his incisor. “I didn’t do anything.”
“Right,” Dacias said. “I’m sure that girl would disagree with you.”
“Girl? What girl?”
“the blonde woman dressed in the fairy costume, I’m sure she remembers every terror filled second with you.”
“T…the fairy, oh her. She was like that when I found her.”
“When you found her? Then why’d you run?” he grabbed at the man’s had that held the straight edge. “What’s this for then?”
“I. . . uh found it next to her, and . . . I wondered what it was.” He startled as the tooth fell hitting his shirt before falling to the ground.
“You know what I really hate?” Dacias said as he took his finger and bent the blade of the straight edge down against the man’s hand. “I hate someone who impersonates a vampire. You guys have it all wrong. We’re nothing like the old legends make us out to be. You push a stake through my chest and you’re just going to piss me off, even more when you think that vampires drain a body. Just how big do you think my stomach is?” He paused watching the man’s face. He’d seen better vampire costumes. He wondered why his friend Elias invited so many humans to his annual Halloween party anyway. “You know what I hate even more? I hate someone who blatantly lies to me.”
“I . . .I” the man stuttered. Dacias smiled, smelling the adrenalin rush through his blood. The aroma similar to hot sugar, it made him think of his mothers cinnamon rolls.
“A . . . are you scared yet?” he mocked letting his fangs slide from his gums. The man’s pupils constricted into tiny pinpoints. “Yeah you thought we really didn’t exist did you. Thought it was cool to mock my race. Even better to let a woman bleed to death as you sit at home in agony with a belly full of blood.” He pulled the man’s head sideways and opened his mouth. He suppressed his calming pheromones, the ones that normally let his victims fall into a peaceful stupor as he fed and not remember a thing afterward.
“This is going to hurt.” He said and plunged his fangs into the man’s flesh.

inkPagent

There's a new kid in town. A website called inkPagent. It deals with all things writing and publishing. To cellebrate their grand opening they are having a party. If you post an article there or mention them you get points toward three Amazon gift cards. The site is pretty amazing. Go take a gander. inkPagent

Thursday, October 27, 2011

re-vise, re-write, re-vision . . . who am I kidding?

I am working on a few projects. Drafting and editing and plotting. While I love the plotting and drafting the one that needs editing is the one that is demanding my attention. You see I have a new crit partner, and she's awesome. I can't believe I am so lucky!!!! The deal is, I send her a new chapter every Monday and she sends me hers. We crit them and then send them back by Sat evening. This is really a good thing, it is forcing me to revise Latent and send her chapters that are as perfect as possible. SO seeing that Latent is my NANO project from two years ago one ting has happened since then. I have fine tuned the plot and made it better. So what happens when you do this you revise every chapter. Now don't get me wrong, I said re-vise not re-write. While I am weaking things I am not rewriting most of the chapters. Most of them need things changed but not a complete re-drafting. This is a good thing. I have let this book sit in the back of my head and simmer so-to-speak, and by doing that it has gotten better much like seasonings in a stew. So while alot of my writer friends are gearing up for NANO, my advice to them is once the 50,000 words are drafted, stick it in a dark drawer for a long time and let it age. I promise you the story will get better as it sits. Happy NANO Everyone!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

If I am a plotter, then

why am I working on a book without a clear structure?

Have you ever heard of discovery writing? It's that place where you just sit down and write w/o any clear idea of where you're going. Well that is where I am on the MS that is demanding my attention.

Now don't get me wrong, I am still a "structure gal", it's just that at the begining of the story when I don't know where exactly I am going, siting down and just starting to write is a good way to get an idea of who my characters are and what they think and are going to do.

It's kinda like freewriting, giving me a way to explore what the beginings of the story is. A chance to have a little fun with out the structure looming over my head telling me that that isnt the way the story is supposed to go.

Sometimes I use this stuff I write at the begining in the story. Sometimes I throw it all into a "cut" folder for another time or refrence. Sometimes it becomes a later chapter or stays the first chapter. Whatever feels right.

Regardless of how or if I use it those first few chapters often express the theme of what I am trying to write and create the basis of everything else that goes on in the MS. It's how this panster turned structure gal stays sane.

This is my 400 post. Amazing isn't it? That I've been talking to you guys for that long.

To celebrate I will be giving away a custom made hand sewn 50 page mini journal. But you have to do one thing. Comment on the post.

SO . . . What style of writer are you? Or if you're not a writer, say hi.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Deep Blue Secret by Christie Anderson


California teen, Sadie James, thinks her life couldn’t get any better. She has great friends, an energetic mother she adores, and the beach practically in her own backyard. But her carefree life is turned upside down when she’s rescued by a mysterious and strangely familiar boy who won’t even tell her his name.

Each time the boy appears, Sadie’s unexplainable attraction to him deepens along with her need to unravel his secrets. The boy is there to protect her. But as wonderful and exciting as it might be to have an irresistible boy with crystal green eyes protecting her every move, every minute of the day...why does Sadie need one?

As Sadie finds answers, she realizes her life isn’t as perfect as she thought. Not only is she caught in a world of dangerous secret agents she never knew existed, but it turns out her true identity may be the greatest secret of all.

You can get the book here: DEEP BLUE SECRET

Christie's website



This was a really interesting story. Full of interesting ideas and worlds. I actually read it in a day. The authors ideas are origional and that is what kept me reading.

However there were a few drawbacks, and I don't want any reader to dive into the story un-awares. the author created a world that we don'e get to see even though one of the POV characters lived there. A major problem with Sadie was presented and while Rayne solves it we again are left in the dark as to what the solution is. The book really needed a few more rounds of critique and editing.

The one thing that would have made me put the book down if the story hadn't been so interesting was Sadies emotions. She was up and down happy and sad, in love and in denial depressed and normal. It really reminded me of Bella and Edward in the Twilight Series. I wondered if the series is a favorite read of the author.

Now don't get me wrong. The book is worth the read. Yes there are problems in it. BUT there are problems in many books. I promised myself that I would be honest to you my readers, so you don't think I am up in the night.

I recieved this book at no charge in exchange for an honest review. How I recieve a book never influences my expressed opinion.


Here is her really good book trailer

Deep Blue Secret

Monday, September 26, 2011

If you find yourself asking yourself and your friends,
"Am I really a writer?" or "Am I really an artist?"
Chances are you are.
The counterfeit innovator is wildly self confident.
The real one is scared to death.

Steven Pressfield "The War of Art"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One thing I dislike . . .


About e-publishing.

This book Modern Sorcery by Gary Jonas is available in e-format now but not in paperback until October. Now before you get you panties in a bunch let me tell you why.

I don't have a kindle, nook, iPad etc. I just can't afford the $150-800 price tag. I'm not trying to make you feel bad for me I have made decisions about where my disposable income goes and admittedly it usually goes to writers conferences, and this year a new laptop that was desperately needed.

I could buy it and download it onto my laptop, but my eyes are getting older and I don't want to strain them any more than I do with my writing.

I don't dislike e-publishing, if that is what floats your boat, then go for it. I guess I'm old fashioned and like my old paper books better.

But remember this. If I want to read your book and I can't get it when I am thinking about purchasing it, I will probably forget about your book by the time its available in hard copy and you have lost a sale.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday news . . .


Dyslexia has become the be all and end all of ny existence. Changing schools teachers and grades are just some fo the things we are dealing with. Please be patient with me for a few while I get my head back on my shoulders.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I just have to laugh. . .


I think this is supposed to be engagement pictures.

Either someone is playing a good trick on the couple or they have interesting sense of humors. Either way thought it's make you laugh on a Monday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How to Make a "YA quest Project Notebook"

Okay so I will be the first to admit that writing YA is SO OUT OF MY BOX, it isn't funny. But when the idea hits you like a steamroller, you obey the muse.

So I had this idea to write a YA (thanks to my son and his amazing curiosity). But this story was one of both discovering the world he lives in and growing up. That mean I needed to know what he was going to go as he traveled.




When I had the theme and ideas firmly in my head I ploted out the story structure so I could begin the "journey".

I started looking at pictures of diferent places on earth and making a list of things I wanted him to see.






After the list was complete and the pictures gathered I needed a map. Luckily for me my hubby brings large pieces of paper home for me to use. I spent a few hours drawing it out. When I was happy with it, I went over it with markers to darken the lines. The origional map is about 4' x 5'.

Once the map was finished I took a picture of it and printed it off. Then I drew his path and what he would see and where.








Then with sticky notes I labeled the main scenes and placed the pictures with each scene.







Once the pictures were distibuted I glued them in the book from the end to the begining so I didn't run out of paper or have pages left over at the end of the book.










Now I have all my scenes and the pictures that serve as visual reminders of the journey right at my fingertips whenever/wherever I go.



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fall by Jennifer Hurst



Free download of book in exchange for honest review
Imagine finding a secret space in an old school building you are supposed to be renovating. You are standing there knocking on the wall, trying to discern what--if anything is in that space, and something knocks back. Scared out of your wits, you run for the door.

And you're lost in the story.

I can't tell you how much I love love love this story. Paranormal Urban Fantasy is definitely my favorite type of book to read. The characters are rich in detail the scenery is detailed and inviting. The story has twists and turns you are totally not expecting. There were some typos and a few grammar problems but the story overrides them. This book is definitely worth the read.

Fall by Jennifer Hurst

Construction is in Julia's blood, so when she is promoted to Project Manager to renovate a turn-of-the-century school house in a bed and breakfast, she has high hopes of proving herself in the male-dominated construction industry.

But Julia discovers there is more to managing a construction project than just contracts and budgets - especially when she meets Matthew Rigo, the demolition contractor who seems bound and determined to cross the lines Julia has imposed.

Vandalism and other unexplainable occurances beset the project, leading Julia to believe there is much more to the school house than she first realizes. Something is inside the hundred year old school house, and it wants out. Is Julia the key to its release? And are Matthew and Nathan what they appear to be?


Buy the book here

Here's Jennifer's website

In conjunction with this blog tour, Jennifer is holding a contest. It will involve any of the blogs that Jennifer visits or where her book is featured and willclose on December 31st, 2011. The entrants have to answer three questions about the book they’ve read (bought, borrowed, or stolen - shame on you) and post a link to Jennifer's website on their Twitter, Facebook, or blog (need link for verification).

Then the names will be entered in a random name picker generator(http://textmechanic.com/Random-Line-Picker.html) and announced on Jennifer's website (www.jenniferhurst.com) on January 31st, 2012. The winner will receive a gift certificate for a night’s stay at the actual bed and breakfast where the story takes place.

Other prizes include an autographed copy of FALL, and she will randomly select 3 contestants’ names to use in the sequel to FALL. Plus, they will receive afree copy of that book when it is published.

Each blog that Jennifer Hurst visits will have a different set of questions people can answer, and they may enter as many times as they want - but they can enter once per blog site that they visit. So the more sites you visit, the more you can enter your name, thus increasing your chances of winning the gift certificate, a copy of the book FALL, and your name in the sequel.

Get the book, read the book, and then read over the questions below. Once you have your answers, e-mail them to Jennifer.fall.jenniferhurst@gmail.com

Your privacy is respected and your email address will NOT be used for anything but the contest. Once the contest is over -your email address will be deleted from the database.

Here are the questions for you to answer:

What color was Matthew's t-shirt when JD met him for the first time?

What is JD's favorite flavor of milkshake?

What kind of orchard did JD and Matthew camp in?

If you would like to visit the other sites, go here for themaster list of all participating sites: http://fallbyjenniferhurst.wordpress.com/

Best of luck, and thanks for participating!

Monday, August 29, 2011

All Diets Work by Jen Brewer RD


Free book in exchange for review




All Diets Work, That’s the Problem

Author: Jen Brewer, RD

Published Date: 2011

Publisher: Petersen Press

Softcover; 132 pages

Genre: Non-Fiction

ISBN# 978-0-9835140-7-7


When I was approached to review this book i was sent a link to the blog by the author. Needless to say I was impressed and told the review coordinator yes. I have struggled with my weight since my first pregnancy and my thyroid began to fail. Back then I was not able to exercize back then because my activity induced asthma was outof controll. So slowly between inactivity and my slowed metabolizm the weight has just packed on over the last 14 years.

I know alot about diet allready, but I love that this book has everything I know and need in one little book. It was a nice easy read and there is a huge ammount of information (charts graphs etc.) in the back half of the book. Not only does she give you the rules, but she explains why. I loved the apple analogy.

If you want to take control of your weight life and diet as in what you eat not what you restrict eating--THIS is the book for you.

Jen's website/blog HERE

Book link HERE

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wow. . .


So I've been looking around the internet for ideas for organizing and back to school prep. If I am to have any time writing this year I need to be organized. The anti muse demands most of my time so i need to take advantage of what little time he sleeps.

Well today my internet search has led me to lunch ideas. If the school lunches are too expensive this year I will be brown bagging it for the kids. Here's a few sites to get those creative juices flowing. Warning, these sites might make you feel like a bad mom. It did for me a little.

Here is a site that celebrates feeding kids in a creative way in a muffun tin. AMAZING!



Muffin tin Monday






This site had loads of bento boxes. So cool.

Bento boxes.

Last I found a blog i have been looking for for a long time A slow cooker a day blog.

Slow cooker

Have a good evening.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My other passion

picture by Picasso
While I have always wanted to write and be published. I have other interests outside the printed word. Artistic endeavors and martial arts are two of many.

When I birthed my first baby I knew that breastfeeding was the best thing for him. While making milk comes naturally to most of those women who are able to get pregnant and have babies. The art of nursing doesn't necessarily come naturally as a skill. I know from experience. Those seven months that I attempted to feed my oldest were filled with frustration and tears. I have to praise my dear husband who talked me into trying "just one more day" that whole time.

I almost didn't nurse my second baby based on the hard time I had with my first. For me memories of nursing my baby were difficult to re-live. But again my dear hubby suggested that I just try it for a few days and see if I was sure I didn't want to. That first time I put my second baby to breast was a completely diferent experience. She latched on like she'd been doing it for weeks. My first thought was "If this is what normal breastfeeding is, then the last time was all wrong." We had a nice nursing relationship that lasted until I let peer pressure make me wean. Even if she knew what she was doing, I was still un-educated.

Baby number three changed my ideals and I began on a journey that would make this one of my few very loved passions. He was born 6 weeks early and spent 21 days in the NICU. I had a choice as i sat in the mothers wing alone, without my precious baby. Let my milk dry up and formula feed him or pump and give him the very best food he could recieve in this medicaly fragile time. I came home after two days armed with a pump and a bag full of attachments. In those few weeks i read everything I could get my hands on about breastfeeding, I talked to the lactation specialist, and the Dr. When my pediatritian said it was okay to wean him and feed him formula it had the opposite effect. It made me even more determined to get him fully breastfeeding when he got home. (I often wonder if he was using reverse psycology on me.)

Baby 4 was my most succesful relationship. We nursed almost 2 years.
5 and 6, were both weaned between 18 and 20 months. During this time I was hired in both UT county and Tooele county as a peer counselor and ran my own pump rental business. I also had a chance to become an IBCLC which is teh equivalent of a Masters of Nursing for breastfeeding. (we moved so I was never able to complete the course. I feel terrible that I couldnt get that degree. With changing regulations, it's lost to me now.) The cool thing about these years is I had become passionate about breastfeeding.

Now I am nursing my #7 and last baby. Even if I have dificulties. (I don't like getting bitten) I am determined to make this a rewarding relationship for both of us. I have made it to a year, (Happy Birthday Elias) and am still going strong.

It seems apropriate that my last baby was born during World Breastfeeding Week. What a better way to celebrate something you love with all your heart. To all those women who nurture your children at the breast I salute you. To those who struggle, you can do it, and if you choose to wean, you tried.

HAPPY WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK!


Please don't take this as an insult to those who can't have children of your own or breastfeed your babies. I have struggled myself and suffered almost every ailement know to the nursing woman with the belief that it has given me compassion for all women. I am adopted, I was not breastfed myself. This has deepened my understanding of all types of mothering. I believe in the precious feeding relationship between parent and baby regardless the mode of delivery or the content.

Monday, July 11, 2011

How many times?

Can the same story be told?




One of the recent trends especially in YA is the re-telling of fairy tales. Think about how many times you have heard the Cinderella story in any media form. Ella Enchanted? The Goose Girl? It seems that those moral teaching tales written by Hanz Christian Anderson or the brothers Grimm etc. resonate with people of all ages.








Why is that? It makes me wonder. I guess it's the same reason we have a plethora of vampire stories and everyone is unique and has it's own fan following.





My favorite origonal and re-told story is "The Little Mermaid". I especially love the Disney version of it. Disney has done such a good job at adapting stories. Each story having a great concempt theme and plot. Who else would have thought about taking the little known (at least in America) story of a girl dressing up as a man and saving China. (My good friend from Malaysia, has been told that story from when she was little.)




So the other day as I was finishing my MG book I had this really cool idea for this amazing story. It came to me with such clarity and a complete plot it struck me silent for a moment as the story unfolded in my head. Like a flower blooms. So as I paused from finishing my MG and pleaded for this book to take it's time so the MG wasn't over run, I wrote the details down and saved them in their own document.





Well this morning after helping my hubby get off to his extremely early job, I had a scene that come to me about this new book. The scene was so good and the idea so cool I couldn't go back to sleep, so I went to my computer and wrote the ideas down so they were safe.




I sent the idea to my BFF writing friend and she came back saying "This sounds like. . ." one of the re-told fairy tales. She's right, in many ways it is a re-telling of the MC's character arc.








While some people think I might be disapointed I am not. I am excited to have the link to relate to. something to tell an agent "Like the modern re-telling of ______ this story follows . . . " Who wouldn't like that?








What is your favorite re-telling? Either book TV or Movie.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Last Archangel by Michael Young


While I write technical suspense, I love paranormal. I was given an advance copy of "The Last Archangel" last month. It comes out July 14.

The story is about Xander an angel who is punished for his sins by being made the destroying angel until the end of time. We begin the story as Xander is given a hard to refuse offer. To hasten the end of the world so his punishment ends.

Armed with his double blades and a cupid he's supposed to be training, the adventure begins.

I loved the premise of the book. Things like demons and angels are my type of reading. The main character Xander was easily likeable and the dialogue was well written. I found the female character a little flat but don't let that disuade you from seeing where Xander's adventure leads.









You can find more about Michael here.

And buy a copy of the book here.

When reviewing a book I am occasionally given a free electronic or hard bound copy of the manuscript. These free copies never influence my opinion of the book. Often times I will like a book enough to just post something about it whether I bought it, borrowed it from a friend or the library.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Worlds within worlds

I'm a huge fan of Parallel novels. I love reading a series of books that are all interrelated by worlds or characters or both. Probably why I also love writing novels that are interconnected.

I had this really cool idea, (still is cool) that involved a planet and some deadly storms. As I pondered this story I realized that this planet was the same as the one in "The Guardian War" stories. Only this story happened a long time before TGW. It felt right as I contemplated the universe at that point in time.

I also have an Urban Fantasy world and the latest story idea I had fits all nice and snug in that realm. As my story develops I am discovering all sorts of paranormal nasties to have fun with.

Some might think that parallel novels is cheating. Not having to build another world and not creating new characters. I totally agree, I am cheating, but I love the worlds I have created, why not take advantage of that? Why not use that rich and developed world where the reader gets to experience more because you're familiar with it?

What's your opinion? Do you like parellel works? What are your favorites?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Having direction in writing

Often times begining writers write alot of stories in alot of genres before settling on one that they feel is right for them. While it may not be my favorite exercise, the creative writing assignment that forces you to think outside of your genre box is good for you as a writer. You might find that you write one style really well inspite of your preconcieved notions.

My first love as a young reader was Science Fiction. That was what I chose to write as a teen. Well 20 something years later I write technical suspense not sci/fi like I thought I would be writing. I don't write the science well but I have found I am good at character based thriller plotting style. And, even if I can't write a full on romance, I have romantic themes in my stories.

Funny story, my friend and I were talking and she had assumed that I wrote romance until I was telling her what "my assassin" had done in the most recent chapter.

Well, 7 years into writing seriously I have not only found a genre I love, Tech Suspense, (add a little Urban Fantasy here or there) but I have found a "theme" in my writing. As my logline says I write about "bad boys (or girls) that go good". My characters go through events in the MS that change them and their lives. I like the process of deconstruction I take them through to get them to a better place.

As of now I have 5 serious ideas or rough drafts about some bad boy or another and what happens to then as they change to being good. Granted, two of those ideas have a paranormal urban fantasy leaning, and I have a YA that while the character isn't a bad boy, he goes from being an immature teen to a responsible young adult. Obviously I have a pattern that works for me.

It's a nice feeling.

I have 100 follwers!!!!

Whoohoo! I have 100 followers!!!! I'm so excited.

Congratulations to Shawna Carroll who was my 100th follower and chose Black Berry Crumble by Josi Kilpack.

And Renae MAckey who won the general random drawing and will get Beautiful Creatures by KAmi Garcia ans Margret Sthol.

That was alot of fun I'll have to do it again.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Life, a broken arm and three days without the internet.

I ONLY NEED FOUR MORE FOLLOWERS BEFORE I GIVE KEY LIME PIE BY JOSI KILPACK, AND BEAUTIFUL CREATURES BY STHOL AND GARCIA!!!!!!!


Yep, that is my life right now, not that its an excuse but I couldn't do anything I regularly do for three days. So yesterdy it was catch up on my sleep, my home, and my life. Sleep, we're doing better. House, there's a visible dent. Life well that is probably out of control most of the time anyway.

I digress tho. Sitting in the hospital with my laptop and no internet was a good thing. I pounded out my plot for a new book on Tuesday while waiting for our surgery time. I was able to go over and do some edits on my latest MG project I finished on last Friday. I also watched some hours of mind numing TV which is normally something I never do. Sometimes we all need to veg right?

I have had some really cool realizations lately and I know the direction I want to go in my writing. I have had some good interest in my Emergence manuscript and i'm giddy happy about that.

My birthday was a blast, I went to the Book Festival in SLC and got a pre release copy of Posession by Elana Jhonson. YAY! I also got a copy of Maze Runner by James Dashner signed for a promoting literacy project for my daughter. My son made a killing Sat, he walked away with five free books, that was awesome for him.

I promise to discuss the new/old direction I am going in my next post unless I have an apostrophy. LOL

Untill then, write like mad my friends. Dont forget to become a follower, I only need four more until I give away two free books.

Friday, June 3, 2011

RetirementQuest®

The state of today’s economy is insecure, causing concern in many people and fear in many others. It used to be that we relied on our retirement income to see us through our golden years, but we now have to face the reality that we must take action to ensure our well-being in the future. How do we go about this? What steps do we take, where do we go, how do we know we’re doing it right?


Financial advisor John Hauserman, CFP®, has created a no-cost website as a tool for you to use on your financial journey. This site features the amazingPlanning Map, designed to help you think like a financial planner. You can begin by setting up an account at no charge,complete with your zip code which will enable you to save your progress, but your information will never be sold or given away to any outside party. Or,if you prefer, simply skip registration with a single click. As you chart out your financial situation, you will never be asked for account numbers or personal information.


As you go through and create your personal profile, you’ll feel in control of your future—a sense of freedom and independence that perhaps has been missing since the economy went downhill. You will get the tools you need to help:

1. View the financial planning process from the eyes of a CFP® professional in a user-friendly format thatmost find easy to understand

2. Get the whole story on various investment products, not just “the good stuff” thatfinancial (snake oil?) sales folks talk about

3. Find useful links to government and other helpful websites

4. Identify if a financial advisor has been thorough in their duties

5. Identify and avoid fraudulent advisors

6. Make better financial decisions

You’re invited to stop by the RetirementQuest® website and see for yourself if this is a tool you can use. Again, it’s no cost, and all you have to lose is your financial stress. Those who take action now will find themselves in a much better placelater—why delay your future security? Plan ahead and be prepared.


Securities and advisory services are offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC.A Registered Investment Advisor.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

3rd Annual Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win! Contest


Welcome to our 3rd Annual “Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win Contest!” This is becoming an exciting tradition, both for our sponsors and hopefully for all of you! 29 writer friends and I have banded together to present a month-long contest where we will give away a prize a day for the entire month of June. That’s right! 30 awesome prizes, running the gambit from books books books! (romances, fantasies, mystery/thrillers, inspirationals, children’s books, and various non-fiction), as well as Amazon gift cards, a Mary Kay gift set, a vinyl lettering gift certificate, a hand-sewn weekly planner with ribbon bookmark, a crocheted book tote with matching cell phone case, and again for you aspiring authors, TWO free edit/critiques of a partial manuscript. Many of the giveaways are open to International entries, though always check to be sure before you enter for a particular prize.

And how exactly do you enter for these amazing prizes? By following these rules:

SUMMER TREASURE HUNT RULES:

You can send in one entry for each day’s prize, or only for those prizes that strike your fancy. The rules are simple:

(1) Go to the website or blog indicated for each day, find the answer to the question for that day, then email the answer with your name and AND MAILING ADDRES to jdipastena@yahoo.com. I promise you will not wind up on any mailing lists. This is only to facilitate the receipt of your prize. All entries will be deleted at the end of the contest.

(2) Please send a separate entry for each day and type the day you are entering in the subject line. (Such as: Summer Treasure Hunt, June 1; Summer Treasure Hunt, June 2, etc).

(3) Deadline for each day: Midnight PST

(4) The winner will be contacted and announced on the day following the deadline.

All winners will be draw by www.random.org.

You do not have to wait until the designated day to enter. You can start sending in your entries right now, or begin entering at any point along the way. And check back here each day between June 2nd – July 1st to read the names of the winners.

If you have any questions, please email Joyce DiPastena at jdipastena@yahoo.com.

And now…let the treasure hunt begin!

June 1
SPONSOR: Canda Mortensen
PRIZE: A $25 Amazon gift certificate
QUESTION: What is the title and artist of the Princess song on Newbie's playlist? (HINT: Scroll to the bottom of the blog and read “Newbie Teaser”. Match the number of “Princess” with the same number on the Playlist box (you may have to scroll down the playlist to find this, too). It will give you the title and artist.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http:candamortensen.blogspot.com
OPEN TO USA ENTRIES

June 2
SPONSOR: Jennifer Griffith
PRIZE: Delicious Conversation (LDS romance, an adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion, set in a chocolate shop in Salt Lake City), by Jennifer Griffith
QUESTION: Name at least 5 kinds of candy I ate at the last writers' conference I attended AND share YOUR favorite candy. (HINT: Read the April 20, 2011 post. Click on April under the Blog Archive in the right hand sidebar.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://cottoncandy4thesoul.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 3
SPONSOR: Peggy Urry
PRIZE: Choice of book: Villette by Charlotte Bronte (romance, paperback); Airframe by Michael Crichton (thriller, paperback); The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell (contemporary crime, paperback); OR The Mist of Quarry Harbor by Liz Adair (LDS romantic fiction, paperback); AND choice of Jelly Belly Gel Case for iPhone 3G/3GS or Jelly Belly Strawberry Cheesecake Gel Case for iPod Touch.
QUESTION: What is the name of my Work In Progress (WIP)? (Hint: It's the title of my March 12, 2011 post. Click on “March” under Blog Archive in the right hand sidebar.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://peggyurry.blogspot.com/
3rd Annual Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win! Contest
OPEN TO USA/CANADA ONLY

June 4
SPONSOR: Danielle Thorne
PRIZE: Josette (sweet Regency romance, E-book) AND Southern Girl, Yankee Roots (poetry), both by Danielle Thorne
QUESTION: Danielle supports what wildlife conservancy organization? (HINT: See right hand column of website)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.daniellethorne.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 5
SPONSOR: Bonnie Harris
PRIZE: Mary Kay Microdermabrasion Set
QUESTION: What are the names of my two WIPs? (HINT: Scroll to the bottom of the blog and click on “Work in Progress” under Labels)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http:// www.bonnieharris.blogspot.com
OPEN TO USA/CANADA

June 6
SPONSOR: Susan Kaye Quinn
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (YA love story), by Susan Kaye Quinn
QUESTION: How many days do David and Eliza have on the cruise together, before they’re forced to go their separate ways? (HINT: Click on the “About Me and My Books” tab and read the blurb for Life, Liberty, and Pursuit)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://ink-spells.blogspot.com
OPEN TO USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 7:
SPONSOR: Anne Bradshaw
PRIZE: True Miracles with Genealogy: Help from Beyond the Veil (non-fiction), by Anne Bradshaw – 1 print and 1 eBook – Print copy can be autographed. (Yes, there will be TWO winners drawn for this prize)
QUESTION: Which TV station interviewed Anne? (HINT: Answer is a short way down the middle column.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://truemiracleswithgenealogy.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES; PLEASE NOTE YOUR PREFERENCE FOR PRINT OR EBOOK, ALTHOUGH I CAN’T GUARANTEE YOU WILL WIN YOUR PREFERENCE.

June 8
SPONSOR: Cheri Schmidit
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Fateful (YA paranormal romance), by Cheri Schmidt
QUESTION: Who is the prince of darkness? (HINT: Click on “April” under Blog Archive in the left hand sidebar and read the April 12, 2011 post)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://cherischmidt.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO USA ONLY

June 9
SPONSOR: Mary Fremont Schoenecker
PRIZE: Moonglade (a sweet cozy mystery, Book Two in the Maine Shore Chronicles series), by Mary Fremont Schoenecker The prize is an autographed First Edition hard cover print book.
QUESTION: What special skill does character Tante Margaret use that puts her in danger during Remi's murder investigation? (HINT: Click on the “About Her Books” tab and read the Publisher’s Weekly Review.
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.maryschoenecker.com
OPEN TO USA/CANADA

June 10
SPONSOR: Shaunna Gonzales
PRIZE: FREE edit and/or critique of first 50 pages
QUESTION: What do his lips taste like? (Hint: click on “Sizzling Kiss” under Post Subjects in the left hand sidebar)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.shaunnagonzales.blogspot.com
OPEN TO USA/CANADA

June 11
SPONSOR: Donna Hatch
PRIZE: The Stranger She Married (Regency romance), by Donna Hatch
QUESTION: What poses the greatest danger to Alicia’s heart? (HINT: Scroll down underneath the book cover of The Stranger She Married, and read the paragraph directly below.
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.donnahatch.net/bookshelf.htm
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES FOR E-BOOK VERSION; US/CANADA FOR PRINT BOOK OR PAPEBACK VERSION

June 12
SPONSOR: Cindy R. Williams & Planet Play Productions, LLC.
PRIZE: Award winning glossy cover children’s snuggle, giggle picture book, Chase McKay Didn’t Get Up Today, signed by the author and the real Chase McKay.
QUESTION: What is the name of the dragon in the upcoming fantasy, Thundertail’s Tale: The Legend? (HINT: click on the Blog tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.cindyRwilliams.com
OPEN TO USA/CANADA

June 13
SPONSOR: Larry Hammersley
PRIZE: Motorcycle Woman (sweet contemporary romance, E-book), by Larry Hammersley
QUESTION: What kind of motorcycle does Tess, the motorcycle woman, ride? (HINT: Read the blog post “Motorcycle Woman from Red Rose Publishing”, May 5, 2011)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://larryhammersley.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 14
SPONSOR: Cheryl Cory
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Must've Done Something Good (romantic comedy), by Cheryl Cory
QUESTION: What is Sylvie's all-time favorite movie? (HINT: Click on the "Info" link in the left-hand column)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.facebook.com/MustveDoneSomethingGood
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 15
SPONSOR: Valerie Ipson
PRIZE: $15 Gift Certificate for Vinyl Lettering (http://vinylsignsanddesigns.blogspot.com)
QUESTION: What is Valerie's writing goal for 2011? (HINT: Look in the right hand sidebar)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http:// valerieipson.blogspot.com
OPEN TO USA

June 16
SPONSOR: Rachel Rager
PRIZE: Wednesday Romances - romance (obviously), ebook, by Rachel Rager. This is a compaliation of three different love stories, A Season for Love, The Tiger Unleashed, and The Feather Kiss. (All sweet romances)
QUESTION: Every week I have post a new chapter of a book on my blog. What are these posts called? (Hint: These posts are featured every Wednesday.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://rachelrager.blogspot.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 17
SPONSOR: Danyelle Ferguson
PRIZE: Autograhed copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ (non-fiction/self-help) by Danyelle Ferguson & Lynn Parsons, M.S.)
non-fiction/self-help, autographed book
QUESTION: What is the name of the non-profit Danyelle co-founded? (HINT: Check out Danyelle's author bio)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.danyelleferguson.com/
OPEN TO USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 18
SPONSOR: Teresa Thomas Bohannon
PRIZE: A Very Merry Chase (Regency Romance novel), by Teresa Thomas Bohannon. AND a $5 Amazon gift certificate. Winner's Choice: PDF with personalized dedication, or Ebook format for Kindle or Epub format for Nook. (HINT: Read “A Very Merry Chase Excerpt” under “A Very Merry Chase” in the right hand sidebar)
QUESTION: What did Lady Bethany do and why?
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.ladysilk.net
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 19
SPONSOR: Diane Daniels
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Over the Moon (YA fantasy romance, print copy), by Diane Daniels
QUESTION: Who is Andrew's evil x-girlfriend, Sonya, named after? (HINT: Read the May 14, 2011 blog entry)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.overthemoonseries.com/
OPEN TO USA

June 20
SPONSOR: Margaret Larsen Turley
PRIZE: critique for up to 5000 words
QUESTION: Margaret Larsen Turley is administrator for ______________________________ group. They hold fund-raising events for Cancer Research. (HINT: You’ll find the answer in one of her website tabs)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://margaretlarsen.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES/ENGLISH LANGUAGE ONLY

June 21
SPONSOR: Anna Arnett
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Lolly's Yarn: a memoir (older YA to adult), by Anna Arnett, with a hand-crocheted bookmark
QUESTION: What was the verdict regarding Anna's radar photo speeding ticket? (HINT: Click on the Blogs tab and read “I Fought the Law and Guess Who Won?”
WEBSITE/BLOG: htt:www.annaarnett.com
OPEN TO USA

June 22
SPONSOR: Joyce DiPastena
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Loyalty’s Web (sweet medieval romance), by Joyce DiPastena
QUESTION: How do people win Joyce’s “Light Bulb Award”? (HINT: Answer is found in the right hand column of the blog)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://jdp-news.blogspot.com
OPEN TO USA

June 23
SPONSOR: C. Michelle Jefferies
PRIZE: 52 page hand-sewn weekly planner, with ribbon bookmark.
QUESTION: What rank is Michelle in martial arts? (HINT: Look in right hand sidebar under “MY TANG SOO DO PROGRESS”)
WEBSITE/BLOG: HTTP://cmichellejefferies.blogspot.com
OPEN TO USA/CANADA

June 24
SPONSOR: Valerie J. Steimle
PRIZE: Choice of two books: Home Is Where The Learning Is (homeschool how-to book, non-fiction; autographed print copy) OR Dogs, Blogs and Hobbits: Writings from a Widows Perspective ---(non-fiction articles about everything from being single and single moms to inspirational stories; autographed print copy), both by Valerie J. Steimle
QUESTION: How many children does Valerie have? (HINT: Look in the right hand column in "About Me")
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://valeriesteimle.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO USA/CANADA

June 25
SPONSOR: Karen Adair
PRIZE: Crocheted Book Tote with matching cell phone case.
QUESTION: What commenter recently called me (Karen) "The Queen of Sugar Land?" (HINT: Select “January 2011” under Archives and read the COMMENTS on Karen’s January 6, 2011 post on “The 20 Minute Sprint”)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.kbadair.com
OPEN TO USA

June 26
SPONSOR: Jaimey Grant (www.jaimeygrant.com) and/or TreasureLine Books & Publishing (www.treasurelinebooks.com)
PRIZE: Winner's choice of 1 of 5 Regency romance eBooks by Jaimey Grant (Honor, Betrayal, Deception, Spellbound, or Redemption. Please note: Honor contains some marital "heat".)
QUESTION: Which of Jaimey's previously self-published titles has recently been picked up by a publisher? (HINT: Click the "Purchasing Options" tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http:// www.jaimeygrant.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 27
SPONSOR: Heidi Murphy
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Small Deceptions (sweet Regency/Georgian romance), by H. Linn Murphy
QUESTION: In what country is the bridge found over which 'we' were fighting? (HINT: Find “Blog Archive” in the right hand sidebar, click on April and read the post titled: “The Far Bridge”)
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.murph4slaw.blogspot.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 28
SPONSOR: Kenneth Rosenberg
PRIZE: One e-book copy of my new romantic comedy, Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues, any format
QUESTION: What instrument does the character Warren August play? (HINT: Click on the cover image for Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues. Read the first few paragraphs of the excerpt.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http:// www.kennethrosenberg.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 29
SPONSOR: Michael Young
PRIZE: Autographed copy of The Last Archangel (YA Urban Fantasy, print copy - Release date July 14th)
QUESTION: What is the name of the fallen angel who is the main character in "The Last Archangel"? (HINT: Click on the Reviews tab. Frank Cole thinks this character “rocks!”
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://thelastarchangel.weebly.com
OPEN TO USA/CANADA

June 30
SPONSOR: Joan Sowards
PRIZE: The Star Prophecy: a Book of Mormon Adventure (LDS novel), by Joan Sowards
QUESTION: Why do Enoch and his friends sail to Jerusalem? (HINT: Read the blurb under The Star Prophecy book cover in the right hand column of the blog)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://joansowards.blogspot.com
OPEN TO USA

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What do you tell your readers?

In the first chapter?

I recently entered a first chapter contest. While I didn't place, I got some good comments on my prospective stories. I actualy entered to get those opinions, and not to win. Although winning would have been nice.

The comments left me with some general questions though. What exactly do you put in that first chapter? Some of the judges told me that I didn't draw it out enough and needed to give them more information. Others told me that I drew the story past the ending point and that the chapter should end on page three. While none of them told me I had too much information regarding the plot, some told me they wanted to see more.

My question is this. Where is that level of information where the first chapter entices the reader to pick the book up and buy it, but doesn't tell you the whole story and ruin the reading of the book?

If I tell you that Dave is a unwilling superhero and if he doesn't hurry and finish his cereal in time to rescue the lady who is going to be pushed in front of the bus at 9:12 and that she is the one person who is going to be able to save the earth from destruction by discovering a new element that afternoon. Why even bother turning to page two?

I ran into this problem early in my writing career and thought I had come to a reasonable answer regarding the problem. Which is why I am asking you guys. I went to a writing website and entered my first page and the critiques were asking for more information, who what where why etc etc etc. Problem is, if I give you the who what where why etc in the first half page of the book it isn't enticing, it becomes an info dump. Why bother reading the book if all the questions that should be discovered in the process of the text is given to you right away?

For example, I opened a book at a used book store and read the prologue. By the time I finished it I knew exactly what would happen in the rest of the book. Why, at that point bother reading it? On the other hand, I read a book where the first chapter was exciting and full of action I couldn't wait to get home and finish the rest of the book. Sadly the writer had worked so much on drawing the reader into the book that by chapter TWO it fell flat and I never finished the book. The first chapter was completely diferent, only the names were the same. It seemed to me that the writer worked so hard on the first chapter but not the rest of the book. What about the writer that gives you detailed information of the world for the first quarter of the book and the characters and plot start after chapter 10? Or the writer that starts the book in chapter 1 but the story started in either chapter 5 or -5?

What do you think? What is necessary in the first chapter and what isn't? What point in the plot is the first chapter written? How much back story, character development and setting is necessary? Do we always have to drop the reader into the action on page one?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Celebrate the good things in life

Yep, life is good.

The conference was awesome, I almost have 100 followers, I'm almost to my 300th post, My birthday is in a few weeks, and I got a request for a full.

Yes! You heard me, a full request.

So in honor of these awesome events I am giving away two books.















One, Blackberry Crumble a cullinary mystery SIGNED by the author Josi Kilpack.




















Two, A copy of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This copy has an exclusive sneak peak of the next book Beautiful Darkness.

How do you win one of these awesome books?

Here's how:

I want followers.

If you are all ready a follower, great, leave me a message, that's one point. However if you want to get more points get a friend to stop by and become a follower. Have the friend leave a message with your name and you get another point. New followers get two points just to even it up. Lastly, either facebook, blog or twitter it and get a point each. That's a total of 5 chances!

Don't forget to come back and leave me a message with your points.

The 100th follower will get one book and each point entry will get a chance to win the other.

Keep coming back and reading new posts, and leaving messages. I have someting awesome planned for my birthday.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Conference thoughts

I wish i could tell you what is going through my mind right now. the conference was so awesome and in someways it was felt and can't be written down.

If you are a writer and are near SLC in the spring you NEED to be here. I learned so much from every class.

One thing I learned from David Farland was that he takes a walk with his sweetheart every day and talks to her about his ideas and stuff. How cool is that? He also says its important to get daily exercise so his body works right and he can write.

I learned from Julie Coulter Belon how important setting is to the story. That is a place where i seriously lack skills. I need to work on setting.

I am also going to keep in contact with my friends this time i let them just fade away last year. not this time. It's my friends that buoy me up and cheer me on and keep me going. I love them a ton.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Storymakers was awesome!!!!!!

Here are the awesome highlights of the conference. For me at least. :)

1) I was one of the ten that managed to get their query in Sara Crowe's short
synopsis class. She said I had a great hook and a good length there was only one
thing she said to fix and I think I already have the solution for that. She said
that the ten she and her assistant read were really good and for us to re-submit
them as querys. Whoot!

2) Clint Jhonson's class was awesome. I learned so much about emotion and
motivation.

3)The publication primer class was as equally awesome. We had an awesome group
of women and a wonderful group leader. Julie Belon. I got some really good
comments on my WIP and know where to start the female characters plot line.

4) I entered the first chapter contest with no intention of winning, Gasp!
(which I didn't) but the intention to see what people thought of my two new book
ideas. It was well worth the money I spent because the judges really liked the
ideas and first chapters.

5) I pitched a nonfiction book to Cedar Fort, Covenant and Leatherwood (at the
publishers mix and mingle) and they all liked it, and want to see it. In fact I
think all three said they were looking for something along that line.

6) I made a new good friend and we are going to crit each others work.

7) I got to meet Larry Brooks, got his book and had him sign it.

8)I got to see a ton of my friends and meet new ones.

There, was that awesome enough?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Passing through the gates of knowledge


Yes I have gates on my mind. While I have prepared for the upcoming conference I have been bombarded with ideas for a new book I am writing. I feel bad because in between what needs to be done there's little time to actualy time to sit and give this book the time it wants. I am also working on a second set of MS's and characters to accompany my first and premiere series The "Prophecy Rising" series.

It's been an interesting year. I've learned alot about writing without writing much. While I will allways be learning something new in the realm of writing I feel as if i have passed through the "begining writers gate" and into the realm of seasoned writer. I feel as if I can now look at a piece of work and identify what might need work, and what is good. Sadly it is easier to look at someome elses work than my own. Probably because I am "in love" with my prose and it hasnt worn on me yet. (Although by the time I am done editing like I am on Emergence I am sick of it.)

I have also passed through the "know nothing about submitting gate" and started to shop my MS. I am pretty sure I won't make a fool of myself when i send something off now. I can rattle off the industry standard guidelines for a "standard submission" without thinking about it.

Last but definitely not least I have passed through the "knows nothing about plotting and pacing a novel gate". I now have the knowledge and skills I need to take an idea and develop it fully into a real story. I have evolved from the just write a cool story to I can write a cool story that people curse me because they are still awake at 3:oo am.

While these last seven years have been long and I am impatient as I wait to get an agent, I have learned so much and passed through many gates on my way to being a published author.

P. S. Gates are SO relevant to my YA fantasy/SF WIP. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

NINE days!!!!!!!


According to my countdown ticker, I have only nine days until the Storymakers Writers Conference. I am so excited!!!!! I am signed up for some awesome classes and can't wait to see my writer friends.

On another note, this is Post #275 I have 80 followers, and my birthday is just over a month away. Time to have some fun. I'll think of some awesome things and get back here. I have a signed book to give away and possibly some other awesome stuff.

I have so much to do in 9 days!!!!!!! AAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Magic of Miracles


When you have been doing the writing, trying to be published thing for almost seven years, with no major successes, it gets a little discouraging. Every once and a while I get a subtle message that assures me that my writing is often inspired.

I did alot of research as I was writing Emergence. I scoured websites books and Google Earth among other things. I picked up a little tourist book about Japan and found in the Kyoto section, a picture of a Monk dressed just as I described him. I didn't know exactly what a monk would dress like but I thought I remembered something and went on that memory. Well it turns out I hit the nail on the head.

I know it was inspiration, there's no other way to explain it. Just realizing it makes it easier to keep going. I would be negligent if I didn't openly recognize it and voice my thanks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

what makes a bad boy?


So I am trying to start a new book since I am now shopping my polished MS.

I have found a road to travel down and a brand I am comfortable with using my name
on.

I have a few questions tho. I hope you will help me out here.

What is diferent between the true villan of the story and the bad boy
protagonist?

What makes the bad boy appealing?

what makes him a bad boy?

What behavior in the bad boy is acceptable and not acceptable?

I may have to draw a name from the comments for a bag of chocolate. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Learning about writing

I spent Saturday in Ephiram UT at a writers conference. While most of the classes were about what I allready know, I did learn something new. Besides, a side benifit of going to this conference was to hang out with my writerly friends.

I don't think there was anything wrong with the confrence, there were alot of teens and first timers and they were probably sucking so much of it in that their brains were about to explode. I've been there myself.

I'm far from the perfect writer and know I still have alot to learn. That is why in less than 30 days I'll be going to another conference in SLC this time and I am sure to be one of those beginner, head exploding people at this one.

If you are serious about writing, you need to go to things like this. Not only do you learn so much, you get to meet people and network. I've come home before and felt as if my brain had turned to mush and needed a few days to unload and reorganize everything i was taught.

Even if you went and just listened and had epithanies about your book it'd be worth it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

By the letters


Alot of my friends are doing an A-Z blogfest where each day of the month's post is based on one letter. While the idea is intriguing and their posts are great. I didn't have time to go through over 200 participants posts every day. I barely have time to get online with all this new baby demands. So using their idea, (shamelessly) I will do a little alphabet of my own and call it good unless I see the necessity to do more.

The writers ABC'S

A is for Aspire. So you want to be a writer, you have these great ideas and think they'd make a great book heck maybe even a movie. So you sit your butt in a chair and start writing. By page 50 you hate it and think its blather. A should be for ambition and application. Learn your craft. Realize every writer gets tired and sick of their writing were a huge bunch of chickens. The diference between a writer and a published author is the time spent working your BUTT off to not only finish the bloody manuscript, but to go back again X 10 and revise.

B is for Butt. Get a comfy chair a snack and a large glass of what ever you fancy and write. Don't get up to answer the phone, don't get on the internet, don't turn on the TV. Just write. The surprise success of so very few authors is an accident. Those that go on to be successful time and time again work. Writing is their career, their first or second job.

C is for Craft. Learn how to write. Learn how to edit. Learn how to revise. Learn how to critique and take critiques. Learn how to get a THICK skin. Then learn how to write synopsis' and querys and send it out.

D should be for Determination but I think you get the point all ready. D is for details and dialogue. Learn the ins and outs of both and apply them.

Last but definitely not least on this post.

E is for Enjoy. Learn to enjoy all the parts of being an author even revising and writing things like querys. I love editing, I know it sounds strange but I love making my work really sing. :)

Hope you enjoyed my little soapbox post here. Now its time for me to follow my own advice. I need to get my MS out and work.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

KiTE by Bill Sears

Please note, while I was given a copy of this book to review it the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the gift of the book.

Today it is my turn to add my review to the blog tour of KiTE by Bill Sears.

Purchase link HERE

Authors website HERE

KiTE, by Bill Shears, is a science fiction novel set in Earth orbit. Mason Dash, operator of Kite, the flagship of Earth Orbit Maintenance Department’s debris sweeper fleet, suspects spacejackers on an abandoned space station may be using it as a platform for a terrorist attack on Earth targets. Sheila, his beautiful virtual companion, has been “enhanced” with an experimental free will module. Inside the computer system of Kite a digital uprising is under way. Sheila goes off on her own adventure and finds she’s forced to split her focus between Dash’s situation in the “real world” and an ambitious virtual tyrant who has also taken a fancy to her, and who wants to expand his empire beyond Kite. Meanwhile Dash finds the spacejackers are not what he suspected, maybe worse. And it’s just then that humankind’s first unearthly visitor appears in Earth orbit, who is none too pleased. Earth’s fate hangs in the balance.

I was intrigued as I read the promotional material about the book. Artifical Intelligence is something I write about myself and I was curious to see how others wrote about it. I am also a seasoned sci/fi reader and looked forward to reading about another adventure in space.

About ten pages into the book I paused and wondered if the writer was either trying to emulate Douglas Adams and Hitchhikers Guide or he was just heavily influenced by Adams writing style. Either way, it is pretty constant in the book. I don't blame him, (Douglas Adams is an awesome writer for those who like his style) I think the story would have been better told if Mr. Sears had developed his own voice.

While the story was unique and interesting, the execution lacked the profesionalism I am used to in published work. The manuscript needed a serious editing before being sent out to the masses. I also was very put off by the chauvanistic and abusive ideals of the male AI character in his regard to the females in his reach. I actually put the book down at that point and had a hard time picking it back up. This book would definately be rated PG 13 on my scale.

Critiques aside. The story was interesting. His science was well thought out and as someone who writes sci/fi I know that it is one of the hardest genres to write. You have to be smart to write science and technology. Mr. Sears knows his technology and his science. I also loved the MC Dash. I love his attitude and the deep characterization Mr. Sears gave this anti hero. Each of the characters is well drawn.

If you are wanting unique sci/fi, deep characterization and well executed science and technology, this is a book you might consider reading. However if grammar errors or abusive situations throw you out of a book then you'll probably want to pass on this one.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Who is she?


I saw this pic a few days ago and I couldnt stop thinking about her. There's something in it that screams character. Who is she, what is her name, what's with the pink hair, and is she really standing in a cemetary? If yes, why the face?



Your guess is as good as mine. I'm interested in what you think. Post your ideas if you are willing to share and we'll get her figured out.


Photo link HERE

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book setting


I'm trying something new. I am going to be posting random things that I think are amazing. Sometimes they might be book related, other times not.

Anyway. This is called the Grand Prismatic Spring in Wyoming. It is pretty amazing. Can you imagine something scifi or fantasy about it? I can. It has my cogs churnung already.

Photo Credit and Link here

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Well my plans of posting three times a week have gone out the window. No worries, this link should make up for alot of missed posts from me. I found it last night VIA Query Tracker (thank you) and haven't stoped thinking about it since. These are links to the notes from the last two RWA (Romance Writers of America I think) Writers Conferences. Even if you don't write romance go see these notes they are amazing. There is advice for every genre. Lots of notes on synopsis querys etc. The one on the 11 senses is really great. I printed them off and put them in a 3 ring binder for future refrence. Well worth the ink and paper. I promise you'll thank me later. :)

Go HERE!!!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Life calls the shots


I often describe myslf as a "write at home mom". I stay home with my seven (now six) kids and try to make writing a career. However this year and the last, life is the one who has been controling me instead of me controling it. Sometimes we just have to sit back keep our arms and legs inside the car at all times and enjoy the ride. Sometimes its rushing past so fast that I blink and a week has gone by. My baby turned SEVEN months yesterday. Where did SEVEN bloody months go? How did I let that time pass and not make an serious effort to document it or remember the details.

This week has seen me watch my oldest son pack his room and move to his grandparents, and my daughter prepare and go to her junior prom. I've had no time to write or do anything but doggie paddle to keep my head above water. You know the old addage that ducks make it look easy but under neath the calm feathered appearence they are swimming like mad. Yeah I am a duck.

I hope sometime soon I can stand up when the rollercoaster car comes to a stop and get off the ride. The lyrics from Drive by Incubus keep rolling through my head. "When I drive myself my live is found." For now please enjoy the lovely picture of my daugher.